1949 MG - TC
An historic company -- a unique model -- the rarest of this model -- the 1949 MG-TC EXU -- the beauty and fun of car (chassis) number EXU 7676!
Built on January 21, 1949, in Abingdon, England, Car 7676 was one of 10,000 MG TC models built between 1945 and 1949. However car 7676 is one of only 494 TCs made especially for the United States and thus carries the designation EXU for "export model." (But note it remained a right sided drive.)
Car 7676 has the original matching engine, XPAG 8389. It is four cylinders with 1250 cc displacement yielding 54.4 horsepower. Its top speed was factory rated at 75 miles per hour with acceleration from 0 to 50 mph at 14.7 seconds.
The wheel base is 7'10" and has a curb weight of 1822 lbs.
Its fuel capacity is 13.5 Imperial Gallons. As with all other TC models it has no fuel indicator gauge other than the "2 liter" warning light.
This car is painted in the "cream and cracker" style, the traditional racing colors of the MG Car Company. Its original color was red. (Also see Frequently Asked Questions.)
ABOUT THE EXU MODEL
Feedback from the important American market led MG to develop this special model for sale to the U.S. Beginning with car number 7380 in December 1948 and produced "as needed" throughout 1949 only 494 were produced -- less than 5% of all MG TC production.
Such cars were recognized under the coding "EXU" (for export unit) and stamped "EXU" on the chassis number on the guarantee plate.
In addition, they included the following improvements:1
- Full-width bumpers, front and rear (allegedly for the way "women parked in the United States!").2
- Central MG medallion on rear bumper (some suggest one of the rarest items of any MG, since the medallion was only installed on the 494 EXU units).
- Two Lucas Windtone horns mounted under the bonnet instead of the badge bar. (Because of the harsh U.S. winters)
- Steering wheel in gold pearl finish instead of black.
- Rear number-plate mounted centrally above the rear bumper with Lucas number/license plate lamps above it.
- Lucas type S.700 headlamps.
- Lucas type 482-1 stop and tail lamps mounted on each side at the top of the petrol tank.
- Laminated (versus toughened) windshield glass.
- Badge bar, fog lamp and external horn deleted.
- No"Thirtilite," but two map reading lamps.
- Rear-view mirror above dashboard.
- Flashing directional indicator (turn signal) switch with built-in warning lamp in place of inspection lamp socket.
- High-beam warning lamp (versus fog lamp switch).
- Instrument panel rearranged:
- Ammeter and oil gauge mounted in center
- Ignition and lighting switch on the outside left
- Horn push and dip switch on right.
Note: Rear bumper with MG medallion
ABOUT CAR 7676
The Losey Family has owned car 7676 since 1991 purchasing it from a broker who had had obtained it from the Chicago area after the death of the prior owner.
Note: Right hand drive, instrument panel configuration, matching brown interior, turned chrome dash (an after-market option to replace the inferior Rexine, a poor quality vinyl. MG substituted Rexine for the original Walnut veneer in 1948 at approximately car number 5380).
Car 7676 has been completely restored, has great chrome, stainless steel exhaust, and good rubber, always garaged, needs no major work and starts in the dead of winter. Rare cream and cracker paint with brown interior. Everything works, even the clock. Looks and runs great -- a real "head-turner."
THE HISTORY OF THE TC
In 1945 no TCs were exported to the United States directly by the manufacturer (only 81 were built in 1945 after resumption of production after World War II).
In 1946 only 20 out of a total production of 1675 TCs were exported to the U.S. (1.2%). However, Britain's post World War II need for foreign currency caused the government to encourage exports by restricting steel supplies to those who did not concentrate on exports. This changed the home market versus export market distribution considerably.
By 1948, the peak year for TC export sales, 91% of all TC production was exported of which 41% went to the U.S. Exports to the U.S. accounted for 37% of all production for 1948. (See chart 1.)
Note: Factory production control records differ from the 2001 TCs customarily referenced as being exported to the United States.
TC 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 TOTAL Production 81 1675 2346 3085 2813 10000 Total Exports - Number 23 610 1162 2815 1983 6593 - Percent 28% 36% 49% 91% 75% 66% Exports to the United States - Number 0 20 234 1143 423 1820 - Percent - 1.2% 10% 37% 15% 18%
*Seventy-one EXU models were manufactured in late 1948.
