I am seeing MG’s everywhere, and the bright yellow ones require sunglasses! However, the history of MG goes back 90 years, with these new MG’s not even built in the UK, but are assembled here in Thailand by a Chinese consortium with CP in Thailand.
The CP Group is famous for its 7-elevens, with seemingly now one on every corner. However, CP is also known as being the Thai partner of the Chinese SAIC, lately the manufacturer of MG.
The name MG is also famous for sporting chariots they have been building since 1924. These cars had the ‘bull nose’ front and were derived from more humble Morris models, with the concepts and modifications coming from the new general manager Cecil Kimber.
The name MG did come from Morris Garages, owned by William Morris, who later became Lord Nuffield. A few modified Morris cars were built from 1922 and these were called MG’s, but the Kimber inspired MG’s, as a separate marque, did not appear till 1924. These cars then were known as MG 14/28 Sports.
The early 14/28’s were rather primitive, but as the MG brand grew stronger, then the cars veered away from being Morris specials. They were lowered, the steering column lowered as well. The steering box was taken from being attached to the engine block and repositioned to the chassis rail.
You use a hand crank at the base of the grille to start the light and punchy 1.5-liter four-cylinder petrol engine. Once fired into life, it chugs away noisily, and only delivers 25 bhp – similar to a modern 250cc motorcycle. Performance is sluggish by today’s standards, with 0-100 kph taking 20 seconds and a top speed of around 120 kph. But remember, MG 14/28 Sports, rely on skinny tyres and weak drum brakes, though they had brakes on four wheels, which was not commonplace in 1924.
Since those days, MG has been a consistent winner, until the financial problems that occurred with Leyland.
The company struggled with bankruptcy until SAIC took control, and with CP in Thailand a willing partner, MG has raised its head again.