British sports cars are some of the most appreciated automobiles in the classic car world, whether it be a Triumph, Austin Healey, or an old Jaguar. The modest MG is arguably what captured the early intrigue for an American audience, introducing them to a series of nimble sports cars that delivered an addictive driving experience. More specifically, this phenomenon can be traced back to the launch of the TC in post-war America. Both mechanically and cosmetically, the TC was nearly identical to its predecessor, the TB. During WWII, the production of MG’s were brought to a halt like many other industrial companies, to use their factories to manufacturer military supplies. In 1945 the war ended and MG, along with many other automobile manufacturers, were now in a race to reignite production and sell their leftover pre-war inventory. With expense conservation as a priority, the MG Car Company dusted off their old TB blueprints, widened the body, installed shackles replacing sliding trunnions for spring mounts, changed the gauge cluster format, and slightly increased engine compression. The significance of the TC did not lie within the design but within the sales strategy. It was the first MG model to be formally sold in North America and acted as a catalyst in adapting their new audience’s taste for the British sports car.
This particular TC on offer is chassis number TC0268, fitted with its original engine number XPAG903, and is finished in a pale yellow over green interior. Pointing your attention to the chassis number “0268” indicates that this was the 17th example built. A factory record from MG Club LTD verifies the date of build as September 28, 1945 and that this indeed was the 17th TC produced, making it an extremely early example. According to the only documentation on file, in January 1978 the first of two restorations was executed by the restoration specialists at Leydon Restorations of Lahaska, Pennsylvania. The restoration was then completed in December 1980 at an in-period cost of approximately $19,000. About 8 years later, receipts indicate that the car went into storage from 1988 to 1992 and during this time the owner purchased about $4,300 in parts for the car. Then in 1994 an additional $3,000 in service receipts was invested in the car, completed by Whitworth Shop of Novelty, Ohio. The year now being 1996, the owner appeared to have purchased a variety of components for a second comprehensive restoration but there are no receipts for the labor costs. However, there are receipts that show parts being shipped to a Mr. Wayne Benner as well as two letters he sent to White Post Restorations of White Post, Virginia regarding wheel cylinders he had re-sleeved on behalf of the current owner at the time. This shows some indication that Mr. Benner may have completed the restoration, or at minimum, had some degree of involvement during the process. Post the second restoration, between 1997 to 2001 an additional $1,300 in receipts was accumulated for a few small maintenance items that needed tending to. The paper trail continues, showing another series of receipts spanning from 2002 to 2007 for about $13,700 regarding items completed by the marque specialists at Ragtops & Roadsters of Perkasie, Pennsylvania. At this point, the owner of the car from 1978 to 2007 spent a total of almost $43,000 on this TC ensuring that the superb condition of the car was preserved and all systems were properly maintained. The next milestone for the car was exiting its long term ownership and changing hands to the current owner in 2008. From the current owner’s acquisition of the car in 2008 until now, there is yet another set of receipts for the car depicting the tending to of any and all mechanical items on the car as well as a couple minor cosmetic items all completed by Ragtops & Roadsters at a cost of about $13,400.
The car shows fabulously upon approach with minimal flaws to note in respect to the paint which holds an impeccable shine and is free of any blemishes. As you begin to walk the perimeter of the car, the paint maintains a consistent and even finish throughout with all shut gaps showing within the appropriate clearances, indicating no signs of prior body damage and superb panel fitment. The windshield and headlamp glass is crisp and rubber seals supple. One should note the headlights are the much more rare earlier specification type. The soft top, tonneau, and weather gear all are in great shape with absolutely no abnormalities to report. An inspection of the chrome components on the car with yield no quarrels and validation of the elite condition of the car.
Opening the doors reveals neat and tidy door jams with the only blemish to note is a scuff on both sides located on the door sill plates which can be attributed to a clearance issue the most likely occurred during the restoration process. However, it is very minor and a common attribute of these cars. The green interior is like new having incurred absolutely no damage or mistreatment whatsoever. The door panels are correct and a peak down at the rugs will show that they have had little use and resemble the high quality of the rest of the interior. Aging in all the right ways is present with signs of use but nothing out of place. The correct steering wheel is present; all the gauges have flawless faces, and function properly along with all switches, knobs, and levers. The wooden dash is without any cracks or flaws and the veneer is of show quality.
Under the bonnet shows a tidy, clean, and correct engine bay that needs nothing and would be admired on any show field. There is clear evidence that every component has been addressed, refinished, polished, or rebuilt by capable hands. The hoses, clamps, facets, wiring, and lines have all been tended to in accordance with original factory standards. The MG factory tags and plates are all-present and indicate that this is a genuine matching-numbers car, though it should be noted that they are new tags that have been stamped, with the originals included with the car. A thorough visual inspection will show that there are no major leaks nor mechanical flaws present.
Continuing one’s inspection of the car, the underside shows very well and is consistent with the rest of the car, having no improper or careless work done. Each wheel well has been nicely painted and possesses not one spec of rust and incurred no sort of damage from road use. The rockers are spotless, the suspension components have been painted per factory specifications, and there are no grounds to indicate any sort of major rust repair. All of the brake lines have been run properly and show no sign of deterioration.
Mechanically, this example is truly sound with no issues to report given the consistent maintenance work that was executed during the car’s life. The engine has been dialed-in and performs as such, starting almost immediately with a turn of the key and a tap of the gas pedal. The driving experience the MG TC has to offer is certainly one reflective of the 40’s with a large steering wheel to provide leverage, skinny tires that have limited grip, and an engine with less than 100 horsepower. Once up to temperature, the 1250cc engine is quite lively and urges the driver to squeeze out every bit of horsepower one can manage. The fresh clutch feels as it should and allows the 4-speed gearbox to happily change from gear-to-gear without any hassle. During use, the gauges indicate good oil pressure and a steady operating temperature. A firm press of the brake pedal promptly engages the drum brakes and brings you to a timely stop with no pulling or fade.
This restored MG TC is of near concours quality and would be admired at any concours, show, or rally. The artful restoration that was performed leaves us today with a fantastic example that has been carefully preserved both mechanically and cosmetically. This TC has always been garage kept and regular maintenance completed by capable technicians, leaving nothing left to do but to take it out on a Sunday morning and drive it. The extensive documentation of the car validates that this car never received any mistreatment and that it was meticulously maintained throughout its life. Also taking into consideration that this is the documented 17th TC built and the historical significance of the TC as the catalyst for America’s love for the British Sports Car. Its turnkey mechanical condition and well-kept cosmetics, makes this TC valuable property in the eyes of any enthusiast.
Available Documentation:(Please click on the links below to view the files)