Centenary News

First Public viewing of the MG Cyberster at the MG Centenary 23/05/2023

Anthony Reid – MG ZTT Bonneville Land Speed Record Car – 11/05/2023

The Barn-Ettes – Sponsored by Cherished Vehicle Insurance Services – 28/04/2023

MG ZTT Bonneville Land Speed Record Car – Sponsored by Lancaster Insurance – 27/04/2023

Pride of Ownership – Sponsored by Peter James Insurance – 26/04/2023

Centenary Spitfire Flypast – 28/03/2023

Centenary Dinner Guest Speaker – 17/03/2023

Cars on Display in the Museum – 16/03/2023

Event Traders List – 16/03/2023

Event Sponsors – 16/03/2023

Period Advertising – 16/03/2023

The Raworth Connection with ARKELL’S Brewery – 16/03/2023

A Brief Explanation of Why 1923? – 16/03/2023

Why is the MG Centenary being Celebrated in 1923? – 16/03/2023

First Public viewing of the MG Cyberster at the MG Centenary

First Public viewing of the MG Cyberster at the MG Centenary celebration event, British Motor Museum, Gaydon Saturday 27th May

We are delighted to announce that we will have the stunning MG Cyberster on display inside the British Motor Museum. This is the first time that the much anticipated MG supercar will be seen in public. The display car is a special preview treat for visitors and the car is a production version and is as near to the car that will be officially launched to the public a bit later in the year.

Anthony Reid – MG ZTT Bonneville Land Speed Record Car

We are pleased to announce that professional racing driver, Anthony Reid will be attending and supporting the Bonneville MG ZTT X-15 display stand at the MG Centenary. He is best known in MG circles for racing in the MG EX257 XPower Lola Le Mans car in 2001 and in the XPower ZS EX259 British Touring Car Championship also in 2001. He will be available and pleased to chat about his exciting association with MG Sport and Racing and his long term involvement in the motorsport industry.

The Barn-Ettes – Sponsored by Cherished Vehicle Insurance Services – 28/04/2023

We are pleased to announce that Cherished Vehicle Insurance Services are sponsoring the Barn-Ettes at the MG Centenary celebration at the British Motor Museum on 27th May 2023.

They will be entertaining the crowds at The British Motor Museum with thier ‘Through The Decades’ show.  Come and see some wonderful MG’s and enjoy a fun packed day.

MG ZTT Bonneville Land Speed Record Car – Sponsored by Lancaster Insurance

We are delighted to announce that we will have a very exciting and unique exhibit sponsored by Lancaster Insurance on show at the MG Centenary Celebration at Gaydon. Project X-15 as it was called was an ambitious venture into the arena of world land speed records that MG had very successfully competed in over the years with drivers like Sir George Eyston, Ken Miles, Stirling and Phil Hill involved. Those EX project cars that broke records at Bonneville is a great story and the British Motor Museum at Gaydon has a number of these incredible record breakers with EX135, EX179, EX181 and EX255 on display. The appearance of the X-15 ZTT Bonneville record car at Gaydon is sure to be a crowd pleaser as it has not been seen in public since 2007. We are planning to fire the car up on several occasions throughout the day, so bring your ear defenders!!

In brief MG Rover invested huge sums of money re-engineering the Rover 75 from front to rear wheel drive. They already had the MG ZT saloon and the MG ZTT estate in V6 petrol and 2 litre diesel versions but set about creating the 260 version of the ZT saloon and estate. A budget of £30m was earmarked for the project so they engaged Prodrive engineering to adapt the Rover chassis and fit it with a 256bhp 4.6-litre V8 Ford cobra engine from the Mustang.

MG decided to generate some pre-sale publicity by making the ZT-T the world’s fastest estate, and engaged So-Cal Speed Shop to build a record-breaker. The power unit was a Roush-tuned 765bhp 6.0-litre racing V8, a Nascar gearbox, racing brakes and complete with a parachute attached to the rear. At the time there were increasing doubts over the future of MG Rover and it seemed that the project X-15 ZTT would not appear at Bonneville in August, however against the odds it did and broke the record at 225.609 mph.

