1933 MG J2 Midget - Pre-War Competition History
When it first appeared in 1932, the MG J2 really captured the public's imagination. Purposeful looking with cut away doors and slab-type petrol tank, its rakish looks were to set the style for small sports cars for many years to come and it was much admired by coveted by dashing young chaps of the 1930s!
Bearing the Surrey registration number - APF 605 - this car has a very interesting and comprehensively documented history.
Very unusually for a relatively cheap mass produced car there is a lot of documented history through the life of the car right up until the present time.
Supplied from the Works at Abingdon, via one of the main MG dealers - Jarvis of Wimbledon, to VW Derrington in Kingston Upon Thames, it was subsequently sold to its first owner a Mr. H. A Stone on the 11th May 1933. Vic Derrington was well known for his racing prowess at Brooklands, running a tuning and parts business at the circuit.
Derrington was clearly a very persuasive man because Mr Stone let Derrington race the car on the 13th of May at Donington in which the car came second. In Mike Hawke’s definitive book on 75 years of the J2 there is a picture of the car on the starting grid of the race with Derrington in the driving seat with his very distinctive pointed white helmet. One can only assume the running in of the car was the drive from Kingston to Donington!
On the 26th of May, Derrington entered the car in an JCC Member’s day event at Brooklands. There is a copy of the day’s race card in the history file.
There is a copy of correspondence between Mr Stone and the MG factory in Abingdon concerning its being returned to the works for decarbonising in October 1933.
The car then changed hands quite a few times until in December 1968 it was bought by one Barry Walker for £75. There is with file the original receipt and a copy photographs of the car on Barry’s home drive way. The car allegedly started Barry’s love affair with MG MMM models. The car was dismantled by Barry with clear intention of rebuilding it some time but his business took off and he never got round to it.
A sketch of the car features on the front of the illustrated catalogue of parts Barry published in the 1970’s. An original of the catalogue (itself very very rare is in the file)
The current owner, upon his retirement, was seeking an MG to restore having previously rebuilt a J2 and a PA. When visiting Barry he was offered the original chassis (including the original chassis plate issued by the factory which is on the car) with a new body he had commissioned all painted together with all the original parts to build the car back up again. The deal included a new engine built up (with new block and head ) but with all original other parts by Bob Jones of Bayton Jones, who built the new engine with Phoenix crank, rods and new pistons.
By 2012 the car had been reassembled and was returned to the road. One very sensible modification has been the fitment of PA brakes as the original J2 brakes were inadequate for the power of the new engine. Subsequently, the car has been maintained by well known specialists - Rees Brothers of Aldershot.
Since the completion of the restoration approximately 2,500 miles have been covered and the car is in first class order throughout. I personally collected the car from the current vendor and drove 35 miles to the garage and can say, without question, this is one of the Best J2 Midgets I have ever driven.