Little could rival the MG Midget in the early 1930s, the combination of value for money, cheap running costs, and useful performance capturing the imagination of many sports car enthusiasts of the period. With a supercharger fitted, the MG PB had few equals in its day, and a factory-supported team known as the “Cream Crackers” were particularly successful in trials.
Although the PA and PB Midgets were both sports cars they were not racing cars, so in 1934 a new model, the Q-Type, was offered to the racing enthusiast. Just eight cars were produced by the Abingdon factory between May and September and they are regarded as the ultimate traditional overhead cam-engined MG Midget. It featured a 746 cc supercharged engine, using the P-Type block and cylinder head, and was capable of producing well in excess of 100 bhp; indeed, in its final racing form in 1936 it produced nearly 147 bhp at 7,500 rpm. This figure was higher than any other racing engine in the world at that time and equated to over 200 bhp per 1,000 cc! To add stability at the inevitable high speeds, it was decided to increase the wheelbase and track on the basis that the extra power would more than compensate for the additional weight. The wheelbase was made the same as on the K3, and N-type axles of 3’9″ track, with special 12″ brake drums, were used. A pre-selector four-speed gearbox was developed with an elegant safety device in the form of a clutch built in to the fly wheel, in order to preserve the life of the rear axle. Consequently, when changing gear and taking full advantage of the high speed pre-selector gearchange, the fly wheel clutch slipped momentarily and avoided any potential damage to the rear axle.
In general layout the car followed the 1934 MG K3 very closely, and in side elevation it is not easy to tell the two models apart. All eight Q-types were originally fitted with very attractive open two-seat sports racing coachwork with a sloping, pointed tail and outside exhaust. Being a road-racing car their cockpit was purely functional with large, easy to read instruments and no doors. Other features were twin fuel fillers and an emergency oil tank under the scuttle to re-fill the sump while racing, thus avoiding extra pit stops.
The final track testing of the Q-type was undertaken by Bill Everitt and on Whit Monday, 1934, he broke the Class H Brooklands Mountain lap record at 69.97 mph, first time out.
The rare Q-Type described here is the second car built by the factory. It was completed on 31st May 1934 and by April 1935 was reported to be in the ownership of Bellevue Garage. It passed through the hands of Rowland Smith Motors in April 1938 and by the end of the 1930s was purchased by a Mr. Hugh Howarth of Adlington, Lancashire, who subsequently sold it to his great friend Ted Lund, a lifelong MG enthusiast. Mr. Lund proceeded to use the car on the road, registered JB 4231, as often as the wartime restrictions would allow. In October 1942 it featured in a comprehensive road test in ‘The Autocar’ in which Mr. Lund tells of his affection for the Q-Type and relates a number of stories about it, including how he had exceeded 100mph on a nice stretch of road ‘somewhere in England!’
By the early 1960s the car had passed into the hands of Geoff Monk, the well known MG exponent, and he and his family have enjoyed its ownership for over thirty years. Mr. Monk paid $150 for the car and undertook a sympathetic restoration over a period of three years. Today, QA 0252 remains largely original and is one of only two remaining Q-Types to still carry its original bodywork. It also retains its original chassis (clearly stamped), chassis plate, axles, instruments, steering wheel and Q-Type brakes. Like so many racing cars of the period, the engine has been replaced, in this particular case a correct, uprated, 746 cc P-Type unit has been fitted, blown with an Arnott supercharger and coupled to a rare C-Type gearbox. The original pre-selector gearbox comes with the car.
Incredibly, this car has covered less than 300 miles since Mr. Monks acquisition over 30 years ago. It has been well maintained since the completion of the restoration and is in good running order throughout, indeed the engine has been the subject of a complete rebuild and is still running-in and the car comes with full road equipment.
This is an exceedingly rare, original MG Q-Type with fine provenance. It is an extremely exciting road car as well as a competitive pre-war racing car.