The first prototype WA was probably EX161/1, which actually appears on the SA factory records and not the WA. It had a saloon body and was painted black. An SA engine was fitted number QPHG 2523. No production date was recorded against this car but using the engine number as a guide, we can see that similar engine numbers were being fitted to SA cars in the first week of November 1937. This car probably was the first registered WA. This took place 28th April 1938 and was registered with number BBL 782. This reg number appears on the initial press photos.
A few weeks later on 11th May 1938 the second WA, probably prototype EX 161/2, was registered. It also was a black saloon however this was the first car to have the new WA engine number QPJG 6608/1. This car was used for the factory photos for the engine bay. A common complaint of the SA Saloon was that too much of the engine heat entered the passenger areas. When the VA was launched it had a separate firewall between engine and passenger compartment to keep the heat out of the car. This idea was also used on the WA and can clearly be seen in this factory photo (below).
Unlike the SA and VA, the first ‘production’ car, with the usual chassis number 251, was actually a Tickford and not a Saloon. The factory ledger stops showing production dates on the 5th October 1939 with WA chassis 602, however it continues to list chassis and engines until chassis 619. WA Saloon 613 is the youngest known survivor and currently resides in Australia.
The saloon is a massive car with slightly better rear vision than the Tourer or Tickford and utilising the same rear glass as the SA Saloon. The front axle is the same as fitted to the SA but with the extra width of the rear axle on the WA, the bodyline moves out slightly. Fitted to the rear doors as standard on the saloon were guards over the top of the wing. This had the effect of leaving a clean area on the wing so that the ladies did not have to have their dresses soiled when they climbed into or out of the car.
Also fitted as standard were two silk cushions fitted on hooks for the rear passengers to lean their heads and a rear roller blind operated by the driver. These were the same as the SA. The WA used the octagon shaped interior light as found on the VA Saloon and not the round one found in the SA Saloon. It did however use the same SA roof light switch with the added luxury of coming on automatically when the doors were opened.
Taken straight from the SA Saloon were all the doors with their associated glass, locks, handles and wood trim along with the same sunroof and mechanism. Also despite the car being wider and MG making the claim about the extra room inside the car, it used the same front seats as the SA and also the rear seat base. The rear back rest was the only change being the extra inches wider to fill the space.
Although not mentioned in the sales literature, it seems that WA Saloons destined for hotter climates were available without a sunroof and without an opening front windscreen to help to keep the dust out.
Originally offered for sale for £442 pounds in October 1938, by June 1939 the price had increased to £450.