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Gerald Palmer & The MG Y Type

Gerald Palmer and the MG Ten (Y Series).


MGTen1bThe MGCC Magnette Register are to celebrate the birth of Gerald Palmer at Gaydon Motor Museum on the 28th May, 2011. The show is called GP100 and Gerald Palmer was the designer of the Z Series Magnettes. He also designed the Jowett Javelin, the Riley Pathfinder and its sister car, the Wolseley 6/90 and had a hand in the Vauxhall Viva and Victor as well as a little to do with the MG Y Series saloon.


Now that the Event has taken place a report has been placed under Events via this link.


In his book ‘Auto-Architect’ (Magna Press) he says in chapter 4, “ My first assignment at Cowley was to work on the Series YA, a small, close-coupled saloon…” He says the car had been designed with a box-section chassis, the XPAG engine and independent front suspension with rack and pinion steering; this had been deemed too expensive. He was tasked with designing a cheaper front suspension system and the drawings show this.


MGten2bStudy the drawing ( top left ) of the MG Ten that is dated 22.01.39 and drawn by A.J.S. (who we do not know but worked in the Cowley Drawing Office). The title of the drawing is M.G. 10 HP Series, saloon 4 door. This must have been a definitive drawing as the MG Ten was to be shown at the 1939 London Motor Show and is the very car that AFTER WW2 became our Y Series in 1947. Palmer adapted the Morris Eight Series ‘E’ front axle and used a worm & peg steering box. The Palmer suspension used a front anti-roll bar so fitted that it absorbed the brake torque, just as on the Morris Ten Series ‘M’, a car that was originally to use the ifs as well.


MGTen4bThe car has leaf spring for both axles, the front one from the Morris Eight Series ‘E’ and it would have had this same car’s worm & peg steering box with its associated drag ling and track rod. The front leaf springs are clear to see and are similar to the MG TB in that there are sliding trunions and the forward end, not shackles as on the Morris Eight. Likewise the rear leaf springs run in sliding trunions but this time at the rear end of them. Palmer’s leaf-sprung front axle was not used as the eventual YA had the original ifs. He states he had nothing to do with the car’s styling as this had already been done by Leslie Hall’s team who did the Morris Eight design. Other worthy notes of the cart-sprung model are that the boot lid is hinged differently, it pivots about a hinge that lets the bottom four or five inches of the lid inside the boot, not as ours does with outside hinges. Unlike the YA this car has huge ‘MG’ motifs on each hub-cap.


MGTen5bcTo accommodate the front beam axle the chassis rises up and over it to end in dumb-irons that the front leaf spring’s trunions fits to. The rear axle is underslung as on our cars.


Now look at the drawing of the chassis in side-elevation (M1) ( pictured above ) and note that the front end is totally different to that of the 1939 MG Ten. This is the YA/YT and sports independent front suspension by wishbones and coil springs, with rack and pinion steering. Now, was this improvement intended for the 1939 London Motor Show? Or did it develop between 1945 and 1947?


MGTen6bcThe YA also has a Jackall system fitted and the rear leaf springs are suspended on shackles with rubber silent-bloc bushes, at the rear end, not sliding trunions. Both the MG Ten and YA have a 99” wheelbase.


The drawing in the plan view (M2) shows that the chassis was terminated at a new front suspension cross-member which as well as housing the wishbones, dampers and coil springs, located the rack and pinion steering. The front bumper supports are only bolted on. This drawing shows to advantage why the chassis is called a ‘ladder design’. It has two sides with cross members like ladder steps.


MGTen3bThe diagram of the Morris Eight’s front axle and king-pin with its single leading shoe drum brakes will have components a YA and YT owner can identify with. Like the MG Ten and MG Y Series, this car also sports hydraulic brakes when others still had either rod or cable actuation. The last picture is of the famous steering and suspension. It is easy to see why it was too expensive to fit to a humble Morris saloon. But it lasted on MGs until the RV8.


Neil Cairns.