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MG Centenary Celebrations

12 June 2023

It’s a big year for MG as it celebrates 100 years, and on Saturday 27th May 2023 the MG Centenary celebrations began with a fantastic event at the British Motor Museum. Here’s our round up of the brilliant event!

MG Centenary Celebrations - Pictures shows hundreds of MG cars at the British Motor Museum

MGs as far as the eye could see!

 

 

 

MG Centenary Celebrations – How it all started

In 1923, Cecil Kimber commissioned a coachbuilder based in Oxford by the name of Raworth, to build six open top, two-seater bodies on the Morris Cowley chassis. The first was coloured bright yellow with black wings and when it found its customer in August of 1923, the origins of MG officially began.

Of course, it was another year until the vehicles of Cecil Kimber would be referred to as ‘MG’, but the enthusiasts that love this marque quite rightly celebrated the beginnings of the MG story with the marking of the centenary in 2023. To find out more about the history of MG, read our blog post here.

Cecil Kimber was appointed General Manager of the Oxford based Morris Garages in 1922. He was 34 and had studied to be an accountant before working for numerous other car companies. He died tragically in 1945, in a train accident at Kings Cross, arguably before the global mass-production success of MG was truly realised.

MG Centenary Celebrations – 100 years later

It’s almost a certainty that Kimber would never have imagined that 100 years later, outside the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire – over 1,000 MGs representing every moment of the last ten decades would be gathered to celebrate the legacy that his brand created.

MG Centenary Celebrations - Timeline of MGs

The MG Centenary Timeline

The MG Centenary event was organised by a consortium of clubs, the MG Owners’ Club, MG Car Club, MG Octagon Car Club, Early MG society and MG T Society. It had a charitable element as well with the Sporting Bears Club on site raising money for children’s charities, the Air Ambulance UK and Prostate Cancer UK.

MG Centenary Celebrations – Peter James Insurance Pride of Ownership

For our part, Peter James Insurance were sponsoring and supporting the Pride of Ownership display and awards. Voting cards were displayed on every MG entrant giving the visitors to this historic event the opportunity to play the role of judge and jury. They would have had a difficult job as every single MG on display was drop-dead gorgeous and stunningly presented in the late – May sunshine. The voting was tight and it ran right down to the wire – but the winners were all very deserving. The final results were as follows:

  • MG models built 1923 – 1948 was won by a stunning MG F2 Magna owned by Ronnie Henderson
  • MG models built 1949 – 1974 was won by an immaculate MG BGT owned by Paul Clappison
  • MG models built 1975 – 2000 was won by a fabulous MGR V8 owned by Stephen Bailey
  • MG models built 2001 onwards was won by a fierce MG XPower SV-R owned by John Newey

Paul Clappison won an extra trophy for the overall best in show! Finally, a prize was presented to the furthest travelled MG who had arrived from Giessen in Germany, driven by owner Christolph Kolb.

MG Centenary Celebrations - Peter James Insurance Pride of Ownership winners with their cars and trophies

The Peter James Insurance Pride of Ownership winners proudly showing their trophies

MG Centenary Celebrations – 100 year timeline, fly-past & the Cyberster

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the show, a timeline of models spanning over 100 years, charted the progression of MG from its early Morris based beginnings, through its stunning saloon and sports models right through to the current crop of electric vehicles for MG Motor, the UK branch of the Chinese manufacturer SAIC who now own the brand.

The 1930s zone in the MG Centenary timeline

The display also included Cecil Kimber’s trialling special, Old Number One, as a star exhibit at the museum.

Old Number One inside the museum

Aside from the cars, there was live music, setting the ‘vintage vibes’ from the Barn-Ettes and trade stands offering a car parts, bargains, advice and more.

Amongst the trader’s area, the Peter James Insurance team led by Phil Beck had our club marquee set up to offer advice and quotations. We had a great day in the sunshine chatting to MG owners with a lot of interest shown in our tailored insurance offerings. We love being in thick of it at shows and being part of so much enthusiasm for classic cars, it is what we do best after all!

Visitors also witnessed a fly-pass of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire.

The petrol loving crowds were treated to some awesome engine noises supplied by regular start-ups of the Project X-15. This car represents 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 Moss and Phil Hill. The X-15 ZTT Bonneville record car continued that tradition in the mid 2000s and was present at Gaydon having not been seen in public since 2007. The noise of the V8 engine was earth shattering and successfully drew a crowd throughout the day.

MG ZTT Speed Record Car

Whilst MGs past was well and truly celebrated, visitors to the MG Centenary celebration also got a special glimpse at the future. Tucked away inside the museum was the first public glance at the all new, all-electric MG Cyberster. Presented in its test car guide with chequered camouflage, this was truly a privileged preview. The car was so new, that no photographs were permitted, such are the early stages of its development. The car is due to arrive for sale in the UK in Spring of 2024.

The event enjoyed a centenary drive as well for those wishing to get their MGs out and about over the celebratory weekend. The Abingdon to Gaydon route, started at the Miele car park and took in the test routes used by MG’s Abingdon factory and then through Oxfordshire and Warwickshire and finished at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon. Further road runs converged on the main event venue at the British Motor Museum from Longbridge and other locations across the midlands.

To round off proceedings, a celebratory dinner took place in the evening with the keynote after dinner speech delivered by Dr Ian Pogson, a former engineer at Longbridge who later worked for SAIC in Shanghai. Current head of MG Motor UK Guy Pigounakis also spoke to give a vision of the future for MG and the various clubs thanked those who had travelled from around the world to be present at this historic event.

Former Longbridge Engineer, Ian Pogson also delivered the evening speech

For the Peter James Insurance team, it was a special honour to be a part of this special occasion and to join the MG community to help and offer advice on insuring these wonderful examples of British automotive history.

Why not view our series of short video interviews recorded with entrants into the Pride of Ownership competition. Why not stay up to date with the rest of our events this season by following us on social!

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MG Centenary Celebrations – Pride of Ownership Interviews

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