1939 MG TA
From 55 year ownership; a regular driver; on the button; restored in the early '80s; affordable pre-war motoring
Launched in 1936 to replace the much-loved Midget range, the TA was the first in a series of five sporting roadsters (TA to TF) that was to keep the MG brand high on the wish list of keen drivers right up until 1955.
Built around a ladder-type frame designed by MG’s gifted engineer Hubert Charles, it was larger, wider and slightly softer than the Midget but proved an exhilarating machine nonetheless. It used a modified Morris/Wolseley power train, including a Wolseley Ten-derived overhead-valve 52bhp 1,292cc engine and four-speed gearbox with synchromesh on the top two ratios. With 75mph potential, it had effective hydraulic brakes to slow things down when required.
Only available as a two-seater, it had a steel body fixed to a traditional wood frame with a pressed steel scuttle, flowing front wings, free-standing headlamps and a large rear-mounted external fuel tank for extended touring. A total of 3,003 TAs were produced until it was replaced by the TB in May 1939.
One of the last TAs produced, this car was purchased by the vendor way back in 1967 as a young lad. He spotted it in the private ads of the Leicester Mercury and although running and driving, it was a little 'down at heal'. The two main instruments were missing and it took him until the following summer before it was reliable and safe enough for regular use. It had passed an MOT in July 1968.
He soon discovered that it had a later BMC 1500 B-Series engine fitted which sufficed for a year or two before a more appropriate unit could be located. This came in the form of a post-war TC XPAG unit which is still in the car today.
By the 1980s, it was looking very tired and when the doors wouldn't stay closed, the vendor decided it needed a big rebuild. The body was stripped and most of the wood frame replaced, the more complex areas of tinwork being repaired and refitted. A trim kit from Collingburns was supplied and fitted and the car put back on the road with a fresh coat of paint.
As one can see, it has been used on a regular basis since, the car carrying that lovely patina of a car well-used and much enjoyed. It has toured Ireland and enjoyed an annual pilgrimage to Beaulieu. It was driven some 35 miles to the sale and absolutely flew along on the way here by all accounts.
Ready to be enjoyed this summer, it could remain as is, or improved cosmetically here and there as time and funds permit. It is on offer at the entry point level for a pre-war MG and retains many of the detail features which are hard to replicate if missing.
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