1933 MG K3 Magnette Replica
Chassis No: K0421
Engine No: 621 AKD
Built on a genuine KD Chassis with matching number engine
Engine No: 621 AKD
Few would doubt that the MG K3 represents the pinnacle of the pre-war MG range, the short production run means that original cars will always be the preserve of collectors and attract a significant sale price. As is the case with most limited run production cars, when demand outstrips supply replicas are created to allow the model to be enjoyed by a much wider audience. These are often built using N series chassis, ‘XBV’ is one of the few built from a genuine K series chassis car.
In 1933/4 the MG works produced a special run of around 33 six-cylinder supercharged competition cars (this number rises to 35 if you include the two prototypes.) These essentially ready-to-race cars were based on the MG K-series Magnette chassis, and as they followed the K1 and K2 production Magnettes, they were designated K3 models.
The K3 Magnettes proved themselves to be fantastically competitive racing cars from their first outing – three cars competed in the 1933 Mille Miglia winning the team prize – in fact this result made MG the first non-Italian manufacturer to be awarded the prestigious team prize, this feat alone secured the models place in MG history. Further success followed; Whitney Straight won the Coppa Acerbo Junior, this then convinced Tazio Nuvolari to take to the wheel of a K3 in the September 1933 Ards Tourist Trophy, which he won.
The K3 was on a roll and a few weeks later, Eddie Hall’s car took the checkered flag in the Brooklands 500 Mile Race by 28 minutes over 2nd place. Subsequently Charles Martin and Roy Eccles finished 4th overall (1st in class) at the 1934 Le Mans 24 Hour race, this was the best result ever achieved by an MG.
The basic specification for the ‘works’ models was a supercharged 1,086 cc SOHC 6-cylinder engine mated to a Wilson pre-selector gearbox.
The pre-selector box allowed the driver to pre-select the gear required and then engage it with a single press of the gear change pedal – in essence it was the forerunner of today’s DSG transmissions. This ability to make precise and fast changes made it the perfect match for racing drivers, its only downside was the weight penalty – albeit the 120 Brake Horse power of the K3 more than made up for this! Braking was by a Bowden cable system and was adequate for the power on offer.
The Car on Offer
‘XBV 226’ is clearly not one of the original K3 factory cars, it is however an extremely well executed replica completed to the highest possible standard.
It is based on a KD series chassis, this was the four-seat version of the K3 and the car was exported to Australia on 2nd June 1934 as a rolling chassis. The original export documentation is still with the car’s extensive history file. Using the KD as a base meant that apart from shortening and modifying the cruciform, no other chassis modifications were required.
From 1934 to 2004 the car passed through a number of different owners before being acquired by a prominent Melbourne based vintage car collector who decided to embark on a project to produce a K3 replica. Over the next three years this work was entrusted to David Rapley, a well-known Australian restorer, whose portfolio of work includes Alfa Romeos and Grand Prix Maserati’s amongst others.
The extensive history file that accompanies the car demonstrates that this transformation was carried out to exacting standards by a fastidious owner. There is a large file of correspondence and bills present and these amount to more than £50,000 – excluding the price of the KD car to start with.
The engine is 1432cc and was re-built to be ‘fast road’ specification – the owners request was for a useable road car. It was fitted with a nitride Crankshaft by Crankshaft rebuilders, Rods by Argo with ARP bolts and pistons by Special Piston Servicing’s, plus an exact replica of the factory cam. A Toyota based supercharger was utilised with Teflon coated rotors and labyrinth seals, the Toyota supercharger being the blower of choice in the Australian market. Being a ‘late’ car the pre-selector gearbox is also fitted with a conventional disc clutch between the box and engine, which was intended to give a smoother take up. The gearbox was completely stripped and re-built during the restoration.
All remaining mechanical components were either replaced or renewed leaving the car in perfect mechanical condition. The body style follows the 1933 ‘Slab Tank’ as appose to the 1934 cars which had a boat tail, the black interior and red carpets complement the deep black paint finish. The interior, seats, carpets and tonneau are all brand new high quality items, whilst the instruments have all been refurbished.
Purchased by the current vendor in 2016 the MG is now being sold to make way for another project. As one would expect from a recently re-built restoration the car holds good fluid pressure/temperature and drives superbly – the exhaust note is utterly addictive!
Documented factory-built supercharged K3 MG’s are extremely rare, exceedingly valuable and thus barely ever appear on the open market. ‘XBV’ was re-created and assembled to exacting standards with the support of marque experts, for any new owner, it will deliver the full MG K3 experience. It is worth noting that this experience will be offered for a relatively reasonable investment and at a fraction of the cost of building such a car from scratch. It is eligible for the Flying Scotsman, 1000 Mile Trial and a number of prestigious events in the UK and Europe.
Price on Application.