1936 MG PB Sports 2-Seater

Registration number- BDV 480

Chassis number- PB 0666

Representing the famed MG Midget in its ultimate PB form we are pleased to offer here a superb example with period competition success and an exceptionally complete history. As such it represents a cost effective entry into some of the world’s premier historic motoring events, being eligible for both the Mille Miglia and Le Mans Classic, along with countless other events such as the Flying Scotsman rally.

A replacement for the successful J2 Midget, the PA followed the general lines of its predecessor, but was equipped with a more robust version of MG’s 847cc, four-cylinder, overhead-camshaft engine benefiting from a stronger, three-bearing crankshaft and better lubrication. Chassis alterations, many resulting from competition experience, included a longer wheelbase, strengthened transmission and 12”-diameter (up from 8”) brakes. Some 2,000 PAs were produced between 1934 and 1935 when the model was superseded by the relatively short-lived PB, of which a mere 526 were produced. As the final development of the classic ‘Midget’ line of MGs the PB differed in detail in several respects to its predecessor.  Most important of these was the enlargement of the engine to 939cc giving both increased torque and power and a revised dashboard layout. As always with MG cars of this period the buyers were very much sporting minded and MG were keen to assist knowing that sporting success amongst their owners could only help sell cars.

This was certainly the case with ‘BDV 480’ delivered to its first owner Edwin J. Lucy in January of 1936.  He clearly had competitive aspirations for the car and arranged with the famed John Thornley of MG to have the car sent straight to the Service Department to have it upgraded with various modifications for trials, rally and race use - the most important of these being the fitment of  a Marshall Supercharger (see copy order on file). Mr Lucy was clearly a capable and enthusiastic driver and he scored many successes with ‘BDV’ including prizes in the following events - Blackpool Motor Rally- Best Performance by an MG, Brighton-Beer Trial, Torquay Rally, Abingdon Trial and the Brooklands High Speed Trial (see images on file of the numerous trophies won by Mr Lucy). The car subsequently passed into the hands of Ms J. Winifred Marcus-Brown and it is believed that the car continued to be used competitively in the hands of a Mr B.N. Fursden whilst in her hands, and there is correspondence on file between MG and the owners relating to preparation and MG making an entry for the Paris-Nice Rally, which would suggest a ‘Works’ assisted entry.  Subsequent correspondence with MG concerning maintenance show further owners to be a Mr Gore Langton in 1947 and a Mr S. Brown in 1948.  It is not known who owned the car between 1948 and 1962, when the Continuation buff logbook on file reveals there to have been a further 6 owners between 1962 and 1969. There would be nothing unusual about this were it not for the efforts of a subsequent owner to contact all of these owners, the correspondence on file relating to their experiences with ‘BDV 480’ make fascinating reading and give the car an unusually complete history.

In 1969 ‘BDV’ was exported to the United States, by then in need of restoration. Little appears to have been done to the car until it passed into the hands of Robert C. Tennity of Rochester New York. He embarked on a thorough restoration of the vehicle between 1972 and 1974 (see correspondence and bills on file), before passing the car onto Frank Ward II in 1978.  A most enthusiastic and meticulous man, Ward had numerous Concours wins with the car throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. He along with Tennity was also responsible for tracking down and corresponding with many of the past owners. The car appears to have passed to Thomas Farr at some point during the 1980s when it was converted back to the cycle wings it had worn in period (see image on file) before passing to John Mecray the famed Marine artist in 1994. It was Mecray who was responsible for converting the car back to its original specification, re-fitting a Marshall supercharger and generally spending a great deal of time and money on the car (see numerous invoices and correspondence on file) between 1994 and 2008, subsequently enjoying it in light competition use. Unusually ‘BDV’ appears to have retained its original engine numbered ‘893 APB’ throughout its life, making it a matching numbers engine/chassis car.  Following Mecray’s sad death in 2017 the car passed to the current owner who re-patriated it to this country and was able to re-acquire the cars original UK registration number. A connoisseur of British sports cars of the 1930s of many years standing, he acquired the car intending to use it for high days and holidays and is only reluctantly parting with it due to having finally acquired another car that he has had his eye on for some years.

Representing the final development of the classic overhead cam, MG Midget ‘BDV 480’ embodies all the very best of the breed and is truly Safety Fast!

John Polson