Music and Memories

By Alvin Uy Philippine Daily Inquirer April 04,2019

A 2003 MG TF soft top, a mid-engined, rear wheel drive roadster that was sold under the MG marque in the 1990s until 2011, will be on display at the MG booth


The brand MG evokes a lot of nostalgia for car enthusiasts as MG’s rich automotive heritage dates back almost a century ago.  The famous initials stand for Morris Garages, which is a nod to William Morris, first owner of Morris Garages. Its iconic red octagonal logo bearing its initials were actually the brainchild of Cecil Kimber, the founder of MG who was then the general manager for Morris. The octagonal logo is a British automotive trademark registered by Kimber on May 1, 1924 and on September 1st of the same year, its first car, the MG 14/28 Super Sports model went on sale.


The brand became known for making some of the most popular performance cars of that generation, and marked the beginning of the British brand’s foray into making affordable performance and sports cars.  The company used its telephone number in Abingdon. “251” was adopted by the brand as the starting point for most MG’s chassis VINs (Vehicle Identification Numbers).


Over the first decade or so, the MG business unit remained as Morris’ private ownership until the MG division was absorbed in the Morris Motors Limited holdings company on July 1, 1935 as William Morris restructured and consolidated all the company assets and division before taking his company public the following year. By 1933, MG’s have already made a name and its success was marked by a K3 class win at the Mille Miglia road race and became the first non-Italian team to win in the famous open road race.


Soon after, even the British royalty took notice of the car brand, with the Duke of Edinburgh purchasing his first MG TC model in 1947.  Subsequently, MG underwent several ownership transitions starting with the merger with another British automaker Austin in the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in 1952.  MG became the MG division in BMC in 1967.


In 1952, its Longbridge facility, a production facility still owned by the company up to no began to design and manufacture its A and B-series engines. The would be the powerplant to be used on the Midget and Z-series Magnette, MGA and MGB models on later years. The A and B models eventually became very popular and collectible among classic car enthusiasts due to its robust engine and accessible parts up to now.  On May 16, 1956, the 100,000th MG was produced. It was a left hand drive MGA 1500.  Its cTF and Magnette ZA models adopted number 101 as the VIN start code, in line with the MG tradition of using the number from its Birmingham headquarters telephone number.


By 1962, MG built its first car in Longbridge, the MG1100/1300 and in 1969, another royalty, HRH Prince Charles took delivery of his first MG, an MG GT with number SGY 776F which was eventually handed down to Prince William.  By October 1975, MG built its 1,000,000th unit which was a unique left hand drive MGB roadster specially painted in Brooklands Green, complete with Jubilee GT livery.


At the turn of the century, MG Rover Group was formed on May 9, 2000 following its separation from the BMW Group.  Its new TF model continued to use the company’s Longbridge telephone number as a start of VIN series. By April 2002, MG celebrated its 1,500,000th  production MG with a Golden Jubilee special edition TF 160 model.


MG’s history took another significant turn when the MG Rover Group was purchased by Nanjing Automotive Group (NAC), China’s oldest carmaker on April 8, 2005.  By December 26, 2007, NAC merged with the SAIC Group, China’s largest carmaker.  The following year, on Sept. 4, the first of the new Limited Edition MGTF LE 500 leaves its Birmingham factory. On May 2011, MG unveiled its MG6 GT in UK, considered the first all-new MG after 16 years. The following month saw the launch of the MG6 Magnette (the saloon version of the MG6).




MG once again became an active participant in motorsports following its success the following year at the British Touring Car Championships with racecar driver Jason Plato. MG later produced an MG6 GT BTCC Special Edition.


Armed with fresh funding for R&D, MG developed and introduced its new 1.9 DTi-TECH Diesel engine for the MG6 range in 2013. It also introduced its new MG3 model that same year at the Shanghai Auto Show together with the new MG CS Concept car.


It marked its 90th year on June 2014 at Silverstone, and unveiled the MG6 90th Limited Edition model. On the same year, MG wins the BTCC Manufacturer Championship, marking its foothold on the race series.  On April of the following year, it launched the new MG6 model with three trim levels and opened its Piccadilly flagship showroom at the heart of London on July of the same year. By the end of 2015, the MG3 model gets a facelift, featuring a new stop-start EU6 engine.


Last October, The Covenant Car Company Inc., known for the Chevrolet brands of vehicles it distributes, was officially appointed the distributor for MG and began marketing its RX5 and ZS models through its appointed MG dealerships. This “new Brit on the block” marks its presence by offering competitively priced Chinese made vehicles with a long and strong line of British motoring heritage.


This April, MG makes its major brand debut at the 15th edition of the Manila International Auto Show by having one of the biggest booths at the main hall of the World Trade Center. Aside from the two models, TCCCI will also unveil its MG 6 fastback sedan during the show. One of the major attractions of the booth is a very rare classic MG TF soft top owned by a private collector.


This year’s MIAS also serves as the culminating venue for MG Philippines’ ongoing free concert series, MG Live! And if there’s two things we know about Filipinos, it’s this: it’s always a fun time when music and cars are in the same venue.


MG Philippines has engaged with some of the country’s top bands in an effort to bring the driving playlists of Pinoys to life. The final leg of MG Live! Is powered by Phoenix Pulse Technology and will feature OPM band Ultra Combo. The band will perform at the MG Philippines booth on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 4pm. Ultra Combo is made up of Buddy Zabala, Marcus Adoro, and Raymund Marasigan of the Eraserheads and will play popular Eraserheads tunes to the audience.


MG Live! is a free event open to all car and music lovers, and special MG giveaways and VIP concert passes await those who visit the MG Philippines booth. Simply add MG Philippines on social media (Facebook: OfficialMGPhilippines; Instagram: mg_philippines), tag MG Philippines in your posts, and use the hashtags #MGPhilippines, #MGLive, and #ComeAliveWithPhoenixPulse for a chance to take home premium MG and Phoenix merchandise.


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