1951 Tojeiro MG
Year of manufacture1951
Chassis numberJAK 6916
Engine numberXPAG 7565
Number of seats2
1951 Tojeiro-MG Sports
Registration no. TOJ 1
Chassis no. JAK 6916
Engine no. XPAG 7565
This car was the first to be designed and built by the late John Tojeiro and is of considerable historical significance. A self-taught car designer and constructor, 'Toj' was one of the pioneers of Britain's motor racing renaissance in the post-war years and began, like so many others, by building a special for his own use. He is best remembered nowadays for his role in the gestation of the AC Ace and its Cobra derivative. An influential and widely imitated design, the Ace could trace its origins back to the one-off sports-racer that Tojeiro built for Cliff Davis in 1952. The success of Davis' Bristol-engined Tojeiro - registration 'LOY 500' - prompted AC Cars to acquire the rights to the design, which was put into production in 1954 as the Ace using AC's own venerable, 2.0-litre, six-cylinder engine. The Davis car's pretty Ferrari 166-inspired barchetta bodywork was retained, as was Tojeiro's twin-tube ladder frame chassis and Cooper-influenced all-independent suspension.
Tojeiro's subsequent designs were somewhat less successful, though he can claim the credit for creating the world's first mid-engined GT coupé sports-racer. The latter had resulted from a commission from Écurie Écosse, and two Coventry Climax-engined examples were built for the 1962 Le Mans 24-Hour Race, though only one made the start. The solitary Tojeiro-Climax failed to finish but the two cars, re-engined with American V8s, went on to achieve considerably success on British short circuits, most notably with future World Champion Jackie Stewart at the wheel.
The accompanying Tojeiro Register certificate confirms that this car is the first built, stating that Mr Tojeiro had authenticated it as being his 'number one chassis' after making a close inspection of it in June 1992. The late owner had acquired this car in a derelict condition from Mr David Jeffery of Gatwick, West Sussex in 1988. Its first owner is known to have been Mr K O King of King & Harper (Motor Engineers). The Tojeiro has had various registration numbers in the past, the previous being '239 BER'. When the current registration was offered, the owner could not resist it.
He subsequently commissioned a detailed restoration of the car, which included a replacement two-seated sports body in '166 Barchetta' style. The total mechanical rebuild was carried out by Paul Kitcher of Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire while the body was built by acclaimed specialists Rod Jolley Coachbuilding of Lymington, Hampshire using Carrozzeria Touring's Superleggera system of construction, employing a lightweight tubular steel structure to support the aluminium-alloy outer body panels.
The car's mechanical specification includes a channel frame chassis; all-round independent suspension by means of transverse leaf springs and lower wishbones; rack-and-pinion steering (modified Morris Minor); MG XPAG 1,350cc engine; MG TC Gearbox; and an ENV differential. Rebuilt and developed by George Edney, the engine incorporates a Phoenix steel billet crankshaft, Edney racing camshaft, Laystall aluminium cylinder head (gas flowed), 11:1 compression ratio and twin 1½" SU carburettors.
John Tojeiro saw the rebuilt and finished car in August 2004 and seemed to be entirely satisfied with the end product. After his death in April 2005, 'TOJ 1' was present at his memorial service at Guilden Morton, Hampshire. Since its completion the Tojeiro has covered only some 2,700 miles and is described as in generally very good condition. Offered with current road fund licence and V5 registration document (with the most appropriate TOJ 1 registration number), it represents an opportunity for the connoisseur to acquire a unique piece of British sports car history.