Now gorgeous 1949 MG formerly in awful shape

Farm Forum

Planting a seed Steve Sayer admits that he has always had an affection for early MG sports cars with their sweeping front fenders. A few of the English sports cars passed through Sayer’s hands before he learned of a 1949 MG TC model that was available.

The car had been restored in Great Britain before being shipped to the United States. The restoration, Sayer says, was somewhat less than ideal. “It was just awful.”

Sayer acquired the MG TC and within three days, he says he had the body off the car. He purchased the MG in 1987 with the cutaway doors about to fall off. At that time, the little car was wearing a coat of red paint, which had replaced the original Old English White.

The diminutive MG is only 4 feet, 8 inches wide and rolls on a 7-foot, 10-inch wheelbase. An ash frame supports the steel body. Beneath the slender engine hood, ventilated on either side by 21 vertical louvers, is a four-cylinder, overhead valve engine with twin S.U. carburetors generating 54 horsepower.

The top three gears of the four-speed transmission are fully synchomesh. The shift lever sprouts from the floor near the emergency brake lever. Although the optimistic speedometer tops out at 105 mph, records from more than 60 years ago indicate that 73 mph is a more accurate achievable top speed. When the 1949 MG TC was new a time of 0-to-60 mph was registered in a scant 22.7 seconds.

In the cozy cockpit the passenger — seated on the left side — eyeballs the speedometer while the driver is faced with the 6500-rpm tachometer, which has no redline.

A pair of electric wipers suspended from the top of the windshield keep the glass clear, unless the driver has opted to fold the windshield down over the engine hood. If that is the case, then the driver has a clear view of the moto-meter radiator cap registering the temperature of the coolant in the engine.

Sayer admits to straying from originality during the restoration process. The original 1949 TC dashboards, he explains, were covered in black vinyl. He opted, instead, to finish the curvaceous dashboard like much earlier MG automobiles with unfinished plywood.

He chose a green on green combination for his car with an Almond Green exterior. In front of the driver is the four-spoke banjo style steering wheel on a telescopic steering column. On the firewall, under the hood, is the 12-volt positive ground battery adjacent to the tool kit and tire changing equipment.

The 4.50×19-inch tires are wrapped around the 48-spoke wheels that are coated with silver/gray paint. The wheels are secured to the car with chrome plated knock-off hubs.

The spare tire is mounted vertically against the gasoline tank. With the top in the raised position the car stands 4-feet, 5-inches high. The MG is equipped with four side curtains, one for each door and another pair to be fitted into the quarter panel area behind the doors.

At the front of the bumperless 1949 MG is the horn and single fog light. Crowning the front fenders are small parking lights. At the other end of the small car is a single taillight accompanied by one brake light.

“For 1949 hydraulic brakes,” Sayer says, “they work very well.”

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