On ROAD & TRACK with the “L” Type M.G. MAGNA
WE arrived at the M.G. works at Abingdon to collect our mount for the week-end with more than the usual pleasurable anticipations of some real motoring to come. Consider the record of the ‘ L ‘ type Magna this year. A team of three cars was first entered for the Light Car Club’s Relay Race at Brooklands, result : a well-earned ” first.” Then the cars were sent over to the Continent for the Alpine Trial, result : an Alpine Cup for the best team performance up to 1,100 c.c. Finally, the 500 Miles at Brooklands saw a Magna driven by C. E. C. Martin and L. F. Welch come home second out of a field of 31 starters. Few cars make such a successful debut.
Through a continual coming and going of M.G.’s of all types, some with only a test “body,” others having final adjustments, we eventually arrived at the Delivery Department, where a green 2 seater was waiting for us to put it through its paces. And a very pretty car this ‘ L ‘ type Magna is ! The line of the front wings is one of those inspirations which come but seldom in the motoring world, the bonnet and scuttle are exactly the right length, and the squat rear compartment and tank, with the spare wheel just at the right angle, give the car a most workmanlike appearance. But the good looks of the Magna are not merely skindeep. Those brake-drums, of a generous 12 inch diameter, the underslung chassis at the rear, and the ample Hartford shock absorbers all betoken a car designed from stem to stern for fast work in the hands of a critical owner. Our immediate destination was the Track. First impressions ? Well, effortless cruising at 60 m.p.h., a gluttony for ‘ revs ‘ on the gears, and light, highgeared steering. A good test of a car is to see how quickly one becomes completely at home with the controls, and the Magna got full marks in this respect. The driver
sits in a nicely upright position, looking down on to his front wings, the steering wheel is low, the pedals are correctly spaced and work smoothly in the right arc, and the gear-lever is snugly at his side. The actual gear-change, of Course, is simplicity itself.
At Brooklands we climbed the slope from the Paddock onto the outer circuit, and came to rest on the line marking the beginning of the half-mile Railway Straight. The passenger began to count, one, two, three and we were off on our first test, the standing half-mile, which was covered in 38 4/5 seconds. We carried on, the engine as smooth as velvet, and the suspension dealing firmly with the bumps, heaves and depressions which form the surface of Brooklands Track. Off the Members Banking the speedometer registered 79 m.p.h. falling to 77 m.p.h. down the Straight, while our actual speed for the flying half-mile worked out at 75.6 m.p.h.—so that the speedometer is connnendably near to accuracy.
The acceleration figures can be seen in the accompanying graph. The willing engine can actually go up to 6,000 r.p.m. on the gears, but taking 5,000 r.p.m. as a more usual maximum, the following speeds are available, 1st 20 m.p.h., 2nd 35 m.p.h. and 3rd 55 m.p.h. The engine of the car we tested was completely smooth throughout its range except for a slight period at 3,700 r.p.m., which was no sooner noticed than it was gone. Using Ethyl there was never a sign of pinking, and the engine was just as tractable as any touring machine.
Finally, to complete our operations at the Track we tested the brakes from an actual speed of 40 m.p.h., pulling up without a jar in 60 feet. Although no servo mechanism is used, the brakes are extraordinarily easy to operate, and the pedal offers barely more resistance than the clutch pedal. Accuracy of braking is not lost, however, but is reduced to a more delicate process. The hand lever works on the racing principle of the ratchet only being engaged at will. In order to release the brake, the lever is just eased back, and then immediately flies forward. For stop and restarts it is ideal. The following day we devoted to road work, and the ability of the Magna to average remarkable speeds was very strikingly demonstrated. Making our way from South London to the North West, no fewer than 49 miles were tucked away in the first hour. An averagc-! of
40 m.p.h. on ordinary roads requires no attempt at fast driving from the driver, but on one occasion, by making full use of the gear box, brakes andsplendid roadholding qualities of the car, we covered 16 miles in 18 minutes, at an average speed of 53 m.p.h.
The road-holding of the M.G. Magna is outstandingly good for its 7′ 10″ wheelbase. In fact the car encourages the driver to take open bends as fast as possible, just for the pleasure of holding the machine in a slide. The high-geared steering and good weight distribution make the’ L type Magna one of the most controllable cars on the road to-day.
It was with real regret that we returned our green two seater to the Works. The M.G. Magna ‘L’ is a car that would inspire affection in the most blase motorist. One can hardly believe that so much excellence, both in appearance and performance, can be purchased for £285.