The MG F-type Magna is a rare machine, with just 1250 examples built across three models, of which only 40-odd were roadsters. This example came to us with bent, rusty chassis members and a heavily oxidised aluminium body, but scarcity and prestige ensured it was well-worth saving.
Having become independent of Morris Motors in 1928, MG was still a fledgling company when the MG F2 Magna was released late in 1932. The marque had seen less than 2000 vehicles exit the factory until that point, with no inkling as to what the future would hold.
Also known as the 12/70 Magna, the original, six-cylinder MG F-type Magna was released in September 1931 in unison with the four-cylinder MG D-type, the twins sharing many body and chassis components.
They ran the same sliding trunnion suspension, underslung rear axle, cable braking system, steering gear, and centre-lock wire wheels, with the body and riveted steel chassis identical in all areas except those pertaining to length.
The F-type’s extra ten inches was behind the front wheels, accommodating a small-displacement 1271cc straight six repurposed from the Wolseley Hornet, albeit with significant modifications.
The original F-type featured a four-seater tourer body but woefully inadequate 8-inch drum brakes, which afflicted the model’s sporting prowess. The updated F2 Magna built from late 1932 addressed this issue, coupling a lightweight two-seater roadster body with 12-inch drums, truly extolling MG’s mantra of ‘safety fast’.
Arguably, this makes the F2 the best of the breed, balancing the sportier roadster body with the improved braking of the larger brakes. Highly desirable amongst vintage MG circles, Silverstone Auctions estimates only around 14 examples of the MG F2 Magna remain of the original 41 built.
The F-type found proponents in high-up places, including Persian-Italian Prince Aly Khan, the Earl of March and 9th Duke of Richmond Frederick Gordon-Lennox, Thai racing driver Prince Birabongse Bhanudej, and motor racing British MP the 5th Earl of Howe, Francis Curzon.
The blue MG F2 Magna restored by Finch Restorations was the much-loved, lifelong project of a local MG-enthusiast; perhaps more provenance in terms of sentimental value than a list of bygone celebrities could hope to muster, certainly to his family.
Upon disassembly and close inspection, the chassis was bent and harboured a fair bit of rust. The ash body timbers needed replacing and much of the body required reskinning as the aluminium doors and bonnet had oxidised beyond repair.
Finch Restorations was able to handle all these body repairs, recreating parts using the derelict originals as templates. The mechanical brakes were refurbished and leaf-springs re-set, but the engine, gearbox and differential, while inspected, were not refreshed as part of the restoration.
With so few left, it was an honour and a privilege for Finch Restorations to restore this vehicle, instilling a new level of longevity so that future generations might enjoy this rare and righteous roadster.