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MGCC Centenary

‘1923 and All That’: The MG Car Club’s position regarding the origins of the Marque.

Various individuals and some magazine editors have claimed that the MG Car Club is out of kilter with a general consensus that the first MG cars were sold in 1923. The claim, stated by those who have not taken the trouble to actually consult the MGCC and by others who refuse to correct their error, is that the MGCC believes the correct year is 1924. This assertion is simply untrue. The identity of what was possibly the first Morris Garages ‘Raworth (FC 5581) was stated in the February 2018 issue of Safety Fast!  The same car was identified the previous month by a member of The Early MG Society in Enjoying MG, the MG Owner’s Club magazine.

In spite of this clear indication of where the MGCC stands on this matter there are some who, for reasons of their own, wish to claim otherwise.

“I don’t know if many of you have realised but we are getting very close to the centenary date of the foundation of the MG Car Company. There has been plenty of confusion as to when the MG Car Company was formed, either 1923 or 1924. The MG Car Club insist it was 1924, all the advertising advice it has given the Chinese and Indian MG companies …..”

“This is an interesting article written by Brian Rainbow, with the exception of the MGCC all other MG clubs believe that the centenary celebrations should be held in 2023”.

The errors in the above are threefold. If it is the centenary of the MG Car Company which is to be celebrated then we have nearly seven years to wait, for the Company was not registered until March 1928. Second, the MGCC has not given ‘advertising advice’ to the Chinese and Indian manufacturers, we have supplied material from our extensive archives, but as with BMC, British Leyland, Austin Rover, and Rover Group the context in which they place archive material is entirely their decision and independently of the MGCC.

Dealing with the major error, the position of the MGCC on 1923/4 has been consistent for decades, and possibly since the founding of the club in 1930. The first MGs were made and sold in 1923. The photo below from Thoroughbred & Classic Car of October 1985 states clearly in an advert composed and paid for by the MGCC that 1923 is for us the correct year.

A detailed account was published in the February 2018 edition of Safety Fast! of what is believed to be the first Morris Garages Sports Special registered on 1st June, 1923. This why we have chosen 1st June 2023 as the start of our year-long celebration of the MG centenary starting with a small display adjacent to the original showroom where the first MGs were sold by Cecil Kimber in Oxford. Three other MG clubs were invited to participate two years ago but have yet to respond. As a club with many international affiliates across the globe we decided that a full year would enable all our affiliates wherever they are to enjoy a summer event of their choosing. The culminating event for us will be in June 1924, in the meantime we hope that other MG clubs will come together for common purpose.  Should other MG clubs feel that they don’t wish to celebrate with the MGCC, then for whatever their reasons, chronology cannot be one of them.

Peter Cook

MG Car Club, Vice-chairman and Overseas Director.