19th Jun, 2024 13:00

Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire

Lot 50

1937 MG SA Tickford Drophead Coupe

Estimated at £42,000 - £48,000

Lot details

Registration No: YVS 468
Chassis No:

  • In the ownership of the vendor’s late-father since 2004
  • Resident in South Africa for over two decades
  • Elegant and sporting drophead coupe with coachwork by Tickford
  • One of just 2,738 examples of the SA manufactured (across all three variants)

In 1935, despite its impressive racing achievements, financial pressures forced MG to withdraw from motorsport and the newly ennobled William Morris and now Lord Nuffield sold the MG Car Company to Morris Motors, making it a wholly-owned subsidiary of the larger firm. The commercial success that would be realised thus came at the expense of offering more technically advanced designs proven in competition. Rationalisation was the company's priority during 1935, and all new models shared as many parts as possible with other members of the burgeoning Nuffield Organisation. Launched at the October 1935 London Motor Show at Olympia as a replacement for the KN, the 2-Litre Model - also known as the SA - represented a new departure for MG. The first all-new model to be introduced since the company's acquisition by Morris Motors and intended to compete with products from rivals SS Cars and even Bentley, it was considerably larger than any previous MG and caused a certain amount of consternation amongst enthusiasts who feared an abandonment of virtues embodied by the marque's nimble sports cars. They need not have worried, for although based on the Wolseley Super Six and aimed at the luxury car market, the SA received sufficient input from MG founder and designer Cecil Kimber to transform it into a car worthy of the famous octagon badge. Sadly, a six-month delay between launch and production handicapped their efforts as SS Cars stole a march by introducing the similarly priced but more powerful SS Jaguar Saloon ten days prior to the SA becoming available. It is believed that up to 500 of MG’s potential customers were subsequently lost to their direct competition.

Originally of 2,026cc, the overhead-valve Wolseley six had been enlarged to 2,288cc by the time SA production commenced and was further stretched to 2322cc in 1937. This was a tall engine and to allow the bonnet line to be as low as possible the twin SU carburettors had their dashpots mounted horizontally. Drive was to the live rear axle via a four-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh on the top two ratios (on all but a few early models). Wire wheels were fitted and the drum brakes were hydraulically operated using a Lockheed system. With 75bhp propelling a car weighing around 1½ tons, acceleration was necessarily leisurely; nevertheless, the SA could cruise comfortably at 60-70mph and had a genuine top speed approaching 85mph.

Initially available with Morris-produced in-house four-door four-seat Sports Saloon bodywork, MG quickly offered a bare chassis for custom coachwork and the saloon was joined in April 1936 by a Tickford Drophead Coupe by Salmons & Sons Ltd priced at £398 and, that July, a Charlesworth-bodied Open Tourer priced at £375 arrived to complete the range. By the time production ceased with the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, 2,738 SAs of all types had left the Cowley factory of which 350 were exported, with Germany proving itself the biggest export market.

In the ownership of the vendor’s late father since 2004, this stylish SA with handsome Tickford Drophead Coupe coachwork has led an interesting life having been resident in parts of Africa in the years following World War Two. The car’s early history is currently unknown but the presence of mounts for two spare wheels may well indicate it was destined for foreign climes from new. The property of one Keith Simmonds of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) between 1974 and 1994, it was he who registered the car in South Africa around 1976. In the early 1990s he appears to have returned with the car to the UK and a copy V5 on file shows it being registered to his Gloucestershire address in 1994 under the current age-related registration mark. This is confirmed by a letter from marque specialists SVW Spares of Hull dated 2004.

In the early 2000s it enjoyed a sojourn in Greece as evidenced by a Greek insurance certificate covering the period 2002/2003. In 2004 it passed to the vendor’s late father via classic dealer Malcolm Elder & Son. In his ownership it obtained a VSCC buff form and was entered into a number of Measham Rallies and also gently exercised on European regularity events. More relaxed cruising abilities were ensured by raising the rear axle ratio and the original crown wheel and pinion accompany the car. Due to illness, it has seen little use over the past few years but has been driven occasionally to keep everything as it should be. Offered with Swansea V5, photocopy manual and assorted invoices for servicing and parts, this coach-built MG is now only reluctantly being offered for sale by the family.

