1933 MG K1 / K3 Magnette Conversion


Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1933 MG K1 / K3 Magnette Conversion.

According to documentation on file, this car started its life as an MG K1 four door pillarless saloon that was finished in black with a green interior. It was delivered to Duthrie & Sons, Montrose, Angus, Scotland on the 6th of November 1933. The car was then sold to the first owner, AM Wilkie, on the 11th of November of the same year. The first recorded UK road registration was SR8731. Subsequent UK owners are noted as C Garton 7/37, G Gardner 4/38, PJ Skegg 1956 and CP Shaw 1964.

At some stage the car found its way to Australia.

It was acquired in March 1990 by a well known MG enthusiast on the Gold Coast. The current owner acquired the car in 2000 as a rolling chassis and boxes of parts. It is understood that the previous owner shortened the chassis from a wheel base of 9.0’ (2.74m) to a wheelbase of 7’ 10” (2.39m) to build a recreation of a K3 Magnette.

The project appealed to the current owner who engaged the services of highly regarded vintage car specialists Historic and Vintage Restorations (HVR) in Melbourne

Initially progress was slow as the owner was focussed on two other projects. In 2006 the MG project got some real traction.

The chassis was rebuilt to K3 specifications with cruciform cross member added and then painted. The suspension has a split steering axle, retempered springs, new bushes & shackles, refurbished dampers, extra rear shockers, rebuilt & respoked wheels and rebuilt 13” aluminium drum brakes with hydraulics.

The engine was totally rebuilt with many news parts, including the block, crankshaft, rods and pistons. The cylinder head had new valves, springs and inlet manifold. All the engine ancillaries, including the supercharger, water pump, generator and starter were completely rebuilt. A new exhaust system was also fabricated. The car features a close ratio preselector gearbox which was also totally rebuilt.

The new body was built from scratch out of lightweight aluminium. The HVR team has done a magnificent job and the body has been beautifully handcrafted. It has been fitted with rebuilt original lights and instruments, aero screens, re-built original screen and wipers. The car has an original K3 (K3004) radiator and radiator cowl. A new wiring loom has been installed.

The interior was reupholstered in red leather and the car painted in the most stunning shade of magenta.

As one can imagine, this was a challenging project. A significant amount of research was undertaken to ensure the car was built as accurately and correctly as possible. By 2011 the project was finished and the car was ready for its first test drive.

Over the next three years the car was fettled and continuously improved. At some stage the original supercharger was replaced with a modern supercharger.

Today this fabulous MG presents and drives exceptionally well. It really does present like a recently restored car.

The car is physically quite small, but despite that it has an incredible presence. The first thing you notice is the colour. At first glance from a distance the car looks black, however, when you get closer you realise this is not the case. It is finished in the most magnificent shade of dark purple or magenta and the colour really suits the car.

The paintwork is still in very good condition and one has to look hard to find any defects. Over the years the paint has retained its strong depth of colour and a nice gloss finish. The chrome work is a real feature on this car and it is all in excellent condition. The exhaust is usually not something we would mention in our write up on a car but on this car it is a work of art. The satin black coating is in excellent condition as is the heat wrapping.

The car is fitted with a normal wind screen as well as two aero screens. They are in excellent condition with no scratches or stone chips evident.

The wire wheels are painted and in very good condition. There is no curb rash and all the spokes are in good condition. The wheels are shod with Excelsior Comp H tyres, size 5.00-19. The tyres are in excellent condition, however, they are date stamped 2904 (week 29, 2004) and therefore should be replaced based on age. There is also a spare wheel mounted on the back of the car which is shod with the same tyre.

The interior is minimalistic yet businesslike as one would expect in what is essentially a race car. Everything remains fresh and is in excellent condition. The red leather seats hardly show any sign of wear and provide excellent support. The painted dashboard, whilst simple, is exactly what you would expect in a car like this. It is in excellent condition and all the instruments are clear and appear to be in good working condition. Even the dark grey carpets are in excellent condition.

Another feature of the car is the exposed preselector gearbox. The MG K3 was most likely the first race car to use a preselector as part of its original specification.

We were genuinely excited to take the car out for our test drive.

Starting the car is relatively easy. The car is fitted with a battery isolator and therefore the first step is to make sure that is in the on position. There is a row of toggle switches on the left hand side of the dash. There is a switch for the ignition and a switch for the fuel pump, which need to be turned on. After waiting patiently for the pump to prime the carburettors you press the starter button. The engine fires up easily and it immediately becomes obvious that this car means business. Wow . . .  what a noise! With a cold engine on start up you need to feather the throttle initially and it will then soon settle into a smooth idle.

