My First MG

Octagon Newsletter … May 1992

By Robin Yellowlees

I was 22 when I was de-mobbed, near the end of 1945, and it wasn't long before I started thinking of a car (my first). Across the street from us lived Mr. Begg, partner in Begg Motors, the Chrysler/Plymouth dealer on Georgia Street, so I put a $100.00 deposit on a new 1946 Plymouth 5 passenger coupe and be­came thirty-fifth on the waiting list. After waiting fruit­lessly for six months, I received a call from Mr. Michelmore, sales manager at Oxford Motors (later Plimley's) on Burrard Street, to say that the first ship­ment of Morris cars had arrived and that he was giving first refusal to customers who were Morris owners before the War. Mr. Begg was delighted to refund my deposit and thus I became the owner of a new, very black, Series M Morris Ten Saloon, not a car to send my pulse soaring, but in 1946 a car, any car, was a prize and I was a very happy young man.

However, in 1947, MG introduced their first all-new post-war car, the 1 ¼ Litre saloon. I read the Autocar road test and it sounded like a dream car to me - it looked like one too! The following year I took a three month trip back to the UK and ordered a two-tone grey and green model to be picked up at the factory. One of the most exciting days of my life was the day the phone rang to say my car was ready at Cowley and that I would be met at the Oxford station and driven to the factory to pick it up. There were two identical cars being worked on, mine with biscuit upholstery and the other, ordered by an Indian Prince, with green upholstery. My pulses were racing as the two young fellows were polishing my car with Opollo polish and a Nuffield technical fellow introduced himself and started explaining all about the car to me. Eventually it was all over and I got in and drove off with much waving and good wishes. I was completely on Cloud Nine and have never felt that high on any car since.

Reality soon surfaced before reaching London, however, as the car pulled back in a jerky fashion under acceleration, especially climbing, caused as I later discovered by oiling of the plugs. But this flaw, which persisted as long as I owned the car, could never dampen my special pride of ownership of this car and I was hooked as an MG fan for life!

In September of that year, the MG and I travelled to Victoria where I decided to seek my for­tune selling English cars. The MG helped me to make friends and I soon joined the British Sports Touring Club. At that time, mine was the only MG of its kind until our firm ordered a maroon saloon in early 1950 which we eventually sold to a Mr. Morris on Saltspring Island. From September 1949, I had joined Victoria Super Service and was very busy selling Morris and MG cars, and a few Rileys as well.  

My sales manager, John Scruton, had ordered a green 1 ¼ litre tourer in 1949 and I fell for this model. I decided to sell the saloon and order a new 'YT' for myself, which I ran for a year and which hap­pily is a survivor and is cared for today by no less a personage than your (and my) club President, Wayne Watkins!

Somewhere on the Island there may be a 1 ¼ litre Saloon still hiding. I certainly hope so, I have never forgotten my first MG!

Morris Ten

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