MG YA Saloon

When production of the MG TC resumed at Abingdon after the war, plans were also well advanced for the production of a new MG saloon, originally designed between 1937 and 1939 for introduction in 1941. The MG Y-Type, or One and a Quarter Litre Saloon as it was sometimes called, was in fact an MG version of the four-door Morris Eight saloon Series E. It was a pre-war project that Syd Enever and Cowley chassis designer Alec Issigonis had worked on in 1937.

The all-steel body resembled that of the Morris, but featured appropriate modifications to the front and rear to give a traditional “MG look” with specially curved rear and rear wings. The new, more traditional nose included a vertical chrome fin radiator. The chassis, however, was completely different. The frame consisted of a welded box section and featured leaf spring suspension at the rear. The front suspension was independent with coil springs and wishbones, which was a rarity at the time and the first such application on a production car from the Nuffield organisation. Torsion bar springs, as used on the earlier R-Type, were not used and were not used again until many years later, with the introduction of the MGC in 1967.

The solid and robust Y-chassis was to form the basis for many future sports models, but like so many pre-war models the car was far too heavy for its engine: it weighed 1016 kilograms, 200 kilos heavier than the TC. With only a single SU carburettor and a modified version of the 1250cc XPAG engine used in the TB, performance was anything but brisk. However, it was an ideal touring car with high comfort and a touch of luxury. The entire car was very well equipped by the standards of the post-war depression and was strongly oriented towards the S, V and W saloons and tourers of the pre-war period.

The Y saloon was never called a YA, but over the years it has taken that title from its owners and enthusiasts. 6,158 examples were produced at Abingdon until 1951, when a slightly improved version, the YB, was introduced. Like its predecessor, the YB had little competition from other manufacturers and, despite its uninspiring appearance, MG’s Y-series reached a production figure of well over 8,000 units by the end of production in 1953.

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