Rare Sports Car: 1949 MG TC Roadster

Yeah, it’s old and rusty and needs quite a bit of work but the opening image just spoke to me. I don’t know if it’s the radiator shell and grille, or the headlights or the crank it just made an immediate visual statement and I had to take a closer look. This “broken-in”1949 MG TC is located in Bayport, New York, and is available here on Facebook Marketplace for $6,500. Generally, automobile ads on Facebook Marketplace are not endowed with a lot of images or details, and this listing is no exception, so it’s necessary to just work with what’s available – further inquiries can always be made if an interest level is present.

This MG TC is a member of the T-Type Series (1936-1955) and the TCs, in particular, were produced between September 1945 and late 1949 as a ’50 model.  The seller claims this TC to be one of 494 produced but Craig Cheetham’s 2004 research work entitled, “Vintage Cars- The Finest Prewar Automobiles” claims that there were 10,001 TCs assembled, more than any previous MG model up to that point. Perhaps there is some unusual combination of features that places this TC in that 1 of 494 collection. Anyway, this TC appears to be pretty complete but is not without its foibles. It is finished in a surface rust hue but the body is straight and there appears to be no rust-through, at least on the outside. The bumpers (U.S. spec models only), both front and rear, are missing but perhaps the seller has them elsewhere. There are some parts/odds & ends covered in plastic and shown in the rear portion of the car, it would be good to know what’s actually there.

There are no images of the engine included though the seller claims the engine turns freely. I suppose that’s a positive way to say that it doesn’t run – no surprise really. And I guess the motor will turn freely with that big ole front-mounted crank. Research indicates that the original engine should be a 54.5 HP, 1,250 CC, in-line, four-cylinder OHV engine operating through a four-speed manual transmission.

The interior shows some of this TC’s more notable shortcomings, essentially there is no floor. There are no seats either and the door cards are done. What little else remains shows some serious signs of rust and moisture exposure – so much so that the gear shifter looks rusted in place. There is no evidence of a convertible top/frame or a tonneau cover so it would seem that this MG has been wide open for some time. One bright spot, however, could be the instrument panel. The gauges look to be clear and usable and the switchgear is all present as there is no evidence of unoccupied openings.

While the listing details are light, there does appear to be a substantial documentation trail that follows this MG so there may be quite a story in all of that paperwork. The initial visual still impresses but there’s obviously a ton of work that will be needed to bring this MG TC back to a state of refined, British motoring. I seriously hope that happens and there is someone out there who will be up for that challenge. Any takers?


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    This could be a good project. All the important stuff is there and in pretty good condition. Floors aren’t a problem because they are made out of plywood as is the rear deck board. Anything not there Moss Motors has.

    Like 3
  2. Daniel

    Do these have wooden frame r as oils as well?

    • Z1rider

      No, the frame is steel, but the body structure is sheet metal over ash wood framing.

      Like 1
  3. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    The most memorable TC for many of us: The Red Car.

    Like 7
  4. Scott Baker

    TCs typically did not have bumpers, unless they were EXU, (export) which are rare; and believe it or not most TCs found here in the U.S. were not EXU, although I am guessing that most original owners removed them. Bumpers, other than the “antenna” type (period accessory) make a beautiful TC look clunky anyway. ALL TCs were right hand drive from the factory. No TC leeft the factory with rear turn signals, but they all had front ones – go figure. TCs are simple, fun to own and drive or just stand back and look at….

    Like 1
    • PaulN

      Hopefully the seller can’t find those bloody ugly bumpers

  5. Tony g

    Thanks for your interest, but now all the seats floorboards convertible top and bumper go with the car +2 new tires thanks for your interest Tony

    Like 1
  6. dlong

    I couldn’t remember the name of that book but I read it as a kid.When I see a TC for sale I think of that book.To top it off a college professor in my home town had a red TC.Every time I rode my bicycle past his house if that car was out front I would stop and look at it in amazement.

    Like 1
    • wizzy

      Have you seen the cost of that book in first edition hard cover?!!! Some vendors are looking for as much as $847.00. I found paperbacks at $250.00. Crazy!

      Like 1
  7. Tony giordano

    I think it’s called a little red car

    • 370zpp

      The book is simply called “The Red Car”. And definitely not easy to find a reasonably priced copy.

      Would be fine if it was accessible via Kindle.

      Like 1
  8. 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

    Read and reread the Red Car many times. Loved that book. I always thought I wanted a TC until I had a chance to sit in one (tried it on – I’m 6’4″, 230 lbs). Couldn’t get much more than 1/2 of me in it and realized it just wasn’t to be. I have a ’66 Corvette coupe, has plenty of room inside, but can’t say I’m graceful getting in and out, especially with hot side pipes!

  9. Tony Giordano

    I will correct your knowledge of the first batch of export MG TCs
    This is an exu export car 1of 494

    It did leave the factory with rear blinkers and bumpers, as the first MG export model Most of the earlier TC’s were brought here by Americans after World War II l; this export model left the factory with a rearview mirror and two horns under the bonnet, the rear bumper has a extremely rare medallion that was only made for the export models; you are looking at a rare car with all of the options except the Missing front bumper. the factory literature makes reference that these options were needed for the American market because “women sometimes would back into other cars.while parking “
    These are the facts which can not be disputed

    Tony g

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