Pride of Ownership

The Peter James Insurance Pride of Ownership Competition

We are pleased to announce that Peter James Insurance is sponsoring the Pride of Ownership competition at the MG Centenary celebration at the British Motor Museum on 27th May 2023.

Due to exceptional demand we regret that entries are now closed for the competition.

There are four classes to enter, breaking down the hundred years of production:

Class A – MG Models built 1923 to 1948

Class B – MG Models built 1949 to 1974

Class C – MG Models built 1975 to 2000

Class D – MG Models built 2001 onwards

And also an award for the Furthest Travelled in your MG

Visitors to the celebration will be able to cast a vote for their favourite car at the Peter James Insurance stand with trophies given out to the class winners with the overall champion of the event being the MG that has the most votes cast on the day.

Dave Youngs, Partnerships Director at Peter James Insurance commented,

“We’re delighted to be joining the MG community in celebrating 100 years of the MG marque and are thrilled to be sponsoring the Pride of Ownership competition.  As classic vehicle enthusiasts ourselves, we’re excited to see the fantastic array of MGs from vintage right up until present day! We look forward to meeting and speaking with you all at the show!”

About Peter James Insurance

Specialists in flexible insurance cover, made to protect the true value of what matters most, Peter James Insurance is best known for its classics and vintage vehicle insurance including specialist options such as Free Agreed Value, Laid-Up Cover, Multi-Vehicle options, Limited Mileage and more. We are also able to offer a club liability insurance scheme.

Spitfire Flypast confirmed

We are delighted to announce that subject to weather we will be treated to a flypast by a Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Supermarine Spitfire. This is a “not to be missed” opportunity to view and hear the unmistakeable sound of this iconic aircraft at relatively close quarters . The Supermarine Spitfire was critical in defeating Luftwaffe air attacks during the Battle of Britain in 1940. More Spitfires were built than any other British combat aircraft before or since World War Two – 20,341 in total. There are six Spitfires on the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Centenary Dinner Guest Speaker – Dr Ian Pogson

Ian pictured with MGOC’s Roger Parker and the 1.5 millionth MG in recognition of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002

We are delighted to announce that Dr Ian Pogson former MG TF Chief Engineer will be entertaining us after dinner with his recollections of 40 years in the automotive industry many of them spent with MG. He was the MG TF 85th Programme Manager and After Sales Engineering Chief for TF, MG6 and MG3 at MG Motor UK

In Ian’s words………. “Dr. Ian Pogson is a father of three proper adults who are a credit to his wife, Sharon.  He managed 40 years in automotive manufacture and Engineering, travelling the world and having exhaustive fun.  Responsible for lots of project money, people and cars at various times, he owns a 2005 MGTF and a 2006 Mk. 1 Freelander.  His MG credentials began as  Programme Manager for the Power Train of the MGRV8 in 1992/3.  During ten years working for SAIC, he became Chief Engineer for the TF as resurrected by SAIC in 2008 to 2010.  He worked for and promoted MG Motor even when they didn’t want promoting from 2009 to 2015, when they decided he was too old for soliciting. 

His latest automotive gambit is developing electric cars for teaching 4- to 10-year-olds to drive.  He and two other Engineers have built seven to date, to the delight of Young Drivers – the Company and the little pilots. 

Ian is also a steam engine nut and is a shareholder in a rusty wreck that will in 2026, be a living and fire-breathing Standard Class 4 railway loco.  He can regularly be found at the sharp end of many large and dangerous tools in the railway workshops, or out and about lineside.  He is a Trustee of the Lanchester Trust and will bore anyone within shouting distance about Dr. Fred Lanchester at the drop of a clutch pedal.   Currently balding and decrepit, he aims to enjoy each day as if it were his last.  Not long ago, he nearly wasn’t and delights in being here and is really looking forward to entertaining you with his MG achievements at the celebratory MG Centenary Dinner.”

