This MG came to the USA in 1971, and the current owner purchased it in 1975. It then went through a 17 year restoration to exact original standards. This is the 18th PB built out of 526 total built.
The present owner has met all previous owners in the Liverpool area dating back to 1938. The price of the car when new was 222 pounds sterling, and was sold by Liverpool MG dealer, M. Watson and Sons.
The car is equipped with a 939cc OHC engine. The overhead cam is driven by a vertical generator connecting the crankcase to the camshaft. It has a four-speed gearbox and thermo-syphon cooling.
The PB model succeeded the PA in June of 1935 with a larger engine and improved instrumentation. It was the last Midget with the high-revving OHC engine, as the push-rod engine TA was introduced in the mid-1936.
This P-Series MG with serial number P1237, was acquired by Harry Lester in 1937 and immediately upgraded to a racecar. This special had a body made of aluminum panels over a wooden frame, while the chassis and suspension are largely stock. He campaigned the car until 1947 when it was sold to D.C. Pitt, who successfully raced it in speed trails, hill climbs and other competitive events throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s.
This is one of 14 PB Airline Coupes built, one of six remaining, and possibly the most famous. It was sold originally by University Motors of London, in late 1935 to Prince Chula and Prince B. Bira, grandsons of King Mongkut of Siam portrayed by Yul Brynner in the movie, The King and I. The cousins formed the White Mouse Racing Stable and B. Bira went on to win numerous small car racing events over the next three decades. While not a race car, the Airline Coupe was purchased while the young men were dating their future wives. The girls wished to ride in a closed car to preserve their coiffures. The car remained the property of widow, Princess Chula until 1968/69. The PB was the last of the overhead cam Midgets. As a coach-built car the new PB chassis and running gear were sent to the firm of Carbodies for fitment of the art deco body designed by H.W. Allingham. The finished Airlines were upgraded with English walnut trim, Wilton wool carpeting and full Connolly leather. This car also has an optional sliding sunroof with three cathedral style windows. The Airline body design is often described as the most beautiful MG ever made.
In 1934, MG introduced the PB Midget to replace the J series of Midgets, which had been in production since 1932. The PB was available as an open two- or four-seater, or with the elegant new fastback Airline Coupe body. All PBs featured a new single overhead camshaft 847cc four-cylinder engine with three main bearings. The willing 36-hp engine was coupled to a four-speed transmission and mounted in a ladder frame equipped with front and rear beam axles and cable-operated drum brakes. The original owners of this example were two Princes - Bira and Chula of Siam. Their 'White Mouse Racing Team' stable in London began in 1935 with Chula managing his cousin Bira's racing schedule. Bira's grandfather (Chula's great grandfather) was King Mongkut (aka Rama IV), the king portrayed in the novel, Anna and The King, which was made into the popular play and movie, The King And I.
The MG Model P was produced from 1934 though 1936, during that time 2499 examples were produced. It was built as a replacement for the Model J. Using the same 847 cc engine but with a new 3 bearing crank it was more refined that its Midget predecessor. It continued the basic look defined by the J type. It had a fold-flat windscreen and a wheel strapped to the back of the car. The fuel tank was also located in the rear.
There were two series of the Model P, the PA and PB. The PA was produced from 1934 through 1935 with a total of 2000 examples being produced. The MG PB was produced from 1935 through 1936 with 526 examples produced. The PA was powered by a 847 cc four-cylinder engine similar to the one used in the Model J-Type. The PB had a 939 cc unit which raised horsepower to 43 horsepower. The other main difference between the Model PA and Model PB was the radiator grille. The PA had a honeycomb design while the PB had vertical slats.
Airline Coupe The Airline Coupes were one of the more attractive and aerodynamic creations by MG on the PA/PB platform. There were around 51 examples created with a little over half being built atop of the PA chassis. Fifteen were mounted on PB chassis. The others were either rebodied or built on the NA/NB chassis and fitted with the larger six-cylinder engine.
The PA chassis served as the platform for the first Airline Coupes. The PA featured a 847cc engine that breathed through two SU carburetors. The introduction of the PB brought along a larger 939cc engine.
The Airline Coupes used a few design cues from its PA siblings such as the front fenders, front cowl, and the radiator. From there it made its departure utilizing a wider stance, a sloped rear end and even featuring a sliding roof. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2008
From 1934 until 1936 the MG P-type was produced by the MG Car Company. The P-type was a two-door sports car powered by an updated version of the overhead camshaft, crossflow engine driven by a vertical generator connecting the crankcase to the camshaft, like the one in the 1928 Morris Minor and Wolseley 10. It drove the rear wheels through a four-speed non-synchromesh gearbox and thermo-syphon cooling. A slightly longer version of strengthened chassis was used in the J-type with suspension by half-elliptic springs all round with rigid front and rear axles.
In June of 1935 the MG PB succeeded the MG PA. The PB featured a larger engine and updated instrumentation and it was the final Midget with the high-revving OHC engine. The PB had a bigger 939 cc engine that was made by enlarging the bore from 57 to 60 mm, compared to the PA's 847 cc engine. The output in the PB was increased to 43 bhp (32 kW). The two models were very similar to each other with the main differences between them being the radiator grille. The PB featured vertical slates while the PA had a honeycomb design. Other differences setting the two models apart were in the design and material of the standard dashboard.
A Marles Weller system controlled the steering at first, before a Bishop Cam system took over. Most P-type cars were open two seaters, though some streamlined Airline coupe bodies were also produced. Riding on a 87 inch wheelbase, the MG P-Types were also available as a four-seater model, but unfortunately that model suffered from poor ground clearance and suffered from a lack of power.
A total of 526 MG PB's were produced at the Liverpool MG factory compared to 2,000 of the PA models. A supercharged MG PB won the Limerick Grand Prix in 1936 driven by Andrew Hutchinson. Today these PB models are highly sought after in almost any condition.
An early Aston Martin DBS, which has been sleeping in a barn since 1986, is set to be offered for sale at Silverstone Auctions May Sale, at the Silverstone race circuit, on Friday 20th May.