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Lot 63: MG L1 Magna

Auction of Cars and Motorcycles, H&H Sales Limited (8 December 2010)

Introduced in March 1933, the L Type Magna range was born of Cecil Kimber's desire to offer a more civilised foil to the company's rather uncompromising K Series sports cars. Derived from that of the preceding F series Magna, the newcomer's ladder frame chassis employed a similar 7ft 10in wheelbase and 3ft 6in track. Featuring all-round semi-elliptic leaf-sprung suspension, Hartford friction-type shock absorbers and Bowden cable-operated four-wheel drum brakes, the L Type cars were powered by a 1086cc SOHC straight-six engine (complete with twelve-port crossflow cylinder head) allied to four-speed manual transmission. A four-seater that could be had with open or closed bodywork, the L1 was rather more versatile than its L2 sibling which was only available as a two-seater tourer. Reputedly capable of 75mph in standard tune, the various L Type Maganas were readily confused with their lesser four-cylinder siblings; a factor that affected sales. Initially priced at �299, the four-seater tourer accounted for 258 of the 576 L1 cars produced.

H&H are indebted to The Automobile for the following description which has been taken from the magazine's November 2010 issue:

"According to its buff log book, 'JK 3375', aka Jock, was first registered to Messrs Parkinson, Polson & Co Ltd, Motor Agents and Engineers, of 25 and 27 Cornfield Road by Eastbourne Borough Council on 22nd November 1933. The names of further owners are known from 1964 onwards. The vendor acquired the MG in March 1996 intending it to be a wedding present for his wife and having it in a restored state before the event. The restoration, carried out by Baynton Jones, started with the chassis which was found to be original, straight and useable, with matching numbers. A new engine block was supplied by Gerhard Meir and was bored to 1286cc, a new crank and shell bearings being fitted and also a modem profile cam. An MMM full-flow oil filter and new pump were also fitted. The body was new, too, correct fittings and fixtures being used in keeping with its style. For example, it has a new period-style cotton braided wiring loom. Also, looking beyond the cosmetic side of things, one could see that deep down this was a well engineered restoration. After completion, it was set up and tuned on a rolling road and the head re-torqued down. Due to work commitments of its owner abroad, Jock then spent the next five years in storage. In 2003 and 2006 it was recommissioned and fettled each time for a visit to Goodwood as well as being used as a back-up car in and around London. In June 2009, Simon Bish Historics were commissioned to tune the carburettors and ignition, grease and change oils, balance the brakes and road test it.

Jock has covered a little more than 2,000 miles since his restoration, old MoT certificates confirming this. The cost of restoration is well documented, around �20,000 having been spent. The hood, hood bag and tonneau are all as good as new. In superb condition, the car is currently taxed and MoTd.

Living in central London, as the car does, the nearest reasonable venue for a test drive was the Regent's Park ring road. Our immediate impression was that we found the steering to be light and direct, the sprung steering wheel a pleasure to handle. The clutch was also light and positive, the gear change slick and the crash 'box user friendly. The engine was mechanically quiet and an oil pressure of 80psi was indicated when driving. It also pulled well without hesitation, giving a brisk rate of acceleration up to the legal speed limit or thereabouts...

Here we have to admit to a vested interest in test driving this car. As an owner of a 1934 Wolseley Hornet Special, a comparison between the two cars was in mind and it was agreed between the vendor and ourselves that one cannot better a six-cylinder overhead cam engine for smoothness. Performance of the two cars is very similar. One also had the impression that a comfortable all-day cruising speed would be in the 55 to 65mph range. The cable brakes gave straight line positive stopping power: the pedal pressure required not being excessive.

The driving position was comfortable yet cosy with two fairly large adults in the front. The rear bench seat behind is strictly for the kids. The green leather upholstery was pristine and the double duck hood was lowered with ease. In the interests of winter foot comfort, the bonnet sides had been louvered only up to the bulkhead and did not include the foot well as was original. Being sold with the car are the side screen frames and fittings, the original louvered bonnet sides and the surviving wood body cross member displaying the body number. A positive side to running this MG is that spare parts are easily available from the Triple M Register, usually off the shelf at reasonable prices.

Minor comments? The brakes did squeal loudly when applied and we were told this was due to them being cold. Our overall impression was that this was a well restored, up and running MG that one could be proud of. Would we buy it? The answer would be an emphatic Yes".

The vendor and his wife now have three growing children and are regretfully selling this much loved car to acquire a larger Triple-M MG.

Lot Details
Auction Auction of Cars and Motorcycles
H&H Sales Limited, The Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire
Lot Number63
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£42075
Condition rating0
Registration numberJK 3375
Chassis numberL0454
Engine number737AL
Engine capacity (cc)1286
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors