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Own a piece of MG Race History

By editor Rutger Booy: Ask any schoolboy to draw a sports car. What do you get? Four wheels, a small, two-seater body and of course no top. To sum it up: what the kid draws is the basic shape of a 1930s MG: wire wheels, flat tank with strapped-on spare wheel, spartan body with cut-away doors and a fold-flat windscreen. A shape that continued well into the 1950's. That shape started with the archetypical MG of those days, the 847 cc, four-cylinder MG J2, every young man's dream and with more than 2000 built a commercial success for the MG factory in Abingdon.

One such MG J2, with chassis number J4211 came of the assembly line in Abingdon on October 19, 1933 as a rolling chassis, meaning it was drivable, but had no bodywork. After having been driven to the docks it was shipped to Australia, where it went to Lanes Motors in Melbourne, the MG-agents at that time. C.F.S. (Charlie) Aspinall coachworks in Melbourne created a racing body for J4211. It looked similar to the original J2 bodywork, but had a steel frame instead of ash, was slightly narrower at the rear and had no doors (Continue at Read More).

J4211 started its racing career with the Britannia Motor Racing Team. It was driven by Jim Skinner who finished fourth place in the Light Car Club of Australia (LCCA) Winter 100 Race held on the old gravel road circuit in June 1934 at Cowes, Philip Island, south of Melbourne. This picture shows five J2's at the start, probably all from the BMRT, with Jim Skinner having starting number 19. Another picture shows three J2s of the Britannia Motor Racing Team after winning the team prize in the LCCA Mountain Trial, also June 1934. J4211 is in the middle.

On April 1, 1935 J4211 was entered in The Australian 100 miles Grand Prix, also held at Philip Island, with Jim Skinner at the wheel. Sadly he had to retire after three laps due to big end failure. What happened to J4211 after the Australian Grand Prix is rather blurry, but we did find a photo dating from 1950 when it was owned by Wally Johnston and when it still had its Aspinall body.

From then on J4211's history is unknown, until in 1976 it was purchased by Ron Wilson. By then J4211 was in a poor state: dismantled, an incomplete (non-original) engine a rebuilt chassis and no bodywork. Ron had the engine rebuilt, but didn't do anything with the rest of the MG. Four years later he sold the remains plus engine to Alastair Jones in New Zealand, who restored J4211 with a conventional body.

After that J4211 was hardly used. Only 162 miles were added as for the next 27 years it spent several years in a private collection in Auckland and later it was stored by an MG-enthusiast. Next owner was Geoff Broadhead who got the J2 back in running order and took great effort in tracing J4211's history.

Today the J2 is offered by Dr. Heins Classics Ltd in New Zealand, although it now resides in the UK. J4211 still has the body made in 1980 which sports the nice two-tone combination of Oxford blue and Cambridge blue with dark blue hide trim. Check it out! Wouldn't it be great to see J4211 back in competition?

(with thanks to MG-historian Wiard Krook and MG-MMM Yearbook editor Cathelijne Spoelstra)


#1 2013-09-04 11:25

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