MG J2: Pointed The MG Direction For Many Years

When I was at the rcent vintage Car races at Thompson Speedway I had the pleasure of seeing a very significant MG – an MG J2.  The MG J2 was introduced by MG in 1932 to replace the M-Type Midget.  These early MG’s set the stage for design of the MG cars well into the 1950s.

MG J2 1932 (1)

The MG J2 Cars Were Affordable, Good Looking Sports Cars

The MG J2 was powered by a 847cc four-cylinder which produced about 36 horsepower at 5,500 rpm.  A reasonable top speed of 75 miles per hour could be achieved.   The MG J2 had a four-speed transmission with a very low 5.375:1 rear axle gear ratio. When driven normally, drivers could expect 30 miles per gallon.

MG J2 1932 (6)

The MG J Series Had Four Models

The MG J2 was one model of a four model series:

  • J1 – Four-seat touring model with 36 horsepower 847cc engine
  • J2 – Two-seat sports model with 36 horsepower 847cc engine
  • J3 – Two-seat sports model with a supercharged 746cc destroked 847cc engine
  • J4 – Two seat sports model with 72 horsepower 746cc destroked 847cc engine

The MG J4 was the racing version of the J-Series and a MG J4 finished 6th Overall in the 1934 LeMans race.  These seem like small cars with small numbers to be competitive at LeMans, but those were different times.

MG J2 1932 (3)

Interesting That Lifting The Hood Exposes The Footwell!

I was surprised that when the hood was raised you could see into the footwell.  From a mechanic’s point of view I suppose this is an advantage as they don’t have to stand on their heads into order to work in the footwell.

MG J2 Advertisement

“Safety Fast” Was MG’s Theme

Note that the car shown in the advertisement above has swept front fenders that extends back to the rear fenders.   The swept fender design was introduced in 1934 in the last year of its model run.  The early MG J2 cars only had cycle fenders like the MG J2 car featured in this post, shown below.

MG J2 1932 (2)

I Think That The Swept Front Fenders Would Be Styling Improvement

I noted that the front of the MG J2 had an ARCA badge on it.  ARCA stood for the Automobile Racing Club of America.  Back in the 1930s ARCA was the focal point of road racing, including hill climbs on the east coast.  The original ARCA was disbanded when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.  After the war, the organization was essentially reconstituted as the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA).  Now ARCA, an organization not related to the original ARCA, is mostly associated with NASCAR-light racing.

An information card with this car said that it was imported into the USA by Sam Collier and subsequently raced in ARCA races by Tom Dewart at places like Alexandria Bay, New York.

MG J2 1932 (4)

The Dash Is Wonderful In Its Simplicity

The MG J2 is a wonderful car and it was great to see one of these cars.  They are not very common, but their influence on MG was long lasting.

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2 Responses to MG J2: Pointed The MG Direction For Many Years

  1. Peter Ross says:

    Steve,
    Now I have found your original post about our J2 you saw at Thompson. That’s me standing behind the car. The small trophy in the picture was won by the previous owner’s mother in the Ladies race at Thompson in 1951.

    Later posts talk about Watkins Glen coming up. As well as racing the J2 there I was chairman of the North American Triple-M National Event there. Triple-M refers to the three model types built by MG between 1929 and 1936. Four of our members entered the Concours d’Elegance on Friday and all won awards including Best of Show. On Saturday we had our car show in a big tent near Turn 11 in which we displayed 21 magnificent pre-war MGs. Four of us raced in the Collier Cup.

    You are right in your comment about our J2 being an ARCA car imported by Sam Collier. I have been doing a lot of research on the ARCA MGs and several had a competition history before the Colliers bought them. We had three of them in our tent last weekend.

    Cheers
    Peter Ross
    boltonmg@comcast.net

    • Hi Peter,
      I am glad that you found my post about your wonderful car. I am wondering if you saw my post last month about the racing at Silverstone 50 years ago? There is a picture of you at Silverstone that day.
      The early MG race cars represent a tremendous amount of racing history on both sides of the Atlantic.

      Steve McKelvie

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