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1937 & 1939 MG TA Projects


Here is another project pair for a follower of the sacred octagon. This time we have two TAs; a green 1937 and a black 1939. They should present a challenge for even a seasoned restoration expert, but the end result will be well worth the effort. They are listed on Minneapolis’ craigslist with an asking price of $18k. Thanks goes to Mark O. for the submission.


This was the first of the MG’s T-series cars which were produced from 1936-1955. It replaced the PB and featured many improvements over the old car. It was a little bigger and had more power. The inline-four put out 50 horsepower and was connected to a four-speed. It could hit 80 mph and go from 0-60 in 23.1 seconds. That may not sound very impressive, but remember that this was in the thirties. These were real sports cars and people loved them enough to allow MG to keep the same basic design for almost 20 years.


These TAs are rough, but the MPJG engines are there and the bodies appear to be fairly solid. Personally, if I had the cash on-hand I would be headed North right now to pick these up for myself. These are the quintessential pre-war sports car and either would be welcomed at any event or on any back-road. It is fun to dream, isn’t it? Now, where is my copy of The Red Car


  1. scot

    ~ excellent choice, Jesse. extra points for The Red Car reference.

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  2. Dolphin Member

    You don’t see MG TAs often, and it would be special to own a pre-WW2 MG, but I’d be cautious….

    Trouble is, it would cost as much to have these restored perfectly as it would cost to restore other much more valuable vintage cars, but they made more than 3000 TAs, so they aren’t especially rare, and unlike lots of other vintage sportscars, restored vintage MGs have pretty much gone sideways in value for years. So, after you put big money into restoring these, you end up with cars that cost much more to restore than they’re worth.

    These are best bought by someone who knows and loves prewar MGs and can enjoy working on these cars to bring one or both back to driver status without trying to make them 100 point cars. Then he can enjoy them without being too far underwater in terms of cost vs. market value.

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  3. paul

    Very cool cars, but just so you all know, to work on these, you need Roots tools, they are a size between metric & standard. This would be a fun project.

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  4. Mark E

    The protagonist car in The Red Car was an MG TC, wasn’t it?

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      You’re right Mark, but many a youth developed their love for the MG marquee because of this little book. It is a great read even today for us grownups.

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  5. Chris A.

    Looking at the lead picture of the MG’s front suspenion, it looks like a tube shock absorber. Isn’t 1938-1939 a little early for MG and tube shocks or is the red assembly something else.

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    • paul

      Yes agreed I haven’t worked on this model but did work on TD’s back in the day & they had lever’s, also the one pictured with the nose dissembled appears in one of the pictures to have the lever shock.

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  6. Stewart

    That might be because its a TB and not a TA.. A 39 should be a TB, which is a very rare car indeed. I can’t remember what the difference is between a TB and a TA, but they are near identical to look at

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  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    Interesting that ‘THE RED CAR’ was brought up. I read that back in 1966 and that’s what attracted me to the early MGs. Good book and these TAs look worthwhile. It would be a challenge finding parts but that’s half the fun.

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  8. Stewart

    The engine is the only way to spot a TB. It’s an XPAG 1250cc motor not the MGJP motor the TA had. Visually in first inspection I think both engines are similar.. And that’s the only differance a TB had from a TA

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  9. chris

    These could be great, could, with a load of repair become two classy TA’s. I have a TB and enjoy it thoroughly, have even raced it. Parts are still ‘readily’ available, as is ‘The Red Car’, ( which I still have a copy) and probably got me into the interest of sports cars so many years ago. Chris

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  10. Chris A.

    Taken to Watkins Glen for the 1952 GP, I got to sit in the driver’s seat of a TC. I was 7. Back then, the MG TC then the TD were the entry vehicles to the sports car craze. Next door the young lady started to date Sam with a black and red TC. I was told it was “hopped up”. Sam’s next car was a black and red Jag 120 M. That car was brought up to 120 MC level and then some. But marriage resulted so Sam had to get a closed weather proof car. A compromise was reached with a Porsche. Then a black and red Jag E-type coupe. I was so lucky, I got to ride in all of them. The cars were lucky too, I never saw a speck of dirt on any of them.

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  11. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    Did anyone try purchasing these? We heard from the seller the other day and they were still available.

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  12. gunningbar

    Two great cars! Easy to work on…..all I need is garage space…..someone…please buy these!

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