Strange Bedfellows – The Michelotti MGs

The Ghia-Aigle MG TD was a far more modern looking car than the square-rigged MG that it was based upon

The Ghia-Aigle MG TD was a far more modern looking car than the square-rigged MG that it was based upon

A Michelotti MG? More than one. Really? Most of us never knew about the connection between the prolific Italian designer and MG from Abingdon.

In a strange twist, Giovanni Michelotti – who would become famously associated with Triumph for his landmark work on the Herald, Vitesse, TR4, Spitfire, GT6, Dolomite, 2000 and Stag – found himself working for the small Swiss design house Ghia-Aigle in 1952. At the request of the Swiss MG distributor, Ghia-Aigle was asked to design bespoke bodies based on the MG TD Midget. As such, the firm purchased six cars and the young Italian was tasked with styling the cars.

The debut of the Ghia-Aigle MG TD

The debut of the Ghia-Aigle MG TD

With a front grill that resembled the Talbot-Lago T26 GSLs and featuring raked vestigial rear fins, the car was rakish and far more Continental than anything that had appeared on a postwar MG. In profile, the car had elements of Bentley and the later Facel-Vega but was a unique creation on its own terms.

The Vignale MG TD Coupe

The Vignale MG TD Coupe

Michelotti soon left Ghia-Aigle to begin his long association with Vignale and in a fit of coincidence he was again asked to build an MG based special. This vehicle resembled the Ferrari grand touring cars and featured a body fashioned from aluminum. The styling featured many later Vignale cues and provided an interior that would have shamed many luxury cars of the day with intricate wood veneer and a hidden liquor compartment for drinks and glasses. Despite an excessive amount of chrome, the alloy body made the car only slightly heavier than stock and the performance was consistent with other similar cars of the day. The Michelotti MGs survive today (at least two of the six Ghia-Aigle cars and the Vignale coupe) and they are an interesting footnote to the man’s long association with Triumph.


Liquor compartment provided luxury beyond the standard MG kit

By Johnny Oversteer

'Strange Bedfellows – The Michelotti MGs' has 1 comment

  1. March 11, 2016 @ 6:49 am Stefano Scossa

    Hello, I am the owner of the MG TD Coupe by Vignale. I like your website!
    Stefano Scossa


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