In 1948, the year before the introduction of the special EXU export models for the U.S., the U.S. market of 1143 TCs was almost twice the size of any other export market. Second Was Australia with 599 units. The U.S. market was also larger than the combined markets of Switzerland, South Africa, Rhodesia, Canada, Belgium, India, Pakistan, Argentina, Ireland, Brazil, West Germany, Sweden, Ceylon, Egypt and Hong Kong.
Because the U.S. was such a big market and notwithstanding the fact that the TC model was nearing its demise, based on feedback from the important American market, a special TC was created for the North American market.
Beginning in December 1948 with chassis number 7380, the improvements summarized earlier were incorporated into 494 special export units. Again, they are identified by their uniqueness in features as well as the EXU stamped on the chassis number on the guarantee plate.
How many EXU models still exist is anyone's guess.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why is the "T" series so popular?
The MG T series was largely responsible for introducing the low cost open two-seater sports care to a worldwide audience.
If there was a model "TC," were there also TA, TB, TD, etc?
Yes. The TA was introduced in 1936 and 3003 units were manufactured between then and 1939 when the TB (with minor changes, most notably the new XPAG engine) was introduced. However, World War II interrupted TB production in 1939 after only four months of production and only 379 units manufactured. The TC followed immediately after the end of World War II. The TD model was introduced in 1950. There was no TE (some suggest for fear the initials could be ridiculed). The final T series was the TF, introduced in September, 1953.
When and how many "T" series units were manufactured?
Between 1936 (beginning with the TA) and 1955 (ending with the TF) only 52,646 units were produced.
How many "T" units survive?
The general consensus is that less then one half survive, and even fewer of the older models such as the TA, TB and TC.
How many TCs were manufactured?
10,000 -- or fewer than 20% of the total "T" Series production.
When did MG start production of TCs?
MG decided on a speedy return to sports car production after its detour to tank production during World War II. They accomplished this by using the existing pre-war TB design and incorporating only modest changes and improvements to make the car more attractive to post-war buyers. This strategy permitted MG to return to production in September, 1945 -- only four months after the end of hostilities in Europe. By this time, however, the classic "T" design was already nine years old and with the TC the series would be maintained another four years.
What were the changes incorporated into the TC?
Again, the TC looks almost exactly like a 1939 TB or even the original TA from 1936. The most significant change was that the body was widened by almost four inches (to 44 inches) across the seats. This was done without changing the basic chassis, wings or running boards with the exception of a slightly narrower running board design that only permitted two tread strips versus the three on pre-war TA and TBs.
Other modifications included putting a single 12-volt battery and box under the bonnet in place of twin 6 volt batteries which had been carried on a try on the chassis by the rear axle. There were also selected suspension changes and increased use of rubber, given its greater testing and utilization as a result of World War II.
What did the car cost new in, for instance, 1945 and 1949?
UK Pounds US Dollars 1945 375 2200 1949 412.50 2395
If 10,000 TCs were produced how many were exported and to where?
6,593 were exported of which 1820 (2001 by some accounts) were shipped to the U.S. Therefore, approximately 67% of all TC production was exported from Britain to other countries of which 28% went to the United States. The top five countries for export were: Why are so few MGs left?
1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 Total % USA 0 20 234 1143 423 1820 28% Australia 2 108 165 599 900 1744 27% S. Africa3 0 83 139 241 154 617 9% Switzerland 2 59 142 130 75 408 6% Belgium 0 27 122 104 33 286 4% Total 4 297 802 2217 1594 4875 Total Exports 23 610 1162 2815 1883 6593 Percent 17% 49% 69% 78% 80% 74%
The MGs were never very expensive cars. Some authors suggest in the U.S. they were frequently a second car for dad's weekend fun and left for the wife and kids during the week for all of those chores and "running around." Hard use and a cost frequently greater to repair or recondition the MG than it may have cost in the first place tempted many to merely let it sit until it disintegrated or send it directly to the junk yard versus the repair shop.
What complaints did people have about the TC?
The usual complaints were:
- No bumpers (corrected on EXU units)
- No heater
- Hard ride
- Not enough space
- Steering (extra sensitive and large turning cycle of 37 feet.)
If there were only 10,000 TCs built why do the chassis numbers go all the way to 10,251?
Because they started with the chassis No. 0251 vs. 001. Folklore has it that the Abingdon factory telephone number was 251. The TA and TB models also started with 0251.
Were any TCs made with left-hand drive?
No. The first left-hand drive model was the TD, again, introduced in 1950.
Is it true that the TC actually "introduced sports cars to America"?
