30 March 2012
The British Motor Corporation (BMC) released the MGB in 1962. David Boxall celebrates its 50th birthday this year by looking at diecast model replicas. ...
The MG has a well-established pedigree going way back to the 1920s. ‘Morris Garages’ was based in Oxford and, in 1924, the famous ‘octagonal badge’ was introduced. Cecil Kimber was the General Manager at the time, and it was his cost accountant, Ted Lee, who came up with the badge, which initially appeared below the Morris emblem.It was in 1927 that the ‘MG’ would become the main badge for each car manufactured. In 1929, MG moved to the Abingdon site and factory.
It was under the guiding hand of John Thornley that Syd Enever designed the MGB. In the first year of production, 1962, some 540 cars were produced for the home market and 3,978 models for export, giving a Year 1 production total of 4,518.
By 1980 the home market production total since 1962 stood at 49,810, while 336,979 cars were exported. This gives a grand total of 386,789 cars produced during its period of manufacture.
Dinky Toys was quick off the mark to release its own MG MGB in October 1962, as model No 113. Issued in cream with a red interior, this car was the first Dinky Toys vehicle to have opening doors as a major feature.
Just like the real thing, this was an open-top sports car whose interior was part of the casting. With the addition of a plastic screen, steering wheel and driver, a tinplate base and spun hubs, this model also had ‘directional control’ or steering. The opening doors on the MGB were a real breakthrough on the ‘playability’ front, as it brought far more realism to the model.
The ‘special features’ on this model were listed to include: opening side doors; fingertip steering; 4-wheel suspension; windscreen; seats; steering wheel; gearbox and lever; driver; and rubber tyres.
The ‘fingertip steering’ was also known as directional control: “Slight pressure on either side of this model automatically steers it to the side on which the pressure is applied,” a topic we covered in the last issue of Diecast Collector.
The hard top version of the MGB was released five years later and this time it was the turn of Corgi to issue this vehicle as a toy in March 1967. This wonderful sports car also gained worldwide fame and was a particular favourite for toy collectors too.
Corgi issued the MGB GT as model No 327. The model was in deep red with a number of special features, including windows, suspension and tyres, opening doors and rear hatch, folding seats, jewelled headlights and a travelling case in the rear.
This model proved to be a very desirable sports car and achieved 555,000 sales plus those in 1969 when it was withdrawn...