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MG Magnette ZA and ZB (1953 - 1958)

Last updated 27 November 2018

Handsome styling, known B-Series engine and running gear
Sportier to look at than to drive
were produced
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With the Nuffield Group now part of the British Motor Corporation, the pre-War policy of badge engineering took on new heights. Bedfellows since the pre-War era, MGs and Wolseleys tended to be closely related, and this practice continued to gain momentum within the new company. However, the Magnette ZA closed the gap even further by using the bodywork from the Wolseley 4/44, even if it was attractive thanks to its fluted MG grille, and other accoutrements. The ZA was also the first MG to be powered by the venerable BMC B-Series - a significant moment because that engine would go on to power the MGA and MGB.

The ZA received an uprated platform, with rack-and-pinion steering and improved suspension, and 60bhp (45kW) meant it accelerated as well as it handled. Despite being the sportier offering, there was still an agreeable amount of wood and leather used in the interior. A more powerful ZB variant replaced the ZA in 1956 and was offered with optional Varitone two-colour paintwork and a wraparound rear screen. A few cars also appeared with manumatic semi-automatic transmission – a novel but not hugely effective attempt at creating a clutchless manual set-up that was years ahead of its time.

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