YB 1022 -MG Nickri -Sports racing Special-
A unique MG XPAG -powered – Nickri-bodied, Sports racing special from the golden period of 1950s sports and special build motorcars.
Sensitively restored and in fine original condition, ready for its new custodian to take it to the next chapter.
In the mid-fifties, the choice of sports-car was sometimes limited, often by price and availability. If the budding driver wanted to go racing and move on from a vintage-special and perhaps with limited funds, what could the budding racer / Engineer do?
The question was answered by the numerous companies that sprung up post war, offering not only tubular or box-section chassis but also fiberglass bodywork with which to clothe the purchasers’ own rolling chassis. These companies included (as shown here) Nickri Laminates, Microplas , RGS, Lister, J.A.G, and countless more; all finding their way onto chassis from Jaguar, Healey, MG and many others.
In the case of the car offered here, the chosen chassis was the underslung MG Y type, as used by the famous racing driver Dick Jacobs when he built his own RGS-bodied MG Special YB1551, which he raced at Silverstone and regularly at Goodwood.
The original builder of my car chose the 1958 design Nickri Laminates Spyder body, modified to fit the MG chassis. In late 1959, an updated version was in production, with more conventional headlight-position and bonnet bulges, these being the most obvious deviations from the original pure design with which this car is clothed.
Car Mechanics magazine (no doubt wisely!) chose the attractive Nickri Spyder shell for their serialized Special vehicle-builds which ran from the September to December 1958 issue; these four original issues are included with the car.
Originally designed to fit the Ford 8/10 chassis, the Nickri came complete with full floor, bulkhead, wheel arches, spare-wheel platform, occasional seat-pans, rear bulkhead, dashboard, and a choice of colour. All edges were trimmed and flanged and, apparently, the body could be lowered onto your chassis in just 30 seconds!
What price for such sleek & sporting glamour? In 1958, the princely sum of £75.00 (ex- works) would have secured the purchaser his new body to attach to the chassis of his choice.
Discovered several years ago, whilst hidden in the corner of a (proper!) Oak-frame Sussex barn, within a collection of other vintage and post-war racing cars, several of which have gone on to become well known cars upon their subsequent restoration.
In a parlous state when found, the lines of the Nickri Laminates bodywork still seduced. Despite the later 1960s MG engine and gearbox fitted to its original Y type MG chassis, I felt this typical ‘Special ‘of its period, offered a wonderful opportunity to restore and perhaps, return it to a more competitive life.
Originally registered MYU 39, sadly the very rusted MG Y type (Nickri bodied) rolling chassis, came with very little paperwork, other than old style buff log- book and some sales paperwork pertaining to a MG Nickri ‘Special’, so perhaps we may never know the full story of this interesting MG. Although, I would love to think the car had been used in club sprints or perhaps on one of the many airfields given over to racing cars of this period, I have not found any hard evidence… as yet!
I particularly liked (and still do) the idea of hill-climbing the car and perhaps mixing in with the various other XPAG powered MG specials (Kieft, Lotus ,Cooper MG, Tojiero MG, Lester MG etc!) of the period. Even Sir Stirling Moss raced an XPAG powered Tojiero!.
Various race series exist for this period of car including Fiscar fliers, MG car clubs Iconic 50s and the AMOC.
Indeed the 2009 Goodwood Madgwick cup featured many of these MG powered specials including the Playford, Dargue, Lester and Parsons along with Maserati A6GCS, OSCA, Tojiero Bristol and Lotus Climax.
Sadly, upon stripping the car for restoration the original Y type chassis was found to be far beyond repair, this chassis was scrapped and the bodywork and parts have now been re-built upon a much better YB chassis numbered 1022 and registration YMG 16 upon which identity the car now is now built upon.
Since purchased , the Nickri has been gradually and gently restored, with an eye for preserving originality.
The original XPAG engine has been refitted along with a pair of fully restored SU carburettors and TD manifold. The engine remains in fairly unmodified condition.
Included in the sale is another later MG XPAG engine and gearbox, suitable for building a hot-race engine or even perhaps adding a supercharger; all of which is readily available from various XPAG MG specialists.
YMG 16 has been re-wired in period cloth-covered wiring and, although minimal electrical equipment is fitted, it does feature delightful and original Marchal spotlights correctly fitted to the front grille, whilst typical Lucas items are fitted elsewhere. The old Lucas Regulator and fuse box have been replaced with new Items.
The dashboard sports a plethora of original gauges from quality manufacturers including Smiths & S.E.V; dominating is a fine and original Jaeger 0-8000rpm tachometer, recently overhauled. This is an item normally seen in Lister jaguars and many racing cars of the period.
The Lucas SF4 fuse-box is dash-mounted and there are two original dealer plates attached from MG and from the 1950s dealer Performance Cars LTD, who were well known dealers in racing cars and the exotic, from Bugatti to Lister.
The Chassis has been cleaned (no repair being necessary), and re-painted grey to match the colour as found, along with the roll-hoop. This was not fitted when purchased but I believe is original to the car –it may not meet modern race requirements although is probably fine for sprints or hill-climbs.
The Brakes are completely overhauled with new pistons, wheel cylinders, shoes, hoses, pipe etc., along with brake, master, and clutch cylinders.
Wheels are the much sought after and original alloy rimmed Borrani wires, currently fitted with 15 inch Dunlop racing tyre. I also include a spare set of virtually unused Blockley 5 block Cross ply/ Bias ply road race tyres.
The body required a fair amount of fibreglass repair but we have tried to ensure it still shows its age, so expect the odd mark or typical fibreglass spider. The car was painted in a period light blue cellulose paint, matched to a period Porsche colour; this has allowed the original blemishes to show and, to my eye, gives the car a pleasing patina.
The fuel-is fed into the tank by a lovely 1950’s Enots quick release filler cap with a rare spin on locking mechanism. The fuel tank has been replaced with a modern aluminium racing item. Feeding the restored S.U carburettors is a new S.U fuel pump.
The Spartan Interior has little in the way of appointments as befits a sporting car. Two bucket-seats have been beautifully re-trimmed in aged red leather by trimmer Gail Hodgson. The original wood-rim steering-wheel (which we believe is Italian perhaps Lancia or Maserati) and aluminium door-panels finish off the very proper and period looking interior.
A low semi-wrap-around screen encases the drivers view whilst a small original Brooklands aero- screen can be lowered or raised for the lucky passenger (currently not fitted).
Running well, and with a small spares-package (including the spare engine, rear axle etc) to enable further development, it is now sadly, time for the car to go to a new owner, one whom, I hope, will use the car as I am sure the original builder intended.
With further development, the ‘Nickri’ would also be eligible for many prestigious race and road events.