The MG Airline Coupè Registry


Airline Coupé Body

The bodies of the Airlines were built primarily by Carbodies.  Some were also built by Whittingham & Mitchel.  Although the bonnets were obviously different between the 6 cylinder and 4 cylinder models, the body tub itself was the same.  This can be clearly seen by comparing the rear wheel position of the PA/PB with that of the NA/NB.



There does appear to be differences in the material used to skin the bodies.  Even between examples of the same model, there are significant differences in where aluminum versus steel was used.  My own example originally only utilized aluminum in two panels - the rockers beneath the doors.  Others seem to have used aluminum in significant portions of the main body skin.  This may have been due to what was on hand at the time the car was built, it may have been attributable to different manufacturers, or it may have been in reaction to findings by the manufacturers once the cars had been on the road.

The hallmark of the Airline Coupe is, of course, the sliding roof with its three distinctive cathedral style windows.  There is some evidence to suggest that this may have been an option, but no conclusive proof one way or another has been found.  For an excellent picture of what lies under the skin, see the photo of a newly manufactured body frame being built by Keith Portsmore on the suppliers page.



An interesting piece of information was confirmed for me by Hiro Nishio. When the completed chassis were shipped to Carbodies for fitting of the Airline Coupe body, the standard firewall was fitted to the car. Since the Airline Coupe hood (bonnet) was somewhat wider and taller than the open-car variety of the same model, a three-piece extension was fitted in the upper and side u-channel around the firewall in place of the original sorbo rubber seal. This seal was then added back on top of that extension. The effect is to raise and widen the firewall by about 3/4 inch in each of three directions. These three extension pieces were fastened to the original u-channel using #10 x 1/2 inch round-head wood screws in 10 locations on each side of the firewall.

The rear shock absorbers were originally Luvax shocks. There is a brass tag riveted to each arm which identified the car and location on which the shock was used. Brass tags would be marked 87-1-X for left and Y for right damper.


Note that each body was built as a part of a small batch, sometimes as few as one. Therefore, it was not the custom of Carbodies to specially build parts for these cars. Often, there will be small differences from one Airline to the next depending on stock on hand and the available suppliers.

Detailed photographs of a bare wooden body frame have been supplied by Keith Portsmore and may by found here.

Details of the fuel tank and securing to the rest of the body may be found here.

Last Update:  04/25/05