The MG TC was the third in the “Midget” series of four-cylinder sports cars that first debuted in 1936, replacing the PB. The TA was powered by an uprated version of the Wolseley 10 OHV four-cylinder engine, and the styling was slightly revised, retaining the lovely sweeping fenders and elegantly simple body. With the introduction of the TB in 1939, the Wolseley engine was dropped in favor of the more modern XPAG engine as fitted to the Morris Ten. As before, MG massaged the engine and fitted dual SU carburetors to produce a respectable 54 horsepower. A mere 379 were produced before the outbreak of war halted production.
MG’s first post-war model, the TC, was launched in 1945. Outwardly similar to the TB, the TC had a slightly wider body for additional comfort and the XPAG engine got a slight bump in compression and horsepower. The big news however, was the introduction of the TC to American shores. Returning US Servicemen had been bitten by the sports car bug while serving in Europe and a great many of them brought home sports cars, soon organizing racing circuits on open roads or setting up temporary circuits on air fields. Cars from MG, Allard, Jaguar and Austin-Healey formed the foundation of American sports car racing in the era. The TC, while built in right-hand-drive only, proved popular enough with sportycar enthusiasts to cement MG’s place in the critical American market, which would serve as the marque’s largest consumer for the next three and a half decades. The TC may not have been big on power, but it was simple, robust and it drove like nothing Americans had experienced on our shores before. This little car with its pre-war styling had the huge character, defined by the torquey XPAG engine, short throws on the four-speed gearbox and the fabulously direct steering. Simple suspension on tall, skinny wheels was far from sophisticated, but given the TC’s light weight, it made for predictable and enjoyable handling. Best of all, it was inexpensive. The TC was the gateway drug for a great many racers who then moved on to bigger and faster things. If a driver could be fast in a TC, he or she could be fast in just about anything.
This marvelous MG TC is believed to have originally been imported to California, and has been modified with a number of rare period-correct accessories that would have been utilized in the early 1950s by a budding sports car enthusiast to eek a little more performance out of their newly acquired TC. It is presented in lovely navy-blue paintwork, along with blue leather and blue canvas upholstery on the top and tonneau. The excellent body has been modified with cycle fenders up front to shed weight, retaining the pretty original rear wings. The bonnet sides have been removed to improve cooling – a typical modification for the period – and a single driving lamp is mounted up front. The factory folding windscreen is supplemented by a pair of period Brooklands Aeroscreens. The original, spindly 19-inch wire wheels are fitted; finished in silver-gray paint as correct and a dual, rear-mounted spare wheel setup further enhances the purposeful look. The overall quality is excellent, and while the restoration has a few years on it, the car has been very well-maintained as part of a larger collection, remaining in excellent condition and beautifully presented.
Attractive blue leather trim complements the blue bodywork, and the original dash panel has been replaced with an engine turned panel for a bit more of a sporty appeal. A correct style in tan steering wheel gives a sporty, purposeful appearance. The cockpit presents in very fine condition, showing minimal wear. The canvas top and tonneau cover are both in good order, allowing for some moderate protection from the elements.
The go-fast goodies are not limited to a few cosmetics modifications. The 1250 cc OHV four cylinder is uprated with a Judson supercharger, providing a welcome boost over the original 55 horsepower. Most notable, however, is the useful additional torque provided by the blower. This little TC runs very well and thanks to that extra torque, returns lively performance and a tuneful soundtrack from the sports exhaust. Keeping all of that additional speed in check is a set of very rare period finned alloy brake drums. A rare period speed part, few of these survived as they were popular among racers who would have run them quite hard in competition.
This delightful MG TC harkens back to the days of intrepid racers driving their cars to places like Watkins Glen, Bryfan Tyddyn and Pebble Beach, battling for glory and (hopefully) driving back home at the end of a weekend. It is a beautifully presented car that is an absolute blast to drive. Few cars can capture the pure essence of motoring like the MG TC, and this example, thanks to the many fine period enhancements, has been made even more enjoyable to carve up your favorite back roads.
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