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Jubilee Numbers, Any ideas?

Helen recently had the idea that Jubilee numbers could potentially be allocated to the car from the number given to each dealer on the BL dealership list which seemed like it may be a possibility as it is widely reported that there were 750 cars made for the 750 BL dealerships in the UK at the time. We have visited the British Motor Heritage Centre archives to study the lists of dealerships as they were at the end of 1974.

It appears from our research that this is not the case as the dealerships numbers are 4 digits and do not seem to follow any sequence such as area or age. Colin has also brought to our attention that a given dealership had to sell a certain amount of ‘regular’ BL cars before they were allocated a sought after MG car to sell which would also explain how some dealerships, it seems the larger ones, were allocated more Jubilees than they had branches e.g Stewart & Ardern, a group of BL dealerships in the London area which had 30 plus (the exact number escapes me but I have it written somewhere) Jubilees delivered to their Barnes branch and more to other branches yet only had 18 branches in 1975 one of which was a service centre, another only temporary.

We have looked through all the available information at the BMHC yet have still drawn a bit of a blank. As the engraving on each known dash plaque is not consistent and the majority of cars were delivered over a very short period, we believe they must have been engraved post sale in order to put the first owners name on and as such numbers could not have been randomly allocated by the dealer or there would undoubtedly have been duplications of numbers.

Our next port of call is the cards which show specification, build number etc which were attached to each car at the start of its build and remained with the car until completion, apparently these cards have been retained on microfiche and although unlikely may have a clue to the dash plaque number.

I just wish the car numbers were the build numbers, things would be mush clearer then, thanks BL!

There still remains the fact that someone, somewhere must know how the numbers were allocated and those numbers must have been given to the car before it was despatched from Abingdon in order for the dealer to get the dash plaque engraved.

If anyone has any ideas on anything I've mentioned or how the numbers were allocated then please post something on here, any ideas however unlikely are worth an investigation and a few more minds on the case will hopefully unveil some clue to this mystery.

Thanks all.

I would just like to say that on behalf of all Jubilee owners out there thanks to both Helen & Pete for their tireless energy and enthusiasm that they have put into this search. It is becoming a kin to the search for the Holy Grail.

I arranged to meet them at Gaydon (as I needed to collate the rest of the L.E. register details) and saw the masses of info. they diligently trawled through. Alas at this stage we still don't know (we were desperately hoping to find the answer before the new dash plaques were due to be engraved) but I feel that they are on the right track with looking at the car build cards which may well tell us more-everything crossed.

Thanks again for the update Pete and please let us know when you know more.


If it ain't broken don't try to fix it as if you do it will definitely break

I'm sure you have read it, but Anders Clausager wrote in "Original MGB" that "the cars were shipped from the factory with a numbered plaque. The idea was that the selling dealer should arrange to have the name of the first owner engraved on the plaque, which could then be fitted on the facia. Most plaques were probably never fitted to the cars at all...and were not recorded by the factory."

Bad news... and Anders went through the production records in fine detail when writing that book.

I seem to recall this question being raised in a magazine a few years ago and there was a theory about a hidden number behind a panel somewhere but no one ever verified this. Sounds nonesense to me.

Anders' comment is probably the truth and dealers couldnt be bothered to fix the plaque or owners kept them as a keepsake. Would you want a plaque with someone else's name on it attached to your dashboard...?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Good luck with your investigations. I never knew the build cards were retained on microfiche.

Keep us posted :p


Hi Dickster...This theory is somewhat shakey as I have been sent photos of approx 20 original plaques and the font/engraving methods used for the car number are all varied. If the factory had sent out numbered plaques then I'm sure that they would have used the same engraving methods/fonts on all.

My theory is that they were sent blank (probably with the car) for the dealership to engrave at their own cost.This would explain the variations and the lack of so many being fitted. However it is still a theory so keep watching this space;)

If it ain't broken don't try to fix it as if you do it will definitely break

its all fascinating stuff how great it would be to have the mystery solved,but surely as you say someone must of had the job of allocating the numbers ,but there must be some logic to the nos,in my book mgb by david knowles it also states plaques were sent seperately for engraving of owners name and apparently they were designed by paul hughes
good luck

About the mystery of the car numbers, I have a couple Ideas. As a CPA (similar to a chartered accountant in the UK). I often have to follow a trail of documents to determine all the facts. There are two ways the numbers of these cars could have been assigned at the factory. The first is when the Jubilee body shell was raised to the trim deck, a number could have been assigned when the build card was attached to the car. If the number was noted on the build card, the information may be in Graydon. Has anyone looked at what was on the build cards for these cars. The other option was to assign the number after the cars were built. This is the most likely scenario. Knowing the MG company I suspect that making certain the badge numbers get attached to the right cars
may not have been of great importance. They may have been pre numbered and stuck in the cars when they put in the manuals etc. There may have been a slip of paper telling the dealer that the badges need to be engraved and then mounted in the cars. You may be able to find a copy of these delivery instructions at Graydon. The unfortunate reality is that the people at the factory were much more concerned about getting the cars into the dispatch lot and onto the dealers showroom than they were about creating the fully documented collectors car. If there is anyone around that worked on the production line they may be able to tell you what they did. When I found the pictures of the factory I took, Ken Smith sent them over and someone from the factory was able to identify the people and processes in the pictures.
Ken Smith wrote an article about the other MGB/GT anniversary car, the MGB/GT Special (My other MGB/GT). They made 1000 kits including wood rim steering wheels, wood shift knobs, a bullet racing mirror, and two side plaques that said MGB/GT Special. The kit also included instructions for the dealer as to where to place the mirror and badges to make a MGB/GT special. There may be instructions like this for the Jubilee Edition as to how to engrave and mount the Jubilee plaque. If you can find a copy of this form you may get some help as to how they determined the numbers.
It is very possible that there was a system to assign car number for Jubilees. Did they produce these cars all at the same time or was the production mixed in with the other cars? When I visited the factory they were building MGB roadsters and Gts, MGC roadsters and Gts as well as Spridgets all at the same time. It would have been difficult to identify Limited Edition cars as they came off of the production line at that time. It may make a difference if they did the Jubilees all at the same time. I hope you can find a clue to this mystery.