Grant’s MG takes centenary prize

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FEW family heirlooms win prizes in international competitions, but Grant Howlett’s has.

Grant’s heirloom is a 1955 MG ZA Magnette saloon that has been in his Bury St Edmunds family from new. It has never been restored but it beat other classic cars to win the Palmer Award at a show at the Heritage Motor Museum, Gaydon, to mark the car’s designer Gerald Palmer’s centenary.

Grant said: “The only thing I’ve restored is its engine. I think that’s why it won the concours class, because everything else there had been restored.”

The more original a classic car is, the better and Grant even has the original key fob and bill of sale from when his grandfather Lord Miller (Lord was his first name) bought it for £900 from T H Nice Burrells in Eastgate Street. Bury born Lord Miller owned Miller’s Carpets. Grant inherited the car in 1997 and, fittingly, now keeps it in King’s Road where his grandfather lived all his life.

Gerald Palmer was a designer for MG, Jowett, Riley, Wolseley, BMC and Vauxhall. He died in 1999. Gaydon’s GP100 show attracted more than 120 cars he designed from all over the world.

Grant’s award was presented by Gerald’s daughter Celia Palmer.