Keen to increase car sales, MG decided to attempt to set the Class "H" 750-cc World Speed Record at over 100 mph. A prototype racing car, called the C-Type, was prepared for the 1931 season and George Eyston promptly took the Class "H" record over 5 kms at Montlhéry in January 1931 at 103 mph. The C-Type then ran at Spa and Le Mans and was faster than a K3 on the Mille Miglia until forced to retire. Among the C-Type's many successes were the Irish GP, Ulster TT, German GP and the B.R.D.C. 500-mile race. Indeed, the C-Type proved to be MG's most successful racing car with 44 examples sold. This car, CO286, was delivered new via University Motors to Robin Mere, Competition Secretary of the MG Car Club, on August 26, 1931. Two letters from Mr. Mere, dated December 1963, detail his order: "I wanted to race, and when the C-Type was announced, I ordered two. . I never took delivery of the second car, swapping the order for a K3." Records exist of CO286 winning its class at the Oxford University Car Club Speed trials in 1931 and winning a "First Class" award at the February 1932 Colmore Trial. Correspondence on file between MG and Mere dates from 1931, also including a copy of the original guarantee card. In 1940 the CO286 was sold to P.S. Pearce of Stratford-on-Avon, who competed with the car at Silverstone. The car went through a series of documented owners until being sold to its present owner in 1967. Restoration of this extraordinary car was completed in 1997. The engine is built to Mk III specifications, with a new long-stroke Laystall Crank, Phoenix rods, Marshall Supercharger and a new 1 5/8-inch "Colvin Gunn" SU carburetor. A correct cross-tube ENV gearbox is fitted. This C-Type Midget has been re-upholstered in green leather and re-sprayed in British Racing Green to Robin Mere's original specifications. The body frame was rebuilt and professionally re-paneled in aluminum using as much of the original timber frame as possible. The vehicle is eligible for both "C" and "D" MG Car Club classes and is one of only eight running C-Types in the UK. It has participated in numerous vintage and historic events and has completed about 1,800 miles since restoration. Ready for road and track events worldwide, this is a rare opportunity to acquire a factory-built racing car with continuous history. VSCC log-book, bills, photographic record, Swansea V5, MoT and road license are included.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1931 MG C-Type Midget Montlhery Supercharged
Years Produced:1931-32
Number Produced:44
Original List Price:Approx. 300 pounds sterling
Tune Up Cost:$800
Distributor Caps:$150
Chassis Number Location:Left side of firewall
Engine Number Location:Right front of block
Club Info:MG Owners Club, Octagon House, Swavesey, Cambridge CB4 5QZ
Alternatives:Alfa Romeo 1750 Turismo, Austin Seven, Bugatti Type 43
Investment Grade:A

This car sold for $97,340, including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams Olympia, UK, auction held December 2, 2002.

When you say MG today, most enthusiasts think of the TC, TD, TF or the A and B series. But there is another world of MGs, from the pre-WWII period, that most American enthusiasts know little about.

The MG Midgets trace their origin back to 1928 when Cecil Kimber, MG’s founder, realized that his company’s fortunes, in what was then a bleak economy, were dependent upon producing an affordable sports car. The first Midget was the M-Type, with an 847-cc engine from the period Woleseley (the Morris Minor engine was deemed too powerful). It was a small, 1,100-lb, boattailed, fabric-covered sports car that was intended for the middle class, with a price of just £175. Between 1928 and 1932, 3,235 were produced. After winning the team prize at Brooklands, MG became a household word.

The C-Type followed, leading what was to become a rapid succession of new models, including Magnas and Magnettes. The C-Type was the production version of the record-setting experimental EX 120, which was the first of its class to exceed 100 mph and also the first to cover 100 miles in an hour. The C-Type was a formidable competitor and scored impressive wins at the 1931 24-hours race at Brooklands, taking the first five places, and at the Tourist Trophy.

The opportunity to purchase a well-documented, historically significant race car that has been restored to high standards does not frequently present itself. The amount that this C-Type Midget realized would not be questioned if it were not for the fact that less than 16 months earlier it failed to sell at a high bid of $62,800, when offered at the Bonhams and Brooks August 25, 2001 sale at Northamptonshire. Its reserve was $86,000.

A little over a year later the car realized a third again as much as the previous bid. Did the new owner get carried away and pay an over-the-top price? I think not. I would speculate that the right buyers simply weren’t there at the prior events, and the owner wisely decided to wait it out. While $97,340 may be a bit strong, on the other hand the new owner has one of eight known surviving C-Types, a fully documented example, and, perhaps most important of all, a fully fettled one that he can immediately drive and enjoy.

As the market for collectible automobiles becomes ever more discerning, significant cars like this one will continue to rise in price. Five years from now, this price will seem a bargain.-Carl Bomstead

Comments are closed.