A paean to the odyssey of the mighty MG; The Complete MG Guide -- Model by Model: 2d Edition, by John Christy and Karl Ludvigsen. Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.: Tab Books Inc. $4.95

Alas! The MG is gone; long live the legendary MG. Victim of the times -- burdensome costs, a changing auto market, and a lack of corporate drive to save it -- the MG sports car has finally lapsed into the pages of automotive history, a volume jam-packed with names that relive the stirring story of the motorcar in its drive from obscurity less than a century ago to perhaps the most regulated pieces of manufactured goods of them all.

A big hit in the US soon after the end of World War II, the British-built MG had the inside track to America's heart, only to spin off the road as the Japanese came 'round the bend.

Now the last MG to reach the US shore was turned over to Henry Ford II, retired chairman of the company his grandfather built, and will repose in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Mich., among a stunning collection of Americana.

In sum, the book is a sharp-eyed look into every MG model ever built, from 1923 when the car first hit the road, until the final MG rolled off the line last fall.

The MG had become the sports car with an affordable price tag.

True, the book is filled with specs, diagrams, and photos, but it isn't designed only for the expert; it's aimed at the casual delver into things automotive as well. It's a trip in the M-type Midgets, the Magnas and Magnettes , the TC series of post-World War II days, the TD and TF, the MGB, and more.

When the name of the US importer of BL cars was changed to Jaguar, Rover, Triumph, it was a tipoff that there was no room left for the timeless MG.

By the way, does anyone know what the letters MG stand for? Morris Garage, that's what.

A pity it's no longer around!

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