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MG Magnette Farina

MG Magnette Farina Published: 6th Apr 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

MG Magnette Farina
MG Magnette Farina
MG Magnette Farina
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● Great value for money ● Automatic option ● Opulent interiors ● Not as good to drive as ZA/ZB

Not a patch on the ZA/ZB of that there’s little argument, but if you like your sports saloons to be stately rather than speedy, then the later modified Morris (Oxford) Magnette holds its own unique appeal. Farinas may not be as characterful or half as sporty as before but they are still excellent value for money and delightfully different.


Chalk and cheese is how the motoring press regarded the two ranges. Testers tried to be nice about the MG’s Farina replacement but found it difficult; Motor Sport did the best, but it was still damning praise, remarking that the car “does not fill the individualistic niche which caused enthusiasts to regard the ZB Magnette with such warm affection.” The testers even went on to hint that you’d be just as well off with a normal Austin Cambridge (or Morris Oxford), and saving your money!

And there’s still some truth in this because the MG was really now just a warmed-up derivative and posher of these normal family cars. For 1959 it became part of the new Farina range. Mechanically, the MG lost its rack and pinion steering – and sadly most of its character – although they have their merits, such as roominess, very nice interiors and a comfortable ride.

Best models

Assuming their condition are much the same, go for the MkIV revise because stung by criticism a revised (ADO 38) Farina range was introduced featuring a longer wheelbase and wider track to improve the soggy handling. The engine is enlarged to 1622cc, with the MG half-way tuned to MGA spec (many owners went one better and fitted the MGB engine, which makes one quite a goer). A proper automatic option joined the range but few survive now. The Magnette MkIV, as this range was known, remained unchanged until it was dropped in April 1968 with similar Wolseley and Riley off-shoots lasting a little longer.


MG saloons never caught on as well as the sports cars and ‘Farina’ Magnette have yet to catch on. As a result, you can buy a top example for £5000 tops (unless concours) and decent ones between £2500-£3200 (with similar values for Riley and Wolseley derivatives). Modified Magnettes are worth no more but are worth having if done well.

Buying advice

As the MG is a glorified ‘Oxcam’, parts interchangeability is superb, where it is almost total apart from trim. There’s a distinct possibility that non-MG parts have been substituted over the decades. There’s nothing wrong with this unless you demand total originality. Radial tyres can grip well enough to crack the front chassis where the steering box is attached. From 1964, a strengthening plate was added to rectify this.

Steel spring pan design can trap water and rust, something you’ll see in all the usual places. Mechanically, the car is robust and easy to repair.

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