MG's Legacy Passes From Generation to Generation at Chateau Impney

Monday 11 May 2015

A pre-war MG Q-Type Special that has been campaigned by the same family for six decades is set to uphold its family heritage at the Chateau Impney Hill Climb this July.

The 1936 1100cc MG Q Type Special (JC3269) started life as an MG PB purchased from new by Humphrey Smith at the end of 1936. Humphrey’s first outing in the car was at the Donington Coronation Trophy Meeting in May 1937 without success, followed by July’s 12 Hour Sports Car Race where he came 20th overall.

Humphrey entered the MG for the RAC Rally in 1939, sharing the driving between himself and his wife, where they finished 29th out of 39 starters. The couple parted ways with the car shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War and it eventually ended up in the hands of W R Rash, a farmer from Diss and an enthusiastic member of the Eastern Counties Motor Club.

Rash entered the MG in the first ever race meeting at Snetterton in April 1952, organised by the Eastern Counties Motor Club, achieving fourth place in a three-lap scratch race for racing cars up to 1100cc. He continued to campaign the car primarily at Snetterton, but by late 1953 wanted something faster and more sporting, so opted to change the body before removing the engine and gearbox and placing them in a Lotus 6.

With its new body but minus its engine and gearbox, the MG was bought by Essex-based Colvin Gunn in 1954, who replaced the missing parts, including adding an 847cc power plant engine, and got it running again. A leading figure in the racing and repair of Triple-M MGs, Colvin regularly took the car out around rural Essex with best friend and VSCC member Leon Easter. He built a replacement homemade fibreglass body during this time, placing it in keeping with sports cars of that era. However, Colvin particularly admired the 2-seater Q type body, which noticeably influenced the car’s fourth body incarnation, and which he went on to craft in aluminium.

He continued to campaign the MG for the following four decades and raced in France during the 1970s as well as Shelsley Walsh, Prescott and Curborough. His son James would often accompany him camping at the circuits and the competitions eventually became a family affair with James getting behind the wheel at Curborough in his late teens. His daughter Rebecca also caught the motorsport bug and in 1984, became the first ever winner of the John Rowley Trophy, the VSCC’s annual aggregate award for its top performing Under-23 Member, which was most recently won in 2014 by Charlie Martin.

Following Colvin’s death in 2001, the brother and sister team have continued their father’s legacy and seen the MG reach its full potential as a highly successful competition car in VSCC events throughout the UK. Rebecca and James both compete in the car, with James taking care of the maintenance.

This time it will be Rebecca behind the wheel and she is already relishing the challenge ahead. The MG will compete in the Pre-1940 Racing Cars up to 1100cc class, and Rebecca is one of four ladies in the category, taking on Rachael Williams’ Hardy Special, the Austin 7 Kaye Petre Replica driven by Francesca Wilton and Hannah Enticknap’s Morgan Super Aero.

Rebecca is confident about the capability of a car she’s known all her life and, having driven the course in a modern car, thinks the MG will be well-suited to the tight bends. 

Photos courtesy of Mark Ballard and Sue Ballard

  • Rebecca Gunn MG Q-Type Special, Chateau Impney Hill Climb, Droitwich



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