This book is a pictorial study of men and women drawn from all parts of the country to this little known rural town to take part in the building of a motor car. These workers were a mixture of skilled people from the depressed areas of England and Wales together with the few MG car workers who made the journey with the MG from Oxford to Abingdon with its largely farming community. This mixture coalesced to become a workforce that built a legend - The MG. With 160 photos of factory life both car building and during the war effort this is a fascinating story.
The MG, from being a Morris car modified in the corner of a backstreet workshop, evolved into a sports car in its own right. The demand for this fiery little car caused the production to move to four different and progressively larger sites in and around Oxford, finally moving out of the city ten miles away to Abingdon and a factory that might have been custom built for it . This factory was on the site of a tannery that had inflated to over twice its size catering for the 1914-18 wartime demand for its leather products. The coming of peace caused it to deflate back to its previous level of production, leaving empty the rows of large hangars that had housed the wartime production effort. It was to this factory that Cecil Kimber, who had resigned his position as Managing Director of Morris Garages, brought his brain-child that he called the MG. Twin rows of eighteen inch (45cm) high raised tracks were built. The chassis was brought from the workshop where it been made and, after the assembling of its suspension, it was mounted on to the track to start its journey from one stage to the next, finally emerging as a complete motor car. The car would then be tested on the factory s own test track before being deemed fit for its eagerly awaiting new owner. The men who took part in the assembling of the car were but a part of the organisation that went toward the finished article. Managers, Office staff, Storemen, Inspectors, Painters, Test drivers, Labourers and cleaners were all members of the great team, all had their part to play. As they worked together so did they play together, ground was obtained for a football pitch, room was found in the town for a snooker club and a place where the men could join for a well earned drink This later developed into a modern Sports Club with football, hockey and cricket pitches. The risk of fire in the factory was always present and to cope with this the factory had its own fire engine and a full time fireman augmented when needed by a volunteer crew of factory workers, who trained in their spare time. MG Abingdon‘s famous racing reputation gained in the 1930s made it the obvious place to site BMCs Competition department with its maiden venture the 1955 Le Mans 24 hour race. The 160, many never seen before, pictures in this book chronicle every aspect of the factory from its opening amidst great euphoria in 1930 to its closing amidst great recriminations in 1980.
About the author
Brian Moylan started working for MG in 1950 as a mechanic in the service/repair shop. In 1955 he was drafted in to the Racing Department. which was the centre for all BMC competition work. During his time there he was fortunate enough to work on several rally winning Minis including the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally winner. Just before the factory closed in 1980 Bryan was offered the position of manager of a small satellite Morris Garages outlet. Bryan has always been involved in the MG Car Club, serving on the committee of the local Centre in various capacities. Since his retirement he has started giving slide shows on MG history and writing articles for the leading Classic Car magazines, plus three books on MG and rally connected subjects. Bryan also works closely with the Abingdon Museum setting up MG Exhibitions and is currently working towards having a permanent exhibition in the Museum.