The last Chief Engineer of MG, Don Hayter, died on last Friday, October 9, MG Car Club reported to the general public. Hayter played a pivotal role in the design of the MGB, a highly popular and innovative roadster that became the best-selling MG sports car ever made.
Hayter joined MG from Aston Martin in 1956, he was later named the company’s Chief Body Draughtsman. There, he worked on the MGA Twin Cam and he soon started working on the MGB. The MGB was a state-of-the-art design for 1962, when it debuted. It was a unibody and it was one of the first cars to have crumple zones that would protect the passenger compartment in collisions under 30 mph.
Hayter was the one who turned the MGB from a prototype into a buildable car, by finalizing the windshield, hood and dashboard designs. The MGB had a long life by being in production from 1962 to 1980.
After MGB success, Hayter continued to worked on the MGB GT-based SSV-1 safety car and the MGB-based straight-six MGC GT race car.
Later on, he was appointed Chief Engineer of MG in 1973. Hayter retired from automotive work at age of 56, but kept on expressing his design skills as an engineer to Nuffield Orthopedic, where he designed mobility products for the disabled.
“I went in and worked with people with Cerebral Palsy, Motor Neurone Disease and injuries and handicaps who needed special wheelchairs,”
Hayter told Hemmings.
“I designed a wheelchair installation with a foot control for a 30-year-old guy who only had motor control of his right foot. He’d never been independent before, but once he got that chair, he wore it out in a fortnight! That was one of the best jobs you can have, helping people like that.”
For Hayter, the MG job was his lifetime career and the most fun, but his last job working on wheelchairs was the most satisfying and rewarding . His influence in the automotive world will continue to live on.