Colliers Brothers "MG History"
The Collier brothers were very significant in bringing some of the first MGs into the US, and in the formation of, and participation in, early US sports car racing. How did this happen?
Barron Collier Sr, was very successful in business in the New York area in the early 1900's. He had 3 sons: Barron Jr, Miles, and Sam, who became interested in cars, racing, and MGs in particular. They began informal racing with friends on their NY estate in 1933. Barron Jr. won the first race with his MG-J2. A year later they were founders of the "Automobile Racing Club of America" (ARCA), which pre-dated the SCCA. Other races and MG's followed. In 1936, after a trip overseas and a stop at the MG factory in Abingdon, they formed the "MG Sales Company" of NY, and became the first importers of MGs into the US. They did some MG racing on the continent, and raced MGs a lot back home. In 1939 Miles raced his rebodied MG-PA special called "Leonidis" at Le Mans, France - the first US entry since 1921. Leonidis was doing well in the race until its gas tank ruptured. Then WWII put a halt to racing activities.
After the war, Sam and Miles continued racing MGs, and the brothers supported holding a race at Watkins Glen for 1948. They raced their supercharged MGTC's in it. In the years to follow, they raced MG's in many other venues. Tragically, Sam died in 1950 racing a Ferrari at Watkins Glen. In 1954, Miles died from polio. In honor of the brothers, the SCCA established the "Collier Brother's Memorial Trophy" race for MGs in 1954. That race was only for MG's until the rules changed in 1959, when other makes were allowed to compete in it. The SCCA still holds it today, although modern cars now compete for it.
In 1985, the Sports Car Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), started vintage racing at Watkins Glen and wanted to re-capture the original intent of the "Collier Memorial Trophy" MG race. With the blessing of Miles Collier Jr., they established their annual "Collier Cup" MG race - as an extension of the 1954 concept. In 1985 only eight MGs competed in it. But over the years it has been gaining momentum. 60 MGs competed in 1994. In 1998, 72 MGs. And for the 50th Anniversary - well over 100 racing MGs are expected this September at Watkins Glen- which will now require two separate Collier Cup races. One will have the older Pre-War and T-series MG's, and the other will have the newer A's, B's, C's, and Midgets.
This Collier Article, Courtesy MG Vintage Racers, April, 2004
(The above article is available for publication)
Online Editor: Christopher Kintner
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