MG is a brand that epitomizes the term ‘British Sports Car’. Their history is littered with countless examples of the finest British motoring formula. Front engine, rear wheel drive, two seats, wood, leather and weather. Today, these fundamental traits all pay tribute to the tasty little motor that started it all. The MG TC.
When an era of war ushered the Empire into battle, the little motoring company forged its reputation while building tanks and bombers for the Allied Army. Production on cars was halted until 1945, where MG dusted off their ambitious motoring plans and set back to work. Within months of the Third Reich’s demise, MG revealed the car that would change the future for British motoring. The TC. It was almost identical to its predecessors, the TA and TB. Yet it had more power, a wider body and numerous incremental changes adopted into an already successful formula.
By introducing affordable style to the masses, the car took Europe by storm. It appealed to everyone, with its elegant lines, nippy performance and spritely character. Despite MG creating 10,001 examples of its ingenuity, only 3,500 were sold in england thanks to its profound popularity with North America. The USA already had fast cars, but they built machines huge in scale and size, that were meant for cruising coastlines and straightline speed. When the war ended, US soldiers that remained in Europe got to witness the magic that MG had created. Its small plucky engine and short wheel base granted it agility and driving performance that Americans simply weren’t used to.
Owner Charles experienced the appeal towards the TC as a young man. Becoming familiar with them at university, Charles and his friends all drove TC’s. Unfortunately writing off his prized possession at a young age, in 2008 Charles wanted another example of the car that left such a large impression on him. In his searches, Charles stumbled upon a TC that had been given the ground up restoration experience by Ron Spencer. The car had been completely stripped down and put back together with the finest of craftsmanship to breathe life back into the hero of the 1940’s.
As the 9,800th MG TC built, the car has been kept in immaculate condition since restoration. But the car in its present form isn’t as original as when it rolled off the factory floor. The most noticeable change is the different wheels. Charles swapped the large skinny wheels, for a smaller and wider set, to give more tyre tread and traction. The tonneau cover, aero windscreen and the Brooklands steering wheel are all functional and aesthetic changes to MG’s original design.
Behind the aesthetics, the mechanics have been slightly changed to. The original 1250cc engine was bored out to 1347cc, and just to give it an extra kick, an Eaton supercharger was married to the larger than original SU Carburetors. Running at 1.2 times engine speed, the belt driven supercharger adds 40% more horsepower output from the already sporty natured vehicle.
But the sports car reputation wasn’t owed solely to its power-plant. Despite the frame comprising of timber, when massaged onto the steel chassis, the cars foundation for handling was born. With a frame made of wood, it wasn’t the most modernly engineered vehicle of its time either. But its handling was owed to its raw simplicity. The short wheel base, firm suspension, vented brakes, humungous steering wheel, low centre of gravity and driving position were all ingredients that aided to its cornering and agility. The type of wood in the frame offered rigidity in its structure and was robust against elements and aging.
Charles uses his TC as his daily car driving it to and from work, embracing the essence of the british sports car and very rarely putting the hood up. As a member of the MG TC Owners Club, Charles has contributed to many road trips, concours events and club functions that truly exhibit the passion behind owning a TC. Charles puts a lot of his time into the car. The paint, the panels, the engine, the leather. Everything on it is treated and cared for to sustain the legends lifespan. As a car touching 65 years old, it’s easy for the condition of the car to deteriorate if not looked after. Charles polishes, services, mends and cares for his TC as an owner and enthusiast.
As its condition is owed to its owner, the beauty and looks of the vehicle are owed to its design. It’s proportionally perfect, from the instantly recognisable grille, to the beautifully handcrafted wheel arch panels. There are so many different lines that exhibit the beauty of the TC. With the windscreen down and with the thicker tyres married to those gorgeous wire wheels, the car represents the sports car image perfectly.
Charles reinforces the idea that cars like this need to be driven and enjoyed. Modern day cars are a means of travelling from A to B, the TC is a vehicle that appeals to all and is enjoyed by everyone. It is a car that is so similar to its predecessors yet left a bigger impression and formed a foundation for future british sports cars. As Jaguars and Triumphs introduced sleeker models, MG consistently challenged them all, they were the quintessential british sports car to own. They were unadulterated fun...