During one of his many golf weekends my father Eric became friends with Syd Enever, the guiding light in MG’s racing department at Abingdon, and the one-time Chief Planning Engineer for MG Ltd. My father asked Syd at the tail end of 1954, the year he became Chief Engineer at MG, just before the introduction of the MGA, about the more recent MGs, as my brother and I had been badgering our father with tales of the older MGs. Syd explained that the current TF was about to be superseded by the new MGA and that the prototype for the MG ‘A’-Type, named the EX172, was based on the chassis, engine and running gear of the MG TD, with a special, lightweight, low, flowing version of the body, made by the Design and Development department. There had not been an MG that looked anything like that in the past. Syd and others had more than a hand in the new Experimental car, which the board of MG had decided to enter in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race back in 1951.
After MG’s return to the Le Mans race in 1955 with the EX172, Syd and his team of mechanics modified the experimental design, with a greater width between chassis members, allowing the seats to be mounted lower, between them. After the prototype met with the board’s approval the new MGA could be introduced. Syd said Eric should wait until the MGA was introduced, which he did. My father surprised my mother, Connie, with a special present, a brand new MGA.
One Saturday lunchtime my brother Tony and I were on the drive polishing mum’s MGA when a blast of a horn came from an MG TF coming up the hill. Tony said it’s similar to the MG I had been badgering dad about. It was British Racing Green with wire wheels, with dad at the wheel. It was for us two, a used TF 1250cc in beautiful condition, registration number PGT 600 (registered in August 1954), from Mr Major, sold on behalf of his son who was in the British forces. The TF was a fine car, introduced by MG in 1953, but with its 1250cc XPAG engine it did not quite have the pulling power of the BMC 1500 B-series in the first generation MGA, which was slightly more powerful.
Confusingly for any enthusiast stripping down the engine, it has metric threads, due to its French origins, which were different to the bolts on the remainder of the MG. In excess of 175,000 XPAG engines were built to power MGs, aircraft engine starters and generators during that period leading up to the end of WW2.
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