Then you get to the interesting part. Initially, it feels a bit strange to select a gear first and then press the clutch to engage the gear, but you do quickly get used to it.  In fact once you get the hang of it, the preselector gearbox is an absolute delight. To be able to have both hands on the steering wheel when you change gears allows you to focus on just steering the car

There is only one way to describe driving this car . . . FUN !!! It is an absolute blast and one of the best prewar cars we have ever driven.

The engine might be small, but in combination with the supercharger and the fact that the car weighs ‘nothing’ it is surprisingly fast. Pre-selector gearboxes are often criticised for being ‘slow’ and at times ‘awkward’. On this car it was quite the opposite, the gear changes were smooth and without hesitation.

Because of its size, this car feels like you are going faster than actually are, but make no mistake in the blink of an eye you will have exceeded the speed limit. Importantly the brakes are also up to the task and they pull the car up quickly and in a straight line when needed.

All too soon our test drive comes to and end and we have to return the car to our showroom.

Between 1933 and 1934 MG only built 33 K3’s. These cars were incredibly successful in period and as a result they are highly collectible, extremely valuable and tend to be tightly held today.

Whilst the road going MG K1, 181 units built from 1932 to 1934 and K2, 20 units built from 1933 to 1934 are also very rare cars in their own right, many have been converted into K3’s. Some of these conversions have been done very well and others less so. This car has to be one of the best and it is a credit to everyone who has been involved in its build.

This car was displayed at Motorclassica in 2019, which is Australia’s leading concours d’elegance ancd classic car show. The car was extremely well received, which is a further testament to its quality.

Accompanying the car is a short tonneau cover, a long tonneau cover, a car cover, a period correct toolkit and the original supercharger. There is also a thick file of receipts from the restoration as well as some historical documentation.


  • An accurate, MG K1-based conversion mirroring one of the most successful sports racing cars of the 1930’s.
  • Powered by a supercharged, overhead camshaft, inline, six cylinder engine paired with a preselector gearbox.
  • Built by renowned vintage car specialists, HVR in Melbourne.
  • Fabulous K3 alternative at a fraction of the cost.
  • Ideal for vintage races, rallies, hill climbs, and other thrilling events worldwide.
  • Ready to use and enjoy.



MG is one of the world’s most iconic motoring brands.

The company started out as a side line business of Morris Garages, the Oxford agent for Morris cars, owned by William Morris. In 1921 Cecil Kimber joined the company as a Sales Manager and became General Manager in 1922. To promote sales Kimber started modifying standard Morris Oxfords. These so called ‘Kimber Specials’ carried both the Morris as well and an MG badge. On the 1st May 1924 Morris Garages registered the MG Octagon as a trademark.

Demand soon resulted in a move to a larger premises in September 1925. Quickly followed by another move in 1927. By 1928 the business had grown so much a decision was made to separate it from Morris and the M.G. Car Company was established in March 1928. In 1929 the company moved to Abingdon and on the 21st July 1930 the M.G. Car Company Limited was established;.

The first cars to be produced under the name MG in 1924 were special bodied Morris Cowleys. The first MG to specifically compete in sporting events is a car now known as ‘Old Number One’. It was produced in 1925 and was first seen at the 1925 Lands End Trial. Other MG models followed quickly but in 1928 at the Motor Show at Olympia MG introduced the MG M-Type Midget, which became the first of many sports cars produced by MG and was a big success for the company.

In that same year MG also introduced the MG 18/80. This was the first MG with a chassis designed and built by MG. The 18/80 was equipped with a six cylinder engine with a capacity of 2,468cc.

By 1931 MG was looking for a car to fill the gap between the M-Type and the 18/80 and it introduced the F-Type Magna which was powered by a 1,271cc six cylinder engine. The F-type remained in production until 1932 when it was superseded by the K-Type.

The K-Types were available in two chassis lengths. The K1, which was introduced in 1932 and had a wheelbase of 9’0″ (2.74m) and the K2, which was introduced a short time later in 1933 had a wheelbase of 7′ 10″ (2.39m). Both models were powered by a 1,087cc six cylinder engine.

MG also produced a racing variant of the K-Type, the K3. It used a short chassis and was powered by a supercharged version of the 1,087cc six cylinder engine mated to a preselector gearbox. The K3 was very successful, wining its class at the 1933 Mille Miglia. Its greatest success came at the 1934 Le Mans 24 Hours when it finished 4th overall and won the Index of Performance, driven by Roy Eccles and Charlie Martin.

Only 33 K3’s were ever built making it one of the rarest and most desirable MG’s.


  • -
  • MG K1 / K3 Magnette Conversion
  • 1933
  • Convertible
  • Preselector Gearbox
  • N/A
  • 1,087cc


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