1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934
Lot 217
1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer
Coachwork by E Bertelli Registration no. MG 4750 Chassis no. NA 0934
£75,000 - 85,000
US$ 130,000 - 150,000
Auction Details
1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934 1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer Chassis no. NA 0934
Lot Details
1936 MG NB Magnette 'Cresta' Tourer
Coachwork by E Bertelli

Registration no. MG 4750
Chassis no. NA 0934

Footnotes

  • This car is one of only 10 or possibly 12 special-bodied 'N' type Magnettes sold by the Cresta Motor Company Ltd of Broadwater Road, Worthing (the site now occupied by Caffyns). One of the proprietors of Cresta (J C 'Jim' Elwes) was an Aston Martin works driver and got to know Enrico (Harry) Bertelli, their coachwork designer. Jim drove the MG 'N' type demonstrator when it first arrived and was impressed by the chassis design but did not care for the bodywork. He therefore asked Harry Bertelli if Aston Martin would agree to special bodies being built on the MG 'N' type chassis. Thus Cresta Motors appears to have bought 10 or 12 (Jim Elwes could not remember which) 'N' type rolling chassis and commissioned Bertelli fit them with a special two/four-seater lightweight body. Including this example, which was delivered to Cresta on 17th January 1936, only three are known to survive. One is in Switzerland ('NA 0788') and one in Germany ('NA 0819'). A third ('NA 0713') is rumoured to have survived the war but its whereabouts are not known to the MGCC Triple M Register. 'NA 0934' can claim therefore to be one of the rarest of all MGs.

    The original buyer is not known for certain because of conflicting evidence, but the first recorded owner, from 1st June 1936, was H Robin Cayzer (Baron Tylney) of Tylney Hall, Basingstoke, Hampshire. Contact was made with his son, Lord Rotherwick, who thought the car might have been second hand. That may be because of the gap between the date on the MG factory chassis dispatch note (17/1/36) and that on the guarantee card signed by Robin Cayzer (1/6/36) when he took possession of the car. During the interim it had passed through Bertelli's body shop and been road registered on 30th May 1936 by University Motors (to secure the 'MG' number plate). It is worth noting that the car had a University Motors guarantee.

    The next confirmed owner is J N 'Ginger' Wilson, OBE (now deceased) of Waterdell, Hertfordshire, who owned the car from August 1948 to October 1951 when he sold it via Ellis' Garage, Oswestry. Contact was made and significant historical photographs obtained showing unique details of the dashboard and interior upholstery, which were used for guidance during the rebuild. Various other owners are listed on accompanying old-style registration documents, including John Arnold Wallinger of Hildenborough, Kent who registered the MG on 24th April 1985. The current owner purchased the dismantled car from John Wallinger 16th August 1999.

    The original six-cylinder engine, gearbox and rear axle had been replaced with genuine period items at some time, though the un-numbered engine block used in the rebuild (the better of the two bought with the car) is a single-breather unit of NA pattern rather than an NB double-breather unit. The gearbox is a Type 134, likewise of the earlier NA pattern. A detailed account of the process and costs was published in the MG Car Club Triple-M Register Yearbook for 2002 (pages 26-32). A general account of the restoration, which was completed in 2001, was written by Malcolm Green and published in 'MG Enthusiast Magazine' (Vol. 31, No. 3, pages 30-35). The car also featured in another article by the same author in the North American MMM Register Newsletter for 'Fall 2010' (pages 4 and 5).
    During the rebuild a number of updates were incorporated, including flashing indicators (the semaphore trafficators have been retained) and higher location of the rear numberplate and lights to allow sufficient clearance for 'speed humps'. Importantly, the bodywork, in common with the other two surviving Cresta 'N' types, lacked any satisfactory panel behind the rear seat/luggage shelf. This meant that the boot was open at its front and thus there was no division between the passenger compartment and the fuel tank. This, together with the unsatisfactory mounting arrangement for the rear bodywork, which had caused stress cracks in the aluminium panelling, prompted a revision in the form of a substantial ash cross member and Silentbloc mounting system together with a panel separating the boot from the passenger compartment

    In addition, the original Rotax three-brush dynamo was replaced with a Lucas two-brush unit to give better battery charging control; and an electric cooling fan installed to ensure stable engine temperature in slow-moving traffic. 'N' type engines tend to run cool, so to facilitate winter running a shutter was made to fit behind the radiator and above the fan. Too lengthy to reproduce fully here, the owner's detailed account of the rebuild is available for inspection together with a full photographic record and a substantial quantity of related receipts, plus others relating to maintenance and servicing since 2002.

    MoT certificates were routinely obtained until their requirement for historic vehicles ceased. Nevertheless, the car was submitted for a formal motor engineer's inspection to cover the period to 13th June 2014 (paperwork available). Offered with current road find licence and V5C document, 'MG 4750' represents an exciting opportunity to acquire a well-documented example of MG's final overhead-camshaft model of the pre-war era, which also boasts some of the marque's rarest and most elegant coachwork.
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