Restoration of 1949 MG TC - chassis number TC/8233, engine number XPAG 8822 - Completed September 1999

The restoration process followed the accepted sequence for these cars:-

  • chassis completed to rolling chassis stage, but not in final paint finish and with un-restored wheels and old tyres;
  • bodywork completed to final fit of all panels on the rolling chassis;
  • bodywork strip-down for painting;
  • completion of rolling chassis to pristine condition, with engine and gearbox fitted;
  • assembly of painted body and panels to completed rolling chassis;
  • and finally wiring, dashboard, instruments, electrical components and lights, internal trim, carpets, seats, and windscreen;
  • fitting good wheels with new tyres, toe-in setting, and engine tune-up, number plates, etc.
  Numerous small chassis parts being prepared.
  Mild grit blasting prepared chassis components for primer and they were then finished in 2-pack black. Here parts are seen being kept in warm dry environment [kitchen] prior to applying primer.
Separate work-benches were assigned for "clean" and "dirty" work.

Small front axle components and other small items on the "clean" bench. Small drawers hold the supply of new BSF and metric screws, nuts, washers, etc, essential for all TC owners.

 

Rocker assembly disassembled for inspection and cleaning on the "dirty" bench.

Rocker shaft was replaced but existing rocker bushes were in good condition.

 

A few of the restored chassis parts, painted in black 2-pack, ready for assembly.

[MG J2 chassis and radiator in the background - retirement project.]

 

Time and effort spent on chassis preparation and a good surface finish is repaid in the appearance of the completed car.
Completing front suspension. All brake cylinders and pipes and hoses were replaced by new ones, for safety. Wheel bearings, king pins, spring bushes, pedal bushes and pedal shaft were renewed. Brake shoes were of course re-lined - I used the old-style rivet-on linings, but next time would go for bonded linings. 

After completing and using the car, i bought bonded, softer linings for the front brake shoes, to reduce pedal effort. In late 2001, i converted the braking system to silicon brake fluid, changing all rubber seals and boots at the same time.

Completed rolling chassis.

Engine was stripped and rebuilt. Bores 0.040" oversize. Head was converted to run on un-leaded petrol, larger [TF-sized] valves fitted, and mild gas-flowing done. New clutch and release bearing were fitted.

 

Rear axle assembly. Propeller shaft universal joints were replaced, and the differential assembly adjusted for correct gear clearances - that took me quite a long time. All those shiny new screws and nuts were later touched up with black 2-pack.

Later I converted the rear half-shafts and hubs to the tapered connection type, manufactured by Roger Furneaux, together with his "oil-seal hub nuts". This combination obviates the spline wear of the original design and keeps the rear brakes dry. The conversion is not visible from the outside.

Restored carburetors. Bead blasting gave the alloy castings a fresh look, and new springs, seals, screws etc. completed the picture.
[No highly-polished dashpots for this car.]

Overflow pipes run down front of engine mounting plate and are secured by a single clip

 

Body assembly to first fit under way using chassis TC/9477 as a jig. Rear wings fitted with spacers to simulate piping thickness.

TC guru Steve Baker, at left, did the panel fitting for me, and cheerfully provided vital advice.

A new ash-framed body was fitted with the original scuttle and bulkhead.

 

Final assembly of body, wings, bonnet onto rolling chassis in Richard Mitchell's spray shop, after painting the individual panels in 1949 MG Red 2-pack [formula from old ICI records].

Rear number-plate carrier is non-original - to carry the twin rear lights now compulsory in UK for TCs.

Using high temperature wax, I injected all the rolled edges inside the wings and running boards, and did the same to wing-to-body joints, to exclude moisture.

 

Late summer 1999; in the workshop finishing the plywood floor-boards for TC/8233 with about 8 coats of matt varnish, on top of black wood-stain.

These thin boards carry the seat runners and seats. They are covered on top by black carpet, but must be well sealed as they are exposed to the elements on the underside.

 

Interior trim under way. The seats and interior trim are beige, in the correct original mix of leather and Rexine [vinyl].

Side screen box door still to be covered in Rexine in this shot. [Red TCs should have either beige or red interior seats and trim.]

Red plywood sloping panel not yet painted matt black. Heads of fuel tank strap bolts top right were later painted to match the trim colour.

 

The dash is one of the important items for a well-restored TC. [Well, of course everything is important, but the dash is always in view.]

Although the car had a "special" dashboard when I bought it, with various strange instruments and switches, after numerous days spent at autojumbles, I was able to obtain the correct instruments and switches. Chris Clark rebuilt the ignition switch for me and supplied the small gauges and petrol warning light.

 

Dashboard fitted; floor boards fitted prior to surface treatment; dash piping hanging loose prior to fitting around to door locks.

Fitting dashboard, and piping between dashboard and scuttle, required great patience and numerous trial fittings before getting the result shown. [Took nearly two days.]

Horn/dip switch not shown as it must be connected to the wiring loom before it can be assembled and fitted to centre dash panel.

Windscreen was rebuilt using new safety glass in re-chromed frame. [Not fitted in this view.]

 

Car had incorrect headlight rims, reflectors, and glass, but correct ones were eventually found. Getting the correct reflectors, rims, and lampholders took a lot of time and effort.

M-140 headlights were disassembled for restoration. The bowls and rims were re-chromed, and the black-painted parts were stripped, zinc-plated and then enameled, before the whole assembly was riveted back together. Photo shows some of the correct headlamp components after repairs and preparation, prior to assembly by nickel-plated brass rivets. Swinging a hammer onto a rivet punch in those shiny refurbished headlight bowls took some courage, but all turned out well. Replacement rubber seals were too big and had to be reduced to correct size. The Lucas medallions must be removed before the headlight bowls are re-chromed, but replacement medallions are available. Steve Baker sourced the correct original headlight glass for me. [Thanks Steve.] 

The Lucas SFT462 fog-light for the late-model TC [see front view of completed car below] is difficult to find, but an original was eventually located in the North of England.

The front side-lights [Lucas 1130 type] were re-chromed, fitted with new "red-dots", and converted to twin filament lamp-holders for side and turn signal lights.

Seat bases being assembled to the Mike Collingburn reproduction seats. I had the seat slider assemblies re-plated in zinc - they appeared to have been cadmium plated originally, but this is not easy to have done today. Zinc looks very similar and almost all of the slider assembly is hidden. Brian Purves did the zinc and chrome plating for me and also re-silvered the headlight reflectors.

The adjuster knob assemblies were removed before the zinc plating, as these had to be chrome plated.

 

Under bonnet - close to completion - petrol pipe and hose clips and a few other things still to do.

The new wiring loom came with the correct flexible armour tubes for the engine compartment, but without those for the headlight cables - I had to get those made up separately.

In this photo the ignition coil is incorrect. Correct Q12 coil has now been fitted. Period-style HT cables complete the picture.

Auto-sparks supplied the two wiring looms, and added the extra cores for the turn signal indicators.

 

View from underneath during the safety inspection [MOT test], 17 August 1999. Inspector checking rear axle. It passed.

White object at top right is a Bob Gruneau spin-on oil filter conversion, replacing the original unit which is difficult to buy today, and expensive if you can find one. Exhaust system is stainless steel.

All chassis components are black. Sump is painted engine red [a different colour from body MG red] - some say sump should be un-painted - I like it red.

I made sure that all the new BZP fasteners on chassis and axles etc were painted black, as they should be.