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MG Farina

MG Farina Published: 10th May 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

MG Farina
MG Farina
MG Farina
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There’s no getting away from the fact that the ‘Farina’ Magnettes are not a patch on the ZA/ZB, but this later Morris Oxford-based Magnette holds its own unique stately rather than speedy, appeal. These later models may not be as characterful or half as sporty as before but they are still excellent value for the money and delightfully dignified.

Driving

Chalk and cheese is how the motoring press regarded the two ranges. Testers tried to be awfully nice about the MG’s Farina replacement but found it difficult; Motor Sport did the best, but it was still damning praise at best, 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! Hmm…

The MG was really now just a warmed-up and posher derivative of these normal family cars and as a result, the Magnette hitherto lost its crisp rack and pinion steering – and sadly most of its character with it – although these Farinas have their merits, such as roominess, very nice interiors and a comfortable ride while the larger 1622cc engine does give it a bit more pep. If you want, there’s also proper automatics rather than previous, and rightly unpopular, Manumatic two-pedal semi auto.

Values

MG saloons never caught on as well as the sports cars and ‘Farina’ Magnette will probably never catch on. As a result, you can buy a top car 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.

Top five faults

Originality

As the MG is a glorified ‘Oxcam’, parts interchangeability is superb, where it is almost total apart from trim. As such 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. NTG of Suffolk even produces a parts catalogue

Body

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. Condition of the sills is hyper critical – particularly the welded seam where the inners and outers join

Engine

B-Series is as tough as they come and parts plentiful. Most common faults are noise, smoking – just usual stuff

Running gear

No less than 17 grease points needing lube every 1000 miles. Just the usual checks suffice, although rusty front wishbones and broken rear springs are not uncommon TRANSMISSIONS Sturdy but lose synchromesh, and becomes noisy, but soldier on unless really past it. Ditto the rear axle

Best models

MKIV

Still not as good as ZA/ZB, but revamped suspension is considerable improvement plus there’s a perkier 1622cc engine and a proper automatic gearbox option

Modified

A major benefit of the Farina is interchangeability of parts and so it’s easy to upgrade with MGB engine, disc brakes and even a five-speed ’box

Others

If you can’t find an attractive Magnette consider a Wolseley or Riley alternative, the latter with same engine tune. Or how about the larger Vanden Plas?



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