The MG Sports Sedan - History
The MG Sports Sedan started life in 1962 as the MG 1100 - one of many badge-engineered variations on the British Motor Corporation's 1100. The BMC 1100 was basically a larger version of the Mini, with which it has many interchangeable parts in the drive train. Using a transversely mounted 1098cc A-series engine, the MG 1100 carried its transmission directly underneath the engine. The transmission shared oil with the engine, essentially becoming the oil pan, and drove the front wheels through flexible drive couplings.
The MG 1100 came in both a 2 door and 4 door model, but the 4 door model was mainly for export markets and is rarely seen. One of the most remarkable features of the car was its suspension. The Hydrolastic suspension basically consisted of canisters at each wheel that were connected via tubing. Through that tubing flowed a water and alcohol mixture that would be forced from one canister to another as changes in road level were encountered. This served to raise or lower the opposing corner of the car, thus keeping the car level overall. A diagram of this can be seen here.
The first real change to the MG 1100 came in 1968 when the 1300 model was introduced. This was basically the same car, but with the 1275cc A-series engine. Again, this was the engine upgrade that was being seen in other cars using that power plant such as the Mini and the MG Midget. An automatic transmission was available for a short time, but was quickly discontinued, as was the availability of 4 doors.
The only real body change to the line came shortly after the 1300 was introduced. At that time the tail fins were decreased and the dash board was redesigned to have more sporting instrumentation than the single linear gauge. This new style was known as the Mark II.
The MG Sports Sedan, as it came to be known in its generic form, carried on until 1971 when it was discontinued. During its time however, it and its BMC 1100 brethren had become some of Britain's best selling cars with over 3 million cars being sold in total.
For detailed specifications of the MG 1100 and 1300, click here.
An interesting side note. When the MG1100 was introduced in 1962 the folks at BMC wanted to prove the reliability and roadability of the car. To this end they held and endurance promotion where the car was driven nearly constantly by ordinary people, members of the press, and the industry. During this promotion coin-like tokens were given to those who participated. I have three of these. Two are marked "Driver" and all three bear the date of the promotion. To see all of the tokens, both front and back, click here.