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This 1948 MG TC Has Been In A Barn Since 1962!

1948 MG TC Race Car

This story comes from an ongoing series of emails we have received from one of our readers. Here it is in Peter K’s own words:

July 9, 2015

First off, I love your website and get a kick out of looking at all of the projects that you feature. One of your recent topics inspired me to chase a barn find that I’ve known about since around 1977. The car is still in the barn and the owner isn’t getting any younger. The MG TC was taken apart and a partial rebuild was done by the current owner’s first husband. They split and the new husband promised to put the car back together for her. He passed in 1989 with no progress on the car.

It is still in the barn. I should know since I purchased a 1964 Corvette Stingray from her in 2007 and more recently a 1965 Corvair Corsa turbo convertible (from the same barn!). Since the MG TC isn’t finding a new owner I have sent word to try to buy and save it. When I get to Chicago to extract it – if my bid is successful, I will follow up with words and pictures.

August 18, 2015

This is Pete from Michigan sending you another message concerning the barn find 1948 MG TC that has been hiding in the western suburbs of Chicagoland since 1962. I got word last night that the long-time owner has finally agreed to sell me the car and for a slightly better price than my offer was. It was never about the money. She wanted to see the car brought back to life and decided it had a better chance with me as opposed to the 90+ year old suitor that was her first choice prior. I will be sending pictures and a write-up for you once I make the 250 mile trip out to get the car out of it’s prison and on the road to recovery. Keep up the great work with your website!

February 28, 2016

FINALLY! I was able to extract the MG TC from it’s barn resting place last weekend. It is a 1948 Home Market-spec TC that has not been driven since 1961. It shows 43k miles and they are believed to be accurate.

TC Dash

By Home Market I mean that it is right hand drive (all TC’s were RHD), but it has bulb and reflector headlights, no bumpers and no other US-required equipment from new.

Car OK to Race

It was used as a race car for a weekend warrior club racer. I found a sticker on the firewall that states “Car Okay to race” and was checked by the Lake Shore MG Car Club.

The car was purchased from the original owner late in 1960 after the racing season for $900. The second owner (my friend’s first husband) immediately started to tear it down for a complete restoration. He completed the chassis and bought a few new parts (found a complete NOS exhaust system in the boxes and boxes of “stuff’) then he stopped. The story goes that he found the girl next door more interesting than the TC project. He abandoned the TC as well as his wife and moved in next door. After the divorce the TC sat in the garage for another dozen years and then it was moved to it’s final resting place in the western ‘Burbs of Chicagoland.

TC Frame

It took myself and one of my Corvair Club buddies several hours to gather up all of the bits and pieces of the car and then we had to figure out how to move the body tub and the completed chassis up onto my open trailer. The engine and transmission were sitting on a makeshift dolly so we used the trailer’s electric winch to slide it up the ramps. Then we used the winch to get both the chassis and the body tub up and strapped them down for the trip East.

MG Engine

Once back in Southeast Michigan my son and I did a cursory inventory of just what we had. Looks like the only large item that was lost in the preceding 55 years of inactivity was the hood (bonnet to you English gents). Not bad – I was expecting much worse! Now I have to study my Moss Motors Catalog and join the local MG club and find some online forums to get up to speed on this British marque. It sure is different from my Corvairs!


  1. Van

    I saw one of these at a vintage race 30 years ago.
    Bumper sticker
    “The parts falling off this car
    are of the finest English quality”

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  2. Pete Koehler

    Here is a picture of what the MG looked like after we put all of the bits and pieces back together again. Hopefully some day it will be ready to race again!

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  3. Rob

    Sir Pete,
    Restorations done right, doth take time, but the end results.. are joyously worth it :)

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  4. DRV

    Glad you stepped into the unknown from your other car interests. Be sure to check racing pictures from the 50s and the lake shore group.

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  5. JohnD

    My dad had a TF before I was born, sometime in the early 60s. I only saw it in pictures but it looked a lot like this TC. Maybe even a bit worse, but it was his daily driver! So I’ve always had an interest in the TC/TF MGs even though I don’t think I’d own one myself. But I love the fact that you rescued this one and it will be back on the road again soon. Looks like a great project, good luck!

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  6. Dave Wright

    I think these are the perfect first car for an aspiring collector/restorer They are simple, cheep, every part is available, tons of friendly expert help around and they are so impressive and cool when done. They are a much more impressive car than a common Triumph or later MG.

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  7. Lael lea

    There are many “g’s” in Australia too and many TC models. I am sure the clubs in this country would be more than happy to help. Just contact the MG CAR CLUB in any state
    Well done mate.

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  8. Scott

    I’m glad you were able to aquire the Triumph, and really looking forward to your continued pictures and story. A friend and I were able to aquire a languishing TR 2 many years ago. Nowhere near the style of the older Triumphs but we did have fun on the redo!

    Thank you to BJ’s for their site.

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  9. Alan (Michigan)

    Nice going, Pete.

    Persistence pays off, at least some of the time!

    Was this the last car in the barn?

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  10. StuB.

    Magneto ignition!

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    • Pete Koehler

      From what I have learned a very rare magneto ignition!!

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      • StuB.

        Indeed it is!

        I just acquired a TC in very much the same state, looking forward to the reassembly.

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  11. Pat L

    Jesse, if you are reading this please send me a note at pleask@shaw. ca as I was/am in the same boat. My TC was taken apart in 1966 and sat in boxs ever since. So I may be able to help you . Pat

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  12. DJ Edgar

    Pete, great write up and project. If you can make it to the GoF West in Redmond, OR the end of the month, you will find several TC owners that have taken these cars apart and reassembled them bolt by bolt. http://gofwest.org/GoF_West_2016.html

    Another good source for TC bits and pieces and restoration information is From the Frame Up in Arizona. https://www.fromtheframeup.com

    My husband has had his TC for 49 years.

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  13. Tom

    A cool magneto to restore, but otherwise pretty much just another TC wreck in need of restoration. Too far gone for a Preservation car. The long term storage barn finds that are anything but a full on restoration project are getting quite rare, and most all of the TC’s have been restored once or five times before already. Something in close to roadworthy condition from long storage pretty much non-existant. I’m talking appearance condition, and parts good enough to get roadworthy they only need rebuilding, not replacement.

    Like 0

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