MG: history of the T series
Of all the world's sportscar marques there's probably none with a more roller-coaster history than MG.
Now owned by the Chinese company, Nanjing Automobile Corporation, MG (which stands for Morris Garage), was a private British company founded in 1924 by William Morris and Cecil Kimber.
Morris Garage was the sales division of Morris cars and Kimber had the idea of producing sports cars based on Morris sedan platforms.
While the company made a variety of cars it's best known for two-seater sports soft tops. The first MG was called the 14/18 and was simply a sporty body fitted on to a Morris Oxford.
As World War II erupted in 1939 MG was introducing its new TB Midget roadster, derived from the earlier TA model, itself a replacement for the MG PB.
Production went into limbo as the factory geared up for the war effort, but soon after hostilities ended in 1945 MG introduced the TC Midget - a slick little open two-seater.
In reality it was a TB with some modifications. It still had a 1250cc four-cylinder engine, borrowed from the Morris 10, and now had a four-speed synchromesh gear shift.
The TC is the car that entrenched the MG name in Australia. That it did well here, and elsewhere, should come as no surprise.
In the aftermath of World War II cars were in general terms practical transport, not fun. Petrol was also scarce. And after years of war everyone was looking to enjoy the hard-earned peace. Cars like the TC put fun back into life.
No doubt, going on the massive turnout of TCs, TDs and TFs at the MG National Concours at Easter, the T series cars continue to brings smiles to faces and joy to those who drive them.
The TD and TF followed before radical styling changes introduced the MGA and later the MGB, cars more familiar to those born after the war.
In recent years the company brought back the T series with the TF, built in 1995.
About 10,000 MG TC cars were produced between 1945 and 1949, many of them exported. The TD resembled the TC, but in reality had a new chassis and was a more sturdy car. For the layman, trying to tell the difference between a TC and TD is easy. The one with the bumper bars is a TD.
The TD ran from 1949-53 when the TF was introduced, complete with a new 1466cc engine. The TF lasted just two years when it was replaced with the more streamlined MGA, that inherited a legacy of a series of cars that were yes, selfish, but mechanically simple, reasonably reliable and fun to drive as are all open top cars.
Throughout its history the MG road was rocky. In 1952 Austin Motor Corporation merged with Morris Motors to form British Motor Corporation Ltd.
Then, in 1968, it was merged into British Leyland. Later it became MG Rover Group and part of BMW.
BMW divested its interest and in 2005 MG Rover went into liquidation. A few months later the MG name was bought by Chinese interests.
The significance of the Chinese purchase stems from a belief that the MG brand and name have some currency in a worldwide market. The vehicle that played a significant role in establishing that value is, without doubt, the MG TC.
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