The Blue Saloon
Without any doubt you have at some stage seen pictures of an MG VA saloon registered BBL 333.
It features very prominently in the july 1939 sales brochure where it is pictured together with other VA’s in the very beautifull Cotswolds scenery.
It is also known of from pictures made while this saloon was entered in several rallys.
With the very knowledgable help of the Kithead Trust I managed to find out that this VA was registered on the 14th of April 1938 by the MG Car Company. It is a safe estimate to declare BBL 333 as a factory demonstrator.
If we look at the Factory Records around the date of registration then it is easy to find the car in question. Factory demo’s often received several engines, which were all reported in the garuantee plate book.
Closest possibility is VA 1451S which received its garuanteeplate on the 1st of April 1938. It is the only VA around the registration issue date which had several engine changes which was quite commen to factory demonstrators.
Looking at the various pictures of BBL 333 it is obvious that it got some special attention when build. ACE wheel discs with 2 chrome rings were fitted as well as a metal cover for the wing mounted spare wheel. You can also see from the photos that the body is a lighter colour then the wings and running boards.
In the last week of April 1938 this brand new VA saloon was entered in the RAC Blackpool Rally.
Through the library of the National Motor Museum I managed to get a copy of the final report on this RAC Rally as published in "The Motor" of 3rd May 1938.
Officially this VA was entered under number 114 and the driver was reported to be Cecil Kimber! I am not sure if Kim was actually behind the steering wheel during the Rally as he also entered an SA in the same Rally under number.444, using his own name.
Who ever drove the VA we will not know, but a fact is that it did not win any trophees.
In the final results the VA was on place 11 out of 53 competitors. Many cars in this class were 14 HP so the VA obviously had a disadvantage on performance.Overall winner of group 4 (closed cars up to 15 HP) was a Triumph 14, of which model no les then 15 were entered!!
A nice thing about this article in The Motor is that they give a good description of this VA saloon when it entered the Coachwork Concours of the Blackpool Rally.. The car was driven along the Jury by Alan Hess, the Honorary Secretary of the Mg Car Club.
A remark made by the author is: " that the car looked very smart with its wheel discs and its metallic blue paintwork!" Obviously the body was lightblue in colour and the wings most probably a darker non metallic blue.
It proofes that MG was able and prepared to paint any colour you desired! It actually also is stated in the brochure that anything was possible as long as you paid.
Metallic grey was even regarded as a standerd colour by 1938 . It also makes me very happy as now I am even more convinced that the metallic maroon as on my own VA saloon may originally have been applied by Abingdon!
Apart from the 1938 RAC Blackpool Rally BBL 333 was also entered in 1938 Welsh Rally under number 71.
From the records of the Kithead Trust can be made up that the next owner after MG on 25-4-1939 lived in the Preston area and had the car only for a week. Next owner lives in Lancashire who had this car untill 16-4-1946. After that the saloon spend most of its life in the Midlands area. After ten diferent owners it is last heard of on the 9th of March 1967.
Is it still around I wonder?
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