The real MG "S" type?


I read with interest Wilson McComb’s letter regarding John Perrett’s article (An Engineer Remembers) in the May issue of Motor Sport. In his letter Wilson accuses Mr. Perrett of having a faded memory regarding his recollections of the “S” type MG. Indeed Wilson states quite categorically that “the projected ‘S’ type 1935 was not a 3-litre sports car but an 1,100 c.c. single-seater racing car”. Such a statement sounds pretty conclusive, but is Mr. Perrett’s memory really letting him down so  badly? With the permission of my employers, MG Cars, I have consulted the “Experimental Register” on this matter. Whilst tantalisingly vague, this register of EX numbers does, I think, shed a certain amount of light on this particular question. Let us start with EX 147 which is in fact the “R” type. EX 148 relates to the “P” type Le Mans car and the next number EX 149 was not used at all. EX 150 however is entitled “3 1/2­litre Independent Car”. There is also some drawing evidence to show that the MG Design Office had started to use the designation “S” type for this vehicle. This was just prior to the transfer of the MG Drawing Office to Cowley in 1935. I suggest that work stopped on this project at that time (as John Perrett states in his article) and that the unused letter, was later picked up by Cowley to be used on their first MG, the SA Saloon. If I may be allowed to speculate for a moment, I believe that had the 1,100 c.c. single seater materialised it would have been designated RB or R2. This theory can be supported by the fact that EX 152 is listed as being· “RA Experimental Chassis (Anti-Roll Experiments)”  and is probably the car Wilson McComb had in mind.

It is also interesting to note that EX 155 was the number allocated to the “T” Series Midget  and yet it is not until after this when we get to EX 158 that we find the “SA type 2-litre” listed, further evidence, I feel, that the letter “S” was reallocated. Incidentally the next number is the “VA type 1 1/2-litre” and EX 161 is the ”WA (2,6- litre).

As far as the Midget and Magnette are concerned I think John Perrett was referring to the end of the overhead camshaft cars (still thought by many to be the true MG Midgets) when he wrote of them as becoming defunct at the time of the Cowley take over.

May I conclude by saying that I am a great admirer of the work that Wilson has done for the MG cause but I think that is a little ungenerous of him to take issue with Mr. Perrett (who was, after all, there at the time) over matters about which there is so little hard evidence.

Abingdon PETER E. NEAL