Another One! 1948 MG TC

I liked seeing the response to the first 1948 MG TC we featured this week, and one of the responses was a Barn Finds reader sending in another similar car. This 1948 MG TC is listed for sale here on craigslist.  Thanks to Randy N. for this terrific find! This one is located at the other end of the country in Sonoma, California. The asking price is $33,000. I wonder if the badges on the front and the British license plate are real like the California black plate is?

The seller tells us that they are the 3rd owner and have owned the car for over 30 years. One really cool thing is that they have all maintenance records from 1962, and another is that the paint you see is the original paint! Can you believe it? We’re also told that the car has 37,000 “documented” miles. I’m not sure exactly what “documented” means, but considering they have 55 years of maintenance records, I’m inclined to believe them!

As was discussed in the comments section of the last TC, driving one is, well, an experience. This is not a car that you can drive without devoting your full attention to it. This one is ready to drive!

I’ve never seen this type of bumper on a TC before, and I’m left wondering whether they are period aftermarket pieces or were constructed for this very car. Since they look quite simple, I’d tend to favor the latter.

Now this is my favorite part about this car, and I’m about to use a word that is very controversial on these pages. To all that don’t really have a clue what it is, THIS is patina. Having driven a car long enough to wear through the original paint with your arm on the sill–now that’s ownership! And, I’d argue, car love. So sure, chime in and let’s here what you think about patina–and tell me what you think of TCs, too!

Fast Finds


  1. Peter R Member

    Twice as nice ?

  2. Gbauer

    How does one wear through the paint like that in 37k miles?

    • John D.

      I had my 68 GTX painted in the eighties and the part of the door where I rested my arm had the paint wear thin. Your skin oils react with the paint. Want something worse in body fluids? Spit out the window and have it land low on the quarter panel where you don’t see it until you wash it next. That causes some serious damage in a few days.

    • Big Ed

      Short arms and lots of “ins” and “outs”!

  3. Socal Brian

    I think that paint wear is from closing the door.


      I’ll second that.

  4. SquareLeft

    Lovely, just lovely!

    If I had the extra money lying around, I’d jump in my truck, hook up my trailer and head for California! I’d probably just hand the seller the $33k and not bother to dicker… then bring the TC home and do the following:
    Install a big-screen TV and video player in the garage
    Buy a flannel cap and a pipe (even though I don’t smoke)
    Watch at least one episode of Morse every evening
    Oh – and on nice weekends, drive to a little cafe I know for tea and scones!!

    Like 1
  5. John Holden

    Dead right Socal Brian. The arm resting part is farther back.

  6. Michael

    That paint is very soft. I believe the paint used was lacquer or cellulose.

  7. Chris Kennedy

    The spoke wheels blows my mind. They are about the same gauge wires as a motorcycle would have. Very neat car!

    Now, I would call it a death trap. Could you imagine getting into an accident with it?

  8. Dolphin Member

    The TC tends to evoke many different reactions. When I was young the next door neighbor’s daughter had one, and when she visited her parents she parked it right next to our driveway, so I got to look it over closely.

    When looking at it the first word that came to mind was ‘spindly’: small, tall, thin, almost frail. I had an MGA at the time, which looked very modern in comparison. The TC looked pre-War, which it wasn’t actually. But as Chris said above, you could call it a death trap: tall, open, delicate looking, with brakes that could only be called tiny. No driver / passenger protection at all, not even seatbelts.

    But charming as could be, just like this white car. These were built for a different time and place—a large island with lots of narrow country roads and little traffic. And no 18-wheelers in sight.

    They were, and still are charming. But I never owned one. My next car was a Tri-carb Healey 3000. I had gone in a different direction from the one chosen by the neighbor’s daughter. I always wondered what happened to her car, and to her.

  9. Tom

    The car was listed recently on eBay as being totally original, but the seller pulled the ad because white was not an MG factory color in 1948, nor was black naugahide a factory color or material. Even though it was probably “restored” in the 60’s it’s still a true survivor, and could probably be bought on eBay right now for $20,000.

  10. landt

    It’s almost 70 years old, a creature of a different age. I’ve got a modern motorbike that isn’t any safer.