For more information, please contact:
John Markey
01428 607899


Auction: Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 19th Jun, 2024

An auction of classic, collector and performance motorcars held at the iconic and visually stunning Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Venue Details 

Browse the Catalogue 

View all lots in this sale

All successful bids must be paid in full by midday the day after the auction at the latest.

You can collect your new pride and joy from our venue until 1pm the day following the sale or our partners are on hand to help arrange safe transportation:


Do you have an item to sell?

If so, contact one of our friendly specialists for your free valuation by completing the form below and someone will get back to you as quickly as possible.

If you prefer to speak to humans, don't hesitate to call our office on +44 (0)1925 210035

Contact Us Today!



Drag and drop .jpg images here to upload, or click here to select images.

Century of motoring history represented at H&H auction
World’s biggest production pick-up truck roars to auction
Mercedes-Benz 500SL delivered new to Sir Stirling Moss heads to auction
Cars from the 1910s to the 2010s head to auction for Buxton sale
H&H’s motorcycle sales off to a flying start in 2024 with market-leading 88 percent sales rate
Goon, Goon, Gone: Unique Peter Sellers 1960 Bentley heads to auction
Eclectic 150-plus classic car auction helps round out H&H’s milestone 30th year celebrations
One of the UK’s best driving Aston Martin DB5s heads to auction
Mid-century sports car icons race to Buxton auction
Former front cover ‘star’ heads to auction
Classic British motorcycles shine as 230 lots head to the National Motorcycle Museum auction
Racing legend Patsy Burt's Jaguar XK120 speeds to Buxton auction
22-strong single owner classic motorcycle collection heads to auction
Norton's racing heritage set to ignite the auction stage
Rare Frazer-Nash BMW with rich racing history to be auctioned
“The Rolls-Royce” of the motorcycle world, heads to      auction
Martini inspired Porsche 911 ‘RSR’ Tribute to head under the hammer
Rare ‘Car on Two Wheels’ heads to auction for the first time in 30 years
More than 100 classics sold in H&H’s 30th anniversary sale
Stunning classics worth more than £9 million offered in 30th anniversary auction
Rare Aston Martin DB1 heads to anniversary auction from long-term ownership
Rare Bentleys to star in 30th celebration auction
H&H Classics 30th Anniversary Auction
H&H unveils details of its 30th anniversary celebrations
Classic car owners handed ULEZ lifeline
H&H Classics auction Hurricane X-75 Prototype to National Motorcycle Museum
Vintage and modern classics lead the way at latest H&H sale
H&H offers exceptional range of vehicles spanning 11 individual decades
Pavilion Gardens. Wednesday 26th July 2023
A whimsical blast from the past: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang recreation heads to auction
From Italy with love: auction showcasing the essence of Italian design and sprezzatura
250 Motorcycles & Vintage Scooters Set To Go Under The Hammer!
March of the Mods: Lambretta owned by Paul Weller heads to auction
Lawbreakers to law enforcers: historic scooters with infamous connections up for sale
Jaguar SS100 among £2¼  million worth of classics sold at the Imperial War Museum
British classics to shine at H&H Classics’ sale
Historic Guinness Collection heads to auction
Browse The Catalogue Now! 135 Classic & Performance Cars To Go Under The Hammer.
Robbie Savage’s Ferrari F430 to be sold at H&H Classics
RAC Rally winning ‘Jaguar’ to be sold at auction
Former MP’s Bentley and Facel Vega ‘garage find’ among £1.3m worth of classics hammered away by H&H
Pavilion Gardens, Buxton Auction Preview Video
Genuine ‘matching numbers’ 1967 Shelby GT500 Fastback among 89 strong classic car auction
Rare Facel Vega ‘garage find’ heads to auction
Indian 4 and Lambretta DL200
Golden opportunity to acquire famous limited edition Italjet scooter
H&H Classics commences landmark year with sale of 121 cars
‘Brand new’ Porsche 911 heading to auction after 21 years