The MG YA and YB Sedans in North America

While there are large numbers of MG sports cars in North America, we don’t see many MG sedans.  One of the MG sedans that I have seen locally was at the Kennebunks Rally in Maine in 2009.  The MG sedan at that rally was a MG Y type sedan.  The MG Y type sedan was made early 1947 to late 1953 in two models – the MG YA and the MG YB.

A MG Type Y Sedan

The first model of the MG type Y was the MG YA.  This car had a 1,250cc four cylinder overhead valve engine with a single SU carburetter that produced 46 horsepower.  This was essentially the same engine that was in the sportier and more well known MG-TC, except that the MG-TC had two SU carburetters which increased the engine MG TC’s output to 54 horsepower.  The MG YA had a 4-speed partly-synchronized transmission.  The car that I saw in Maine had a supercharger installed which was an aftermarket improvement.  With the standard engine, the MG YA had a top speed of about 70 miles per hour.

This MG Y Type Sedan Has Right-Hand Drive

In 1951 the MG YA is replaced by the slightly improved MB YB which was visually esentially the same as the MG YA, except for some changes to the wheel size, suspension changes, and an improved chassis.  Over the production period of the Y type sedans, MG made 6,131 YA models and 1,301 YB cars.  Compare this  to the 29,664 MG TD models that were built between 1949 and 1953.

I found a couple of additional images of the MG YA sedan in Malcolm Green’s book “MG Sports Cars”.  The image below shows a comparison between the MG TC and the MG YA.  This gives a good idea of the relative size of the MG YA.  Clearly there is a lot of similarity between the MG TC and the MG YA.

A MG TC and a MG YA Comparison

The image below shows that the interior of the MG YA had leather covered seats and a wooden dash.  The octagon shaped instruments are similar to those used on some of the MG sports cars.

Interior of the MG YA

The trunk lid provided a useful platform that could be used for tying down oversized luggage or could even be used for a small picnic table.

Interesting and Useful Trunk Lid Arrangement

The MG YA was also used as a rally car.  The image below from the book “MG” by Wilson McComb shows Barbara Marshall and Betty Haig who competed in the 1950 Monte Carlo Rally in a MG YA sedan.

A MG YA Competed in the 1950 Monte Carlo Rally

In the early 1950s there was just no significant market for a “sporty” sedan in North America.  The cost of a MG YA in 1950 was $2,250 in the USA compared to $1,850 for a MG TD.  During this period, the major USA manufacturers were producing much more modern looking sedans with more space, the same or better performance, and that sold for the same price or less.  For example, The 1950 Ford Crestliner was the most expensive model in the Ford line up and it sold for $1,711, almost $500 less than the MG YA.  And while the Ford was bigger and heavier, the Ford had a 100 horsepower flathead V8 engine versus the 46 horsepower engine in the MG YA.  Fuel economy was not an important issue in those days.  For these reasons, the MY Y type cars were not big sellers in North America and are rarely seen today on this side of the Atlantic.

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7 Responses to The MG YA and YB Sedans in North America

  1. Clarence Westberg says:

    Nice article. We had a nice YA at the Wings and Wheels shoe in Sept. Really nice cars.
    1950 MG Y

    • Hi Clarence,
      Thanks for sending that photo of that nive MG YA. As I said in the posting, these are not seen very often. I have not seen many and the one at the Wings and Wheels Show is the first TA or YB that I have seen with wire wheels.

      Thanks again!
      Steve McKelvie

  2. Fernando says:

    Very interisting. Here in Brazil I saw in the decade of 1960 a sedan like this. I was very young then but if I not wrong I can assure that this model was equiped with a kind of hidraulic jack in each wheel in order to lift the car when the tyre need to be changed. Please, can you tell me if it is true or peraphs I have mistaken the information. Thanks a lot.Fernando.

  3. Bill Greene says:

    Thanks for these articles. I saw one of these in San Luis Obispo last few days, and uploaded a pic to Flickr. My dad saw the pic and asked what it was, saying a sedan MG was rare. Thanks to you, we found out what it was.

  4. Bill Greene says:

    Oh, here’s the link to the picture I took of a MG YA or YB:
    MG in San Luis Obispo

  5. Thierry Chave says:

    Hello everybody, I ‘d like to kow, how to convert the factory 16 ‘ disc wheels of this YA, with wire wheels, as seen on the blue one !…If someone can help, he will be very welcome 😉
    Thank you so much.
    Kind regards.

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