There is a tendency to think that real MG history starts with the immortal T-Series cars that was introduced in 1936 and would eventually lead to the MGA and MGB that would sell in numbers never before reached – and seldom matched since – in a sports car built for two. Most loyalists of the Sacred Octagon acknowledge that the later cars would never have been built without the success of the various prewar Midgets, Magnas and Magnettes, but while these smaller MGs are more closely related to their postwar successors they are hardly the only significant progenitors in the line.
The SA series made its debut in 1936 and was originally launched as the MG 2-Liter to compete against models from SS Cars – known as Jaguar today – and Bentley. This sporting saloon was in a different class than the multitudes P and N-Types that the company had produced until 1936 and it was developed to use an independent suspension that was later abandoned in favor of an independent front and live axle rear suspension.
These much larger MGs used a tuned version of the 6-cylinder Morris engine that was later enlarged to 2.3-Liters in 1937 and were provided with Lockheed hydraulic brakes. First offered in saloon form, later cars also featured Touring bodies and Tickford Drophead Coupes. Fewer than 3000 cars were built (only 2739 made) and it was successful in the Continental export market.
In 1938, an even bigger car, the WA, joined the SA and featured a 2.6-Liter engine and a wider rear track that allowed use of a roomier body. In appearance the WA resembled the closely connected SA and it was the largest and heaviest vehicle produced by MG at the time. The MG SA and MG WA were only sold through 1939 (when sales were interrupted by the coming war) and sales of the latter were minimal during that year.