This MG "One and a half Litre" maroon saloon better known as the VA type with chassisnumber 0706 was built in the summer of 1937.
Definately intended for export it was equipped with a speedometer in kilometers rather then miles.
It was ordered by the well known importer for MG's in Holland, Molenaar from Amersfoort. The new VA arrived in Amersfoort on the 20th of September 1937 but was not sold untill the Amsterdam car exhibition of 1938.
The buyer and first registered owner was Willy Oosten from Amsterdam who traded in his MG J2. For Willy it was quite an attractive deal as Molenaar offered him the purchase price of his J2 back because off all the promotion Willy had done for MG while racing his J2 in no less then two Monte Carlo rally's. Molenaar claimed it had really boosted MG sales in Holland.
The VA was registered under Mr van Oosten's personal number G 13821
Willy's daily bussiness was the running of a small garage (Oosterbaan garage)in Amsterdam. He also acted as mechanic for the Dutch racing drivers Eddy Herzberger and Hans Herkuleijns.
During the war years the VA was stored in a dark corner down the back of his garage with the wheels hidden in a different location. When the Germans came to capture the VA Willy claimed that the wheels had already been taken by their "collegues". As British wheels were unobtainable during the war they left the VA untouched.
After May 1945 the VA was quickly back onto its wheels and into use although aceton had to be used for a while through lack of proper petrol, resulting in a heavily smoking car.
During its life the VA was modified in many ways to cope with the hard life it had to endure while entering many Rally's. King pin bushes were wearing hard according Willy and were replaced by adjustable bearings. The front springs were replaced by much longer ones for which purpose the rear brackets were repositioned more backwards. Shock absorbers allround were replaced by "modern" telescopics. Allthough the roadholding of a VA is allready above average this one is dramatically good!
One activity of this VA saloon was remembered by Maus Gatsonides when he wrote me a letter in May 1995:
"It was during the 1948 French Alp Rally that Willy joined Hugo Revelsmann in his (ex Prince Bernard) Bentley as navigator. I joined in the VA saloon with Willy's wife Coentje, and we surveyed the difficult parts of the Rally and carried spare petrol".
When the Dutch registration system with personal numbers is finally coming to a halt in 1956 the MG is re-registered on the 19th of October as VD-68-62.
Willy keeps on using the VA untill 1962 when he sells the car to his friend Willem Piet also from Amsterdam who owns the car untill this day.
The VA snapped in Amsterdam during the early sixties.
Shortly after Willem had bought the VA the wiring short circuits resulting in a lot of smoke and damage. Plans are made to refurbish the VA and some work on the body is carried out but never finished. The car is layed up in an Amsterdam garage.
The enigine and gearbox are in the meantime taken out and overhauled by Willy Oosten himself and well stored.
Its around the late eighties that proper storage becomes a problem and the poor VA ends up parked outside at a farmyard somewhere in the countryside.
In 1997 the VA is spotted by some MG enthousiast and brought to my attention. A quick phonecall to Willem Piet leads to a visit to Amsterdam with my own VA. It turned out that Willem was not happy at all himself about the situation of the VA and taking him out in my pristine saloon brought back memories of the old days.Pretty soon plans were being made to give this rare Dutch VA saloon a brighter future.
In the end it is decided a proffesional restoration is the only way to go. Late 1998 the restored VA arrives back from England to make his way to Amsterdam once more.
Now with the rebuild well finished the VA is entered in rally's again just as in the old days, but in a much more relaxed atmosphere of course
Period photographs from the Wiard Krook collection.
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