Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
9/24/18 3:55 p.m.

[Editor's Note: We originally ran this article in our September 2017 issue. Some information and prices are different. All Hagerty values have been updated to 2019 prices, however.]

Story and Photos by Tim Suddard

By any modern standard, the MG T-series falls short. From a…

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frenchyd
frenchyd SuperDork
9/25/18 6:47 a.m.

In 1962 I acquired my MGTD. Since then it’s been my friend and carried me to and in many racing adventures.  Plus all over the country and even overseas.  

I learned from it that maintenance was important and little things like cleaning the contact points on the fuel pump paid massive rewards in reliability.  

The Poor SU fuel pump which endures regular beatings as frustrated owners attempt to get a little more use out of a sadly neglected item, when a 1 minute pass with a folded piece of sand  paper will easily give them years more use.  

The same apples to contact points and the dashpots filled with the correct oil.  In fact my car has benefited  from normal maintenance and in exchange given me decades of fun and pleasure. Even the maintenance is pleasant often done on a dreary rainy day when driving would be a miserable experience. 

In 1986 I met a man who had pulled his MGTC special out of his garage loaded it up and driven to a vintage sports car race.  

What was remarkable was it was winter in New England when he left and he drove down to the Bahama’s  raced all week and then drove back. At age 84! 

russellsifers
russellsifers New Reader
3/7/19 9:44 p.m.

The MG has been called "The Sports Car America Loved First" at least after WWII.  I am the steward of TC #8875 and I still love it after 48 years.  Here is some interesting MG history: The first SCCA sanctioned race was held at Watkins Glen, NY on October 2, 1948.  Around 35 cars tried to enter, but only 15 qualified for that first race.  Ten cars finished the race.  Eight of the ten cars that finished were 1948 MG TCs!

I enjoy driving my TC year round.  But I really love running it at the Lake Garnett Grand Prix Revival each October.  Imagine a 70 year old MG driven by a 71 year old guy who hit 72 mph last year.  What do they say about driving a slow car fast...?  

wylieSteve
wylieSteve
11/10/19 12:49 p.m.

Great article, very inspiring.  I'm the steward (that's a nice way of putting it) of 1951 TD # 5651 that my parents bought new.  It's largely intact, with lots of interesting provenance from the period.  It was last driven around 1973 and has always been stored in a garage or shed.  Most of it's life has been in New Mexico so very little rust.  Just need more time to work on it.

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
11/12/19 6:58 a.m.

In reply to wylieSteve :

Please realize the engine was a product of the 1930's and as such it's different enough to need special consideration.  
Oil, the camshaft didn't have the design most engines do of rotating the lifters to even the wear.  So lifters will wear quickly even if you use ZDDP  oil supplements to replace the zinc that was removed to protect the catalyst converter.    That and the cam lobes will wear out quickly.  20,000 miles and wear is noticeable. 
 The 5000 rpm red line is absolute and even that might not protect the engine.  The stock Rod bolts are sloppy and not very strong. Luckily ARP sells good ones. Check with Moss motors. Or Abingdon Spares. 

Change your oil on time not mileage.  Even in storage oil will deteriorate.   Don't forget the brake fluid too. Failure will have the wheel cylinders freeze up.   Some people accept the spongy brake pedal that Silicone tends to produce and replace regular fluid with silicone. If you want to try that, only do it after a complete rebuild.  All of the rubber in the wheel cylinders and master cylinder need to be new. 
If you go that route slightly looser brake adjustment to keep the shoes from dragging will help.  That sort of adds to the soggy pedal problem but I've seen a couple of cars where the heat build up locked the brakes so bad the car could not be moved without backing off the adjusters.  
A few other pointers.  Most tires will be bias ply.  They will flat spot stored long enough in one place.  Put the car on Jack stands for extended stays.

The Electric fuel pump needs maintenance.  It's on the firewall in a MG T series.  The thumb screw comes off and then you can remove the plastic cap.  You'll see a set of points.   Take a piece of very fine grit sand paper. 1000 grit or finer about 2 inches long. Fold it in half and place it between the points.  Now pull it through with just the pressure of the points. Now  your fuel pump will be extremely reliable. Once a year I use I drop of engine oil on the spring pivot points just as a belt and suspended approach.  
Do that regularly and your fuel pump will work reliably for decades.  Ignore it and you'll be beating on the fuel pump  to get home or calling the tow truck. And replacing it way too often when all it needs is a little attention. 

wylieSteve
wylieSteve New Reader
2/8/22 7:31 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Hey frenchyd!  Not sure how I missed this reply 2+ years ago, but I did.  Thanks for the good info!  I'm going to stick with a conventional brake fluid, haven't liked the feel of silicone in any other car.  As you were describing the fuel pump points sanding, I have a vague memory of my dad doing that, and also that when I got it, in the toolkit where he had a small box of W sockets was also a strip of fine emery paper about 2" long!  Now I know what it was for!

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
2/9/22 11:50 a.m.

I am such an advocate of the much more modern seeming MGA that most of the T series leave me a bit cool.   If I were to own any, it would be the classic TC regardless of all the shortcomings it has.

Another one, not mentioned is the YT, a four seater tourer using running gear common to the TC, so you can take friends along with you.  I rather like that one too.

 

 

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