Collecting MG Models

During our annual summer party, my friend's young son took an adults hand and led him to the shelves where my collections stand. He pointed at the bunch of MG;s. He knew that he wasn't allowed to play with them. Not even touch. Something he deep in his heart really couldn't understand. He said: - Look! Why does he collect all these buses and cars and never use them?!! Children are very logical, so a logical answer had to be given.

- He can't get into them you see. He has become too fat. But as you can see, he has got himself another bigger MG model outside the house. That one is big enough. Almost, he added with a shrewd smile. The boy looked at him in disbelief and realised that all adults belong to an unfathomable race. And one might understand him. Quite a few of these MG cars in front of him have once been made to play with. As the Danish Tekno made TD, my first MG, well played and now standing on the shelf. Restored.

When Cecil Kimber, appointed manager at the Morris Garage in Oxford, started to transform standard Morris cars to sports cars in the early 20ties; his idea was very human and easy to sympathise with. He wanted to make sports cars that the every day man could afford. Business developed and in 1928 Morris Garages began issuing their own chassis numbers and guarantees. The octagon radiator badge took its place and the MG Car Company was established. The year after, production moved to a plant of its own in Abingdon-on-Thames south of Oxford.

MG became a well reputed mark of its own, accompanied with great success in racing until that ambition was withdrawn, but war time struck hard on MG as on many others.

But when America discovered the joy of driving TC;s and TD;s after World War Two, sales went higher and higher. The TF seem to be a bigger success now - a much desired collectors car - than when produced during 1953-55, but the A (1955-62) and B (1962-80) models really made it. MG B (together with the GT) is the biggest hit of them all. More than 500.000 cars left the Abingdon plant.

In 1980, British Leyland bosses thought more of Triumph and Abingdon was closed and MG was dead and gone forever. Everybody thought. But MG is back and alive as a brand under the owners Rover (BMW). The "upgraded" MGB, RV8 made the way, MGF has followed, MG TF Stepspeed and other models continue.

When we got our drivers licence, you could buy a nice TD for (very) reasonable £500. Still a lot of money for a young man. Too much for me. Two of my friends bought one, using the loans taken for studies at the University. Two personalities who used their cars differently. One just used his car and had a great time as long as it (and the MG) lasted, the other one spent more money on polish and still only drives his car when the sun is shining. These days, allmost 40 years later, it looks better than when new. If I had had the money at the time, my car would probably share the fate of the first one.

In that sense, I think fate was good to me letting me buy a MGB (Named "OGY" after the registration letters) just ten years ago. The MGB is a car to use, except for the horrible winter months, not for treating as a museum piece. Since the market for spares is so good, you can keep it in running condition for years to come.

What joy when spring comes and "OGY" i brought out in the daylight again! Driving an MG gives you an excuse for buying the bread you need in the other side of the town. As I, when "OGY" came to our house, already was a keen collector of Dinky Toys, Corgi, Tekno and buses, I now got another field to concentrate on.

Already in the collection where the Tekno TD mentioned above and the equally well played, and restored, Dinky TF. But where to find comrades in minature to "OGY"? Naturally, the DT MGB in white was available and soon found at a swapmeet. But not very much else, if not moving to the more pricy hand built models, as far a I could find out.

And then there was this Dinky copy, the India made Nicky Toys. I held one in my hands, new, boxed and everything for very small money, when looking after buses in a Belgian shop ten years later. But I put it back on the shelf. Too ugly, really. Still now a regretted move.

I must not forget the very nice trio MGB GTs from Dinky(Matchbox) and the older variants from Corgi. And I did buy a RAE MGB Roadster. Very nice at the time, but compared to later models, it looks very wrong - especially when wiewed from the front. I do concentrate on models of MGB (+GT), even if an A, a TC or TD adds to the collection now and then, and during the last cuople of years quite a few models have become available.

Collecting MG in a smaller scale.

