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Produced from 1935-55, the MG T series was a popular range of small, convertible sports cars, mostly steel-bodied on a wooden frame, and capable of around 80 mph (129 km/h). The post-war TC enjoyed particular success with sales of more than 10,000, in large part because of the car’s achievements on the export market. It did especially well in the US, the open-bodied two-seater being widely credited with introducing American drivers to the concept of the small sports car.

PRODUCTION AT MG was interrupted by World War II, when the factory at Abingdon stopped making cars and switched instead to the manufacture and repair of military equipment. When peace was declared in 1945 the company moved swiftly back to car production. With the government warning companies to “export or die”there was a particular focus on overseas sales and a new TC model was hastily developed.

The basic format was carried over from prewar models, including the ash frame, compact two-seater body, and the 1,250 cc four-cylinder engine. Although dated, the cutaway doors, swept wings, a slab-type fuel tank, and a boot-mounted spare wheel gave the MG a sporty appearance. With little in the way of competition, the car sold well, particularly for something the factory regarded as little more than a stop-gap model.

MG badge

Short for Morris Garages, the name MG was chosen by founder Cecil Kimber whose early cars were modified Morris Cowleys. By 1924 the octagonal logo featured on all cars, and many also had eight-sided dials in the cockpit.


Although similar in appearance to its predecessor, the TB, the TC was actually 4 in (10cm) wider. This improved its stance and allowed for a slightly roomier interior. Cutaway doors gave it a sporty look and provided extra elbow room for the driver.



ModelMG TC 1947-49
AssemblyAbingdon, UK
ConstructionSteel chassis, ash-framed steel body
Engine1,255 cc, straight-four
Power output54 bhp
Transmission4-speed manual
SuspensionFront and rear leaf springs
BrakesAll-round drums
Maximum speed73 mph (118 km/h)


The fact that it was essentially a post-war machine with prewar looks did little to dent MG sales when it was new, and decades later it serves only to enhance the already considerable appeal of the sprightly TC.

It may not be a vintage car but it certainly looks like one, and perhaps that is the point. The performance of these little MGs was always modest but even now they cry out to be driven. Most at home perhaps driving leisurely along narrow country lanes, it’s not hard to see why people flocked to buy them in the 1940s. Seeing one now-parked outside a village pub, or by an ivy-clad castle ruin-its simple but stylish shape is still pretty hard to resist.

Lights only 6-volt not 12

Engine bay louvres provide additional cooling

Wing mirror is an essential modern addition

Leather strap secures the bonnet closed

Rear spare mounted on slab-type fuel tank

Improvised fuel gauge—the TC only had a low fuel warning light

Adjustable mount for fold-flat windscreen

Beautiful art deco-style dashboard

Passenger grab handle—the TC had no seat belts

Simple straight-four engine


It is a quote. The Classic Car Book – The Definitive Visual History 2016

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