This comprehensive list is compiled from the Austin Cambridge and Westminster Car Club; the Cambridge and Oxford Owners Club; the Riley Motor Club; the M.G. Car Club; and individual owners who belong to none of these organisations. If you are in any of these clubs, you will have a Riley or M.G. Farina secretary who will be pleased to hear from you. At the time of printing, the ACWCC contact was Jim Mathews, COOC Neil Cairns, RMC Keith Hutchinson, and MGCC again Neil Cairns. Addresses will be in the various magazines.
In 1994 a media campaign was run to trace all the Farina M.G. and Riley cars. From this a shock discovery was made that the 4/68 and Mk3 M.G. were indeed very rare cars. The Mk4 M.G. was better off, but the best survivor is the Riley 4/72, almost twice all the others added together.
In the list you will find abreviations;- 'A' for automatic car, 'recon' for a correct, but non-original engine fitted, 'A60', or 'MGB' for an engine from that car fitted. Lots of entries have gaps. Only information supplied can be put onto the list, so if the forms are not filled in, less info is put out, ie, often only the year of registration is given, not the actual date off the log book. Again be careful here, as this may be months, or even years after the date the car was made, such as exports to New Zealand. Production dates are given at the end, for chassis number by year. Only very limited entries for some cars indicate I have been given notice of a 'sighting' by another owner, who could not get more.
The rarest model is the Riley 4/68, introduced on 03.02.59, and ending production on 04.10.61. 10,984 were made, but DVLA Swansea only has 40 cars on its records. The first was 101, the last 11084.
The 4/72 survived a lot better, possibly due to an older age group buying them as retirement cars, as many are automatics. Not as hard on his/her car as the M.G. owner, many are still low mileage examples in pristine condition. 14,191 were made, 129 less than the Mk4 Magnette. The first was 11101, the last 25291,( 16 numbers were not used after the 4/68.) DVLA Swansea has 236 on their records. They were made from 19.09.61 to 24.10.69, but due to orders of the last taking time to deliver, OR the cars took time to sell, there are some 1970 'H' registered cars about. On the 4/72 in particular, delivery times seemed to be long after the shell was made and allocated a chassis number, and built into a car. For instance 25122 was built between 13th & 15th August 1969, but was not completed for delivery from the factory until the 21st February 1970! Did strikes slow them down? 23409 was built between 14th & 17th of April 1967, and delivered on the 19th April. Survival of the last cars is understandably better than the early cars, the 24000 and 25000 series show this. Pre-1964 survival rate is very poor. Blocks of cars going to dealers can be noticed by the registration allocations, note the VYD letters. Garages are given 'blocks' of registrations to speed up delivery.
There are a lot of automatic 4/72's, and quite a few manual cars have been fitted with 1798cc MGB engines, (as have the Mk4 Magnettes.) The engine used is the early 3 main bearing unit, 18G and 18GA. New Zealand is rich in Riley Farinas, and again in blocks of chassis numbers can be seen. It took quite a long time before they were registered. Very few M.G's went to NZ, and very few Rileys went to Australia.
The second rarest model is the Mk3 M.G. Magnette. It was the second Farina to be shown to Joe Public, after the Wolseley 15/60,( now almost as rare.) It arrived on 12.11.58, and 1,575 cars were made, the first being 101, and the last 16676. DVLA has about 70 cars on record. In its three year life it sold 2,255 more cars than the Mk4 did in six years. Lots of red ones were sold.
The Mk4 M.G. Magnette has had an identity problem all its life. It looks just like a Mk3, but has improved performance and handling, but not image. It was introduced on 18.09.61 and faded away on 08.04.68. Its sister the Riley 4/72 lasted until 24.10.69.The first Mk4 was 16801 and the last 31120. DVLA has just 178 on record. The car is fading away fast due to its almost identical mechanics to the MGA 1600 Mk2,( 8719 made, over 3000 still exist, worldwide. Also, the 'Z' Magnette, of which 36,601 were made, a similar number to the Mk3 & Mk4 added together, over 1600 still exist. Compare that to the few Farinas left.) Not many are still on the road, at an educated guess about 25 to 30 are taxed and mot'd. Most await restoration or breaking, or the banger-racer. This year, (1996/7) quite a few have been purchased for restoration, but then the few parts stockists becomes a problem, especially body panels.
Full marks to the COOC and MGCC for recognizing the rarity, of the M.G. If you see a Riley or M.G. Farina that is not on this register, please tell its owner of us, and note any details you can and tell me. The colours given are the base one, the register sheets just do not give enough information to detail if for instance white is 'Snowberry' or 'Old English White', and so on.