Even when it was new, the MG TC was not new. Introduced in September 1945, it displayed a direct lineage back to its prewar forbears. If you were a little short on soul, you might even have called it old fashioned. Yet it was a trailblazer, not in terms of performance, but in opening up new export markets.
Popular myth has it that American GIs stationed in England latched on to these quaint sporting devices, and when they got home were eager to take a little piece of England with them. Whatever the reality, it was the first in a long line of MG export successes.
There was simply nothing remotely like this TC tiddler coming out of Detroit. It had a cramped cockpit, harsh ride, and lacked creature comforts; but when the road got twisty the TC could show you its tail and leave soft-sprung sofa-cars lumbering in its wake. It was challenging to drive, and all the more rewarding when you did it right.
With its square-rigged layout, the TC is traditional with a capital T, and certainly a “classic” before the term was applied to cars. With its square front and separate headlights, sweeping front fenders, and cutaway doors, it is a true classic.
Deep exhaust note was music to the ears.
While the TC may have been short on sophistication, it contained essential elements, such as wind-in your-hair driving, that marked it as a true enthusiast’s sporting car in the car-starved late 1940s.
Ease of accessibility and maintenance was another of the TC’s attractions. The XPAG engine was first used on some TB Midgets in 1939, then became standard MG gear until replaced by a 1500cc version in 1955. The TC was a popular race car, especially in the US, where it launched many careers and one world champion, Phil Hill.
Two TCs were exported for every one sold at home.
Big Jaeger dials were in true British sporting tradition; the driver got the tachometer, while the speedo was in front of the passenger. A warning light on the dashboard— to the left of the speedo —illuminated if you exceeded Britain’s 30 mph (48 km/h) urban speed limit.
The export trend begun so successfully by the TC really took off with the TD, which sold three times the number.
The TC was replaced by the TD, which with its smaller disc wheels, chrome hubcaps, and bumpers, some MG aficionados considered less pure.
Lockheed drum brakes balanced the limited power output.
S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
MODEL MG TC Midget (1947–49)
BODY STYLE Two-door, two-seater sports.
CONSTRUCTION Channel-section ladder-type chassis; ash-framed steel body.
ENGINE Four-cylinder overhead valve 1250cc, with twin SU carburetors.
POWER OUTPUT 54 bhp at 5200 rpm.
TRANSMISSION Four-speed gearbox with synchromesh on top three.
SUSPENSION Rigid front and rear axles on semi-elliptic springs, lever-type shock absorbers.
BRAKES Lockheed hydraulic drums.
MAXIMUM SPEED 73 mph (117 km/h)
0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 22.7 sec
A.F.C. 28 mpg (9.9 km/l)