11 January 2007
Morris Garages was the distributor in Oxford for Morris motorcars; despite the similarity in names, the two companies were not related. Yet.
In the 1920s, Morris Garages began tricking out sedate Morris Cowley sedans, which they vended under the name "MG Special." The name stuck, even after Morris Garages owner William Morris, later Lord Nuffield, sold out to the Morris auto company in the Thirties, and we had MGs for decades to come.
The Chinese, now proprietors of the octagon, have inexplicably decided to inform their domestic-market buyers that "MG" in fact means "Modern Gentleman", to the general dismay of people who know better. Personally, I think that if we're going to engage in this sort of nomenclatural revisionism, we should remember the last days of British Leyland's MGB, whose once-perky engine was detuned and detuned again in an effort to meet American emissions specifications, until its original 95 ponies were cut back to 63. By any reasonable standards, those machines were Mostly Gasping.