As a “never say die” Cooper “S” man, I can well remember my feelings of sadness on the closure of the “S” production line early in 1971 which was coupled with the axe of the old BMC competitions department at Abingdon, home of MG and the Works Minis. It therefore comes as no surprise to me to read the reaction of MG owners to the disclosure that once again the “Leyland Axe” is searching for a victim, this time another highly successful part of the BL empire, MG the plant and the marque.
Peter Browning who was Competitions Manager at Abingdon in 1971 summed up his feelings on the closure of his department in his book “The Works Minis”, using words which seem to reflect the feelings of many of today’s MG owners over the rumours of closure. He said: “Above all, I always had the feeling that the management, all proud Triumph men, somehow resented the reputation and prestige the Competitions Department had brought to Abingdon and MG, their former and always more successful rival in the sports car market”, and in summing up he used words which are equally applicable to MG’s plant at Abingdon. He said: “But it is more than sad that of all that British Leyland inherited from BMC, Abingdon’s Competition team was one unit which did its job rather better than most”.
In conclusion, I wish MG owners better luck in preserving their beloved car than I and fellow lovers had in preserving ours.
Croydon NEIL FARRELL
Editorial, January 2000
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