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Waterlogged Racer: 1949 MG TC


With all the hurricanes and flooding recently, consumers have to be very careful when purchasing vehicles online. Some unscrupulous sellers have been pawning off water damaged cars without disclosing their past. Salt water can wreck havoc on wiring, upholstery, and steel so autos so afflicted should be avoided. Are there ever times when you might actually seek out a previously submerged classic though? We present this waterlogged 1949 MG TC listed here on Copart for your consideration. The auction ends tonight and bidding is at $10,500.


We can’t help but think of Don Stanford’s The Red Car. The book tells a tale of a young man who rescues a wrecked TC and proceeds to campaign it in a local road race. Unfortunately  it is easier to straighten out a bent fender then it is to rebuild a car that has been saturated with water. There is no telling how much damage has already been done.


Still, the salvage title and Brooklands screens scream future vintage race car to us. What do you think? Could this be your very own Red Car?


  1. scot

    ~ Yes, vintage racecar. Newer ‘swimmers’ with their complex electronics are infinitely more vulnerable to water damage than cars of the past eras. I have brought back several flood cars and can tell you first-hand, carburetors and manual windows are a blessing.

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  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    I’d say that it would be a complete teardown/rebuild but it would be worth it. You don’t find many TCs (or TDs/TFs for that matter) in rebuildable shape in very many places especially out west, unless you’re along the coast. But boy, you’re going to be spending a lot of time getting the electrics back in top notch condition.

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  3. Chris A.

    Although every electric connection, component and wiring circuit is suspect, at least it is straight forward Lucas/Morris stuff. If this is a salt water car, everything will have to come apart to be cleaned and desalinized. But a TC is worth the body off restoration if you can find someone who has salt flooded experience with ash framing panels. At least the TC was made with Steel panels so corrosion with aluminum will be minimal. Total engine, transmission, brakes and differential rebuilds coming up. Any idea how long it was in the water?

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      No idea Chris. Copart doesn’t list many details in their listings, but I’m sure you could call them to see if they have any more details.

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  4. Chris H.

    Given that the car is in New Jersey, I’d guess it sat in ocean water for a bit of time during this last hurricane fiasco. Certainly not a lost cause by a longshot though.

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  5. Dolphin Member

    It doesn’t look too bad, but the engine bay looks neglected, the lower body might have some rot starting behind the paint, and there are no pics of the underside, so without a detailed PPI this would be a gamble.

    Funny thing about TCs and TDs… They had so much to do with the big surge in sports cars in No America, but they have languished near the bottom of the valuation chart. That tells me that if I were in the market for a TC I would probably not pursue this one, partly because of the branded title, which will keep a significant proportion of potential buyers away forever, but also because I think I could find a better one without the title brand for not much more money than this is likely to sell for, since its already over $10K.

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    • paul

      Salt water & title branded is a big problem, but these are simple basic cars, but at over 10 like you say looks like a pass.

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  6. Bernie H.

    Bet I could have this running in less than 48 hrs! . With 43 years wrenching on these, and the fact their very basic ‘critters’, it should be possible. The crank holds enough oil to stay loose, cylinders are fairly corrosion resistant, may need a little Marvel oil. My only worry is the instruments, they’ll be tough to fix as they are usually chronometric internals and not the magnetic type most people know. I’d bid on this one if I didnt have four currently in my shop now.

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  7. rancho bella

    Little stunner. And yep… I don’t think it looks bad at all. There are several very good gauge shops in the the U. S. At least from my experience.

    Bernie H… Four? … You sly dog…

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  8. FRED

    I would .
    Have bernie come in from wherever he lives and let him have at it. How much can the guy charge if you keep him in beer and food while he does his thing? how much can the guy eat and drink.

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