If you have owned a British car and most of you that visit this page have owned several, then the term MOWOG has likely been a part of your life for years. What does it mean, however, and how did the word find its way onto countless cars from Austin, Morris, Wolseley, MG and Healey? There are many explanations for what MOWOG means – some credible and others less so – but we’re here to set the record straight.
Found on engine blocks, transmissions, cylinder heads, and pistons, it dates back to the very origins of the British car industry. Before the merger with Morris Motors in 1935, Wolseley and MG were owned as the personal property of Lord Nuffield. After the merger with the bulk of design work carried out at Cowley, the identification number for chassis and engines on Wolseley was assigned a “W” and the letter “G” was assigned to MG (M was already assigned to Morris). Hence the use of Mo (Morris), Wo (Wolseley) and MG to mark the various components with MOWOG as the result. Although there are competing points of view, even the BMIHT has chimed in (with an answer that we believe to be incorrect) with a statement that the last G stands for Group. The fact that there never was a Morris-Wolseley Group tends to undermine that particular answer and since M could not be repeated for MG, the letter G makes the most plausible sense in the deconstruction of the word.