When you think of the British car company MG, most people think of classic sports cars like the MG B, MG midget, or more recently the TF which was introduced in the early 2000’s. the reality is that MG designed and built a full range of sedans and mid sized cars. As always, MG cars were beautiful examples of automotive design, and innovation. Like many British cars built by MG they were also temperamental. (I know this from the first hand experience of owning an MG many years ago) One thing that most people probably don’t know, is MG built a custom made land speed record holder in 1957. A car custom built to be driven by Sterling Moss to a top speed of 245 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
The MG EX181 was a bespoke automobile with one purpose; Go fast. The MG EX181 had a 1.5 liter engine from a MGA but it had been tuned to run on was 86% methanol laced with nitrobenzene, acetone and sulphuric ether. I can’t even imagine what the engineers went through to come up with that fuel formula. It doesn’t matter because it worked. In 1957, with Sterling Moss at the wheel, they had a world record setting run of 245mph and placing MG in the record books for all time.
The video below is a twelve minute short that documents the design engineering that went into making this car. It shows how they designed the car around Sterling Moss, streamlining the form for the best performance they could achieve.
I took a couple days off from posting. Sometimes you just need a break from the routine, and as the weekend rolled in that’s where I found myself. Today I ventured out into the abnormally 100 degree heat to take in “The Art of the Car” at the Kansas City art Institute. As myself and ten thousand others melted under the late June sun, I was fortunate enough to see some of the finest rolling stock that ever lived.
There was a time, when cars didn’t look the same. When you could tell one brand from another by the look of the grill, the fender line, the hood ornament. There was a period of automotive glory that seemed to die around 1980 as cars became more and more generic. I go to this car show every year and today ore than any other, I was fixated on automobiles that were pushing 100, or at least 60. As I looked at the wonderful styling, craftsmanship, and attention to detail, I wondered “where did this go with the modern car?” Yes today’s automobiles are safer, more efficient, loaded with creature comforts, require less effort to drive… and for the most part they are boring.
I look at what I saw today, and say they don’t have to be.