The Hawke History of MMM Competition Cars
“I can hardly remember a single week during the last seven years without new data revealing new entry numbers in a rare race programme or big steps forward like the lucky find of Owczarow’s diary notes or discoveries in the library of The Brooklands Museum. The listing is still far from complete, and probably never will be. May this publication wake up what is nowadays called ‘swarm intelligence’ to fill in gaps and eliminate errors.”
If the triple Ms in the title mean something to you you’re already conversant enough in this niche subject to also recognize what that equally illustrious name “Hawke” is all about—in which case you’ll be greeting the arrival of this book with the fanfare it deserves. Anyone else needs a quick warning, though: this is not a narrative about the famous 1929–1936 MG Midgets, Magnas, and Magnettes but a book of lists of numbers, names, stats, and specs.
Editor Wiessmann, a German MG owner (the index shows an amazing nine cars for him) and historian, is mindful of the fact that this sort of book will not ring everyone’s bell and writes: “When reading the bare facts and figures one may remember the dry charm of a phone book. You, the skilled reader, know it is the framework bearing exciting stories and the fate of fascinating drivers, mechanics and enthusiasts, which make up the living history of the M.G.s.”
The “seven years” alluded to in the quote above refer to a 2008 meeting in a pub where the plan for this book was hatched. 2008 was the 75th anniversary of the K3, the racing variant of the Magnette, and the name most prominently associated with chronicling the competition history of this tremendously important car is that of Mike Hawke, a long-time stalwart of the MG community and author of the definitive K3 Dossier (1992) which had become hard to find. A new version of that book then, improved and expanded, the project to be guided by Hawke and building on his previous work and that of others but with Wiessmann as author of record. (The reasons for this arrangement are briefly mentioned but are of interest only to lawyerly types.) And then Hawke died, in 2010, too early, the victim of a household accident.
The book is divided in the following order:
- 8/45 hp Midget Sports Double-Twelve (M-type 12/12)
- Midget Mark II and III Monthléry (C-type)
- J3 Midget
- J4 Midget
- QA Midget (Q-type)
- RA Midget (R-type)
- K3 Magnette
- NE Magnette
- Plus the various experimental cars in each category
A whole bunch of fine print applies to that list but this in no way diminishes the utility of the data. One chassis at a time (identified by chassis no., engine number, body style, color, UK registration no.) is presented, in tabular form by date, event (not only “race” but “key moment” in a chassis’ life), driver, results, comments, and entry number. Unidentifiable chassis are bundled at the end of each section as “Unallocated.”
Ancillary material encompasses several pages of abbreviations and Indeces of cars, people, companies and registration numbers (however, the entries don’t refer to page but chassis numbers).
If you are new to the Triple Ms this is obviously not the book to start but it is an indispensable compendium to such recommended standard works as Maintaining the Breed by John Thornley, Reach For the Sky by Paul Brickhill, or M.G. Road Cars – Vol. 1 Four Cylinder O.H.C. and Vol. 2 Six Cylinder O.H.C. by Malcolm Green.
If, by the time you get to the outside back cover you already forgot what the front cover looked like, take another look. Those two MG pins on the front are shown again on the back, in the same position—but from the back. Clever!
Copyright 2015, Sabu Advani (speedreaders.info).