Yes and no. Many United States servicemen discovered the T series while serving in Britain during World War II. A few prewar machines were brought back to the United States. And again, only 1820 TCs were exported to the U.S. during the 1946 - 1949 time period so that was not much of a foothold. Also, given the ancestry to the TA, which dated from 1936, the TC model was constructively 13 years old when it yielded to the TD in 1950. It did, however, help dictate the TD design. In addition:
But it was the TC's unique style, simplicity, performance and irresistibility that contributed to that everlasting bit of MG magic and its position as a prime example of what today we call a "classic car."
- The TD with the first "T" series to offer left-hand drive.
- The TD eliminated the classic 19-inch wire wheels for the more cost-effective and practical smaller 15-inch disk wheels. (At not insignificant and initial protest.)
- Rack-and-pinion steering and independent front suspension made the TD a much better riding and handling car.
- Finally, ten times as many TDs were shipped to America than TCs so it was the volume of the TD that more fully introduced the U.S. to sports cars. The TD gave people something to actually own and try vs. merely admire and crave.
What other distinction has the TC won?
The MG TC is one of only nine cars originally selected for the Milestone Car Society. It was nominated based on its strength of design and performance. In addition, in 1951, the TC was chosen as one of eight automobiles for the New York Museum of Modern Art exhibit of classic design.
I have seen some TCs which are painted two-tone. Was that done by the factory?
No, all TCs were painted only one color. However, in the United States, in the late 1940s, two-tone paint was gaining popularity. Some MG dealers painted new MGs two-tone even before sale or in accordance with customer requests. For others they may have changed the color after a car was restored.
Note the examples below. Both are painted in the "cream and cracker" paint scheme. Which one is the TC and which one is the TD?
Answer: TC is the one of the left and the TD is on the right. (Telltale indicators: TC 19-inch spoke wheels, and higher flowing fenders then the TD.)
Were they are many options available on the TC?
No. Unlike the TA and the TB, which had several options (Bonnet strap, cigar lighter, full length tonneau cover with a zipper, oil thermometer, radio, second spare wheel, etc.), options were essentially limited to a luggage carrier and a "Radiomobile" radio (installed under the dashboard). Given the demand for the postwar TC you took it "as is."
I know that I have seen other TCs with electric turn signals. Were they original?
No. The only TCs with factory installed electric turn signals were the 494 special EXU models for the North American market. Many TCs however were retrofitted given the obvious safety advantages of turn signals.
What do you like most about your TC?
First, everything works, even the electric clock. And it runs very well. One Chicago professional MG shop owner who had worked on the car for the previous owner described TC 7676 as "the best handling TC I have ever had the opportunity to drive."
But most of all I love its character: low-slung with its upright radiator and flowing long fenders, cutaway doors, slab gas tank and classic 19-inch wheels -- all of which contribute to the perception of movement -- even as she sits.
Then, with a pull on the starter, the guttural exhaust invites the driver to let out the clutch and experience the excitement and tradition of a bygone era.
What was the final car in the T series line.
The final T model was the TF of which 9600 were built between 1953 and 1955.
What followed the TF?
The MGA followed and was built until 1962 when it was followed by the MGB. MGB production ended in 1980 when the factory was closed. During that period greater than 100,000 MGAs and more than 500,000 MGBs were built with many of them exported to the U.S. therefore many can still be seen and obtained.
1 Clausager, Adners, Original MG T Series, Bay View Books, 1989, pp 56-57.
2 The front bumper was removed from car 7676, as with most others, to improve the car's image).
3 Includes what was then called Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
Clarke, R. M. MG TC (1945 - 1949), Cobham, England, Brooklands Book Distributiion, Ltd.
Clauser, Anders Ditlev. Original MG T Series, Devon, England, Bay View Books, Ltd, 1989, Repreinted 1991.
Harvey, Chris. MG The Immortal T Series, Somerset, England, Oxford Illustrated Prfess, 1977, Reprinted 1990
Knudson, Richard. MG Buyer's Guide, Osecola, Wisconsin, Motor Books International, 1983.
Knudson, Richard. "MG Price Guide," MG Magazine, July 1992, p 35.
Robson, Graham. The T-Series MGs, Croydon, England, Motor Racing Publications Ltd., 1981, Repreinted 1988.
Sherrell, Michael, TCs Forever, South Perth, Australia, Stamford Press, 1990.
Michael R. Losey, SPHR, CAE
2168 Autumn Cove Circle
Fleming Island, FL 32003
Office Phone: (904) 215-3034
Residence: (904) 264-9793
Web page: http://www.mikelosey.com