In the late summer of 1966 Barry Naunton, Clive Tanner and myself, all T-Type owners were offered a partly dismantled TA in a back garden, which we bought for £15 between the three of us. We took it apart and kept some items for our own cars, then advertised the rest for sale. We began to sell parts quite quickly, and decided that we would use some of the funds to buy any other derelict MGs and use the proceeds to create a part-time business to pay for our hobby and provide a spares service for other enthusiasts.
We bought various MG wrecks which would most likely otherwise to have ended up as scrap metal, including a VA and a J2 but finally settled on T and Y-types only as this was our real centre of interest. We were fortunate in finding a local farm building which could accommodate about 8 cars at a reasonable rent, later extending to a nearby shed containing pig pens (but no pigs) in which customers found it amusing that wings were stored in pens so they could not escape!
When customers started asking for new parts we started a list of new items, mostly mechanical essentials to begin with, but soon followed by chrome, rubber and other cosmetic parts until the list became extensive enough to become a catalogue. In 1969 Clive Tanner moved away from the district, and sold his share to my brother- in-law, Dick Bird who organised our book keeping and accounting as well as researching and sourcing many new parts to add to our inventory.
In those early years Dick & I both owned YB models, and with the aid of a trailer we travelled around the country buying cars and parts for resale – these were the days of overalls and greasy hands! Later I ran a ZB Varitone again with the use of a trailer for displays and trade stands at various MG events.
Our first catalogue in 1970 was just photocopied, but we soon produced a printed and illustrated version which continues to be developed and refined. In 1974 we launched our MGA & Z- Magnette parts range, also with an illustrated catalogue.
In 1971 Barry Naunton also moved away from Ipswich and sold his shares to Dick and I. We became a limited company around 1975 and we remained as directors until 2000 when Dick retired and Paul Banyard became my co-director, Paul having joined the Company in 1986 – younger blood for the 21st century!
By 1973 we had produced a number of new items including dashboards, running boards, TA-TB manuals and the first version of the oil filter conversion for early XPAG engines, which we have continued to refine up to the present day – producing the same basic item for over 40 years! About that time we also made thermostat conversions using a modern waxstat. This item is also still in production having sold 100s to private and trade customers.
In 1973 we opened a shop at 25 St Peters Street, Ipswich still retaining the farm buildings for cars and bigger stuff. We then took on our first full time employee, Chris McCarthy, as parts manager, also a part-time packer.
In April 1977 we moved again to a much larger shop in the centre of Ipswich at 21 St Margarets Green giving us considerably more space and a huge cellar where we stored used parts – this became a source of great interest for customers who could often find elusive items that were remains of our early days as MG dismantlers. Our range was also extended to include body panels and timber frame sections as well as high quality interior trim and weather equipment to original standards. We took on additional office and packing staff to cope with the increased business, and were invited to become founder members of the organisation which became British Motor Heritage. We are now the oldest established MG parts supplier in the UK.
In 1986 we purchased an industrial unit on the west side of Ipswich at 282-284 Bramford Road. This has proved to be ideal for our needs having enough space for our ever increasing stock, a small workshop area, and easy access from the A14 trunk road. Paul Banyard joined us just prior to this move, and his enthusiasm, computer skills and extensive knowledge of the cars and parts led him to launch a new range for the later Farina Magnette Mk3 & 4, also taking on the rest of this 1.5 litre range of saloons, Austin, Morris, Riley and Wolseley versions for which another catalogue was produced catering for these models. However we have never felt the need to cater for MG sports cars other than T-Types and MGA together with Y- Type & Z-Type saloons, so that we have concentrated on building our inventory for these models, finding ourselves with an ever-growing range each year, always with new projects in mind.
Paul has built our webshop www.mgbits.com almost single handed, and we now offer secure online shopping by credit/debit card, PayPal and other methods. The website includes many excellent photographs of our range as well as interesting details of customers’ cars and helpful information. We even have an online live help facility.
Mike and Paul now run the business as co-directors with the valued assistance of our telephone and online sales staff. Barry Naunton, original partner of NTG has re-joined the company running a small workshop for refurbishment of used parts, which we stock when new items are not available.