[Top] [All Lists]

More Re: Why Unibody

Subject: More Re: Why Unibody
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 13:43:22 EST
Relevant to the discussion of the monocoque MGs is the following from an 
article in "MGB Driver" last summer written by Peter Thornley in remembrance 
of his father John Thornley, the General Manager of MG from 1952 to 1969. The 
following is relevant to the discussion of unibody MG sports cars.

"After the MGA was off the ground and in production, long range thoughts 
turned fairly rapidly to it’s successors. In November of 1955 after the Earls 
Court Motor Show, John and Syd Enever wrote the following paragraph to S.V. 
Smith, the BMC director in charge of Abingdon:

"The great disadvantage of the monocoque form, particularly in the case of 
relatively small production rates such as our own, is that, unless the 
general construction of the car is to be very orthodox, one must of necessity 
tie oneself to a body design too far ahead of production. By using a 
self-supporting chassis (even though this may ultimately be welded or 
multiply-bolted to the body) development of chassis and body can proceed 
independently. The complete design then enjoys the benefit of flexibility, 
such that the style may subsequently be changed without interfering with the 
chassis, and vice versa.
We consider therefore that all future Abingdon products should have chassis 

These paragraphs, when the MGB is considered, were to give John considerable 
amusement, for it was only months later that Syd was deeply involved in the 
monocoque design for the next generation MG. And to perhaps give you a new 
perspective on the MGB and John’s respect for Syd Enever let me quote again 
from his own writing:

"I think if you want an indication of how remarkable it is, as a design: take 
an MGB roadster with the ‘shed’ down: open both doors fully; and then look at 
it from the side with your eyes about a foot of the ground; and you will see 
two large chunks of motor car joined together by ‘not very much’; into that 
‘not very much’ he had to build, not just the beam strength to hold the thing 
up off the road, but the torsional rigidity. You see if you are designing a 
saloon motor car, you’ve got tin over the top, and you can stress that, you 
can make the thing as torsionally tight as you like. He got it built into the 
sills. He deserves a Putty Medal for that lot.""

Kim Tonry
Editor - MGB Driver-Journal of the North American MGB Register
Downers Grove, Illinois, USA

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>