MG Magnette

MG Magnette

Infobox Automobile
name = MG Magnette

1955 MG Magnette (North America)
layout = FR layout
manufacturer = MG Cars
parent_company = British Motor Corporation
production = 1953-1968
predecessor = MG YB
successor = MG Montego
class = Mid-size
body_style = 4-door saloon

MG had used the Magnette name on the K-type and N-type cars in the 1930s, but the Magnette models of the 1950s and 1960s are probably best-remembered. Although greatly loved today, the use of the Magnette name on an MG saloon car with a lowered Wolseley body and an Austin engine brought great protest from motor magazine letter writers.

There were two distinct series of these Magnettes: The ZA and ZB of 1953 through to 1958 and the Mark III and Mark IV of 1959 through to 1968. __TOC__

Magnette ZA

Infobox Automobile generation
name = MG Magnette ZA

production = 1953-1956
18,076cite book |last=Robson |first=Graham |title=A-Z British Cars 1945-1980|year=2006 |publisher=Herridge & Sons |location=Devon, UK|id=ISBN 0-9541063-9-3 ]
engine = 1.5 L B-Series I4
length = Auto mm|4267|1
width = Auto mm|1600|1
wheelbase = Auto mm|2591|1
height = Auto in|58|0
transmission = 4-speed manual
The Magnette ZA was launched in 1953 at the London Motor Show and deliveries started in March 1954. Production continued until 1956. It was the first monocoque car to bear the MG badge."Safety Fast" MG Car Club. September 2007]

The Magnette was designed by Gerald Palmer who made his name with the Jowett Javelin, and featured modern Italian inspired styling. Power came from the then new four cylinder 1.5 L (1489 cc) "B-Series" I4 engine with twin 1¼ inch SU carburettors delivering 60 bhp, driving the rear wheels through a four speed manual gearbox with synchromesh on the top three ratios.

Suspension was independent at the front using coil springs and had a live axle with half elliptic leaf springs at the rear. The steering was by rack and pinion. Hydraulically operated Lockheed Auto in|10|0 drum brakes were fitted to front and rear wheels.

The car had individual front seats and a rear bench trimmed in leather and the dashboard and door cappings were in polished wood. The heater was standard but the radio still an optional extra. Standard colours were black, maroon, green, and grey.

The similar Wolseley 4/44, first sold one year earlier, used the 1250 cc engine from the MG TF. Although visually similar, the MG has lower suspension and only the front doors, boot lid and roof panels are shared. The 4/44 was replaced in 1956 by the 15/50.

In 1955 The Motor magazine tested a Magnette and recorded a top speed of convert|79.7|mph|km/h|abbr=on acceleration from 0-convert|60|mph|km/h|abbr=on in 23.1 seconds and a fuel consumption of convert|24.9|mpgimp|L/100 km mpgus was recorded. The test car cost £914 including taxes. cite journal | authorlink = Unsigned |title = The M.G. Magnette| journal =The Motor| volume = | pages = | date = January 5 1955]

Magnette ZB

Infobox Automobile generation
name = MG Magnette ZB

MG ZB Magnette 1958
production = 1956-1958
engine = 1.5 L BMC B-Series I4
The ZA was replaced by the Magnette ZB in 1956. Power was increased to 64 hp (48 kW) by fitting 1½ inch carburettors, increasing the compression ratio from 7.5 to 8.3 and modifying the manifolding, and a semi-automatic transmission was an option.

The interior was improved by fitting a wood dashboard and there was also a Varitone model with larger rear window and optional two tone paintwork.

The extra power meant the top speed was now convert|86|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on and the 0-60 mph time came down to 18.5 seconds.

The similar Wolseley 15/50 now shared the ZB's "B-Series" engine. A Magnette ZB briefly appears in the movie The Last Picture Show when kids are parking at the dance.

Magnette Mark III

Infobox Automobile generation
name = MG Magnette Mark III

production = 1959-1961
engine = 1.5 L B-Series I4
length = Auto mm|4521|1
wheelbase = Auto mm|2521|1cite book |last=Culshaw |first= |coauthors=Horrobin |title=Complete Catalogue of British Cars |year=1974 |publisher=Macmillan |location=London |id=ISBN 0-333-16689-2]
width = Auto mm|1613|1
related = Morris Oxford V
Riley 4/68
Austin A55 Cambridge
Wolseley 15/60
The Mark III of 1959 drew mixed reviews. US based publications heralded the Magnette's arrival, while the UK publications tended towards "damning with faint praise". It was nearly identical to the Riley version (the 4/68) of the new Pinin Farina-designed midsize BMC saloon line.

All versions (including the Austin A55 Cambridge Mark II, Morris Oxford series V and Wolseley 15/60) were produced by the British Motor Corporation (BMC).

A Mark III was tested by The Motor magazine in 1959. They recorded a top speed of convert|85.5|mph|km/h|abbr=on, acceleration from 0-convert|60|mph|km/h|abbr=on in 19.7 seconds and a fuel consumption of convert|31.4|mpgimp|L/100 km mpgus. The test car cost £1012 including taxes. cite journal | authorlink = Unsigned |title = The M.G. Magnette Mark III| journal =The Motor| volume = | pages = | date = June 3 1959]

Magnette Mark IV

Infobox Automobile generation
name = MG Magnette Mark IV

production = 1961-1969
engine = 1.6 L B-Series I4
wheelbase = Auto mm|2546|1
related = Morris Oxford VI
Riley 4/72
Austin A60 Cambridge
Wolseley 16/60
The Mark III was updated in 1961 as the Mark IV. A larger 1.6 L (1622 cc) "B-Series" engine, with capacity increased by increasing the bore to 76.2 mm, was fitted, and the car had a longer wheelbase and wider track. To improve handling anti-roll bars were fitted front and rear. Outside, the Mark IV was almost identical to the Mark III.

Automatic transmission was offered as an option. Sales continued through to 1968.


External links

* [ Farina Magnette Register]
* [ Cambridge-Oxford Owners Club]
* [ Z-series Magnette website]

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