An MG Experience

“An MG Experience” by Dick Jacobs. 188 pp. 8 1/2 in. x 5 1/2 in. (Transport Bookman Publications Ltd., Syon Park, Brentford, TW8 8jF. £3.95 or £4.40 inclusive of parking and postage.)

This is an interesting, entertaining book. It is the story of Dick Jacobs’ competition adventures with MG cars of various kinds, in all manner of well-remembered races and sprints, etc. This is fairly recent history, although it starts with Jacobs’ pre-war ownership of a J2 (which broke its crankshaft, the traditional failing, just as he was about to drive off with a girl-friend) and a TA MG that he took with him to a Royal Navy appointment of 1940. Afterwards there were TB and TC MGs, the latter used for the author’s first entries in trials and hill-climbs, endowed with superchargers.and 16 in. instead of 19 in. rear wheels. The book then takes us entertainingly and informatively (not to mention nostalgically) through activities with an MG Special, with backing from Abingdon for some Production Car racing with a team of TCs (said to be “strictly catalogue with no tuning whatever”, but the handling improved by fitting 17 in. instead of 19 in. tyres, which is now difficult to follow), another MG Special, racing production YB saloons and other fairly sober MG models. It describes competing with a works Magnette, twin-cam MGAs, 1960s MG Midgets, running 1100 MG saloons in longdistance races, running big-engined Midgets here and abroad (Jacobs managed MG teams from 1956-1961 following his nasty accident in the ill-fated 1955 Le Mans race) and so on.

There is no need for history, well told, to be ancient for it to be interesting. I found this book, which brings back memories of so many MG and other personalities met at comparatively recent races, very worthwhile. It is illustrated by many excellent, if somewhat sepia, pictures and it goes into matters of tuning, the cost of racing, the behind-the-scenes fun, etc. Such stories are invariably absorbing and Jacobs’ account is certainly so. He represented the typical extrovert specialist racing man of the post-war period, running a garage, enjoying jazz bands, going to all the circuits, and mixing with all the MG personalities. I recommend this book to those who are addicted to that era of motor-racing.—W.B.