Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline June 2014
Special Article
MG Experiences on Company Travel

The last two months have been very busy with quite some business travel which include England and China. As the former and present home of MG manufacturing I was hoping to experience some MG along the way.

In England that was no problem. I landed early on a Sunday in April. And on the way from Heathrow Airport to my business destination I came more or less by Brooklands, a race track from the thirties. The banked curves of this famous race track are where MG set the first speed records. It is also the place of the Double Twelve races. Those were 24 Hour races broken into two 12 hour segments to accommodate the complaints about the noise. In WWII, Brooklands was also used as an Air Force base. Today, with little of the original track left, Brooklands is a car, bus, airplane (including a Concord), motorcycle, and bicycle museum.

That Sunday, the MG Car Club had “MGs at Brooklands” an annual gathering at the museum. There were not so many MGs because the weather was rainy and overcast. Still, about 100 MG’s of all ages were present. They lapped part of an old test track in front of the very modern building of the Mercedes Museum. There was a car show in front of the old club house. And the cars went up the old test hill, a steep hill that was used to test the power of the race cars. It had 4 grades from even to 1:4. Steep enough to make even the drivers of modern MGBs and MGCs sweat a little. Almost too steep for the older cars which went up in first gear, as slow as the spectators walking up. In the old days the track was something like a country club, with a beautiful clubhouse with restaurant, bar, pool table etc. The area in front of the clubhouse (you might recognize it from old photos in books and magazines) was a great backdrop for the car show. Some of the prewar MGs were also parked right in front of the jets in the airplane museum which was quite a contrast. The MG that interested me the most was a replica of a MG M-Type that ran in Le Mans in the 30’s. The body was slightly modified and the engine was tuned with a trick cam shaft, headers, and a downdraught SU. The gas tank was in the (enlarged) trunk. And in the space for the gas tank in a regular M-Type was an oil tank. That allowed the driver to add oil to the engine without having to stop. Maybe Emma’s occasional puff of smoke isn’t all that unique after all!

China was a whole different experience. When I entered “MG” to find a MG dealership in Beijing, the nearest that Google found was Abingdon in England, thousands of miles away. I am not sure how a MG dealer is called in the Chinese language, but I don’t think that is the same as in English. The MG brand is owned by a company in Shanghai and they make small and medium sized sporty passenger cars. They are very hard to spot in busy city traffic because they don’t stand out like a MG as we know it. A few times I saw one from a taxi and once also in a parking lot. It must have belonged to a connoisseur as it featured a MG license plate.

Interesting MG experiences and great trips. I enjoyed England and China very much. Very different of course but both very interesting.

Next time I am traveling, I’ll continue to keep an eye open for more MG things and keep you updated on my MG experiences.

~~ Reinout Vogt

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