THE P.B. TYPE M.G. MIDGET A SMALL SPORTS CAR WITH A PLEASING PERSONALITY
Good news travels fast. Hearing excellent reports of the new P.B. Midget, which has a 939 c.c. engine, we set off post haste to Abingdon, and demanded one of the new models to try. ” Afraid we have no regular press cars available.2 said Mr. George Tuck, genial advertisLig manager and welcomer of journalists, ” but there’s a demonstrator cum works
hack you might like to try. I think you’ll like it.” And we did.
One’s first impression was that the 3 mm. increase in bore, 57 to 60 mm., had made a really substantial difference to the power of the engine at low speeds. Nipping through Abingdon and out into the open country, third gear seemed adequate where second would have been required on the P, and there was quite a useful performance on top gear. We had been warned that this engine was not quite as smooth as on the production cars, but even so a feeling of power is not unwelcome on a sports car, and the one we tried felt as though it was taking pleasure in pushing the needle to higher speeds. There are few more pleasant experiences than to be humming along in an open car on a fine day, and the Midget quickly settled down to a steady gait of 55 m.p.h. with inaudible exhaust and a smooth running engine. The seat is raked to give an upright though restful driving position, the steering ratio has been raised so that only a slight movement of the wheel is called for on a thirty degree bend, and a useful castor, action centres the steering as the
rim is released The steering is positive but remains light, and this ease of control applies equally to the brakes, the clutch and the gear-change.
55 m.p.h. seems only a gentle amble on the Midget in spite of the engine turning over at 4,000 r.p.m., but when a call comes for full speed ahead there is plenty in hand, and the little car gets up to 60 and even 65 quite readily on short stretches of road. Where winding roads are encountered, of course, full use of the gear-box is needed for maximum performance, and the conveniently-placed gear lever and light clutch give one every encouragement. The engine spins up promptly when changing down, a valuable feature when trying to maintain momentum on a trials hill.
Changing up, the shift from first to second has been improved in comparison with that of the ” P ” type, bottom gear being higher in the case of the new car. Second to third is not so quick, but can be snapped across at the expense of a little noise, while third to top is fastest of all. Third gear is silent ; the two lower gears are audible but not unpleasantly so.
With its short wheelbase the car can be thrown round corners and accurately controlled with the high-geared steering. A maximum of nearly 60 m.p.h. is possible in third gear, and if full use is made of this, the car will hold its own with cars of much higher horse-power through being so handy and light to -drive. The brakes are equal to any emergency. In normal use they seem adequate, though not abnormally powerful. With full pedal pressure, however, they pull the car up in the most decisive way, the braking distance working out
at the excellent figure of 55 ft. from 40 m.p.h. The brake lever, which also operates all four brakes, is useful in
helping full power to be exerted for braking tests and all four wheels can be locked if required. A racing ratchet, applied by means of a thimble at the top of the lever, is a useful feature.
Comfortable springing is notoriously difficult to arrange on a short-wheelbase car, but the Midget gives no cause for complaint in this respect. With the standard shock absorber setting the car rides comfortably at thirty, and yet contrives to corner steadily when taken round a corner at the limit of tyre adhesion. All out on Brooklands, a light grip with one hand on the steering wheel was all that was required.
Tested over a flying half-mile, the Midget registered exactly 75 m.p.h., a very useful speed for an unblown 9 h.p. car in touring trim. With the screen raised, 70 m.p.h. appeared about the
maximum. The engine runs quite happily up to 5,500 r.p.m., giving road speeds of 21, 36, 57 and 75 m.p.h. in the four gears. To change up silently it is necessary to pause slightly between each gear, but the lever can be snapped across oven at full revs, when maximum acceleration is wanted. The open road is obviously the place for a sports car, but the 30 m.p.h. limit cannot be ignored. A small yellow dash light connected with the speedometer glows from 20 m.p.h. when the instrument is registering from 20 to 29 m.p.h. and provides a convenient warning day and night, The car runs quite smoothly down to 15 m.p.h. on top gear, and the two finger lightness of the gear-change is appreciated at slower speeds or when accelerating through traffic. Apart from its handiness in slipping through traffic a small car like the M.G. scores heavily in towns because it can be parked so easily in confined spaces and it is gratifying to be
able to pull up outside a shop in a busy street without the manceuvres which usually attend the parking of the big saloon. Big men in small motor cars afford a constant source of amusement to the
comic papers. On the M.G. the body space on the 7 ft. 3 in. wheelbase has been utilised to the best advantage, and there is plenty of leg-room for a six.foot driver. The seat is not adjustable, but the back squab can be tilted backwatds or forwards six or eight inches which gives the same effect. On earlier M.G.s we sometimes had to complain that there was no room for large feet, but on the P.B., the left foot, when not required on the clutch pedal, finds a restim.; place on the gear-box casing, and there is no fear of applying brake and accelerator at once.
Visibility is good, even with the hood raised, and the car is wide enough for two normal passengers. With the sidecurtains in positicn the driver’s elbow is a little restricted, but as the steering is high-geared, this is not a serious point.
The dash equipment comprises a large rev.-counter, speedometer and the usual Avitches. A knob operating the tap for the reserve petrol supply of three gallons is mounked under the steering wheel. The petrol coasumption works out at 31 m.p.g. and as the tank holds in all twelve gallons, so the car can cover an exceptional distance without refuelling. The headlamps give a good driving light ; when meeting oncoming traffic, the offside one can be extinguished by means of a switch mounted in the Middle of the dashboard.
A small amount of space is provided for luggage in the hood well behind the back seat, and. with the hood raised or the hood sticks brought forward, a goodsized suitcase can be carried. The mechanical features of the M.G. are too well-known to require describing in full, but a few points may be recalled. The engine has an overhead camshaft driven from the front end of the crankshaft through a vertical shaft and bevels. The dynamo forms part of this shaft. The valves ate actuated by means of fingers and the adjustment is made by rotating the ec.:-:atric ‘pivots. 14 mm. sparking plugs at,’ used,, with coil ignition. The S.U. rarburetters are of semi-downdr alight pattern, with an S.U. petrol pomp, The crankshaft is carried in three main bearings, and an accessible pressure
oil filter is mounted on the near-side of the crankcase. A single dry-plate clutch is used, and the four-speed gear-box, which is mounted • in unit with the engine, has constant-mesh third gear wheels and a remote-control gear-lever. The transmission is orthodox, with an open propeller shaft and a bevel-driven back axle. The chassis is upswept over the front axle and underslung at the rear. Straight half-elliptic springs are used, fixed at the front end and sliding at the rear. The front shock-absorbers are of the friction type, with hydraulics at the rear. The brakes are operated by means of enclosed cables. All inaccessible chassis points are lubricated from two
banks of grouped nipples mounted on the scuttle bulkhead.
Mudguards and other chassis parts subject to vibration are mounted on rubber, and the whole car is obviously laid out to make maintenance easy for the private owner. For the P.B. we can safely predict a success even greater than that of its smaller brother.