History of the MG TD


The MG TC Midget 1945 - 1949

On the eve of the war, MG had offered the TB model which, with a few modifications was to become the first post-war MG, the TC Midget. The chassis of the new car was essentially the same as before, but the sliding trunnion spring mountings had been dispensed with in favour of more conventional rubber bush shackles. This had been forced on MG, as it was unable to obtain the raw materials necessary for the original mounts, this helped to simplify the maintenance procedure, but made little difference to the handling of the car.

The MG TC in an original 1945 brochure.

During World War II production of MG's ceased as the MG Car Company was put into service for the war effort making tanks and airplane parts, and other military items. When the war ended the the MG Car Company was anxious to get back to making sports cars. They revisited the MGTB and made a few subtle changes. These were in the form of a wider body and shackles replacing sliding trunnions for the spring mounts. The Nuffield Organization also made another drastic change. They started taking an active interest in selling their sports cars in North America. It appears that during the War a number of American GI's had an opportunity to experience the T-Series MG's. When the War ended a number of these cars were imported and then formally sold into North America, especially the United States.

With a return to peacetime in 1945, thoughts at MG turned once again to building cars, but things were never to be the same again. A socialist government was in power, the country's industry had been ravaged by bombing, and wartime shortages had led to rationing of just about everything. Although there was a considerable demand on the home market for any form of personal transport, raw materials were in short supply which was controlled by the government. With the urgent need for the country to earn foreign income to aid reconstruction, priority was given to supplying raw materials to those companies who concentrated on exporting their products. The phrase "export or die" had a very real meaning. Since little development work was carried out during the war on the post-war generation of cars, so most manufacturers simply dusted off their pre-war models, tidied them up and wheeled them out. MG was no exception to this, but in the pervading atmosphere it was clear that the big luxury saloons of the pre-war era would not be looked upon with favour. Consequently, it was decided to concentrate initially on the car which had been the mainstay of MG's reputation as a manufacturer of sports cars - the Midget.

The MG TC in an original 1945 brochure.

The engine was the now familiar twin-carburettor, 1250cc, pushrod, ohv XPAG unit. The transmission was also the single-plate dry clutch and four-speed synchromesh unit as had been seen in the TB. The brakes were 9 inch hydraulic units and the wheels the usual centre-locking wires.
The TC was offered in one body style only - an open two-seater which was very similar in appearance to the TB model. All the old features were there : the humped scuttle with folding windshield, cutaway doors, swept front and rear wings, a slab-type fuel tank and rear-mounted spare wheel. It was almost as if the intervening 5 years had never happened!

Despite the fact that the car was so obviously dated, in terms of both mechanical specification and appearance, the MG TC Midget found a ready market. There were a number of reasons suggested for this a lack of other post-war cars, or the familiar design reminding people of the pre-war days, whatever the reason the Midgets success took MG somewhat by surprise.

The MG TC in an original 1945 brochure.

Aware that the more cars they could export, the greater would be their allocation of raw materials, MG sought sales around the world and succeeded in generating a substantial demand for the car. So successful were they that, in the cars four-year production run, from 1945 till 1949, some 10,000 TC's were built, a substantial number of which were shipped to the USA where they were to generate new enthusiasm for sports cars and motor sport.

It is quite remarkable how a car which was basically a "stop-gap" should have enjoyed so much success, generating sales figures far beyond those experienced before the war.

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