An article for "MG Bulletinen" ­ the annual magazine for MG CC ­ The Swedish branch of The MG Car Club.

The dream of a MG can be fulfilled in many ways. You don't need unlimited recourses when it comes to a garage and money to get your dream cars. You don't even have to know how to work with a car to keep the running cost on a decent level. All you have to do is to collect models. Neater price wise and in the demands of space.

More and more people have discovered the hobby of collecting model cars. That's a fact and the price of older, attractive objects, made as toys once, have hardened which sometimes makes my first statement questionable. Rarities are these days sold through the big auction houses for sometimes hard to understand sums of money.

In a garage not far from where I live, a collector of real cars host a marvelous MG collection. Every T model is represented, as a predecessor from the 30ties, a MG A and a MG C. Quite a few members of the MG CC ­ The MG Car Club of Sweden - have admired the collections. And there are incredibly much, much more to see as well. Cars, bikes, machines.

Closer, in our own house, you can find considerably more MG cars in the small format. That's the way I've been able to achieve a much bigger variation of classic MGs. Enjoyable to look after and re arrange. Certainly during wintertime when "Ogy", doesn't park outside our house under the sail. My initials are NGB. So a MGB is as close as I could get.

To start collecting MG models was a natural step. I had been collecting Dinky Toys and model buses for quite a few years when "Ogy" came along and already had a restored Dinky Toys TF and a well played Tekno TD on my shelves. I started looking for more to create a MG department of its own. I found the Corgi MGB and MGC GT. Matchbox, who had bought the rights of the name of Dinky Toys, created "The Dinky Collection" with three lovely variants of the MGB GT.

But then there wasn't very much more to find since my thin wallet and lack of handy fingers excluded expensive, hand built models from makers like "Abingdon Classics" and kits.

But when MG brand made its real life come back in Geneva and the MGF was presented in 1996, something happened. Corgi presented the new car and an MGB in 1:18 scale. Then came Kyosho with an even more impressing model of the MGB in the same scale and as the years have gone by, more and more MG models have been presented. Quite a few MGB in 1:43 scale, the most common scale for model collectors, but others as well. A lot of fine models to a human price. Some, as the Franklin Mints MG TC in 1:24 scale - has quickly been sought after and risen in price. Not long ago, a green variant was sold for $333 in an auction at the Inter Net.

Your wallet and the space have to decide on what you can afford. Some of my "oldies" are of a cheaper kind than you would have to pay for a mint and boxed example. The Tekno MGA look as new, but is professionally restored and thereby cheaper. I have a ³false" Spot On MGA - a copy. And so on. Handmade models cost considerably more than the mass produced, but if you buy them as metal kits, the price is more reasonable. But you have to be skilled and have the patience of an angel. I have tested and let the case rest. The plastic kits I“ve bought stays in their boxes.

A collector very often grounds his collection on principles when it comes to scale and material. So do I. No plastic toys or models. But principles are made to be overlooked on, so there are a few anyway.

The hobby of model collecting is big. The great interest in real MGs goes well together with the miniatures. The fantastic book "MG Collectibles" by Michael Ellman-Brown can be recommended to every one and there is a club for MG model collectors; The Miniature MG Car Club, run by Alan Long in Scotland. Mail to My MG collection is slowly growing. New models blend with old goodies found on swap meets. We are not alone, we who share a well-portioned mix of and childhood fascination to MG.

Though not everyone can understand why all these cars stand on shelves. As the young son of a friend of mine once asked. - Why do you have all these cars and never use them? For him, as once for me, small cars are made to play with.

If interested in collecting MG models, you must of course join the "Miniature MG Car Club" with members from all over the world. Alan Long is handling the club from his site in Scotland and Alan is as well editing the "Newsletter" that is presented to the members three times a year. Alan will be reached via:

A magazine to recommend for the collector: MAR (Model Auto Review)

Gunnar Bernstrup