Lot 3172

1935 MG PB Airline Coupe by Carbodies

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$121,000 USD | Sold

United States | Marshall, Texas

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Chassis No.
PB0610
Body No.
649/1145
Documents
US Title
  • A rare and remarkable MG PB built to the streamlined design of H.W. Allingham
  • One of only 14 PB Airline Coupes believed to have been built, of which few survive
  • One of 526 PB chassis constructed in total, featuring the final and most refined iteration of the classic overhead-valve crossflow Midget engine
  • Beautifully restored under prior ownership; subtle two-tone red exterior over a red interior
  • Delightful details include Borrani wire wheels and MG “Midge” radiator mascot

Dedicated enthusiasts of early MGs have long recognized the P-Type cars as something truly special. Produced from 1934 through 1936, the PA and PB were the final models from the marque to use the celebrated overhead-cam crossflow-head inline-four Midget engine; in this sense, they represent the most refined incarnation of the old-school MG formula.

In the PB, of which just 526 were produced, this engine displaced 939 cubic centimeters and produced 43 horsepower while breathing through twin SU carburetors. This powerplant was mated to a four-speed gearbox; other advanced features included Andre Hartford adjustable shock absorbers, improving the sports car’s versatility on all types of roadways.

A STREAMLINED COUPE FOR THE MODERN AGE

Streamlining was more art than science in its earliest days, a fact that—happily—led to some of the most visually appealing, nearly sculptural automotive forms ever created. This is readily apparently on the MG P-Type Airline Coupe, designed by H.W. Allingham and crafted by Carbodies of Coventry, England.

Despite using the same petite 87.25-inch wheelbase as the two- and four-seat MG roadsters, the Airline Coupe boasts a dramatic, yet artfully balanced, profile, with the curves of its roofline contrasting with the classically upright MG grille. A trio of “cathedral” skylights were cut into the sliding sunroof panel, an appealing Art Deco detail, while the wind-out windshield provides additional ventilation on pleasant days.

Thanks to these touches, prospective Airline Coupe buyers were tempted with luxury in a miniature package, all riding on a joyful sporting chassis. The accompanying price tag, however, was itself not exactly miniature; consequently, many shoppers sacrificed style in favor of practicality, opting to spend a comparable amount of money to get a larger car.

This contributed greatly to the Airline Coupe’s rarity, even when new. Fifty-one are reported to have been built in total on a range of MG chassis, with a smaller subset of just 14 constructed on PB underpinnings. Few have survived to the present with their streamlined bodywork intact, making examples such as this extremely desirable.

Although much of its early history is unknown, by the mid-2000s, the car had made its way to an owner in Germany; correspondence on file indicates that, under his care, the car was restored by David Cooksey of Hampshire, England. This finely executed restoration, carried out in a subtle two-tone red over a red interior, has been carefully maintained in the intervening years and remains in excellent condition today. Finishing details include Borrani wire wheels wrapped in Blockley tires; a full-sized spare is neatly integrated into the rear bodywork. Atop the radiator sits the MG “Midge” mascot, a noteworthy feature originally offered as an accessory on P-Type cars that is now a cherished emblem of the MG community.

This Airline Coupe was acquired by Gene Ponder in 2018, and it has been a standout amidst his wide-ranging collection of MGs ever since. A nicely restored example of a rare, and rarely seen, model, this 1935 PB Airline Coupe would easily serve as the centerpiece of any stable with an early MG focus, and it possesses tremendous appeal for connoisseurs of streamlined and Art Deco design. Its sprightly chassis and refined overhead-cam engine, meanwhile, promise great thrills on the open road—and its elegant, shapely coachwork will undoubtedly turn heads wherever its next owner ventures!