Posts Tagged ‘MG ‘EX127’’

(Theo Page)

Perhaps MG saved the best till last?

EX181 was the marque’s final record breaker, which commenced with the 1930/1 EX120…

The famous company, in part built its brand very cost effectively by setting a number of Land Speed Records down the decades. Stirling Moss did 245.64 mph and 245.11 mph for the flying kilometre and flying mile respectively in August 1957, and Phil Hill 254.91 mph and 254.53 mph over the same distances in October 1959 with EX181’s engine increased in capacity from 1489cc to 1506cc- this allowed the sneaky Brits to bag both under 1500cc and under 2000cc records, both at Bonneville.

Twin inlets in the cars nose pushed air thru ducts either side of the driver and flow to the radiators, carb inlets, the engine and transmission- outlet ducts clear (unattributed)

The Roaring Raindrop was not just a teardrop shape known to give minimum aerodynamic drag at subsonic speeds- in side elevation it also had the cross section of an aerofoil to a wing section of Polish origin which was identified by MG Chief Engineer Syd Enever as ideal for the task. His theory was tested by Harry Herring in the Armstrong Whitworth wind tunnel.

The Morris Engines Experimental Department in Coventry developed an MGA twin-cam, two valve engine which had many trick lightweight competition internals ‘off the shelf’ and a massive Shorrock supercharger driven by a spur gear from the front of an extended crankshaft fed by two whopper 2.5 inch SU carbs. The fuel mix was one third each petrol, benzol and methanol.

The 1957 1489cc engine developed 290 bhp @ 7300 rpm and 516 lb/ft of torque @ 5600 rpm using 32 psi of boost. Cooling of the motor was achieved by the use of two curved radiators from an Avro Shackleton marine reconnaissance aircraft.




EX181 was built under the supervision of Terry Mitchell using a bespoke twin-tube chassis with MGA derived suspension at the front- wishbones, coil springs and lever arm hydraulic shocks and a de Dion rear setup deploying quarter elliptic leaf springs and again lever arm shocks.

Cooling for the single Girling disc brake was provided by a small hinged rear flap on the central spine of the machine aft of the cockpit, this popped  up when the driver pushed the brake pedal and also acted as an air brake.

The final essential element in the cars record breaking specification was Dunlop 24 inch diameter tyres capable of inflation to in excess of 100 psi.

Snug in there, Moss Bonneville 1957


(S Dalton Collection)


Autocar, Theo Page, MotorSport article August 2008,, Stephen Dalton Collection

Tailpiece: Phil Hill, EX181 Bonneville, 1959…





Bobby Kohlrausch and his ‘Magic Midget’ ‘EX127’ during the 1934 ‘IV Internationales Avus-Rennen’ Voiturette race on 27 May, he is getting a leg massage to address the cramp he suffered…

‘In a long, arduous life’ Kohl Rausch achieved Standing and Flying Mile class records in the car of 93.4 and 140.6 mph in 1932′. Kohlrausch didn’t get the best from the car that weekend despite being favoured to win the unofficial 800cc class with the fastest car in the world of its size. Starting from the third row, he pitted after 5 laps complaining of cramp. The race was won by Pierre Veyron’s Bugatti T51A.


Zoller supercharged (look at the size of the thing!) 750cc s/c 115bhp 4 cylinder engine (Zoltan Glass)

A vast crowd turned up to see the Silver Arrows make their race debut in the Grand Prix event, the crowd doubly disappointed when Mercedes withdrew their cars after fuel pump troubles in practice. The Hans Stuck driven Auto Union Type A convincingly led the race by 85 seconds until lap 12 only for clutch problems to intervene. He retired the car allowing Guy Moll to win in a Scuderia Ferrari Alfa P3/Tipo B, not what the punters came to see at all, a story for another time…


Kohlrausch in EX127, Avus 1934 (unattributed)

The ‘EX127’ single seater, oblique or off-centre transmission car was designed as a record breaker rather than a circuit racer. After a great deal of trying with a good deal of misfortune the car finally broke the 120mph barrier, achieving 120.56mph in George Eyston’s hands at Montlhery in December 1932.










This was going to be a ‘quickie’ around the pictures at the articles outset but as usual my inquisitiveness got the better of me, this time stimulated by my friend Patrick Ryan, an enthusiast of considerable knowledge who identified the shot below as Bobby K rather than Goldie Gardner, I was not even close!


Bobby K in MG EX127 at the first Grossglockner Hillclimb on 4 August 1935, 4th best time of the day 15;10.3 with a 750cc s/c car (ullstein bild)

Kohlraush was born to affluent parents in Eisenach in 1904, he raced motorcycles from around the time he was apprenticed to the local Dixi car factory. His folks, concerned about his safety, bought him a BMW roadster to get him off ‘bikes. Soon he was competing, initially at the Kesselberg Hillclimb and soon the Nurburgring. So quick was the BMW Wartburg roadster that Bobby was offered an experimental engine by the works, he reputedly won 27 races so equipped in 1930/3.

bob austin

Bobby K in his Austin 7 ‘Rubber Duck, Berlin 1933 (Zoltan Glass)

His Austin 7 ‘Rubber Duck’ was a record breaker which was also raced by BK, he soon switched to ‘EX127’ which he bought off George Eyston. Equipped with a ‘Q Type’ engine the car did 130mph and later 140mph on the Frankfurt Autobahn. He raced the car at the Avus in 1934/5, the Nurburgring and various hillclimbs.

His performances were impressive enough to be offered a ride as a cadet or test driver with Auto Union in 1935, although he does not appear to have raced one of the awesome, V16 mid-engined beasties.

He contested the Voiturette Swiss GP ‘Prix de Berne’ on 25 August 1935, having engine troubles and retiring on lap 14, Dick Seaman took a good win in his ERA B Type.

bob mg

Bobby K in MG EX127 at the Grossglocker Hillclimb, Austria in 1935, he was 4 th quickest, Tadini’s much more powerful works Alfa P3 the winner. Climb circa 19.5Km, Motorsport magazine said his run ‘was stirring climb…a superlative climb in 13 minutes 10.3 seconds’, he won the under 1100cc class (unattributed)

In 1937 EX127 was bought by Mercedes Benz, some say perhaps on Hitler’s orders. Dyno tests revealed 115bhp@7000rpm or 153.3bhp per litre. A 3 litre engines implied output is 460bhp which became the benchmark for the M154 engine, the M163 achieved the target in 1939.

Post-war Bobby raced on in East Germany in the 750cc LTE Juwel built by Ferdi Lehder Bobby renamed the ‘GvB’, a pretty front-engined car in which he contested the 1950 German F3 Championship. His intention to supercharge the 500cc BMW engine and race it as an F2 car was never realised, he died of a heart attack enroute to a hillclimb at Schauinsland on 9 August 1953.

bobby f3

Bobby K sorting an engine problem in his GvB, Schauinsland-Racetrack, in the Black Forest, Baden-Wurttemberg, 4 August 1951. What a curvaceous little car (Willy Pragher)


Zoltan Glass, Triple M Register, Patrick Ryan,, Getty Images, Imagno, Ullstein Bild, Willy Pragher, Science & Society Picture Library

Tailpiece: George Eyston in the Magic Midget EX127 outside the Abingdon factory…