More than 50 MG Y-Types will take to the roads of Britain – passing through Kings Lynn this weekend – during a special event to mark the 70th birthday of this rare model.
It’s seven decades since the first MG Y-Type rolled off the production line at the MG Car Company factory in Abingdon and to mark this milestone and raise awareness of this rare model, the innovative Round Britain Relay has been organised, featuring MG and other classic car owners from across the country.
The rally will be launched at 10am on Saturday, June 3, from the Tesco car park at Lakeside Shopping Centre, when two Y-Types will have the honour of launching the starting leg – one heading south on a route covering the south, south-west and Wales and one heading north to eastern England, then up to Scotland through Yorkshire and Northumberland, before heading south through Nottingham.
The northern route will see the first Y-type and any others taking part head from Lakeside up to Chelmsford, on to Bury St Edmunds and then on to Morrisons in King’s Lynn.
Its driver is expected to reach Morrisons at around 5pm on Saturday, when the baton will be handed over to the driver of the waiting vehicle.
The drivers will then head off from Morrisons at around 10am on Sunday for the journey on to Morrisons in Stamford.
Sponsored by Stewart Miller & Peter James Insurance, the Relay will feature 52 Y-Types – one of the biggest collections of the model to take part in any single event – and cover a 1,834-mile route.
around the roads of Britain.
It will comprise 37 stages, each around 50 miles apart, including checkpoints based around
supermarkets dotted across the length and breadth of England, Wales and into Scotland.
Every Y-Type taking part in each stage will pass on one half of a specially-crafted 70 th
anniversary wooden baton, which will be put back together as one at the finish point, at
Kimber House, the home of the MG, in Abingdon, on July 30 th , where drivers will enjoy a
grand reception and restorative afternoon tea.
Organisers, the M.G. Car Club Y Type Register, the M.G. Octagon Car Club and the M.G.
Owners Club, is also inviting other classic car owners to join them on the route and event
sponsor Stewart Miller & Peter James Insurance is offering a voucher for up to £100 worth of
insurance to the person who captures the best image of a Y Type taking part in the Relay–
visit www.mgccyregister.co.uk to find out more.
Peter James, director of Stewart Miller & Peter James Insurance, said: “MG is a marque that
is particularly close to our hearts so we are delighted to be involved in the celebrations to
mark the rare Y Type’s 70 th birthday.”
Among the ‘star cars’ taking part is an M.G. YB, affectionately known as ‘Little Gem’. Left to
the M.G. Car Club by Tim Pennicott, it was initially received by Y Type Register members at
Kimber House, and a painting by artist Kevin Parrish shows it being inspected by committee
members, one of whom, Suzie Arnell, described it as a ‘Little Gem’ - the name has stuck
since. Kept by the M.G.Car Club until 2016, the car was then auctioned at ‘M.G. Live. It was
acquired by Maggie and Paul Grafham, who have brought it up to an immaculate condition,
and will be taking the car on several of the northern legs of the event.
Jerry Birkbeck, committee member of the M.G. Car Club Y Type Register, commented:
“The Y Register had been discussing how to raise awareness of the Y and celebrate its 70 th
anniversary, when one of our members, Julian Bosworth, mentioned that often, national
events are just too far away for many Y Type owners to attend, so why didn’t we take an
event to them – and so the Round Britain Relay was born.
“We would love for any owners of classic cars to come along and join us for a few – if not all
– of the stages, to help us broaden knowledge of and celebrate this fantastic M.G.”
The M.G. Y Type was constructed in 1939 with a view to a launch the model at the 1940
Earls Court Motor Show. However, the onset of WWII delayed its launch until 1947.
The styling of the body had its roots in the Series E Morris 8, though the new Y model used
a separate chassis. New independent front suspension, designed by Jack Daniels and Alec
Issigonis (better known for his innovative 'Mini') was incorporated and although this had
been used in racing 'R' Series M.G.s in the mid-thirties, the Y was the first Nuffield
production car to include this set up. This arrangement became standard in all subsequent
M.G.s – a fact that not too many M.G. owners are aware of.
The Y was complemented by a Tourer version – the YT, from 1948 to 1950, a rare sight on
UK roads as the majority were produced for export, travelling as far afield as Australia,
Canada, Sri Lanka, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA.
In 1952 M.G. produced probably the most refined and sought after of the Y series, the YB,
boasting enhanced braking, a hypoid rear axle and smaller wheels.