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Past Meeting

Don Hayter - Lancaster to Le Mans - An evening with Don Hayter

MGB We were delighted and privileged that our March speaker was Don Hayter.

Don rose to be Chief Engineer, Design and Development at MG Abingdon from 1973 to 1980. He is perhaps best known for his contribution to the MGB and has recently written a book entitled "MGB Story".

His long and fascinating career started as an apprentice Design Engineer in Oxford in 1942 with the Pressed Steel Company, working on aircraft construction including the Gloucester F9-40, Avro Lancaster and other wartime projects.

After the war, Dons design and drafting skills migrated to car production where he worked on the sleek new Jaguar XK120 body panelling along with those for Triumph, Austin, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, and MG (ZA Magnette) before moving to Aston Martin to work on the DB2/4.

Don Hayter Book Cover He took a job at MG Abingdon in 1956 seeing MG through its successes with the MGA, the MGB and the MG racing specials.

This was a rare opportunity to get a first-hand insight into his career and the inner workings of design in the MG Company and the wider British Car industry in that incredible era.

Don Hayter

Don Hayter Born in Maidenhead in 1926, Don went to various schools following his father, a Police Inspector, to various postings in Berkshire, ending at Abingdon (then part of that county) at Roysses, now Abingdon School.

He was apprenticed in engineering in 1942 at Pressed Steel. As an aircraft design engineer in Oxford he worked on the Avro Lancaster bomber, Supermarine Spitfire and other aircraft and on sideline parts of midget submarines and special mines. (This was under wartime conditions.)

XK120 Transferring to car design in 1946 he drew panels and frames for Hillman/Rootes, Austin, Rover, Jaguar and Rolls-Royce: in particular the original panels for the XK120 and the complete body for the 1960s S-Type.

In 1954 he moved to Aston Martin in London, working on the DB2/4 and the prototype design of the new DB4.

In 1956 he was employed at MG in Abingdon by Syd Enever and stayed there until the factory closed in 1980. During that time he was progressively Chief Body Draughtsman, Chief Project Engineer and finally Chief Engineer, Design and Development in 1973.

Projects worked on were the MGA Twin Cam and Coupe, the Riley 2.6 litre, the Le Mans MGA Coupe, several proposed MGA redesigns and the entirely new MGB Tourer started in 1959. All new designs began as quarter scale drawings from which wooden models were made; these still exist in the Gaydon Heritage Museum. The final MGB shape that he drew as a full-sized body layout was approved by John Thornley and the Directors after viewing a wooden full-sized pattern. From this a prototype was made and production tooling started. Production started in 1962 and the GT (Farina styled) in 1965. Don also did some work on the MGC in 1967 and then the big safety related changes in 1974, including rubber bumpers and airbags.

Don was responsible for the launch of the Roy Brocklehurst designed MGB GT V8 project into production in 1973 and the major crash development programme running until the development finished in October 1980. He still lives in Harwell just down the road from Abingdon and runs the MGB Tourer bought at the end, now fitted with the original V8 development engine.

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1  Next Meeting

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3  Recent Meeting

Date:14 April 2016

Place:Chemistry Research Laboratory (CRL), South Parks Rd, Oxford, OX13TA

Sqn. Ldr. A. Garretts MBE (retd) - The Berlin Air Lift 1948-1949

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4  Recent Event

Cars to the Claydons - 70 ml run

Date:3rd September 2016

Place:OX18 4JP

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Blackthorn Classic Car Show

Date:4th September 2016

Place:OX25 1TG

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