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1931 MG M-Type Midget news, pictures, specifications, and information

The MG M-Type was introduced in 1929 and produced until 1932 with a total of 3235 examples created. They were first show to the public at the 1928 London Motor Show.

The cars sat atop of 78-inch wheelbase and were powered by a 20 horsepower engine. By 1930, the horsepower was increased to 27. A supercharged version, offered in 1932, gave the vehicle a top speed of 80 mph.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007
MG only needed a few years to go from being a small-scale, specialist, car maker based around Oxford, England in the mid 1920's to suddenly transform into being one of the leading sports car manufacturers worldwide even before the beginning of WWII. The name MG stood for Morris Garages, and the company eventually began as a specialist entity of the giant Morris car making operation. Cecil Kimber, the company's sales manager had always had an avid interest in motor racing, and he persuaded the company owner, William Morris that there was a growing demand for sportier cars, based on existing models. He was duly given the funding and support to test the market.

The M-Type became MG's first ‘mass produced' car. Despite the much anticipated arrival of the MG Six in 1929, the diminutive Midget ‘defined what a British sports car should be'. The 20-hp M-Type Midget was priced at $350, about $100 more than its rival, the Morris Minor. But the M-Type featured a hotter engine and 1,102 pounds.

Introduced in 1928, the MG M Type Midget was undoubtedly the first in the long line of MGs that were to make the sports car so unbelievably popular throughout the world. When the Morris Minor debuted in 1928 by William Morris, this got Cecil Kimber thinking, and soon he set about producing an MG sports car based on it. The Midget was also Kimber's idea, but his boss William Morris made it actually happen.

In October of 1928, the M Type Midget was launched at the Motor Show at Olympia Motor Show in London. Even early on, it was easy to see that the 10-foot long, two-seater M Type would be successful, especially due to the immediate demand from the public. It wasn't until 1929 that the car finally went into full production, utilizing mainly Morris components with slight modifications.

Since there wasn't enough time to allow for more individual components to be designed and manufactured, along with the pressure to get the car on show at Olympia was the reason for the similarity. The body of the M Type was light, and very simple, with a fabric construction on a wooden frame. Carbodies of Coventry fabricated the distinctive boat tail design separately and joined it with the chassis at the MG factory in Abingdon. The boat-tailed Midget was designed to compete with the Austin Seven sports models and other similar small sporting vehicles.

A four cylinder unit with a two bearing crankshaft, the engine had an overhead camshaft driven through two sets of bevel gears and a vertical shaft. This shaft continued through the vertically mounted dynamo and doubled as the armature, with a flexible coupling that transferred the drive from the armature to the cylinder head through a short shaft. Pretty reliable, the 20 horsepower engine also featured the same basic design of engine incorporated in the subsequent Magna and Magnette range of the era. This was contributory to the success of these popular cars.

Also borrowed from Morris were the axles, chassis and clutch, the springs though had decreased camber and the steering was modified with the steering column being more steeply raked. Angled downwards, the remote gear change gave a lower driving position than on a Morris. Compared to its competition, the MG M Type had a much more sporty look and feel. A total of 3,235 units were produced during its run from 1928 until 1932.

Making the M-Type a success in competition were major design factors that included the left-side, siamesed inlets with exhaust ports for two and three cylinders, and the slightly inclined valves in the head operated by finger-type cam followers. Especially later, the overhead cam engine would prove equally successful in racing for the later, more powerful C-Type, Magna and Magnette range. MG was proven as a successful competitor early on, and with the lightweight M-Type Midgets, the MG marque began to add up the wings at trials, rallies and hillclimbs all throughout Europe. Commonly, the M-Type Midgets were fitted with a sporty body from the Carbodies coachwork firm, which consisted of an ash frame paneled in fabric-covered plywood. The tail also included a hinged, pointed boat-tail which was ideal for a spare tire or luggage.

Auctioned on January 21, 2010, possibly the only remaining M-Type of its kind with the original engine was a 27 bhp, 847 cc single overhead cam four-cylinder engined was on display at an estimated $40,000 - $50,000.

By Jessica Donaldson
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