The 23rd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, scheduled for March 11, 2018, on the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island in Florida, will honor MG, celebrating the cars from Cecil Kimber’s Morris Garages that helped launch American sports car road racing in the years after World War II.
The M.G. Car Company celebrates its 90th birthday in 2018, although the cars wearing MG’s famous octagon badge have been around even longer. The earliest MGs were re-bodied Morris models with styling and performance enhancements. By 1928, the Oxford concern had become large and prosperous enough to warrant an identity separate from the original Morris Garages, and the M.G. Car Company Limited was established that March.
With the M Type Midget, MG founder Kimber placed a sports car within the financial reach of almost every motorist, much as Henry Ford put the masses on the road with his Model T. The Midget became the root of the MG legend that would last for decades. At the 1928 London Motor Show, the authoritative publication Autocar claimed “The M.G. Midget will make sports car history.”
MGs began writing that history very quickly, winning the 1931 Brooklands Double 12, and in 1933 Tazio Nuvolari’s MG K3 — an aging ex-demonstrator! — won the Tourist Trophy at Ards. That TT triumph was shortly followed by MG’s first Le Mans class victory, a stunning 6th overall with a 750cc MG Midget J4 C.
Many other MG competition successes followed, with the TC coming to America along with returning G.I.s, and soon building a user’s list that included names such as the Collier brothers, Briggs Cunningham, Phil Hill, John Fitch, Ken Miles, Carroll Shelby, Ed Hugus, Richie Ginther and Bill Milliken.
“MG is practically the founding marque of American sports car racing,” said Mark Becker, the concours’ vice chairman. “Their precepts of lightweight construction and compactness that set the course of modern sports car design began with prewar MGs.”