Please book your tickets for the dinner here.



The statement confirming MG’s first appeared in 1923 written in Kimber’s fair hand
The statement appeared in adverts throughout the 1930’s


The convention for the celebration of anniversaries is to start from the date when the event first occurred – and the first M.G. sports cars were produced in 1923, so this is the date from which all things truly began.

Over the years, due to misunderstandings, other dates such as 1924, 1925 and even 1928 have been erroneously adopted as the starting point of . These errors are easily explained, as will be seen in the following information.

The very essence of the  brand is a true sporting car which incorporates good looks, performance and reliability. One cannot ignore the fact that the Morris brand, from which products sprang, were noted more for reliability than for sporting prowess.

It was only after Cecil Kimber joined the staff at The Morris Garages, Oxford in 1921, that his enthusiasm for motor sport eventually led him to develop ‘hotted up’ Morris cars. The Morris Garages produced a few Morris cars with bespoke coachwork, (mainly up-market saloons), and then in 1922 began to sell Morris Cowleys with coachwork that they named the “Chummy Body”.

Morris Garages Chummies featured a small 4-seater body, wherein all passengers enjoyed the protection of the hood. Over 100 of these cars were sold. These cars were never marketed as M.G.s and had no sporting pretentions.However, Kimber modified his own Chummy and in March 1923 won a gold award with the car in the London to Land’s End Trial.

Kimber’s success in this event led to William Morris sanctioning an order for six sporting 2-seaters to be produced – and these were to be the very first M.G. sports cars.

The coachwork for these six 2-seater sports cars was made by the Oxford firm, Charles Raworth & Sons. Kimber’s design incorporated various improvements in handling and performance which enabled the car to do 60mph on the flat! The styling of the cars included several features which were to be iconic on M.G.s for several years – rakish swept wings, a sloping windscreen with triangulated end frames and ‘marine style’ air ventilators on the scuttle.

Adverts for these M.G.s first appeared in December 1923, in which the model was named ‘The Super Sports Morris’ – featuring the MG Octagon, as shown. These first M.G.s were available to customers earlier in 1923, and the first recorded sale was in August 1923.

The Octagon – a history in itself!

The M.G. octagon first appeared in an advert in The Oxford Times of March 2nd 1923 and was subsequently used in virtually every M.G. advert thereafter. The octagon logo is understood to have been designed by Ted Lee, Cost Accountant at The Morris Garages. The two-letter acronym soon became M.G.’s logo.The M.G. Car Company was formed in March 1928 and yet, almost unbelievably, the   octagon had never been registered as a trademark! The first application for the image as a trademark was made a month later in April 1928.

Even then, the ‘date of claimed first use’ was erroneous. The date given on the application was 1st May 1924, (probably taken from the earliest advert to hand), whereas the octagon was first used in March 1923.

These errors are responsible for some folk to think that M.G. started in 1924, or even in 1928, when the trademark was claimed.

Further confusion over the 1975 Jubilee MGBs

When in 1975, under British Leyland management, M.G. was desperate to shift stocks of MGB GTs, a model named ‘Jubilee’ was introduced. The management team thought that the production of M.G.s began in 1925 – so 1975 was the 50th anniversary. Sadly, they were two years too late, but the error convinced the uninitiated to believe that 1925 was the start date of the marque.

The 2023 Centenary Celebrations.

Plans are well advanced for a big M.G. Centenary event which is being held in England at the British Motor Museum Gaydon on Saturday May 27th 2023. All of the major M.G. car clubs are involved, including the oldest – the M.G. Car Club in Abingdon – and all of those clubs agree that the first M.G.s were the Raworth-bodied Super Sports built in 1923.

