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Lot 068: MG SA Saloon

Classic Car, Motorcycle & Automobilia, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (24 June 2009)

Launched in 1936 as the MG 2-Litre, this sporting saloon only later became known as the SA and was originally planned as a rival to the likes of SS Cars (later Jaguar) and even Bentley. Originally envisaged with all-independent suspension and given the factory code of EX150 and designated the S-Type, a prototype was made but with the amalgamation of MG with Morris Motors in 1935 development stopped.

The Cowley drawing office picked up the project again but a much more conservative car appeared with conventional live rear and beam front axles. The car used a tuned version of the six-cylinder Morris QPHG engine which it shared with the Wolseley Super Six but enlarged to 2,288cc. The capacity was increased again to 2,322cc in 1937 bringing it into line with the Wolsley 18 and endowing it with a top speed of 80mph. This was a tall engine and to allow the bonnet line to be as low as possible the twin SU carburettors had their dashpots mounted horizontally. Drive was to the live rear axle via a four-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh on the top two ratios. Wire wheels were fitted and the drum brakes were hydraulically operated using a Lockheed system. A built in jacking system was fitted to the chassis.

The saloon body, the only option available at the time of the car's launch, was made in-house by Morris and was a spacious four-door with traditional MG grille flanked by two large chrome plated headlights. The spare wheel was carried on the boot lid. Inside there were individual seats in front and a bench seat at the rear, all with leather covering. Much use was made of walnut for the dashboard and other trim items. Of the 2,739 cars made until production ceased in 1939, 350 were exported with Germany proving the best market.

According to the buff continuation log book which accompanies it, this MG SA was first registered on 1st April 1939 and was first owned by Brigadier Albert Kenvyn Matthews of Bath, at which time the car was registered CY1 (it later became 730 JGC, then TKO 2 and is now WFO 605). In May 1959 it was acquired by Reginald EF Heal of Weston-super-Mare who kept it until January 1973 when it passed first to John H Atkins of London, then in March to Robert Waiter of Tolworth and in October to Terence K Osborne of Bristol. He was to keep it until February 1995 when it was acquired in a somewhat dilapidated state by Ivor Halbert.

As a large number of photographs in the history file show, Ivor immediately set about a total nut-and-bolt restoration of the car that resulted in the impressive machine you see today. Appearing to be in excellent condition both bodily and mechanically, it still retains its nicely patinated original interior and is believed to have covered just 49,000 miles from new. We have been told that Ivor ingeniously modified the front suspension and steering of the car to cure the notoriously poor performance of the original set-up on bumpy roads.

It comes the aforementioned buff log book, an old V5, a modern V5C and 13 old MOTs back to 1996 (the last of which expired in July 2008) and certainly sounds to be in excellent running order. There is also a loose MG Car Company brass plaque which bears the Body Type B267 and the Body No. 1542/7394  which may or may not relate to this particular car. MG SA Saloons are now very rarely seen on the market and this must surely be as good an example as you could ever hope to find. It looks superb value at the guide price suggested today.

Lot Details
Auction Classic Car, Motorcycle & Automobilia
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster
TypeCar
Lot Number068
Estimate£18000-£25000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£20500
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1939
Condition rating0
Registration numberWFO 605
Mileage-
Chassis numberSA2221
Engine numberQPHG2487
Engine capacity (cc)2332
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors