Birth Of The Octagon Badge
Stands for Morris Garages, which was the Oxford distributor for Morris cars;
co-incidentally, it was also owned by William Morris, later Lord Nuffield.
When Cecil Kimber became its general manager in 1922, the firm started
modifying standard Morris Cowleys, lowering the chassis and fitting more
By 1924, Morris Garages was advertising the "MG Special four-seater
Sports", and had incorporated the famous octagonal badge into the copy.
Old Number One was the first MG sports car, but it was the 48th body built
for Morris Garages by one firm, Carbodies, since 1924.
Morris Garages outgrew its home three times before moving to Abingdon in
1929, by which time it had been renamed the MG Car Company. During the early
1930s, MG became synonymous with the term "sports car", and its
road cars were promoted by successful racing forays. Then, for fiscal
reasons, Morris sold his private companies, including MG, to Morris Motors
Purists argue that MG was never the same again. There was less variety in
the products, racing activities were limited, and placing the MG badge on
BMC saloons such as the Morris Oxford and 1300 would have been anathema to
Kimber. Realists would point out that even after Kimber's death in 1945,
fine, affordable sports cars such as the TC, MGA, Midget and MGB continued
to be built, and it was only British Leyland's appalling management that
sullied a great name in the 1970s.
Car production was stopped at Abingdon in 1980. From 1982 to 1990, the MG
name was applied to re-badged and tuned Maestros, Montegos and Metros, but
MG enthusiasts were cheered by 1992's RV8 and have more to celebrate with
the introduction of the mid-engined MGF, which draws heavily on the
corporate parts bin. Back to the beginning, really.