The M.G. Salesmen’s Handbook, issued in January 1928, states that “…the M.G. Sports Cars were first introduced in 1923 …”.

Cecil Cousins, who was Kimber’s right-hand man at M.G., told author Wilson McComb that the first cars that can be considered M.G.s were the Raworth- bodied Super Sports of 1923.

So – that’s why the big celebrations are being held in 2023!

Chris Keevill – Editor, The Early M.G. Society www.earlymgsociety.co.uk


Adverts for these M.G.s first appeared in December 1923, in which the model was named ‘The Super Sports Morris’ – featuring the MG Octagon, as shown. These first M.G.s were available to customers earlier in 1923, and the firstrecorded sale was in August 1923. The first properly documented sale of an M.G. was to John Oliver Arkell, of the brewing family Arkell’s, on 16th August 1923. Oliver bought his Raworth-bodied Morris Garages Super Sports registered FC 5855 for £350 directly from Cecil Kimber, Managing Director of The Morris Garages in Oxford. The six Raworth-bodied cars ordered by Kimber to be built are widely accepted as being the first M.G. Sports Cars.”


Advert in the ISIS Magazine dated November 28th 1923
Advert in the ISIS Magazine dated December 5th 1923
Advert in the Morris Owner Magazine dated May 1924
An early 1920’s Morris Garages advert adorned with the MG logo


Primary Sponsors

MG Motor UK Limited

Key Sponsors

Lancaster Insurance

Peter James Insurance

Cherished Vehicle Insurance Services



MGOC Spares

Castrol Classic Oils

Rimmer Brothers

Barry Chase

Martin Smith

MG Enthusiast Magazine


MG 1925 MG ‘Old Number One’ Cecil Kimber’s special
1931 MG 18/80 Speed model one of the last 18/80 mark I produced (of 500)
1932 MG J2 (on loan to the museum)
1934 MG PA Midget, sectioned
1936 MG NB Magnette
1936 MG SA (on loan to the museum)
1938 MG EX135 record car Goldie Gardner’s record car, reached 200 mph+ on the Dessau Autobahn, Germany
1953 MG YB saloon Len Shaw’s ‘semi-works’ rally car
1954 MG EX179 record car Eyston’s record car, achieved 170 mph in 1954 at Utah Salt Flats
1954 MG TF
1957 MG EX181 record car Stirling Moss/Phil Hill record car, reached 254.9 mph at Utah Salt Flats
1958 MG ZB Magnette
1958 MGA twin cam, sectioned Earls Court Motor Show car and possibly New York Show car
1964 Mini, ADO 34 prototype small sports car, designed to replace the MG Midget but never produced
1965 MG MGB, sectioned in two halves 1965 Earls Court Motor Show car and 1967 Turin Motor Show car

1969 MG MGB roadster
1970 MG ADO70 Michelotti, second attempt at an MG Mini to replace the MG Midget
1972 MGB GT, SSV1 safety systems vehicle research car
1979 MG Midget 1500 last vehicle off the line
1980 MG MGB roadster last vehicle off the line (on loan to Abingdon Museum)
1980 MG MGB GT last vehicle off the line
1985 MG Metro 6R4 Clubman version of Austin Rover’s successful Group B rally car
1983 MG Metro ‘Alum’ prototype with aluminium body
1983 MG Metro 6R4 prototype test car for development of the MG 6R4 rally car
1985 MG EX-E stunning concept car for a large sports car to take the V6V 6R4 engine; styling buck

1986 MG Metro 6-cylinder engineering prototype with experimental Issigonis 6-cylinder engine
1989 MG DR2/PR5 one of the rejected concepts from the design stages of the MGF, designed by Roy Axe
1994 MGF prototype ‘camouflaged’ in a Metro van body, used to test the MGF running gear
1998 MG EX255 record car that aimed to beat EX181’s record. Driven by Andy Green