Plans to raise £10,000 after 87-year-old's MG destroyed
The theft and arson of a cherished 1965 MG Magnette Mark IV prompted the classic car scene into action, with more than £1400 raised already – and you can help too
As classic car owners, we all know how much time, effort and money goes into the care, running and general well-being of your pride and joy. This is why, alongside the bond developed between man and machine as time marches on, the heartbreak is almost indescribable should a classic vehicle be stolen or damaged by criminals.
It was this cordial camaraderie that left so many enthusiasts boiled with rage and distraught upon following the developments of 87-year old Bill Englands' stolen 1965 MG Magnette, which he'd owned for nearly half a century. It was stolen between 11pm on February 20 and 9am on February 21. Sadly, the MG was discovered smouldering as a burnt-out shell on the outskirts of Bradfield, Berkshire, UK.
The last sighting of the Magnette before the blaze was crossing Caversham Bridge in Reading, before police found the vehicle at 3am on February 22.
A police spokesman said: 'Thames Valley Police officers were called by the fire service at about 10.25pm Wednesday night following reports of a car fire in Ashampstead Road, Bradfield.'
'It is believed that arson could have been the cause of the fire. An investigation into the incident is taking place.'
- Oxfordshire Police
Having been kept in outstanding condition, the Magnette was used as an everyday vehicle; locally adored as a regular and familiar site on the Oxfordshire roads.
Following widespread social media appeals for information and sightings of the Magnette, fire fighters and police were called to Ashampstead Road, Bradfield after public reports of a blazing vehicle. Upon arrival, emergency service personnel discovered that the vehicle reported was the missing MG.
It is believed that the fire was deliberate, with investigations underway to trace and arrest the arsonist. Fire crews couldn’t save the cherished vehicle, which had been gutted and destroyed.
Since the announcement, classic car aficionados have offered personal support and their condolences, although one sympathetic MG owner has taken it one step further.
‘As a classic car owner myself, I know only too well just how much time care money and work goes in to ownership of a classic. They truly become a part of the family,’ explains MGB enthusiast Alex Singleton.
‘No amount of money can honestly replace the irreplaceable, but it can help towards the cost of repairing or buying another classic, or even just to give Bill a break following on from this horrible experience.’
Having registered a JustGiving page, Alex has already raised over £1400 from the kindness of 96 supporters.
Well on the way towards hitting the remarkable £10k target, allies claim it’s not simply about the financial aspect, responding to assertions that the car was insured and, therefore, fundraising is ‘pointless’.
‘This donation is more about letting him know that there are more good guys than bad guys in the world, and regardless of the future of his cherished car he can crack on and enjoy life.’
- Alan Chick, Supporter
‘Bill has sadly seen the cruelty of others first hand, let's show him the kindness of others and give towards making this gent's life better.’
Anyone who may hold information or have spotted the car's movements should contact investigators on 101.
You can donate through the MG Magnette’s JustGiving page. AutoClassics will bring you updates and further developments as they happen.
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In May 1959 the MGA was given an updated engine, now at 1588 cc producing 79.5 bhp; 31,501 were produced in less than three years. Externally the MGA 1600 is very similar to its predecessor, with only a few minor cosmetic changes of note. In 1960 the engine size was increased again to 1622 cc by increasing the bore from 75.4 mm (2.97 in) to 76.2 mm (3.00 in) for the 1961 Mark II MGA. The cylinder