Morning MotorPunks! Today’s tea-break treat is a fabulous little vid featuring a squad of crack MG eggheads and their plucky 1957 attempt to set a new landspeed record for the flying mile in the 1.5-litre Class F category. The film reel shows national treasure and relentless ’50s ‘skirt chaser’, Sir Stirling Moss, being shoehorned into the cockpit of the rear-engined EX181 Streamliner by a team of tweedy pipe-smoking boffins. Nailed together in the special projects portacabin at the Abingdon HQ the ‘Roaring Raindrop’ is seen being crated up and shipped off to Bonneville, where a four mile runway had already been de-stoned and honed from the desiccated lake bed ready for Moss’s attempt at the four-miles-a-minute (240mph) milestone.


Interestingly, the British mechanics were very keen to check that nothing on the Roaring Raindrop had got buggered-up during its rough sea crossing, but the young Sir Sterling was far too valuable to be put in peril on the first high speed test in Utah; so they hired an American, the racing legend Phil Hill nonetheless. Despite their flagrant disregard for US citizens’ safety, the New World was a massively lucrative export market for MG and they’d always been very keen to keep the brand in the American motoring press. Throughout the 50s and 60s they successfully campaigned the little MGA – the car that shared most components with the 1500cc EX181 – at the gruelling 12 Hours of Sebring, numerous SCCA club events and even had three totally fruitless years in NASCAR! Maybe the Yanks pitied the cute-looking British NASCAR underdog because sales always remained strong with the Colonials right up to its eventual replacement in 1962. 75% of the 100,000 MGAs ever built were crated up and shipped over the pond; it’s clear that the MGA and tales of the Roaring Raindrop helped pave the way for massive MGB sales – Blighty’s most successful sports car ever.

Anyhow, here’s the video we promised. A thoroughly charming 15 minutes Pathe News clip featuring a hand-built 280bhp methanol-powered experimental MG, pith-hatted race engineers and a team of ‘50s tally-ho heroes, all narrated in the finest RP. Make yourself a cuppa, grab a fistful of bourbons and enjoy it while the boss ain’t watching.

About The Author

Darryl can usually be found up to his elbows in some unloved piece of BL detritus when he isn’t snapping and scribbling for various print magazines or producing the book on road tripping or tally-ho adventurers. As an occasional presenter on CBS's Carfection YouTube channel, his other hobbies include vintage Scalextrics, ‘60s Bang & Olufsen and dabbling in grassroots motorsport.

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.