The two superb old photos shown below, of what I think is an MG PB, are not dated, but I'd put them at being from the 1950s. Comparing the features of this car, with different types of early MG (for example pre-war TA Midgets, M-Types, Magnettes, and post-war TCs), points to this being a PB, although I'm happy to be corrected. The profile of the rear wings, the wheels, bonnet louvres situated towards the front of the side panels rather than to the rear, semaphore indicators set into the bodywork beneath the screen frame, and the large brakes, also point to this being a PB. A check of the DVLA database advises that the car - registration MG 4417 - survives to this day, albeit un-taxed.
Does anyone know who owns this car now? I'd like to add one or two photos of the car as it is today to the page, if possible. DVLA advise that it was first registered on 9th December 1935, has an engine capacity of 1056cc (slightly larger than a standard PB of 939cc), and is painted green.
The uprated engine tallies with a few visible modifications that are evident on this car. The Lucas horn fitted ahead of the radiator grille is non-standard, as is the fitment of telescopic front shock absorbers. Clearly its young owner was an enthusiastic, hands-on, type of chap, to whom spending a sunny day fiddling with his prized MG was a day well spent. Both photographs are of him attending to matters beneath the MG's bonnet, his work being overseen by an older gent - perhaps his father, or grandfather. The flashing indicators, and non-matching rear view wing mirrors, are also non-factory additions. The wiring to the horn has a "work in progress" look to it also, while the large spotlamp, aimed to the nearside kerb, suggests that the car might have been used on night-time club rallies. Sealed-beam headlamps have also been fitted.
Wooden planks have been laid on the grass to protect it from the weight of the car, while a number of tools and maintenance books are dotted around, close to its owner's feet. The location of these photos isn't known, although the walled garden, with flowers in full bloom, points to a leafy rather than suburban location. All very agreeable.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
The MG registration is particularly appropriate, and could well point to it being originally supplied by MG agent University Motors Ltd, or at least having passed through their hands before being delivered to the supplying dealer. Many of the cars they sold, came with MG xxxx registrations.
The first photograph is printed on landscape paper, while the second - taken on the same day I'm sure - is square, so perhaps was developed from a second film at a different processor. The shadows have moved slightly, despite the angle of the car being very similar in both shots, so the two pictures were taken at different times in the day. The gent to the left of shot is now sitting down, while the upper washing line visible in photo #1 has now been removed.
The PB was a revised version of the previous PA, and was produced during 1935 and 1936 only. Just 525 examples were built. A road test in The Autocar magazine, 17th January 1936, was enthusiastic of the new P-Series variant, saying:
"It would be difficult for anyone free from prejudice and at all capable of being enthused by the performance of a small sports car not to be quickly attracted to this MG. It does so much for so little. It is almost as fast as can be used reasonably; certainly on either a long or a short journey it covers the ground just about as quickly as any type of car can, and in some circumstances more rapidly than is possible to a bigger, faster but less handy vehicle. Its acceleration is good, and it runs happily at 50, 55 and even 60 mph, for the engine is smooth and will go up to a limit of as much as 5,500 rpm on the indirect gears".
MGs being built at Abingdon in the early 1930s.
Fans of classic British sportscars of the 1930s, may well find this Pathe video from 1931 to be of interest. In it, the methods utilised in the production of these hand-built cars at the Abingdon factory, are much in evidence.