1956 MG Magnette


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Property of a deceased's estate
1956 MG Magnette Sports Saloon
Registration no. UEL 582
Chassis no. 19723

The merger of Austin with the Nuffield Organisation in 1952 brought together a number of prominent makes under the umbrella of the British Motor Corporation, MG being one of them. From that point onwards, 'badge engineering' would be the order of the day, with marques' individual identities sacrificed in the name of rationalisation. Thus the first new MG model of the BMC era - the Z-Series Magnette - shared its unitary construction bodyshell - MG's first - with the Wolseley 4/44. The latter had debuted in 1952 powered by the old XPAG 1,250cc engine, but the Magnette, which made its debut the following year at the London Motor Show, came with Austin's 1,489cc B-Series motor installed. Outwardly distinguishable from its Wolseley sibling by that distinctive MG radiator grille, the Magnette revived a name from the Abingdon manufacturer's glorious past. Despite growls of disapproval from MG purists, the new Magnette sold well, thanks in no small measure to its excellent road manners and traditional leather-upholstered interior, the latter featuring a beautiful wood-veneer dashboard and 'semi-octagonal' instrumentation. The Magnette was upgraded as the 'ZB' towards the end of 1956, gaining a more powerful engine and - in the range-topping Varitone version's case - a wraparound rear window and two-tone paintwork; top speed rose to 90mph, making it the UK's fastest 1½-litre saloon.

This MG Magnette was purchased in June 2011 from a Robert Gosling of Hastings, East Sussex, who had owned it since August 1991. The V5C states that 'UEL 582' has had four former keepers. Restored at date unknown, the car is offered with a large history file containing an original handbook, parts catalogue, restoration photographs, expired MoTs, sundry invoices, etc. A Ford Sierra five-speed gearbox, fitted to make motorway driving more relaxed, is the only notified deviation from factory specification.