University Motors - a leading MG distributor and spares provider in the 1960s & 70s

Part of our "Looking back" series ahead of the 45th Anniversary of the launch of the MGBGTV8 in August 1973 and the 40th Anniversary of the formation of the V8 Register in October 1978. Looking back

University Motors branches in the 1970s
A sales invoice from December 1970 for a new MGB Roadster and an invoice for an MOT for Peter Beadle's MGBGTV8 in November 1979 show clearly from the letter headings the branches the UM group had. More

Peter Beadle says "thinking of University Motors Balham & Hanwell, I thought the following snippets might be of interest!
All the UM branches were part of UMECO University Motors Engineering COmpanies. Something like MOWOG? Umeco ditched the Motors side in the 1980s. I believe the last motors part to go was Newbury, a multi-franchise site, as they could see the writing on the wall regrading British Motor Cars & Leyland Cars in particular! They saw what British Aerospace were doing and moved into the same business forming Umeco Holdings PLC.
Much later in 2012 the US group, Cytec Industries Inc, announced its firm intention to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Umeco plc (Heanor, UK) in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately US$439m (£274.3m). The Umeco board of directors unanimously recommend the transaction to Umeco shareholders. The acquisition of Umeco enabled Cytec to expand its presence in both aerospace and industrial applications, an area where Cytec could see excellent opportunities for growth".


UM-Downton Engineering alliance
UM bought up the remaining stock of MGCs (around 200 cars) when the model was dropped from the MG range which were sold off as University Motors Specials. There were many variations in the specials' specification - some had bodywork changes, some had grille changes and some were fitted with Downton engine tuning parts.
The conversion work was carried out at UM Hanwell by Downton trained mechanics.

Updated: 170117
Posted: 161220
University Motors was a leading MG distributor in the 1960s and 70s with branches in Hanwell (west London), Epsom and Kingston in Surrey and Balham (south London). In the late 1960s they also had a showroom in Conduit Street in Central London where the V8 webmaster bought an MG Midget in 1968.

University Motors in Church Street in Epsom, Surrey
Fellow V8 Register member Peter Beadle (a founder member of the V8 Register) was working at UM Epsom in the 1970s as Parts Manager and has sent in the photo alongside taken in 1979 outside the branch in Epsom. The photo was taken in late 1979 by Tony Hilton (now living in Australia) and features Damask 1471 then owned by Nigel Wagstaff, Harvest Gold 1089 (Victor Smith, a founder member) and Glacier White 1175 (Tony Hilton). It featured as a UM advert on the back of cover of issue 2 of the V8 Register Journal released early in the New Year 1980. Printed journals were produced in the days before the internet! The V8 website was launched in May 2002.

There is no MG signage on the UM building, just Austin, Morris, Rover and Triumph, because sadly by late 1979 MG production had ended and the MG Plant and marque had closed. UM Epsom continued servicing MGs and had a good MG spares department. More
University Motors in Balham High Road, SW17
Robert Rose has tracked down this photo of the UM branch in the High Road in Balham, London SW17. The Personal Export Delivery (PED) activities were handled by this branch in 1973. He says "this site was used by Barkers Motors (London) and was ubsequently taken over by University Motors (date unknown). The UM Balham branch is listed in the 1972 British Leyland (Austin Morris) Directory of UK Dealers as both a Franchised Retail Dealer for Austin, Wolseley and MG cars and a Franchised Distributor for Morris, Wolseley and MG cars. Interestingly in the updated 1973 British Leyland publication, the Balham branch is no longer listed but the branch at 99 Boston Road in Hanwell is".

University Motors showroom in Piccadilly
University Motors had a showroom in Central London in the 1950s and 60s (photo alongside).

University Motors showroom in Conduit Street
University Motors had a small showroom in Conduit Street in London's West End the mid/late 1960s. [We would welcome a photo of the Conduit Street showroom from any member who has a copy for use in this "UM-Looking back" item.]




University Motors advert on the back of a bus ticket
Robert Rose found that in the 1950s an advert for University Motors in Piccadilly was on the back of a bus ticket.