The MG Y-type was a post-war sedan and tourer produced by the Morris Garages (MG) manufacturer between 1947 and 1953. The Y-type was born out of MG’s drive to supplement their “Midget” sport car models with a range of four-door family sedans. Penned by Gerald Palmer, the car featured typical pre-World War II styling cues being based on the Morris Eight. This was because the car was conceptualized in 1939 with a view of being produced then. However, the start of World War II led to the production of the car being delayed for eight years! This meant that the car carried some pre-war features such as the separate chassis, and headlamps outside the bodywork. The purchase price of the car in 1947 was £525 plus purchase tax of approximately £147. Some 8,400 units were produced by the time production ceased in 1953.
The engine choice was the 1,250cc XPAG engine that was used in the MG TB, TC and TD range of sports cars. In the Y-type, the engine breathed through a single Skinners Union (SU) carb, unlike the twin carb set-up in the sports cars. Power output was 46bhp at 4,800rpm and 58.5 lb ft of torque at 2,400rpm which gave the Y-type a respectable power output that was slightly higher than most directly competing cars in Britain at the time.
The Y-type also featured independent front suspension. Performance figures were a top speed of around 112km/h and 0-100km/h in 30 seconds. The YT tourer model featured higher lift cams and twin carbs and yielded 54bhp as a result, giving it sprightlier performance. Transmission was a four speed gearbox with synchromesh on top three gears.
The cabin of the Y-type was lavishly appointed for a car of this type, featuring extensive use of wood and leather. The gauges were octagonal shaped in a nod to the MG badge. Front doors were of the “suicide” variety while rear doors were of the conventional type – both front and rear doors were hinged at the B-pillar.
The Y-type had a unique feature. Called the ‘Jackall’, the car featured four hydraulic rams bolted to the chassis. Powered by a belt-driven pump, the system could jack up the front, rear, or entire car, making tyre-changing a cinch.
The 1948 model we have featured here is owned by Shalike Ganewatte who purchased it in 2004. Photographing it in the Bellanvila walking paths area, Shalike recounts that being a frequent visitor of the Bellanvila temple, he used to have a plain tea and a chat with a priest. One day when he went to the temple in his Morris Minor convertible, the Priest informed him of another temple visitor who had a collection of classics. The gentleman was Mr. Paramesh David who had the MG for sale. “Don’t expect it to be a sports car, it’s a saloon” he told Shalike. Thus, he lost interest, however the Priest kept persuading him to go and have a look at the car, managing to persuade Shalike to make the trip to Wellawatte. The moment Shalike saw the car, he told the Priest he would buy it even before alighting from his own car! The car’s first owner in Sri Lanka was a Mr. R. S. R. Jayawardana of Havelock Road, Colombo 6, thereafter the car went to Mr. Paramesh David.
The car was driven under its own power to Shalike’s residence in Mount Lavinia and thereafter underwent a total restoration and full paint job. Shalike recounts that unlike most of the other classics he has purchased, the MG was in relatively good condition. The hydraulic parts of the Jackall system on it were removed when he purchased the car (the chassis mounts remain) and he plans to install it as soon as he can source a working system.
The car has been exhibited at many classic car events and is driven around Colombo too. Shalike even hitches his bicycle holder and uses the car to carry his bike when going on a ride. That way, he says the car gets a run too.