Dick Jacobs already had an MG dealership and was an established racer when he was asked to drive one of the prototype alloy-bodied MGA racers in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1955 by his friends in the BMC Competition Department at Abingdon.The race, however, was ill-fated for almost all concerned and shortly after the terrible conflagration involving the 300SLR, 100S and D-Type that resulted in the death of 84 people, Jacobs himself was badly injured when his car crashed and burned whilst upside down.
The accident – and resulting injuries – spelled the end of his racing career but Jacobs used his factory contacts in 1961 to pursue an idea which caught his eye when he saw a brochure for the new Midget next to a road test for the Aston Martin DB4.
Laying the drawings of each car upon one another he used the fastback shape of the DB4 as inspiration for an entirely different looking and more aerodynamically efficient Midget race car. Jacobs took the new sketch to the factory where he first met with MG legend Syd Enever and then John Thornley.
The factory was encouraged by the design and work began at the MG Development Department to turn the sketch into a real car.
The alloy bodies for the Jacobs Midgets were hand fabricated by local coach builders and resulted in a car that weighed 300 lbs less and used 13 fewer horsepower to maintain 100 mph than on a standard Midget.
Eventually 3 cars were built and campaigned by Jacobs Racing to good success between 1962 to 1964. The cars took class wins several times at Brands Hatch, Goodwood, Silverstone and Snetterton while also taking podiums on the GP courses at Zandvoort and the Nurburgring.
Following the 1964 season all 3 cars were returned to the factory which used them on a limited basis before paying them off and selling them to private ownership where they continued to race intermittently under the privateers.
All 3 cars were eventually restored, with at least two continuing to be shown and campaigned in vintage racing events. Despite being few in number, the Jacobs Midgets were well known and regarded in period and represent a unique quasi-factory link to the more established ‘works’ cars.
Photos courtesy of John Baggott, Martin Ingall, Dennis Wharf and David Goose.