This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Back to Search page

MG Motor Works

Producer of the most iconic of British sports cars

Red Wheel Site:
Transport Mode(s):

4-6 Colwell Drive, Abingdon, Ofordshire OX14 1AU

OX14 1AU
Visitor Centre:

About MG Motor Works

William Morris started building bicycles in Oxford in the 1890's. After a short period producing motrocycles, he produced his first car in 1910 in the Morris Garage premises in Longwall Street, Oxford. In 1913, the name changed subtly to Morris Garages and the company aquired new manufacturing space in the former Oxford Military College. The iconic  logo, with the company's initials bounded by an octagon, first appeared on the running boards of the 14/28 MG Super Sports Morris of 1924.

MG 18/80s emerge from Edmund Road, Cowley 1928

The first pure MG designs appeared in 1928, with the luxury 18/80 build at the Edmund Road works and the diminutive sports M type - the first of a long line of Midgets, for which the company became famous. In 1930, Morris established The MG Car Company to take over the business of making and selling MG cars - from that year until 1941, the Managing Director was Cecil Kimber, who had joined the company as Sales manager in 1921.


The MG started production in 1927 in a factory in Edmund Road, Cowley which remained in use until the late  1930s, demand rose rapid so in 1928 a factory at Abingdon-on-Thames was acquired, some 16 km (10 miles) south of Oxford. In 1935, MG was sold by Morris to Morris Motors Limited, and at this time MG's competition activities ceased, while over the next 18 months, the product range was completely altered to re-align it with Morris and Wolseley.

Although the MG Car Company as such became dormant, the MG factory at Abingdon survived as an operational unit into the British Leyland era. In the late 1970s it became part of British Leyland's Jaguar Rover Triumph subsidiary. From time to time the Abingdon factory also produced other makes of car for BMC/BL, such as Riley (1949-1957), Austin-Healey (1957-1971), some Morris Minors (1960-1964) and Vanden Plas 1500s (1979-1980).

By a twist of fate, from 1959 onwards MG saloon cars production returned to Cowley, then later at Longbridge, rather than Abingdon. With the discontinuation of the MG Midget and MGB models in 1979-81, the factory was closed, and the Abingdon property disposed of. A and B Blocks are still extant, re-clad and part of the Abingdon Business Park. The Administration Block (known as "Top Office") still stands at the end of Cemetery Road. Cecil Kimber's home is now a pub - The Boundary House - in Oxford Road.

Between 1982 and 1991, the MG badge re-appeared on sportier versions of Austin Rover's Metro, Maestro and Montego ranges. In 1992, the MG RV8 was launched, an up-dated MGB Roadster powered by a Rover V8 engine and produced in low volumes. In 1995, the completely new MG F two-seater roadster was launched, selling in volumes unthinkable since the 1970s.

In 2000, then parent BMW sold the MG Rover Group to a consortium which used the MG badge on sportier Rover-based cars. Production ceased in April 2005 when MG Rover went into administration. The assets of MG Rover were bought by Chinese carmaker Nanjing Automobile in 2005, who themselves were bought by the Chinese company SAIC in 2007. In 2007 production of the MG TF roadster and MG 7 large sports saloon, derived from the Rover 75, started in China. Production of the MG TF re-started at Longbridge in small volumes in 2008. 

By road: Off A415, Marcham Road

Bardsley, Gillian, Making Cars at Cowley, The History Press, ISBN-10: 0752439022 (2006)

Bardsley, Gillian, Making Cars at Longbridge, The History Press, ISBN-10: 0752437410 (2006)

Clausager, Anders Ditlev, MG Saloon Cars 1920s-70s, Bay View Books, ISBN-10: 1901432068 (1998)

McComb, Wilson F., The Story of the MG Sports Car, St. Martin's Press, ASIN: B001SEFYSU (1972)

McLellan, John, MG: The Art of Abingdon, Motor Racing, ISBN-10: 0900549459 (1982)

Moylan, Brian, MG's Abingdon Factory, Veloce Publishing, ISBN-10: 184584114X (2007)

Reckless, Philip, The MG Abingdon Touch, Roachdale Press, ISBN-10: 0952715201 (1995)

Robson, Graham, MG T-Series: The Complete Story, The Crowood Press, ISBN-10: 1861269099 (2007)

Sharratt, Barney, Men and Motors of the Austin: The inside story of a century of car making at Longbridge, Haynes Publishing, ISBN 1-85960-671-7 (2000)

Thornley, Peter J. H., Mr MG: A Biography of John William Yates Thornley, Magna Press, ISBN-10: 0954312104 (2003)

Wherry, Joseph, The MG Story, Chilton Publishing, ISBN-10: 0801951968 (1967)

National Transport Trust, Old Bank House, 26 Station Approach, Hinchley Wood, Esher, Surrey KT10 0SR