Inskip Bodied MG TD
Hyman Ltd., a
specialty Collector Car dealer has this interesting MG TD variant currently for
They have one of the largest collections of quality collector cars in the United
States. For over 15 years, they have specialized in finding the most unique
vehicles in the world.
See their site to view their collection some of the world's best collector
However, you are
probably asking why have we featured an MG TD on the MG Y website? Well,
as we all know, the MG TD was only possible because of the development work in
chassis, suspension, and steering, but above all, the foreign currency earnings
by the MG Car Company Limited, of the MG Y Type. Indeed we also know that
the more famous two-seater variant of the TD shares many of the Y parts and
sadly many Ys were broken in times past for spares for the TD market. What
few of us realise though is that what was hailed as a "sales flop", the MG YT,
actually made someone create a four seater MG TD!
J.S. Inskip Inc
was a U.S. east coast importer of unique European automobiles that was started
in the 1930's. In the late 1940's, Inskip became the east coast importer and
distributor for MG. Inskip requested that MG built a 4 seat version of the T.D.
however the small British company did not have the manufacturing resources to
comply. Inskip perceived that there was a market for a 4 seat tourer similar to
the earlier MG Y. Inskip took just twelve T.Ds and performed the Inskip conversion.
The chassis was lengthened by 10 inches, drive shaft and brakes lines were
lengthened, new running boards and doors were fabricated and of course new front
and rear seats were fitted. Although it is not know how many Inskip T.Ds
are know to survive, this car (TD 23255) is one of the twelve that were produced. It
is a beautifully restored example sporting a deep red finish, a black leather
interior and a black cloth convertible top. It is understood that Inskip added a
unique Lion radiator ornament to each of the twelve cars. This car still
retains this rare item. The car is equipped with the chrome side spear unique to
the Inskip, tear drop running boards, wire wheels, chrome luggage rack, fog
lamps, tripod headlamps and a complete set of side curtains.
The following information on J S Inskip is kindly provided by Phil Brooks. Thank you Phil.
J. S. Inskip was a leading New York dealer for many makes of car after WWII, especially but not exclusively British cars. They were the East Coast importer for MG, along with other cars. I have not seen a photo of a YT with the chrome strips referred to in the postings, but I certainly would like to see one.
John S. Inskip (or “Jack” but never “Doug”) (and where the hell did the idea come from that he was named “Doug”?) was head of the New York office of Rolls-Royce of America in the late 1920s and 1930s, and he rose to become president of Rolls-Royce of America before the company closed its doors. Jack may or may not have been a body designer for Brewster; I’ve never been sure that he was. However, he was the guy that designed the fairly racy-looking bodies on Springfield Rolls-Royces in the very late ‘20s and early ‘30s, including the Ascot tourer, the Newport town car, and so on. He had a great sense of style and designed automobile bodies with panache. The New York Rolls-Royce Service Depot, which was under the main New York office (i.e., Jack Inskip), evolved in the very late ‘20s and early ‘30s into the main distributor for Springfield Rolls-Royces. When the factory in Springfield finally closed its doors and wound up its affairs, Jack organized J. S. Inskip, Inc. to handle all the Rolls-Royce sales in North America. Rolls-Royce of America had bought Brewster in 1925, and when Springfield closed, Brewster did, too. Jack Inskip bought all of the Brewster coach-building holdings and established J. S. Inskip as a coachbuilder in the old Brewster building in New York; he also brought on board a bunch of the Brewster craftsmen. Consequently, from about 1936 until WWII J. S. Inskip built very stylish bodies on Rolls-Royce Phantom III and Wraith chassis, and they also built a few bodies on Packards and Buicks. Inskip was building on a good foundation: not only was there the Brewster heritage and association with Rolls-Royce, but Brewster under Inskip’s leadership built the Brewster “Heart-Front” Fords in ’35-’36. It’s worth noting that Jack Inskip was the designer of the “Heart-Front” Ford and the brains behind that whole project. Inskip also imported a number of new Rolls-Royces and Bentleys from the factory in Derby, from about 1936 up to as late as 1941! Most of these cars had British coachwork, but some came over as chassis to receive Inskip bodies.
After WWII, Inskip was the only Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealer for North America for a few years, eventually becoming the East Coast distributor only. RR set up Peter Satori and British Motor Cars as the two California and Western dealers and Overseas Imports in Texas as the Midwest dealer. Inskip got into the business of importing other cars, including MGs and Fiats, for awhile; while their sales were primarily on the East Coast, I’m pretty sure that they sold MGs nationally for awhile.
Inskip only built about three or four bodies on Rolls-Royces after the War, including two four-passenger tourers, one of which is pictured in the YT postings. (I used to know what I think is the other tourer, not this one, fairly well when it was in the hands of my old friend John North of Easton, MD.) Inskip then got out of the coach-building business. I should point out that Inskip, as part of their coach-building work, had from the early ‘30s made up such things as very stylish windshields, door handles, chrome side strips, and the like; this was an outgrowth of Brewster’s coach-building business. It’s only logical that they had chrome side strips made up for YTs — that’s the sort of thing that Jack Inskip liked to do, with his innate sense of style.
Jack Inskip died in 1961, just after coming back home from an RROC annual meet where he gave a lecture on American Rolls-Royces. I never knew him, but those who did know him loved him. The business continued in the family, with Inskip’s son-in-law managing the firm for some years. Eventually, in 1968 Inskip sold their Rolls-Royce franchise to Peter Zage, who also got all their chassis cards for Springfield Rolls-Royces and for every car that was sold by Inskip including the Brewster “Heart-Front” Fords and the postwar cars they imported, such as MGs. Peter Zage gave all those records to the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club in late 1968, and a couple of dear friends of ours drove up to New York and got them. That collection is a real treasure trove, because it is the definitive collection of records about the Springfield Rolls-Royce operation and sales. That collection is now held by the Rolls-Royce Foundation, of which I am the current Historian and a past President. And the last time I looked, the MG records were alive and well in the archives of the Rolls-Royce Foundation in Mechanicsburg, PA.
To my knowledge, we have no records indicating that Inskip sold after-market materials for MGs, including the chrome strips, and certainly no stock lists. Certainly the firm, currently located in Rhode Island, is not making parts; in fact, the current firm and its owners have no knowledge of the history of J. S. Inskip! It is remotely possible that the Rolls-Royce Foundation has a stock list of Inskip parts and just hasn’t discovered it yet, but I’ve been pretty familiar with the collection since we got it in 1968 and I’ve never seen such a list. One could always ask our staff at the Foundation, of course ...
I hope this information, which is more than you wanted to know, will shed a little bit of light on Inskip and their association with MGs. I think it’s safe to say that, while Inskip probably made up only a few of these chrome side strips for MGs, these side strips are part of the heritage of Brewster, the best coach-building firm in America from about 1810 on. These side strips are significant.