Pre-war19361940 Post-war19451946 Restoration19851992 Pre-nosejob2006 Now

Joy ward

Visiting Mrs Joy Ward


The letter which lead to Surrey

After the publishing of the article about the Park Ward MG in the magazine Classic Car & Thoroughbreds (dec. 1993) I received a letter from Mrs. Joy Ward, The widow of Charles Ward. The specific article has reached her by means of a former employee of her late husband who in the former days (50 years ago) had driven daily, for 6 years, in this Park Ward MG in companion with Charles Ward to the coach building facility.
Mrs. Ward was reacting on my cry for periodical pictures and stories of this MG TA in the period that the car was in daily use. She wrote that she was in possession of pictures of the restoration and of a picnic-trip with the car but she was absolutely not willing in take them out of the album to send to me. In writing we kept the communication going and in this way a lot of questions about this specific car were answered.
At last it troubled me that I did not have those photos.
So this leaded to the trip with the MG TA to Mrs. Ward in England

With such a routing program on the home computer I accidentally had chosen for the “shortest” route. In England with this route it meant a real job to drive with an old-timer. For sure, straight through London, with all her roundabouts, was an adventure. On the Banks around lunch-time, a gathering of men in real black suits arise around the MG. Standing here with open roof meant answering a lot of questions. After this suddenly I was driving along beautiful lanes and bridges over the Thames. Because we (a friend and me) were not in a hurry it became a wonderful trip.


Mrs. Joy Ward and Symphony


There she was, a small chic lady in front of a beautiful cottage including an "old English garden with down the line lawn mowing" lawn. This is a lawn with milli-metered grass in block patrons of 30 x 30 cm; nearly every day the lawn is mowed in this patron. When we arrive we saw this happen, really a nice skill.
Mrs. Ward was delighted of the MG and really appreciated that the car was back on her feet. She asked me, among other things if my wife also had troubles with her hair after she had made a trip with the hood down in the MG and also she asked me if my wife did not like the hard riding character as well. Also she told me that she had painted the engine by her self in the red color.
After I had admired her garden and I appreciate her tea the photo-books came on the table.
Yes, this family-album was great: 5 pages with 15 photos from the beginning of the construction till the finished car were she was used to drive to a picnic as a daily used car.
Finally I could completely see the construction of the woodwork of the body, the aluminum panels, the methanol injection and how the low pressure Arnott supercharger was mounted. On another photo I saw for the first time that there was a 7-inch Bentley "passing light" mounted in front of the grille. Around all the photos Charles Ward had written extensive writings. At the last photo he wrote: An idea, a year’s hard work and a dream came through. For me it also was like a dream that I could read this about my own little car. At the photo in which the car went on the road for the first time Charles wrote the name he gives her: Symphony.
In my opinion Charles could not give her a better name.


The why

On my question why Charles Ward had built Symphony I got a lot of answers from people with thorough knowledge of old-timers, but non-of these answers could really satisfy me. Now I asked it Mrs. Ward. She gave me the following answer.
Charles was 31 years of age and worked, first against his wish (he wanted to become a doctor), in the factory of his father (Park Ward Coachbuilders, in 1937 overtaken by Rolls Royce). For his daily use he wanted to have his own car and of course with Park Ward coachwork. Also in those days a rolling chassis (complete car without body) of Rolls Royce, even at wholesale price is, for a 31 year old employee, unpayable. It had to be a small economic and payable rolling chassis that could meet the latest state of the technique but strong enough to carry the Park Ward coachwork. De MG TA could meet this profile, however the engine had to be tuned and the chassis had to be strengthened. Because Charles wants to show his skills he had designed and built Symphony by himself (of course with the help and all the facilities of Park Ward Coachbuilders). You can review this pride on his first design in all the photos taken by Charles and the words he wrote in the family album.
This pride I recognized in all the publicity he had made with Symphony like a story in the magazine Autocar and the beautiful portraits in front of the coachbuiling premises which I happily could use during the restoration.

On my question why Charles had altered the front-wings Mrs. Joy Ward gave me the next answer:
Because of the generally changing ideas, just after the war, in the lines of the wings Charles want to experiment with some car-designs. He used those studies first on his own car so he gave Symphony a facelift in 1946 by mounting full flowing wings and a streamlined front cowl. Mrs. Ward also told me that, the for the family Ward painfully overtake by Rolls Royce, meant that Rolls Royce never built an MG with Park Ward body. So far known is Symphony the only MG ever built with a Park Ward body.



It took my friend and me hours to convince Mrs. Ward that we only want to bring the family-album to the local PhotoShop to get the pages photographed and that we like to leave our passports as a security. After her approval the photographs only could be taken in a studio and this could not be done in an afternoon. So we only made photocopies of it. Mrs. Ward has had afterwards, on my request, photographed the pages, so my archive is now complete in this point.
Saying good-bye to this 80+ lady made me feel sad. Do we see each other again?