  11. Coventrycat

    Now we’re talking. And not red, either!

  12. Ron Hale

    I was the second owner when I bought my 1948 TC in 1958. I still have and cherish the car. These are exceedingly nimble and easy to drive in traffic. The ten inch narrow Lockheed drum brakes are adequate to stop the 1750 pounds of car, as long as you have a fairly strong right leg. With a very low center of gravity, cornering is surprisingly good considering the primitive suspension. Highway speed of 65 mph is not pushing the 3 bearing crankshaft too hard. With 53.7 stock horsepower, acceleration is, of course, leisurely. Milling the head by .060 inch will pick up a few extra horsepower, and switching from the stock 4.25 x 19 tires to slightly larger 4.5×19 (Ford model A) tires will knock a few rpm off at highway speed.

  13. TBrad

    I don’t believe this is the original paint as it is too “white.” You can see what is probably the original cream color (colour) under the white where the paint is worn on the door. That said, it looks to be a very nice example and having records dating back to 1962 is very unusual and highly desirable. The bumpers are certainly not original to the car, as TCs did not have bumpers installed by the factory. The switch binnacle has been polished. It would have been painted from the factory and it looks like the dash itself has been recovered. The steering wheel in not original. The tail lights are not in their original position either. I suspect they were moved when the bumpers were installed. As for the British license plate, a query to the T-Register, Toatally T-Types 2, or even the NEMGTR with the chassis number may indicate if they are in-fact authentic; however, you will have to see the plate in it’s entirety and verify the chassis number on the cowl plate and chassis stamping. By 1948 they were exporting TCs to North America and if it has the Made in England plate on the engine cowling then it was proably an export model originally. That said, the absence of such a plate could indicate it was imported at a later date or brought over by an American serviceman coming home from the UK or Europe.

  14. Gastegall

    Right hand drive. Not made for the American market, I believe.

    • Britcarguy

      All TCs were built with right hand drive. As far as the bumpers go, I’ve never seen a TC with bumpers, but Wikipedia says that US versions had chrome bumpers – for what that is worth. Bumpers might have been an option, but I think Jamie is right and these bumpers are custom. They just don’t have the “factory look”.

      • TBrad

        Wikipedia is incorrect. The TC did not come from the factory with bumpers; however, back in the day dealers in the USA, who got their cars to sell from one of three U.S. distributors, would add options like turn signals, heaters, mud flaps and bumpers, among other things. Some items were added by the selling dealers to comply with local laws, but most were added to increase a dealer’s profit or at the buyer’s request.

      • RayT Member

        TBrad is right, but it wasn’t just dealers who got TC owners to buy all sorts of fancy doo-dads for their cars. In the days when Sports Cars were capturing lots of attention, a lot of entrepreneurs went into the business of making goodies for every ride that was even remotely sporty. I can remember AMCO (luggage racks, badge bars, etc., etc.), MG Mitten (covers, AMCO products, badges for badge bars, driving lights, and a whole lot more), plus a host of others. Wouldn’t surprise me if J.C. Whitney had bumpers for TCs.

        Once you had decked out your pride and joy in all the accessories, you could of course buy Motoring Caps, driving gloves, ties with marque crests, key chains ditto, and so on and so forth….

  15. TBrad

    I looked at the pictures of this car on eBay. The car has certainly been repainted, albeit a very long time ago. Assuming the chassis stamping, found on the inside of the left front frame rail, matches the chassis number on the brass plate on the firewall, its production date was 15 March, 1946. The original engine was XPAG5697, which can only be confirmed by the brass tag and stamping on the block.

  16. Rich

    There were TC export models that came from the factory with bumpers, horns under the bonnet similar to the TDs and turn signals. If you need verification check Doug Peltons Fron The Frame Up website.

  17. willy

    Rich is right. 254 EXU’s (EXport (U)S) came with bumpers similar to TD. They also had turn signals mounted high on sides of fuel tank. Different gauge layout as a switch for turn signals was needed. Also had a different dash mounted rear view mirror, and horns (similar to TD but slightly different) were under the bonnet.
    Original TC’s that run and are not (wood) rotten are quite rare, as owners tend to like everything shiny bright and new.

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