MG, or Morris Garages, has become a name that is synonymous with classic British sports vehicles that are enjoyed throughout the World. Morris Garages began its motoring adventure by tuning Morris cars to higher performance levels. The Morris name was after William Morris, who eventually became Lord Nuffield.
The M-Type Midget was developed from the baby Morris Minor during the 1920's, and resulted in a basic, cheap, fun, two-seater, with sporting pretensions that eventually triggered an entire dynasty of Midgets. The Midget series is responsible for establishing MG as a manufacturer of sports vehicles with an excellent reputation in motorsport.
The MG J has been considered by many enthusiasts as the pinnacle of pre-war MG Midgets as it was the original of the traditional 'square-rigger' style. From 1932 to 1934, a total of 2,463 models were produced in both 2-seater and 4-seater open configurations. The models that followed in later years were updated to offer swept wings as standard.
The J was capable of delivering a 78 MPH top speed, and it carried a 847 cc engine. Unfortunately, the two-bearing crank was the weak link of the design of the MG J.
The MG J carried an updated version of the crossflow engine and overhead camshaft that was used in 1928 Morris Mino and Wolseley 10 and previously fitted in the MG M type Midget of 1929 to 1932. The 'J' had a chassis from the D-Type with suspension by half elliptic springs along with Hartford friction shock absorbers all-round, with rigid front and rear axles. The vehicle also had a wheelbase of 86 inches and a track of 42 inches.
Costing only £199, the adorable little J2 was released in 1932, following a wave of popular success from the 'M' type Midget. The J2 held an 850cc engine, and the instruments inside the little car were responsible for setting MG design for the next 20 years. The unembellished 2 door body came with a slab tank, door cutaways, fold-flat windshield and octagonal dash instruments. Eventually, the stark and sporting 'cycle' type mudguards were updated to sweeping wings and running boards in 1934. The full-length type of wings was typical of all sports MG's up to the 1950's. The J2 was capable of reaching a top speed of 65mph.
The MG J3 was a more supercharged version of the J2 with an updated 750 cc displacement. This open sports 2 seater was designed specifically for the street, and small occasional trials work, only a rare 22 models were produced between 1932 and 1933.
The MG J4 was even rarer still with only a total of 9 models that didn't appear until 1933. The release of the J4 was delayed due to the pre-existing 8-inch brake gear that was considered insufficient for such a speedy car. A new gear was prepared, and a new system was being developed for the 'L' type, which was a larger 6 cylinder MG. The J4 had the capability of reaching 120mph from a 750cc engine. The J4 was of a much superior quality that was intended as a serious contender in all-out racing, and strictly not for the amateur.
In 1933, two other versions of the 'J' type were released, a sliding door salonette, and the J1 four-seater.By Jessica Donaldson