14th Oct, 2020 13:00

Imperial War Museum Duxford

  Lot 73

1927 MG 14/40 Featherweight Fabric Sporting Saloon

Estimated at £50,000 - £60,000

Lot details

Registration No: WL3450
Chassis No: 2CS/6715
MOT: Exempt

  • "World Famous Old Speckled Hen"
  • Returned to factory specification as part of an extremely high standard restoration completed in 1999
  • Fantastic provenance as one of the oldest Abingdon built cars and an ex-Works demonstrator
  • World famous MG that Moorland Brewery named a beer after to celebrate 50 years of the marque
  • Ridden in by Brian Johnson of AC/DC fame and featured in Mike Allison’s book ‘The Magic of MG’
  • Old Speckled Hen has travled all over Europe on many adventures since its restoration. Including three trips to Luxembourgh
  • The car starts with eaze and soon settles to smooth idle

Beginning life as a 14/28 model in May 1927, ‘WL 3450’ was among a small number of sister cars that had yet to be sold when Morris Garages (or MG for short) became a limited company that September. Recalled to the Works, it was mechanically updated to 14/40 specification and is believed to be one of just three cars that were clothed with fabric Salonette coachwork by Gordon England (the enclosed body style was more expensive and considerably less popular than the open designs on offer). Serving as the Works demonstrator once completed, the four-seater’s distinctive silver and black fleck livery saw it christened ‘Speckled Hen’ (a memorable nickname which has stuck ever since).

Keen to establish a reputation as a sports car maker, MG are understood to have fitted ‘WL 3450’ with a lowered back axle for competition events. The Salonette is also documented as having been returned to Gordon England for repairs presumably so that it could present its ‘best face’ to the public. The victim of a major fire shortly before the outbreak of World War Two, ‘Speckled Hen’ survived the conflict and passed through the hands of several owners before the vendor, an acknowledged ‘flat rad’ MG specialist, discovered it in South Wales during the late 1990s.

A testament to the seller’s skills, ‘WL 3450’ remains extremely presentable twenty-one years after its ‘chassis up’ restoration. The subject of at least three articles in MG World by automotive historian Jonathan Wood, ‘Speckled Hen’ is also referenced in ex-MG employee Mike Allison’s excellent tome ‘The Magic of MG’

There can be few Vintage cars that have had a beer named after them; Moorland Brewery first concocting ‘Old Speckled Hen’ in 1979 to mark the 50th Anniversary of MG and fewer still that have led such an interesting life. An interesting car in its own right, ‘WL 3450’ has been pictured with the likes of petrolhead and AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson and is surely a ‘must buy’ for anyone compiling the ultimate MG collection!

Offered for sale with history file including various evocative period photos.

PLEASE NOTE: This vehicle will not be available to view at Imperial War Museum, Duxford.

For more information, please contact:
Mike Davis
07718 584217


Auction: Imperial War Museum Duxford, 14th Oct, 2020

Imperial War Museum
CB22 4QR

About Imperial War Museum  Click here to view the E-Catalogue  


Tuesday 13th October 2020 from 10am to 8pm
Wednesday 14th October 2020 from 9am

12.5% (plus VAT @ 20%)

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