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MG MGA - MGA in Oz
|I just stumbled upon a great article on the history of MGA fabrication in Australia. It's probably old hat to some, but others might like to see it:|
Interesting that the lads show up for work in their strides--probably not the Abingdon gear.
|Australian-assembled MGA roadsters differed from their UK counterparts in quite a few respects. Body colours (with the exeption of black!) were different and local materials (including vynil for the seats, etc) were used in the interiors. They had Australian (Lucas) electrical equipment (eg generators, starters, etc), too. Coupes and "twinnies" were fully imported.|
|Barney's now collected quite a few differences between the Australian CKD MGA's and their Abingdon equivalents on his remarkable MGA Guru site.|
He also has the same article on his site you've recently found Ken, as well as a couple of other Australian magazine MGA road tests that don't show up in the commonly advertised collections of reprints such as "The MGA/Twin Cam Gold Portfolio".
|The differences enumerated on the MGA Guru website (?)are interesting. I had no idea that there were so many detail differences! Some I knew, like the routing of the wire for the rear numberplate lamp! I have one of each, an Australian 1600 roadster and a "factory" 1600 coupe. It is surprising that the rather limited Australian sales would have justified the assembly arrangements but I think that the Australian Government had a rule about local content so that may well have prompted such action! Local assembly of Nuffield cars was planned in the late 1930's, in fact I met a chap in Sydney some years ago who was sent to Cowley in 1939 to see what had to be done and was stranded in the UK when war broke out!|
|While I can't locate the reference just now, the story about how the BMC plant came to be built in Australia is very interesting. William Morris (Lord Nuffield) came upon the Zetland, Sydney site. He advised the BMC board to buy the site for the Australian BMC factory, but the board rejected the proposition, whereupon William Morris bought the property himself, privately. He then on-sold the Zetland site to BMC a matter of months later for a very considerable personal profit! Always the successful business man!|
Here's a neat net site run by John Lindsay (ex-BMC), about the Zetland Sydney BMC plant you may wish to explore. John's sadly neglected the site in recent times, probably because he's currently writing a book about the factory.
Incidentally, Australian MGA's were assembled at "Pressed Metal", a plant in another Sydney suburb, in a factory jointly owned by a large BMC distributor, Larke Hoskins, and BMC (Australia). This is where the photos in the article were taken.
|I have attached a aerial photo of the original BMC factory at Zetland. The red box is the location of the C.K.D. assembly plant. If you compare the plan on the http://technispec.com/bmc/factory/factory.htm you can compare the two. The plan is rotated approx 180 degrees. You can see the scaring of the original facorty locations. To search this location in google maps use zetland and "morris grove"
Your Zetland photo is a very early version. The CKD building, which built the MGB but not the MGA, was later a proper production line in a single building. See image.
The drawing on the Technispec website shows buildings that were never built.
The attached image is dated 1972 and is the final version. The factory closed in 1975.
I worked on the site for 25 years as part of the Royal Australian Navy which bought the site from BMC in 1975.
|M F Anderson|
|I have attached a photo of the MGB on the CKD production line at the BMC factory at Zetland in Sydney, Australia.|
|M F Anderson|
|The MGB Mk2's were assembled at Zetland, but the Mk1 MGB's, like the preceding MGA's, were assembled at Pressed Metal at Enfield.|
While we're probably getting way off the topic of "MGA's in Oz", (and I apologise), the photo you've included of the MGB Mk2 production line at Zetland is interesting as it confirms, despite many folk disagreeing with me, that the MK2 MGB's in Australia were produced with the side/indicator lights reversed from the orientation of the Australian assembled MGB Mk1's and all of the Abingdon MGB's, with the amber indicator section outboard of the side (parking) light. This later reverted to the original orientation again, though I'm not sure whether this was when the entire unit was moved inward closer to the grill in 1969, or a little later with the advent of the recessed "fish-mouth" grill in 1970. That's why this financially destitute university student (i.e. me!) turned his indicators/side lights around in 1968: to get a newer looking MGB at zero cost!!
MG production at Zetland ceased late in 1972, and the MGB assembly line space was, re-allocated (I'm told) to assembly of engines for the imminent Leyland P76.
Your photo is not of the BMC factory at Zetland as you stated, but the site of the original factory, showing the housing development that replaced the factory.
|M F Anderson|
This thread was discussed between 03/12/2010 and 08/12/2010
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