John Milne Coupé - 138 DJB
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Reflecting on three rather special racing MG Midgets of the 1960's

A rather disconsulate James Willis after his transmission failure at the Goodwood Revival in 2010.

138 DJB ~ the ex-John Milne car

now in the hands of James Willis

This, the third of the Midget Coupés, was supplied to the Scot, John Milne who, back in the 60's, was a leading light in the Scottish MG Car Club. Having rallied MGAs, Minis and Healey 3000s, John had become friendly with John Thornley, the managing director of the MG Car Co at Abingdon. Sometimes inaccurately referred to as a Jacobs Midget this car was painted in Scottish Racing Royal Blue and John competed with it in, mainly, speed events i.e sprints and hill-climbs. In 1966 he won the Scottish Speed Championship with the car and came second in the Ingliston Championship.

Period photos of the car can be seen in the Bill Henderson Collection.

He took part in the Bo'ness hillclimb in Stirlingshire, an 880 yards hill climb in the grounds of Kinneil House, where Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart and Stirling Moss had all competed early in their careers.

In the four seasons 1963 to 1966 he took part in 33 events and scored eleven 1sts, eight 2nds, five 3rds, and three 4ths. He was also a member of the winning team in the 1965 Croft 4 Hour relay race.

Apparently the car was returned to Abingdon from time to time to be serviced and up-dated, it still then being owned by the 'works'. Various power units were fitted including a 1000cc supercharged unit for 1963, an 1139cc engine for 1964 and '65, and a 1275cc for 1966 ????

[My thanks to author John Baggott for allowing me to extract much of the above information from his book: "Mighty Midgets & Special Sprites".]

I understand that soon after this the factory offered Milne the car for £100 and, while he deliberated whether or not to buy it, his father stepped in and put up the money so that it would remain 'in the family'.

Following John Milne's demise in 1994, at the age of 61, the car passed into the hands of his step-son, James Willis, who now competes with it in historic races at home and in Europe. The car has appeared at least twice at the Goodwood Revival meeting though on the last occasion (2010) it suffered transmission failure on the warming-up lap and had to be returned to the paddock.

James' took the car to Spa in September, 2011 where, he tells me, she "ran well".

Feb 2013: William Henderson of "The Bill Henderson Collection" writes:

"I was asking my father about John
(Milne) whom he  knew pretty well from the motor racing scene. He remembers him having  the Auchentoshan distillery and various pubs and hotels in the west of Scotland. I also noticed that the owner of the car Mr Willis still  runs the Eadie Cairns company and is registered as living in Dollar which is not far from here. Coincidentally I was in the village on  Monday".

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The 4 photos below are courtesy of The Bill Henderson Collection

Ingliston 65
At Ingliston, 1965Ingliston 65
again, at Ingliston
Gask
At Gask, near Perth, a former airfield used for sprints (1965)
Charterhall
CharterHall race circuit (1964)
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Thanks to David Goose of
www.motorsport-imagery.com
for above action shot at Goodwood.
RonEdwards-7
138DJB in the pit lane gathering for the Fordwater Trophy at Goodwood in September 2010

 

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Nose-cone with spike missing
[courtesy of John Bowman]
In the paddock...
..at the Goodwood Revival
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More static shots of DJB at Goodwood
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138 DJB 2
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At the Goodwood Revival in 2006
and 'en France'
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The above 20 photos were taken by David Morys at a very hot MG Live, Silverstone, June 2017

 

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