MG cars of the 1960s

MGB, 1964
MGB, 1964

MG made both sports cars and saloons in the 1960s.

There were two ranges of sports car, the MG Midget and the larger MGA/MGB ranges. The saloons were tuned-up and more luxurious versions of Austin or Morris saloons.

MG was part of BMC for most of the 1960s. BMC joined forces with Leyland to form British Leyland in 1968.

Complete list

A complete list of MG cars from the 1960s is:

Sports cars

Saloon cars

Sports cars


MGA 1600 Mk II, 1961
MGA 1600 Mk II, 1961

MG started the 1960s with the curvy MGA as its only sports car. The MGA was first introduced in 1955. It was still a modern car at the beginning of the 1960s.

Healthy competition with Triumph meant that MG upgraded its sports cars regularly. In 1961 the MGA 1600 received a larger engine, 1622cc instead of 1588cc. This was more of a rationalisation in BMC's range. The same engine was destined for the Morris Oxford/Austin Cambridge series in a lower state of tune. It was also fitted to the MG Magnette.

Nevertheless, a new car was in the pipeline. In 1962 MG launched the MGB. It was a new larger car with a larger engine. It was originally available only as a convertible.


MGB GT Mk I, 1967
MGB GT Mk I, 1967

The MGB was a completely new car. It had a new body and a new larger engine of 1800cc. At the time this engine was unique to the MGB, but was planned for the Austin/Morris 1800 series.

The MGB was a successful car. It looked modern, had more space and more comfort than the MGA. It was also more powerful.

The MGB sold well in the UK and in the USA.

In 1965 MG introduced a fastback GT based on the MGB, the MGB GT. Pininfarina in Italy did the styling.

For more information see MGB and GT


The MGC was a more powerful MGB. It had the 3-litre engine from the Austin 3-litre. It looked almost identical to the B. However, there was a bonnet bulge to accommodate the larger engine.

Like the Austin 3-litre it was not a success. MG did better with the Rover V8 engine in the 1970s.

MG Midget

The MG Midget was a development of the Austin-Healey Sprite launched in 1958. The Sprite became the Mark II in 1961. At the same time BMC launched a new MG Midget based on the Sprite body. The MG was mechanically identical but sold for more money than the Sprite.

Competition, this time with the Triumph Spitfire, led to many improvements. The original Midget had an 1100cc engine. The Mark III had a 1275cc engine.

Read more MG Midget

Saloon cars

MG Magnette Mk IV, 1964
MG Magnette Mk IV, 1964

MG saloons were originally developed from Morris and Wolseley saloons. They offered extra performance and often more style and luxury.

In the 1960s they were badge-engineered derivatives of other BMC saloons.

MG Magnette

The 1960s' MG Magnette was based on the Morris Oxford/Austin Cambridge saloon. It featured two-tone paint work, an MG grill and a different style of rear lights. Inside the car had leather seats, a walnut dashboard and walnut door trims.

Under the bonnet was a tuned version of the Morris Oxford's B-series engine. Performance and handling were not outstanding. Many fans of the previous Magnettes from the 1950s were disappointed.

However, the car sold better than its antecedents. Perhaps the buyers of bread-and-butter cars were tempted to upgrade to a similar looking MG. My uncle upgraded from a Morris Oxford to an MG Magnette in the 1960s.

MG 1100/1300

MG 1100, 1965
MG 1100, 1965

The other obvious choice for BMC was to upgrade the Austin/Morris 1100 to an MG. This they did in 1962.

The MG 1100 was a well-liked car. It provided a useful performance boost over the standard Austin/Morris offering. There was a bit more luxury as well.

When the 1300 engine became available on the Austin and Morris cars, the MG got this engine with twin-carburettors. MG continued to improve the design into the 1970s. By then it was a competent small sports saloon.

By Steven Braggs, July 2022

Read More

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Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles ★