1949 MG TC Resto- mod.

This picture of the radiator grille and surround gives a clue to the standard of build that I am hoping to achieve. I found to my surprise that the original radiator was in very good condition. I have to say I was impressed with it's construction which is entirely from brass and copper. I think it could be fairly described as a work of art. The grille, however required a lot of fettling and chrome plating which I handed over to Derby Platers. They are excellent but expensive. The emblem was damaged and being black and white was for a later car anyway. I was incredibly fortunate in finding a perfect 1949 MG emblem.
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IMG_0806 2.JPGIMG_0644.JPGI have detailed elsewhere how poor the MG TC turned out to be when I got it home. The rebuild began straight away with the ordering of a new body from MG Ash Frames.... If only I had known it would take 2 years!!!

In many ways the TC is a pre - War design (being a follow on from the TB but sales were sufficiently good for it to last until the clamour for a more modern model - especially from the USA - led to the introduction of the TD. So the basic car is an old design with all the limitations that entails. This actually makes modification more difficult than on a newer design but in my opinion that is not a reason for not making the most of what you have.

The above picture of the radiator grille and surround gives a clue to the standard of build that I am hoping to achieve. I found to my surprise that the original radiator was in very good condition. I have to say I was impressed with it's construction which is entirely from brass and copper. I think it could be fairly described as a work of art. The grille, however required a lot of fettling and chrome plating which I handed over to Derby Platers. They are excellent but expensive. The emblem was damaged and being black and white was for a later car anyway. I was incredibly fortunate in finding a perfect 1949 MG emblem.

Derby Platers attended to all the brightwork on the car; including the original 8" headlamps. The car was fitted with 7" sealed beam units let into the original bowls by means of stepped rims. It just didn't look right. I was fortunate to source a pair of N.O.S. lenses with the correct "cats eye" pattern. Lighting, of course, is famously poor on old cars and I had no intention of using the original low wattage incandescent bulbs...but by the same token, LEDs have an unsatisfactory beam spread when used with conventional reflectors. Consequently, I had the reflectors re silvered and bought some high wattage halogen bulbs. Not as bright as LEDs but far better than original... so a reasonable compromise.

New gaskets were sourced but some repro bulb holders were a disappointment as they won't fit into the reflectors. The method of light adjustment is to move the bulb holders (in and out) in the reflectors so they need to be a good interference fit. I have no choice but to remove the innards from the new bulb holders and solder them into the original ones. Replacement rim clips and other parts are fortunately still available from Vintage Car Parts (Otherwise known as Paul Beck).

Another stroke of luck was to find a correct Lucas SFT 462 fog lamp with stepped reflector. This needed re plating but now looks like new. Again, my uprated electrics allow me to fit a halogen bulb without worry.

The final lighting details to the front of the car are the side lights. These were knocked about so I bought two new ones that come ready wired for use both as side lights and indicators. There were no indicators on the car originally so another pair of 1130 style lamps will serve as rear indicators. The stop/tail lights were the correct pattern "D" lamps mounted either side of the number plate. (Windows in the side of these illuminate the plate) . They had not looked quite right when I first saw the car but it wasn't until I removed them that I realised the P.O. had replaced the (presumably missing) glass lenses with clear plastic made from food cartons. He had then painted them red to complete the deception.! Ah well!
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No report to you guys would be complete without getting into the oily bits. Starting with the engine; it is a 4 cylinder 1250 overhead valve 'XPAG' and is interesting in that - for historical reasons - it has metric threads. These, however, have an obsolete 1mm form so normal metric nuts and bolts with a 1.5mm form won't fit!
I won't bore you all with the history, but because garage mechanics of the day would not have had metric tools to hand, the the hexagons of all the nuts and bolts were imperial "whitworth" sizes. Today, whitworth tools are obsolete although they are still available. Fortunately, I have inherited a good number of suitable tools from my late father.

The problem I and many other TC owners have is that over the years less knowledgeable mechanics and previous owners have tried using the wrong spanners in addition to forcing incorrect threads into the engine. My car is no exception and I have accepted this as just something I need to correct where necessary with thread inserts and new fasteners.

Apart from the engine most other threads are either Whitworth (coarse thread) or BSF (British Standard Fine).

I mentioned previously the main and big end shells and journals were scored and the crank shaft needed to be re ground. I entrusted this job to MG engine builder Peter Edney. He also modified the rear oil seal to remedy leakage. These engines are notorious for oil leaks and to that end I have also fitted a rubber lip seal to the front. Needless to say; the crank was crack tested. One thing I felt unhappy about was the method of clamping the little end of the con rods so I requested fully floating gudgeon pins.
While removing the cylinder head I discovered the rocker shaft was worn so I renewed it, the rockers and the push rods. I also changed the cam followers for an improved design. I renewed the cam bearings and although the camshaft showed no appreciable signs of wear I replaced it with a fast road cam from Neumann & Co. I also replaced the timing gears and fitted an improved chain.
On removing the pistons I discovered a sizeable chunk of casting was missing from No.1cylinder so that needed to be lined. Again, that I handed to Peter Edney who rebored +060" and fitted high quality pistons. All the core plugs were renewed and the block thoroughly cleaned.

Other machining work included shaping the head suitable for use with a supercharger and the installation of larger valves/springs and bronze guides with conversion to unleaded. I sent the oil pump with some new gears to another machinist to have them machined to match. Care needs to be taken on reassembly because the cir clip that Moss and others supply is too thin. Failure of this tiny part to stay in it's groove can spell disastrous results for the engine!

One thing that needed attention was the method of oil filtering. As mentioned, the original pre 1960 canister had been left in situ. I replaced it with a modern spin on type that is cunningly concealed in a container that is indistinguishable from the original canister.


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Wow this is really interesting, thanks for sharing, I'll be keeping an eye out for updates on this project.
Thank you for following! I would welcome ANY questions about my project as there are whole areas that have become obsolete that I have needed to learn about and deal with. There are fewer young people taking an interest in VERY old cars these days for the simple reason that they are inherently slow. We have also come a long way in terms of safety so I am hoping to tackle both issues.

One of the reasons owners of T type MGs have made changes is nothing to do with performance, handling or safety. These XPAG engines tend to run faster than is comfortable in any given gear which can be rather wearing on a long trip. The engine speed also contributes to a noticeable amount of wear. My answer was to try and match the maximum available performance with the best possible gearing. To that end I have fitted an Eaton M45 supercharger with 1 3/4" SU (and genuine K&N filter) and a 5 speed type 9 Ford gearbox I noticed that first gear was even lower than on the TC so I requested a modified higher 1st gear. This was more expensive but I think it will pay dividends.

My car has a competition history in Australia which is something I am researching. This came to an end in
1960 when it was totally dismantled; presumably with a view to a restoration that never happened.

Originally the Abingdon factory gave the TC a 5.125 : 1 rear axle ratio. I understands this may have been in response to a demand for an ultra low gear for hill climbing competitions. This I changed to a higher ratio of 4.875 :1. This is the ratio as fitted to the earlier TA and is known as an 8/39. (the pinion having 8 teeth and the crown wheel 39). The result should be a more relaxing top gear.

When I removed the pinion I discovered it had suffered a broken tooth. In addition, the bearing cage disintegrated on removal from it's housing. I obtained a new CWP and taper roller bearings from MG guru Roger Ferneaux in Devon who provided some excellent instructions for the diff. rebuild .

I replaced the scroll type oil seal with a modern rubber lip type. The half shafts also have a brass scroll type of oil retainer. When I removed the old shafts, I was horrified to find that the hubs had been glued on! In a vain attempt to stop axle oil from escaping through the hubs, rubber bath plugs had been pressed in!

I renewed the half shafts with new ones that take a special retaining nut with built in rubber lip seal. At the same time I renewed all the hubs and again fitted taper roller bearings to them. (Original bearings of this period tended to be plain ball races.)

I had a few issues when renewing the leaf springs. The springs are located centrally with a "dimple" that locates in a small indent The dimple was in the wrong place. I had to grind it off and weld a blob that I shaped into a dimple. Oh! the joy of old cars!
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I have to admit to liking my creature comforts and a heater is one of them. Even with an open car, a bit of warmth to the feet can be welcome. Although there has been very little rust to deal with - as one would expect with a car imported from Australia - the scuttle mounted tool box was an exception to the rule. It had rotted through the bottom (where water had presumably been unable to escape) and as there are few places that a heater could go I decided to use it for that purpose. This is one of those modifications that get the purists muttering to each other... but that's tough !.

Having decided on it's location, I had an extraordinary stroke of luck when Car Builder Solutions came up with a #7 heater that was a perfect fit. Also, an MG enthusiast I know in Germany was able to supply a cylinder head end plate in stainless steel, fitted with a heater outlet. Hot, pressurised water from here will flow through a short piece of copper pipe to a service valve. From there the pipe drops down and turns through a grommeted hole in the bulkhead. At this point there is a change to rubber hose which terminates at a driver control valve valve. From the valve a length of copper pipe rises up into the heater box where it attaches to the inlet port. After passing through the matrix the water returns via the off side chassis rail to the bottom of the radiator via another. service valve.

Throughout this installation I have aimed to have the heater and it's associated pipework make as little impact as possible. To that end much of the pipe work is hidden.
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As I have mentioned, soon after buying the TC, I discovered a great deal of rotten timber in the body tub and I wasted no time in ordering a new Ash frame from master craftsman Andrew Denton (MG Ash Frames) but little did I know that this order would take two years to be delivered.

I had been assured by the previous owner that the body had been restored with "all new wood"... Yeah!
Perhaps the worst offence was painting over surface rust.

>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>

There is nothing quite like a challenge. One such was the discovery that the dashboard (that looked quite reasonable at first ) was a fake. Fortunately, all the instruments were present and correct. I commissioned John Marks of Vintage restorations ( Tunbridge Wells ) restore them ... and add more!

In addition to the speedo and tacho, there is an oil pressure gauge, and ammeter. That's it. There is a low level fuel warning light but no gauge. Hard to believe but MG at the time felt no need to supply a water temperature gauge. Perhaps they felt so confident in Claude Bailey's thermostatically controlled system that they didn't think one was necessary. One other requirement I had was a boost/vacuum gauge for the supercharger. I have to say that John Marks - who actually owns the British Jaeger Trade Mark - made a beautiful job of the restoration and managed to recreate the original metalic light green colour.

I have always liked ivory coloured switch gear that was popular in the 1950s. Rather than try and re create an original dashboard layout which would have had black switches and knobs I have decided to fit ivory coloured ones. A car can only be original once so any attempt to recreate it seems to me to be a bit dishonest. Here I have a prototype of my proposed new dashboard.

For a 1949 car, the dash would have been covered in Rexine; a kind of vinyl. My choice is to use the same leather as I have for the interior. Note the expensive new " Blumels brooklands" steering wheel and boss chosen to compliment the layout. I am confident the bright white colour will tone down with time.

The whole car looked quite reasonable before I got my hands on it!
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When looking at the TC interior it will be noticed that the seats are red but the door cards etc. are biscuit coloured. On further investigation I discovered that the seats were from an earlier car. I didn't care for the vinyl covering and made the decision to have the seats re covered in leather. Unfortunately, when I removed the back cover I found the seat not worth restoring. There were quite a few broken coil springs and the spring case itself was in a terrible state. Even the wooden back board looked like it had been crushed and was splintered beyond use.

Some time ago I commissioned a highly recommended trimmer to supply a new seat and trim kit. I have independently chosen a top quality leather called "Mountbatten Sand" from UK hides... and at the time of writing... I am expecting a delivery any time soon. I have gone further than the standard MG trim level for the TC and will be applying leather to ALL surfaces. Purists say I should have kept to vinyl for the areas that MG decided would not be noticed; ie. the seat back and sides; the door cards and other trim panels. Just because MG chose to "penny pinch" back in those austere Post War days, does not - in my view - commit me to do the same.

Incidentally, the new leather has a traditional 'grain' and not only feels soft to the touch... it smells nice too!

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Hello Wayne. The idea is to rebuild the car respecting it's era. Basically, the TC is a pre War design so in a way I feel the need to respect some of it's limitations... but make improvements where I can. It will never perform or handle like a modern car but should still be an exciting, fun car to drive.

Respcting the period design, however, throws up some interesting challenges. One thing that has surprised me was a number of what I consider to be design flaws in the car and I see no advantage in perpetuating them if I can do something better. For example; these cars - like many other cars of the time - had what I consider to be a poor electrical system. One case in point is the lack of fusing,

Originally, there were just two 35 amp fuses which supposedly protected the whole car. Regardless of load, I would imagine the result of up to 35 amps surging through the loom would result in a fire long before the fuse had blown.! In fact, there have been quite a few dashboard fires in T types that I have read about. In response to this, I have installed a new loom but I now have 10 fuses to protect it. In addition, I have some rare and rather fragile switches that need protecting. My desire to keep high amperages away from the (wooden) dashboard and protect those switches has led me to installing a system of relays. I have 8 changeover relays in two banks. The fuses and relays are accessible but discreetly positioned so as not to stand out. Incidentally, normal relays have a tendency to emit high voltage spikes so I have chosen the type with a relay built in. (As found on Morgan cars). The reason for this is to protect the sensitive electronics - such as my new CSI electronic distributor. I have a transil fitted to the petrol pump for the same reason.

Still on the electrics, I have replaced the feeble Lucas dynamo with a 45 amp Dynamator. It looks like an old fashioned dynamo by is in fact an alternator. One of the consequences of doing this is more reliable voltage regulation and consequently I have removed the RF95 voltage control box from the system. The box is still in use, however, but mainly as a useful junction box. Both the original 35 amp fuses are still operable but as a back up,

Of course I have no desire to couple the brake lights as flashing indicators (as fitted to the American export models) so I have added period style lamps as indicators.

When these cars were new they had no petrol gauge; just a low level warning light. I have sourced a clever "hydrostatic" device that can be plumbed into the petrol tank drain outlet. Some electronic wizardry links to a new petrol gauge on the dash.

Incidentally, the car came to me with it's compliment of four gauges (plus clock) although they required restoration. I entrusted their restoration to John Marks (best in the business) and added a further three gauges. This required a complete rethink of the instrument board layout (which won't please the purists!)

Waynne. As it happens none of the mods you mentioned will be required.
1) ABS - not fitted.
Many builders would fit disc brakes without question. Yes, there is no contest between drums and discs BUT my aim is to respect the period appearance of the car and that alone rules them out. There are also torque reaction issues when trying to marry disc brakes to old technology (beam axle / leaf springs ) and for that reason I have retained and refurbished the original Luvax lever arm dampers. I have also renewed the springs and added a Panhard rod to better locate the front axle.

MY solution is to fit "Alfin" type drums with an improved brake shoe linings. These hugely expensive drums have a cast iron middle with a ribbed aluminium outer that dissipates heat. They were always a desirable period option. I have also invested in new brass bodied stainless steel wheel cylinders and master cylinder with new Kunifer brake lines with stainless steel coil armouring.

The brakes work fine but their design is inefficient. Later MG cars had twin leading shoes; a big improvement on the TC's single leading shoe arrangement - but the conversion would mean permanently altering the original back plates; which is at odds with my philosophy of making only those changes that are easily reversible. To that end I have opted for a 1.9 :1 servo to assist the brake pedal. I fully understand it won't improve the brakes but it should improve their feel. The servo (genuine Lockheed) is mounted under the floor next to the rear axle.

Incidentally, one of the design flaws I mentioned is having the master cylinder under the drivers side floor board. I have added a remote reservoir accessible from inside the scuttle mounted battery box. This makes checking the brake fluid much more user friendly.

2) Power Steering. - not fitted.
The original steering was very direct but suffered from "wander". It could also fail without warning. The answer, as many TC owners have found, is to fit either a Nissan or VW steering box. I have fitted a VW box in place of the original "Bishop cam". One benefit is that although the steering is lower geared ( nearly 3 turns from lock to lock ) it is much lighter. To counter the gearing issue I have a new Blumells "Brooklands" steering wheel with a 15 1/2" diameter as opposed to the original 17". I also fitted new track rod and control arm ends but I may change those for rose joints. I have also renewed the king pins and bushes but added "Torrington" needle roller thrust bearings in place of basic thrust washers.

All the hubs have been renewed but now have taper roller bearings. New wheels and tyres are on order.

Fuel Injection - not fitted.

Instead of the twin carbs I have fitted an Eaton M45 supercharger. This is fed by a 1 3/4" SU. this may prove to be too big; a 1 1/2" SU is the more common fitment but let's see how it goes. The cylinder head has been ported and properly shaped for use with a blower. It also has bigger valves, double springs and bronze valve guides. Converted to unleaded and running a fast road cam. Rocker gear and push rods replaced and new timing gears with better quality chain fitted. The engine has been comprehensively rebuilt by MG guru Peter Edney with +60 racing pistons... but I have added a crank case pressure evacuation system operating from a scavenger unit in the exhaust. This mod replaces the old draught tube and works better than a standard PCV valve with a supercharger. As to the exhaust; I have installed a stainless steel extractor manifold with larger pipe and silencer; also in stainless.

There is so much more.....
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Looking in more detail at the exhaust controlled crankcase pressure evacuation system; this is something I have never attempted before, so I hope it works...but if it should do because a similar set up that I am aware of has been successfully operating on a 1950s MG TF in the USA . The reason for that installation is to do with the propensity of the XPAG engines to leak oil.

I am assuming readers will be familiar with "blow by". This is more commonly found on worn engines but crankcase pressure can build up in a supercharged engine with the result that oil gets forced past the crankshaft seals. In a modern engine a pcv valve is used to dissipate excess pressure but that system works better with normally aspirated engines. The PCV can be used with a blower but the set up it much more complicated - and I want to keep things simple. There are also other benefits to eliminating crankcase pressure in terms of performance. I expect to see some extra bhp.:)

Before the advent of environmental considerations car manufacturers used a "draught tube" to draw out the fumes. The pipe on the XPAG engine goes from the valve cover on the near side of the block; down to a few inches above the ground where momentum creates an atmospheric depression (or partial vacuum) that draws out fumes from the engine. Readers of a certain age will recall how roads used to have a dark line down the middle of each carriageway; oil stain from hundreds of engines.

With my set up, the oily fumes are not expelled into the atmosphere as they are burned up in the exhaust. A catch can is provided to collect any surplus oil and a non return valve eliminates the main risk with the system which would be a conflagration in the event of a back fire in the exhaust.

Another benefit is that contaminated air is not sent back into the combustion chambers. A final advantage over the old draught tube is that the system continues when the car is at rest; indeed, the higher the revs, the more the blow by gasses are evicted from the crankcase which is the complete opposite of the old system.

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For many years I ran a 1973 Triumph GT6 Mk3 with a 2 litre, twin carb straight six engine. The power output was a little over 100 BHP but contrary to what one might imagine the car did not seem slow. The reason for that was the perception of speed. It can be quite exhilarating; especially in a small, lightweight car that is very low to the ground.

I am hoping my modifications to the MG TC will have the same effect. To maximise the full potential of the XPAG engine would mean going straight to race spec BUT I think the limitations of obsolete chassis design make that unrealistic. Never the less, to enjoy an exciting drive I believe what I need to do is extract as much usable power as is practicable and spend less time worrying about how few horses I have under the bonnet.

Here are a few shots of my efforts to establish the valve timing after fitting the new "fast road" camshaft.
It would probably have paid me to invest in an adjustable timing gear but as there are varying opinions regarding the optimum set up I decided to accept the manufacturers specification to the nearest gear tooth. They say set inlet valve No1 fully open at 110 degrees After TDC ..

Still on the engine, One of the design flaws of the earlier XPAG engine was having the oil pick up placed over to the left hand side of the sump. I wanted to ensure that the pump would never be starved - even momentarily - while taking hard left had turns so I designed my own special baffle arrangement.

Full details in another of my articles in TT2.

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No resto mod would be complete without a head ache or two. Top of my list would be a mod that should yield an extra few BHP over the standard system with cast iron manifold; a tuned stainless steel exhaust with extractor manifold. The four branch manifold was an expensive mistake. The first sign of problems was when I tried to match it up to the supercharger inlet manifold. It was marketed as a straight forward bolt on fit to he Eaton M45 blower but nothing could be further from the case. I spent many a happy hour with a 4 1/2" angle grinder trying to get the two manifolds flush.
Eventually they were a match Just a pity the holes don't line up. To get the two manifolds clamped against the head so they don't leak I cut up some thick walled tubing as spacers which slipped over the studs.

Once fitted I then found that the original starter motor wouldn't fit. This was something of a blessing in disguise as I was bounced into buying a new "high torque" starter which is not only smaller and lighter, but much more powerful and efficient.

My problems with the manifold, however, were not over because I found it also fouled the steering drop arm.
I resorted to taking the manifold to exhaust specialists Gough's in Nottingham who cut and re welded the pipes. The exhaust now clears the steering .:)

Another frustration has been the body tub. After waiting two years for it, the shaped steel cross brace didn't fit properly to either wheel arch. I ended up making a template from some strip plate steel then by cutting the brace in two and bending the two ends to match the template I achieved the correct profiles. I then welded it back together again and bolted it to the body.

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It will be noticed that my MG TC has an "age related" registration number. This is because the car was imported in recent years from Australia. Chassis number 10,030 is one of the very last TC's made and was exported to Australia where at some unknown point it was used in competition. The car was originally painted "clipper " blue. It differed from the home market cars in not having a "thirty light" built into what looks like a map reading lamp. This was - as the name suggests - a light that warned the driver when they had reached 30 m.p.h.; the newly introduced speed limit for built up areas. Such legislation did not then apply in the Antipodes.

By 1960, the TC had reached the end of it's life down under and was completely dismantled. The intention had probably been to restore the car but - as is so often the case - this never happened. Instead, the remains were left to deteriorate until they were offered for sale on Ebay. "Not for the faint hearted" was how the advertisement described the project. I have been able to find photos from that time which I am reproducing here.

As can be seen the remains can only be described as a basket case. I only wish I had been the first restorer as the previous owner made so many mistakes - at a basic level - that I have had to start again.

Having said that, if I had bought the car as a pile of rusty bits I wouldn't have paid such a high price for them and the project would probably have taken on the guise of an original, "oily rag" - with masses of patina. :oops:
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Thankyou rettespeed. I am grateful for your encouragement.

I have ordered 5 new wheels but the frustrating thing is they have been on back order for over a year. I have been told they will be delivered by the end of the month. I already have the new 19" x 4 1/2" tyres and tubes just waiting to be fitted. I decided to keep with the original size wheels for aesthetic reasons. At first, I was undecided about what type of tyre I should go for. Speaking with a long term MG race driver he said it depended on how I like to drive. If I needed the security of grip then Blockley would be best but if I like drifting on the corners (which is more fun) then the Wayfarers that I have are great.

I have been spending my time stripping the panels of paint. Interestingly there are traces of rust under what seems to be the original primers. The odd thing is that the paint seems to be completely sound... so when the rust got there I don't know - but I am taking no chances and taking it back to bare metal. I am treating the steel with phosphoric acid (to kill any rust) followed by a thorough rinsing with water. I am then sanding the surface clean before wiping over with panel wipe. My choice of primer is 2K which is an epoxy paint with anti corrosion properties. I am currently undecided whether to have the panels finished in a body shop or do it myself. Not having a dedicated spray booth is a major disadvantage at this time of year as the humidity level should not exceed 50%. My hygrometer has been reading well above this of late.

I had a call from my trimmer. She says there will not be enough leather to allow me to cover the dashboard despite having had three large hides. I had the choice; either have the seat back done in vinyl and go for a polished wood dash or buy another half a hide. I decided to keep with my plan for a total leather interior despite the expense. ( A wood dash might also have looked nice but would be incorrect for the year.) It is just one of those decisions that have to be made.

One advantage of having a bespoke interior is that you don't have to try and make a trim kit fit a new body. With an original factory body there is not usually a problem but when a new body tub is built there are always differences which make fitting a kit difficult if not impossible. As a precaution I had the plywood backing boards delivered so I could trim them to perfection . As it happened, they were so far out that I had to fashion my own backing boards from 3.6 mm plywood which the trimmer will now cover.

Another big expense was the hood (top) and side screens. I went for the more expensive "stay fast" material supplied by Pickerings of Bolton. Fitting them will be a challenge. The original side screens that I have are in a bad way and various bits of the framework will need welding. The original edging would have been mitred stainless steel but this is no longer available. There is the option of "spoon ends" as fitted to the TD but frankly I just don't like them...so I am on the look out for lengths of 3/8" chrome/ stainless finishers that I can trim to fit.

The budget for this build has been blown completely out of the water. The cost will far exceed the value of the finished car but as I am getting old and this will be my last project I don't really care that much.!
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This picture of the radiator grille and surround gives a clue to the standard of build that I am hoping to achieve. I found to my surprise that the original radiator was in very good condition. I have to say I was impressed with it's construction which is entirely from brass and copper. I think it could be fairly described as a work of art. The grille, however required a lot of fettling and chrome plating which I handed over to Derby Platers. They are excellent but expensive. The emblem was damaged and being black and white was for a later car anyway. I was incredibly fortunate in finding a perfect 1949 MG emblem.
Just repair it as the best you can but dont give the damaged area to much pressure and try to spend as much time as needed because some people will pay big bucks for something like that in its great condition its already in

I am sure it will come as no surprise that a car this old was never fitted with seat belts. We have all become so used to driving with a belt on that it feels a bit strange to not be wearing one.

My first thought was I HAD to fit seat belts. I quickly realised that this would not be as simple or straightforward as I had thought. The Society for the Prevention of accidents recommend a three point belt - or if that is not possible then a lap belt is better than nothing. I am not so sure about either and will explain why.

With a three point belt I would ideally have a fixing point level or above my shoulder height but there is nothing on which to bolt it. I could fit a roll hoop but that would require a great deal of work and would also be out of keeping with a road car. I Could have a fixing onto a wheel arch behind the seat... but I have been warned that in the event of a collision the downward restraining forces could do more harm than good. Serious spinal injuries etc.

If I fit a lap belt I then have just two fixing points to worry about but the problem is that while the outer can be fixed securely to a chassis rail, the inner fixing would need to rely on the prop shaft tunnel. While this could be reinforced, it is itself inadequately secured. One solution might be to create a fixing point on the cross member to which the tunnel is anchored. The difficulty is the cross member is tubular...

The easiest answer would seem to be to bolt the inner fixing of a lap belt to the body tub. The diff ramp could be substantially reinforced with a steel plate ... but there is a problem.

In the event of a collision there is a risk that the wooden body tub could be ripped from it's chassis mounting points. There is evidence that this has happened to my car in the past. A seat belt securely fixed to the chassis would act as a restraint against the moving body tub. Anyone sitting in the seat may be saved from hitting the steering wheel but crushed by the belt.

If a belt was attached to the chassis on one side... and the body tub on the other... then in the event of the body tub being ripped off the chassis, the belt would slacken so to be of no use.

I am not sure what to do about seat belts.

Incidentally, it has not escaped my attention that these cars have an exposed petrol tank strapped to the back. - which in the event of a serious rear end shunt would make the wearing of seat belts immaterial.
Just a suggestion but could you not fit both ends to the body (obviously through reinforced sections) and then if the body did detach from the chassis there would not be a problem. I know this is how the seat belts are connected to the body on my landrover.

I think personally I would be going for 3 point harness the thought of smacking my head off the dash from bending in the middle would put me off a lap belt just my 2 penny's worth.
Just a suggestion but could you not fit both ends to the body (obviously through reinforced sections) and then if the body did detach from the chassis there would not be a problem. I know this is how the seat belts are connected to the body on my landrover.

I think personally I would be going for 3 point harness the thought of smacking my head off the dash from bending in the middle would put me off a lap belt just my 2 penny's worth.
Thanks for your input. If a harness is connected to the body and it became detached in a front end collision it would likely move the seat forward and impale me on the steering wheel. I am coming to the conclusion that there is no point in retro fitting seat belts unless I can do something to better secure the body to the chassis. At the moment there are just four 1" bolts and nuts ...two of which in the past have been ripped from the outriggers.
Fair enough, as you have said maybe safe not having them.
I shall have another look at the body/chassis attachments to see if there is a way to better anchor them together.

I had a call today from MWS to say that my new wheels have arrived. 5 x silver painted (stove enamel) centre laced spoked wheels...( 2 1/2"x 19". ) They should be here by next Monday..... £1, 333. KCHING! (and that is without the tyres.). They will need specialist balancing so I will be off to Longstone Tyres at Bawtry, Doncaster next week.

The question is what do I do with my old wheels? The hubs are all good and some of the rims are O.K . There are probably enough good spokes to lace up a couple of decent wheels. I could spend many a happy hour fettling but I have enough on my plate so they will probably have to go.

Incidentally, the old tyres are rock solid and date from the 1950s...they still hold air though!

Another call; this time from the trimmer who says she cannot get a half hide in the leather I have chosen; so a whole hide will be needed if I am to finish the job to the standard I have set myself. That's another £340.

It just keeps getting better!!

Here are my lovely new wheels and tyres. Skinny (19" x 4 1/2") Rudge Whitworth type with splined hubs. (They do up with a central spinner so no studs or bolts) It has taken a long time to get here. They are silver painted and excellent quality.

I was undecided about which tyres to go for because it depends on how you drive. One of the best tyres is the Blockley. They give superior grip but a rather harsh ride on a car like the MG TC with limited suspension. Despite the better grip they are more likely to "let go" if pushed.

An alternative is the Waymaster. They have less grip but that can be beneficial if you like to do a bit of gentle drifting. These cars have an elegant way of correcting themselves as a combination of chassis flex and limited rear grip allow for a rear wheel to lift (and therefore loose traction) just before the limit is reached. The tyre tread pattern also contributes to a softer ride.

I had previously bought some Waymasters from Vintage Tyres in Beaulieu but had them fitted and balanced today at Longstone Tyres (Bawtry) who also advised me to not use the inner tubes that I had supplied because they were of inferior quality; made in Korea. At additional cost I went for a better quality inner tube.

I thought long and hard about which wheel finish to choose. I was very impressed with the polished stainless steel wheels but began to wonder if perhaps they were a bit too "bling". Americans tend to prefer the "chrome" wheels but I think the traditional silver painted finish - preferred by us Brits - is more sophisticated. No offence intended.
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One thing I haven't mentioned is the cooling system and how I have upgraded it to cope with the extra power expected from the Supercharger.

First, a little background. The XPAG engine cooling system was developed Claude Bailey in 1937/8. He added a water pump to cool the cylinder head. From the pump, cooling water enters the rear of the head via a duct that runs along the side of the block under the manifolds and is pumped through the head forwards towards the thermostat. Until optimum temperature opens the thermostat valve, the water is directed down a bypass and returns to the back of the block again. Only the cylinder head and the top of the cylinders are cooled but that is sufficient. Originally the thermostat would have been of the "bellows" design that as it opened would lower a skirt to close off the bypass. Unless this happens the radiator will be kept out of the loop and over heating will result. Unfortunately, reliable replacements for the original thermostat are unobtainable now so most people fit a cheapo wax stat and block off the bypass altogether. This causes the engine to take a long time to warm to the optimum 84 degrees (and in Winter, may always run colder than it should.) What I have done is to fit a reducer into the bypass opening as a compromise. I particularly want to get up to normal operating temperature as soon as possible because I have a heater that relies on hot water.

Originally there would have been a metal two blade fan with a belt that ran a dynamo. ( For the benefit of youngsters a dynamo was an electrical generator that cars had before the advent of alternators. There were a number of disadvantages with this system. Firstly, the dynamo produced only just enough amperage for a very basic electrical system and required a separate voltage regulator; secondly, the drag of a fan belt sapped power.)

As I had replaced my dynamo with a Dynamater ( a 45 amp alternator that looks like an original dynamo ) I had neutralised the above disadvantages but the alternator and the supercharger both required drive belts so a double pulley to the crankshaft was still required. This I balanced but before I could fit it I had tp remove the old fan boss and pulley (photo). I also fitted a new up rated water pump and thermostat. When it came to the fan I could have opted for a yellow plastic MGB type with a belt... or a black plastic electric fan which would be less obtrusive and not sap energy.

I replaced the original fan with an electric one mainly because I had read about some near fatal accidents where one of the original metal blades had broken and flown off causing serious injury. Also, I had a metal fan break on my Austin Seven Swallow and narrowly escaped ruining an irreplaceable radiator or seriously damaging the bonnet.

Testing the MG fan (photo above) showed that one of the blades - which looked to have previously been bent - had evidence of a crack starting so I felt sure I had made the right decision.

The fan I chose needed to be mounted behind the radiator and electrically wired to run in the direction that would pull air through it. The sender unit had to be mounted in the cooling water but there are two differing opinions as to where it should go. Most say fit it to the header tank where the top hose fits; others say it ought to go into the bottom of the radiator where it is guaranteed to always be submerged. As the water temperature is governed by the thermostat - and the rheostat controlling the fan can be set to any temperature, it's location is not that important. I chose to fit it in the top hose and located the rheostat in the end of the former tool box (along with some relays and the heater).

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Awesome build and great detail keep up the good work |B

Most kind of you Jon. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have.

I have been trying to restore the rear wings which are in a parlous condition. They are more beat up than rusty, although there is a fair bit of surface corrosion. The near side wing is worst and will need a miracle if it is to ever look decent again.

A friend has offered me his spare TC wings but where mine are dented, these are rusty.

I bought a sand blaster thinking I could remove the rust but it kept blocking up. I have renewed the filter on my compressor in the hope that the media (I have tried different kinds) will not get damp.
I have spent many hours removing rust and dents but when I offered up the off side wing to the wheel arch I was shocked to see it didn't fit. Not even close!

It will take a lot more fettling to get it right.


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One modification I have chosen is to fit multi plug connectors to the ends of "tails"from the dashboard. One reason for this additional work is because the replacement loom is rather mean where lengths of cable is concerned and I want to be able to remove (or at least fold down) the dash as I am getting a bit too old for working upside down under it. I have opted for braided cloth covered cable in the interests of authenticity but it is much more expensive and I am now doubting the wisdom of such an extravagance.

One exception to the multi plug rule that I am going to make involves the ammeter. As I have upgraded the gauge to have a shunt and an increase to 50 amps I am having heavier connectors in the interests of safety. The last thing I want is a fire.

The other circuits should be O.K. as they are now all protected by fuses and relays. Purists may whinge but to my mind, having just two 35 amp fuses (and no relays) to protect the entire system is not acceptable these days.
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This is what my petrol tank looked like when I removed it from the car. The back has at some time been opened up and presumably a smaller tank inserted for competition. (they used to do things like that!)
The capacity had been reduced from 13 to 10 gallons which was bad enough but how safe are those welds?

This is just a fraction of what came out of it.!

The sender unit for the low fuel level warning light needed quite a bit of TLC!

I have raided my savings and bought a new stainless steel tank. ( £700 if anyone wants to know!)

Generally speaking, the new petrol tank is a faithful replica of the original 1949 item. It is, however, 1/4" narrower than the old tank which has thrown up a problem. The rear wings are bolted to the sides of the tank and the special bolts that are needed with rubber spacers will not reach the captive nuts that live in brackets on each side of the tank. These are 3/4" bolts with a 3/8" thread. Fortunately I have a selection of longer 3/4" BSF bolts that I have been able to modify on my lathe to have 3/8" threads. In the photos it is possible to just see the 1/8" thick washers that I have added to the rubber bushes to take up the 1/4" shortfall. The last photo shows why all this extra work was necessary.
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I resolved to make fitting the dashboard and it's associated wiring less of a juggling act by constructing a temporary padded trestle. By using various bits and pieces and making a couple of simple brackets I have made life a bit easier for myself. Hopefully the photos make things clearer.

