A blind motor racing enthusiast has spent the past four years restoring a stunning MG car which raced in the 1933 Monte Carlo Rally – and is appealing for your help to complete it.
Nev Churcher, based in Gosport, Hampshire, has invested months indulging in his passion of restoring one of the most iconic cars in history, the MG Type J3 Midget, despite his wife agreeing with the warning that he may be ‘too old, too broke and too blind’ to take it on!
There were only 22 of the MG J3 Midget cars ever made. They were specifically aimed at the racing fraternity and were sold at the time for £299 10s 0d.
Now, in a ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ type revival, the historic car, which was built in 1933, could soon be driving again later this year.
Before that happens, Mr Churcher is eager to discover a Southport Motor Racing Club Winged Badge, which the car wore proudly all its working life.
The MG was once a truly exciting sight in Sunny Southport, racing across the golden sands during the 1930s – happier times before the outbreak of World War Two.
Nev Churcher said: “I bought my first J Type MG as a teenager in 1962 for £25!
“I wanted a supercharged J3 model, and eventually got one of the rare cars in 1965 – only 22 were made between December 1932 and July 1933.
“Unfortunately, when I built my house in the 1970s it had to be sold and I thought I would never get another.”
Mr Churcher led a very successful career as a social architect, designing mostly schools and nurseries before his retirement.
His passion for motor racing and for his beloved MG J3 Midget cars never waned. But he never thought he would get the chance to be close with one of the rare vehicles again, until a surprise phone call six years ago.
He said: “In 2015 I had a call from Ron Grant from Stockport, who I hadn’t seen for nearly 50 years!
“He said he had found a J3 and was going to make me jealous!
“This he did, over a period of a year, before he got cancer.
“One day I received a cryptic note that just said ‘the game is up now – are you too old, too broke and too blind to take on the car’?
“My wife Maz said: ‘Yes!’ to all three questions – and here it is!
“I have struggled to afford to do it, and have had to find ways to do things with my limited sight, but we are nearly there!
“The car was first owned by Manchester businessman W.T. ‘Bill’ Platt of Saddleworth.
“He used it in the 1933 Monte Carlo Rally and for trials and hill climbs in 1933 and 1934.
“It then passed to garage owner Roy Jackson, who won the 50 Mile Race on the sands.
“It was then turned into a single seater by a Mr G. Highley who won many races up to the Second World War.
“It lay dismantled with one family until 2015.
“Now it will run again by August in near perfect restored condition.
“I won’t be able to drive it, but kind friends are keen to drive me about and I can drink all I want!
“My one big need is to find a Southport Motor Racing Club Winged Badge which it wore proudly all its working life.
“I am sure there must be some in garages, sheds, drawers or attics somewhere in Southport!”
Do you know of any Southport Motor Racing Club Winged Badges for sale? Please email Andrew Brown at: MediaAndrewBrown@gmail.com
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