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MG1100 Published: 6th Apr 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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● Big Mini character ● Classy nature ● Good starter classic ● Two and four-doors

This MG saloon is rarely spoken about – mainly because it was a badge – engineered Austin/Morris that never even saw the Abingdon factory! Yet, the MG 1100 and 1300 are good little sports saloons that, in many ways, were the BMW 3 Series of their day being sporty, compact, pretty prestigious yet cheap enough to own and still fairly attainable. Don’t forget the others in the family of upmarket 1100 and 1300s from Riley, Wolseley and Vanden Plas either.


If you look at the 1100/1300 for what it essentially is – a big Mini – then the MG (and the similar twin carb others) is a grown up Cooper! The 1100s are only peppy at best (90mph top speed) but the 1300s are a lot swifter, small wonder as the engine is almost to Cooper S tune (0-60 in 14 seconds and 97mph respectively). What the figures can’t convey is the lusty nature of these A-Series engines which can chug along and pull sharply from any gear at low revs.

Handling is extremely Mini-like although the fluid suspension and longer wheelbase means it’s not quite so ‘chuckable’ and ‘kart-like’. That said, handling and roadholding is still impressive on good modern radials and the ride is much softer – albeit a fair bit bouncier – than the stubbier Mini.

Thanks to added sound insulation and posher leather trim, all are civilised while nobody can fail to be impressed with the car’s space efficiency – ideal for those who have outgrown a Mini but want similar fun.

BEst models

Some 156,000 MGs were made (the vast bulk being the early 1100 Mk1, strangely) although there aren’t that many around these days but if you can, go for the 1300 two-door or the vinyl roofed Austin/Morris 1300GT. The latter lacks the right badge yet strangely are becoming highly sought after.

Watch what you’re buying as for some curious reason the original 1300 option was available only in single carb form (as were all automatics), kicking out 58bhp until the four-door 1100 was dropped in early 1968, coinciding with the 1300 rightly gaining twin carbs and for 65bhp before a full fat Cooper S-like 70bhp and closer ratio gearbox, plus an improved cabin arrived for 1969. The MG lasted – in two-door form only – until 1971 whereas the Riley and Wolseley were dropped some two years earlier.


The MG badge costs little more to buy over the non sporting 1100/1300 ranges and around £4500 should get you the best on the block with those in lesser nick from £2500 upwards. The real surprise is the Austin/Morris 1300GT which can command upwards of £7500! The twin carb Vanden Plas Princess is the next dearest with values slightly more than the MG.

Buying advice

Rust is the main worry as they were bad even when new. The complete lower half of the car needs to be checked with upmost thoroughness, key areas being floors, sills, inners wings and subframes; the latter can pull away from the boot floor and floorpan; all cars are bound to have been repaired at some point here. Exterior panels rot badly as well, especially at the front, and MG differs from Riley and Wolseley models in this respect.

Parts supply otherwise is pretty fair and there’s a good 1100/1300 owners’ club although specific trim parts aren’t exactly plentiful.


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