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For the benefit of our younger contributors (and perhaps older guys who live under a stone) here is an old photo of my MG when I brought it home on the trailer.

The petrol tank is known as a "slab tank" and is located behind the spare wheel. As can be seen, it is vulnerable enough to give a Health and Safety officer sleepless nights...but that aside... on replacement of the body I needed to cushion the tank with 1/2" thick rubber strips screwed to the wood at 5" intervals. The tank will be held firmly by two vertical rubber backed steel straps (one of which can just be seen in the photo.)

To be fair, this is not a mod but changing to a stainless steel tank is. So too is the provision of a petrol gauge. This is in addition to a low level warning light. Also, I doubt there are many, if any other MG TC s with an electronic / hydrostatic sender unit.
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Talking about fitting high tech stuff to old cars; I have added an oil pressure warning light. There is already a gauge as original equipment but this is an electronic device that in addition to a warning light on the dashboard has a buzzer that would sound in the event of a sudden drop in pressure. It will not sound when starting the car or when the ignition is switched off.

The kit comes from a clever MG guy in Germany called Declan Burns. He has supplied me with other upgrades (including the electronic/hydrostatic fuel tank sender unit) and I can honestly say he builds to a very high standard. Right first time!

Of all the mods I have done, this is the one I hope I will NEVER need!

The above was easy to install; the pressure switch being plumbed into the external oil line to the gauge and the electrics simply wired into the loom...
With the better weather I have been tackling the paint job. There was far more preparation needed than I had envisaged but now the body and rear wings are in primer. The replacement body was delivered in primer but the quality was so poor in many respects I have had to rub it down and start again with epoxy zinc high build.

Considering this is a new body tub, there are some significant 'high' spots, especially on the doors

image hosting service.
It has been quite a while since my last post. This is because I have had problems in posting on this site. Everything kept locking up. Hopefully the problems have been resolved.

One of the major developments in the rebuild has been to do with the rear wings, which, as previously explained, were in a parlous condition. Having spent a great deal of time in smoothing out the dings and dents; painting and fitting, I discovered that the rear wings not only have different profiles one side to the other, the right one is 1.5" longer and 3/4" narrower. The result is that when fitted, the right wing protruded further out the back than the left. They just didn't look right.

To cut a long story short; I have ditched them and bought a pair of new ones from the same source as the petrol tank.

If I thought this would solve my problem I was sorely mistaken. The new wings have not been made correctly. The profiles are too "rounded" and are a poor fit. I asked for a refund but the supplier refused Mohave them back at any price.

I have left them with I Wilkinson & Co., our local coachworks. They will need the attentions of a skilled panel beater but at what cost?
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Sounds like you’ve had a long fight with the rear wings, and I’m affraid to say I think it’s the same with any new panel they are never right but I hope now you’ll get to in move on. How long are you into this restoration now?
Sounds like you’ve had a long fight with the rear wings, and I’m affraid to say I think it’s the same with any new panel they are never right but I hope now you’ll get to in move on. How long are you into this restoration now?
Hi Jon. I bought the car in June 2019 but had to wait an agonising 2 years before the new body tub was delivered. They blamed Covid19 for the delay.

The wings were hand made and expensive. You shouldn't expect to pay top money for poor workmanship but we are where we are.

I know Andy Jones (panel beater) of I Wilkinson & Son. He has done some excellent work for me in the past so I am sure he will be able to sort out the rear wings which he says have just been "overworked". They need a slightly flatter profile and that would bring them out to the correct width....however, the cost is at present an unknown quantity. I don't have many more options.
In other news, I have been struggling with the running boards. They are merely a vestigial aesthetic in the design but play an important part in linking the front and rear wings. Unfortunately, at some time in the past, someone has mutilated them and to add a further complication they have rusted through at the ends.

I have fortunately now found another pair of running boards, which, although in better condition, still require work.
One important item that I have not yet covered is the windscreen. The frame is made up of a number of chrome plated brass sections and has the novel feature of being able to fold flat. Unless one wears driving goggles the only advantage I can see is if individual aero screens are fitted. I may fit them in the future but for now all I am concentrating on is getting the screen on the car.

At present, all the newly chromed parts and screws form a bewildering puzzle but with quiet contemplation it's assembly process becomes apparent.

The task has been delayed by yet more poor quality parts. I have bought all new brackets and they came supposedly ready for assembly. However, the top corner brackets have not been made correctly.

I had to order more brackets; this time un drilled. The job entailed very careful marking, spotting and drilling with a 4mm bit then tapping a series of 2 BA threads.
This has enabled me to get all four corners of the frame correct. The peg, by the way, is for the hood to clamp onto.

The next job is to fit the glass. I have chosen to re use the original as it displays an historical feature. The car was last on the road in Australia in 1960 and the NSW registration label from that date has survived.

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