One of the last MGTCs to come to Australia is now owned by Sydney enthusiast Ken Connolly. Photo Gallery
It's hard to imagine when you look at one now, all lightweight frame, tall grille and spindly wheels, but the MGTC was once one of the hottest fun machines on the road.
So hot, in fact that many went racing, including one version claiming victory in the Australian Grand Prix, at Bathurst of all places. But that was a long time ago, 1947 in fact.
The first batch of about 40 MGTCs were sold in NSW in 1946 after arriving from England as part of a massive export drive.
Of the 10,000 MGTCs built in the post-WWII years more than half went overseas, mainly to the US, but up to 1000 came to Australia. One of the last to come here is now owned by Sydney enthusiast Ken Connolly who believes his car may have had a famous past owner in radio legend John Laws.
"John had two red TCs apparently," he says.
Connolly was told of the car's history by a previous owner. He said he used to see Laws' TC parked outside the north Sydney radio station he worked years ago and believes it is the same car. He says the car was restored for Laws more than 20 years ago.
"I bought my first MGTC when I was 19. I dismantled and rebuilt it to the standard they were done then" he says.
Restoration standards now are more wide-reaching with the best jobs taking the car back to original showroom condition. The TC was a sales success and has continued to be attractive to mainly-older fans.
Connolly says the TC was effectively an upgraded version of the pre-war TB model whose production was cut short by the needs of the war.
"In 1945 when they started production of the TC it was the same as the TB. The cockpit was made four inches wider."
With the TB having first been made in 1939 it is easy to see why the later TC looks older than its days. Barry Lake, in his book on MG in Australia, MG Downunder, says "the TC was in fact a car well behind the trends of the time. It was a design that had been quite basic - as the original T-type - in the mid-1930s, yet the TC was still selling strongly 15 years later. The TC was an affordable fun car."
With its great power to weight ratio, the 1250cc engine was adaptable to be bored out to up to 1350, which made the car competitive on the track and spritely on the road. It has a four-speed manual gearbox and a top speed, according to contemporary reports, of 70mph (112km/h).
Connolly says his version is in fine order and can still run at the open highway speeds of modern cars.
"This particular car is in very good mechanical condition. My car has got a higher than normal compression ratio."
But its steel drum brakes and rigid handling were not designed for modern motoring. Connolly says he has owned five over the years and has "two and a half" now.
The pre-war cars are mainly owned by very old gentlemen today. My interest relates to the fact it was my second car ever. My first was a Morris Minor convertible."
The MG car club in Sydney is celebrating 60 years this year.