CC Capsule: 1935 MG Magnette NA Roadster — Archetypal British Roadster

This is going to be a short one. I recovered these photos recently, after having forgotten about them for about four years. In the summer of 2012, I went to the town of Harogate in Yorkshire (on a ferry, via Belgium) to take part in the International Citroen Car Club Rally (ICCCR), a global Citrofest held every four years. Quite apart from the numerous Citroens I photographed on this occasion, a few other interesting CCs lurked in the town itself. Such as this rare pre-war 6-cyl. MG.

My memory isn’t great on this MG, but I did speak to the owner and I remember him telling me that this was an N-Type, with a 1.3 litre 6-cyl. OHC engine. I cannot remember whether this is a re-bodied or partially-re-bodied car, but it was not 100% original (wood-framed cars this old rarely are). Not being even remotely specialized in MG, especially the pre-war kind,  I was unable to fully assess the scarcity of this particular model, which was made from 1934 to 1936 in two series — for a total of about 700 chassis. There were a few with two-door saloon bodies, as well as a handful of the Allingham “Airline” aerodynamic coupes, but most became two- or four-passenger open cars.

Some MGs are a bit too small and short for my taste. The Midgets (be they pre- or post-war), the T-series and most of the early ’30s stuff is just too minute. This N-Type though, which boasted the first new MG chassis, was a rather well-proportioned design, especially compared to the 4-cyl. MGs. After the N-Type, MG reverted using a Wolseley / Morris chassis and OHV 6-cyl. engine — but the 2-litre MG SA was in a different price class altogether. The cheap, small 6-cyl. roadster was later incarnated by Triumph, Austin-Healey and others in the ’50s and ’60s, was incarnated by MG back in the ’30s.

The nitty-gritty of the detailing on cars of that era is just irresistible. Nearly every bit of the car that could have an octogonal MG logo had one, including screws, bolts and what not. I wish I had more photos to illustrate what I distinctly remember, but alas, I have only two. Still, aside from the taillamps (and the cable brakes), there’s not much to be said against this brilliant example of its species. The British roadster has had many incarnations, but was it ever more accomplished and beautiful as this?