1932→1934 MG K3 Magnette

1932→1934 MG K3 Magnette

1932→1934 MG K3 Magnette

Of all the cars MG made, none was more successful than the K3. It took MG to Le Mans and solidified their place in motorsports. With it’s small 1-liter engine, the K3 was never a contender for overall victories but won its 1100cc class many times. Much like a miniature version of the Bentley Blower, the K3 relied on its front-mounted supercharger.

The K-series represented MG’s mid-size car, featuring a modified inline-6 borrowed from Woseley’s Hornet. MG took this 1100cc engine and used a cross-flow head, a magneto and, for the first time, a preselector gearbox. For the top-of-the line K3 Magnette, MG added a Mashall supercharger, and in doing so, created one of the most successful British race cars.

The first K3 Magnette appeared at the 1933 Monte Carlo Rally and from there K3s contested the most important international events. Its first success was achieved at the Mille Miglia where two of the three entered cars finished and won their class to be the first English team to take the team prize. This victory, and one at the Coppa Acerbo Junior, motivated Tazio Nuvolari to try out the K3 at the Ulster Tourist Trophy. The result was dominating, with Nuvolari beating the class lap record seven times over.

For 1934, the K3’s achievements rivaled those of the previous year. That year MG came their closest to an outright win at LeMans, until their second place K3 retired due to an accident. However, another car driven by Martin and Eccles finished ninth overall and won the 750-1100cc class.

Since the K3 was readily available for purchase (795 GBP) and MG would even perform maintenance, many cars were bought by privateers. They then took the car to many regional hillclimbs and rallies where the K3 racked up even more victories. In total 33 examples were made.

After 1934, the K3 was becoming more outdated, especially considering the banishment of supercharging at the Ulster Tourist Trophy and the introduction of single seat bodywork. Unfortunately, before a replacement was made, MG abandoned motor sport in 1935, a move dictated by Morris.

In Detail

submitted by Richard Owen
production years 1932 – 1934
engine Inline-6
aspiration Powerplus or Marshall Supercharger
valvetrain OHC
fuel feed Tripple SU
displacement 1087 cc / 66.3 in³
bore 57 mm / 2.24 in
stroke 71 mm / 2.8 in
front brakes Drums
rear brakes Drums
f suspension Rigid Axle w/Half Elliptic Springs
r suspension Live Axle w/Half Elliptic Springs
transmission Wilson 4-Speed Preselector


Auction Sales History


1933 MG K3 Magnette K3001 – sold for €408,800 The Earl Howe 1933 MG K3 Mille Miglia works team car. Howe/Hamilton and Eyston/Lurani were the first cars to finish in class. Gran Premio Brescia Trophy Team Prize winner. Extensive pre-war race history. Well-documented history, including numerous period photos and documents. Competitive and eligible for the Mille Miglia, the Le Mans Classic, and the Monaco Historique.
Auction Source: 2013 Villa d’Erba Auction by RM