Note: The following page is not intended to fuel an age-old debate, but rather to present a viewpoint often overlooked. This page is presented as a mixture of opinion and fact and should be considered as such. – Ed.

The common belief is that the name "M.G." stands for "Morris Garages". Whether or not this is true has been the subject of much debate over the years. While it is much easier to simply accept the most visually obvious answer to the issue, there is substantial evidence that it is not true. The other side of the argument states that M.G. stands for itself and is not an abbreviation, but rather a name in itself. The story goes like this…

The letters for M.G. were chosen as a tribute to William Morris and his company, Morris Garages. Cecil Kimber, while working for Mr. Morris in the 1920’s, began building custom cars from Morris chassis. The cars needed a name since they were not a Morris offering, but rather a custom job. Mr. Kimber named them M.G. as a tribute to his employer. The cars were quite successful and eventually Cecil branched off and started building his own line of cars. He officially named this new entity "The M.G. Car Company". The company was financed and therefore owned by Mr. Morris, with Kimber acting as its general manager.

It is certainly possible that in the very beginning while still working at Morris Motors, Cecil chose the letters "M.G." as an abbreviation for Morris Garages. However, if that was the case then he very quickly changed his mind! After all, if M.G. really stood for Morris Garages then how could two companies exist with the same name at the same time?

Other evidence for this argument is on the vehicle maker’s plate which always state the full name of the company who built it. On every M.G. made, it states "The M.G. Car Company", never "The Morris Garages Car Company". Even looking back to the earliest days of M.G., one cannot find Morris Garages listed on any company letterhead or even in the very first M.G. Magazine of 1933.

Further argument is offered in this article from M.G. Driver’s Club web site which describes the true meaning of M.G. and includes comments directly from Cecil Kimber’s daughter who remembers her father being asked this question on many occasions…

Here is a letter from the Postbag of MG Enthusiast magazine in 1992. It is self-explanatory and an important piece of MG history.

"Regarding the dots in M.G. as I started this particular ball rolling with my letter to Auto Classic magazine, my thoughts on this matter may be of interest as they involve a personal conversation with Mr. Kimber himself, some sixty years ago.

First let me dispel the ‘experts’ who doubt Mrs. Cook’s (Jean Kimber Cook, daughter of Cecil Kimber, founder of the M.G. Car Company) comments – she is absolutely correct in stating that ‘M.G. does not stand for Morris Garages.’ As regards the dots, however, they are there for a particular reason which I will come to later.

Despite what numerous books and commentators say, the truth of the matter is that Mr. Kimber, in pursuit of a name for his inspired cars, chose the M from Morris and the G from Garages as a tribute to his employer – Billy Morris, they were not abbreviations. Had anyone dated to suggest to him that they were shorthand initials for Morris Garages, he would have given them ‘flea in the ear’ pointing out there already was a Morris Garages – how could there be two?

At an R.A.C. awards dinner in the Thirties, Mr. Kimber, as our guest of hour, made quite clear to all present that he wanted it known that M.G. stood just for itself – ‘The British Sports Car.’ I was there (and still have the signed menu card) and it came from the man himself! His daughter – Mrs. Cook – also related this fact in your April/May ’88 issue.

As to the famed dots, my friend M.E.L. Gosling – a motorcyclist, having been informed the M.&G. were not shortened, queried the use of the dots; Mr. Kimber told us it was simply a matter of design – more visually attractive, and no other reason. It was confusing then, as now, however, and no-one would dare to take on the master. We later studied the factory literature of the time, and agreed – he was right! ‘That which Mr. Kimber joined together, let no editor or tired typesetter put asunder.’ If it was good enough for the boss of M.G. it should be good enough for the rest of us.

You are not alone in your ignorance of these important points: witness the new signs outside the M.G. Car Club premises in Abingdon – no dots – someone has slipped up, and they really should know better. This is not the first time the club has abandoned its history – only since the arrival of previous magazine editors, was the exclamation mark following ‘Safety Fast!’ returned to its rightful place; again this is an important piece of M.G. history and is there for a reason.

The excellent centrespread in your September 1991 issue is how it should be done – or are these just dots in front of my ancient eyes? You can do it when you try! Today’s printing technology can easily be programmed to include the dots in M.G. and exclude them from MGB etc., it is simple, if you care enough.

May this octogenarian offer some advice to all the young bloods? Do not ignore your marque heritage, that is what made it great. If required, I will gladly dip into my pension to fund glucose tablets for your typesetter, and blobs of paint for the M.G. Car Club signs, along with a copy of "M.G. by McComb", wherein on each page, you will see how the letters should be presented when not in the octagon.

Congratulations to Mr. Barry Foster for his spirited response (Aug. ’91): was it really such a short letter – or had you cut it? Here’s hoping he can work the magic on Mr. Kimber’s own club.

Finally, on the subject of the dots: your own magazine, while not having the benefit of the octagon on the front cover, would, as Mr. Kimber intimated, impart more visual impact with bold stops in place – after all, what is an Enthusiast?

Before I go chasing the other Brooklands lads, upstairs – where engines do not break, and fuel is free – do me and Mr. Kimber’s memory a favour: remember that the mists of time have a habit of obscuring the facts, so shun the self-proclaimed experts, become a purist and stand out from the crowd and proudly state – ‘M.G. stands for itself – not Morris Garages, and the dots are there as a matter of design only.’