MG Magnette MkIV (1961 - 1968)

The Farina-styled Magnette had only been on sale for three summers when BMC announced a comprehensive redesign of all this family of B-Series cars. In the process, the Magnette moved from Mk III to Mk IV and became a much better car than before. The problem for the sales force was that it looked almost exactly the same, and its reputation never recovered from the early pasting it had received from the critics.

The Mk IV had a slightly longer wheelbase and wider wheel tracks, which was bound to give it more stability, but it also had anti-roll bars on the front and rear suspension. Not only that, but this was the time when BMC enlarged the standard B-Series engine size to 1,622cc, which meant that the Mk IV also had more power and torque than the Mk III.

The fact is that the Mk IV was a much better-developed car than the original, though even in this form it lacked the steering capabilities and the sheer sports saloon character of the well-loved ZA/ZB family.

It struggled on, unloved and mostly ignored by the public - as did its Riley clone, the 4/Seventy Two - for several years. By the end of the BMC era, sales were down to less than 1,000 cars a year, so its death in April 1968, just as BMC was also being killed off, was a merciful release.

MG Magnette Mk IV specification

As for MG Magnette Mk III except for:

Produced: Cowley, 1961-68. 14,320 cars built.

Engine and transmission: 1,622cc, 76.2 x 88.9mm. 68bhp at 5,000rpm; 89lb ft at 2,500rpm. 4-speed gearbox, no synchromesh on 1st gear; centre-floor gear-change; optional automatic transmission.

Chassis: Anti-roll bars at front and rear.

Dimensions: Wheelbase 8ft 4.35in; front track 4ft 2.6in; rear track 4ft 3.4in.

Distinguishing features from previous model: Different 2-tone colour scheme (optional).

Typical performance: Maximum speed 86mph; 0-60mph 19.5sec; standing 1/4-mile 21.5sec; overall fuel consumption 25mpg.

Launch Price: £1,059

Derivatives: Close mechanical and family resemblance to all other B-Series Farina models; Riley 4/Seventy Two was mechanically identical.

Fate: Discontinued in 1968 and never replaced by another MG.

Source: "The Cars of BMC" - Graham Robson (Motor Racing Publications, 1987)