1946 MG TC - $37,900
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  • Overview & History
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With a comprehensive restoration by well-known MG expert Tom Metcalf at Safety Fast Restoration, it’s the best TC we’ve seen.

You either understand the traditional British sports car or you don’t. If you are wondering why people would love driving an elemental, basic, stripped-down minimalist car like this 1946 MG TC, well, it’s not for you. But if you’re the kind of person who understands the thrill of running a car like this through the gears, the feel of the suspension, the bark of the exhaust, and the connection between man and machine that’s all but lost today, this TC is something special. With a comprehensive restoration by well-known MG expert Tom Metcalf at Safety Fast Restoration, it’s the best TC we’ve seen. The fact that it also offers a bunch of upgrades, a wonderful color combination, and is a veteran of several long-distance tours so it is properly sorted all means that it’s ready to get in and enjoy.

Is there any prettier small car than the MG TC? The flowing fenders and cut-down doors neatly disguise its diminutive proportions and nothing about it looks undersized or toy-like. This is the sports car for grown-ups, and it looks dignified while at the same time being ready to play. The work coming out of Metcalf’s shop is beyond reproach and this one remains in fantastic condition despite the restoration showing about 14,000 miles. The finish is probably better than Morris Garages was applying after the war and the bright red is exactly right—not orange, not pink, but a vivid, deep red that suits the car perfectly. Panel fit is exemplary and the doors fit better than any MG we’ve ever had. You’ll note the hood features an extra set of louvers on its lid, which is always a good idea on a car that’s going to be driven with vigor, and details like the Lucas tri-bar headlights tie it to its quintessential British-ness. The chrome was restored at the same time, including the radiator shell, headlight buckets, and the windshield frame, which includes a pair of smaller flip-up mini windshields that are just plain awesome. A single fog light up front and a simple single-bar bumper in back suggest this is an MG designed for the road and we can’t find many complaints anywhere. It’s not quite perfect, but it’s just lovely.

Tan leather is an excellent choice with the bright red bodywork and the unusual split bench with a folding single back rest remains unique to the TC. All TCs were right-hand-drive, but you’ll quickly get used to it and shifting with your left hand will feel natural after about 20 minutes on the road. Getting in requires a little bit of wiggling, but even tall drivers will find the driver’s seat comfortable once they’re inside. The lovely wood dashboard is full of restored Jaeger gauges with their unique light green faces, and they all work properly. The banjo-style steering wheel was obviously re-cast when it was restored and remains in good overall condition and provides direct feedback from the tire patches to your palms. The other controls are typical British—haphazardly arranged and poorly marked, but with some familiarization it’s all easy to master. The door panels are crafted from the same tan leather as the seats and include built-in map pockets, and black carpets provide a great contrast with low maintenance. Finishes and controls are quite correct, and this car includes both a folding convertible top and a full cockpit tonneau to close it up. There’s a bit of storage space behind the seats, as well as the extended jack handle secured to the bulkhead.

The 1250 cc inline-4 isn’t designed to win drag races, but it’s eager and torquey, and there’s something to be said about the joy of driving a slow car fast. It’s worth noting that this is the car’s original engine (numbers-matching is the correct term, but it’s getting out of hand these days). It starts easily thanks to proper tuning and care over the years, and with an electric fuel pump, it fires fast when you pull the knob. A little adjusting of the mixture makes it idle smoothly and out on the road it pulls the lightweight roadster around without working very hard at all. It offers a great baritone burble from the exhaust, and you’ll love working it through the gears for the soundtrack as much as the performance. The entire engine bay is neatly detailed in light green, which is apparently correct for early TCs (I can’t imagine Mr. Metcalf making a mistake here, so don’t call us to tell us it’s wrong) and still runs the original side draft carburetors, generator with tachometer drive, and heavy-duty oil bath air cleaner. Simple, rugged, and reliable. New wiring throughout certainly helps and it seems to keep its cool thanks to a big radiator up front.

The 4-speed manual shifts well, although it’ll fight you if you try to rush it when it’s cold. Out on the road, the ratios are well-chosen for the engine’s modest power and you’ll find yourself flying along at 50 MPH without much effort. The suspension is surprisingly supple and capable on those tall, skinny tires, and again, it reminds us that the drive is the point, not the destination. The chassis was correctly restored and now shows signs of 14,000 miles of enjoyment, but no critical issues save for a few drips from the usual spots—nothing out of the ordinary for an MG. Brakes are aluminum drums all around that are plenty effective for the TC’s performance and the steering is delightfully light and communicative at all speeds. It is not sophisticated, of course, but I found myself smiling unintentionally as I took this little car on my usual test drive. It just works. Floors and sills are wood, so no worries about rust issues, and the frame is straight without any issues. Painted wire wheels are the right choice (chrome is too much for the modest MG) and they carry suitable 4.75/5.00-19 Firestone blackwall tires.

Extras include an owner’s manual, parts list, tools, jack assembly, and a lovely little picnic basket that’s ideal for a British roadster in the countryside.

If you love these cars, you’ll quickly spot this as a good one. It has been restored by one of the best names in the business and has proven itself on numbers big tours. It looks great, drives very well, and provides the no-nonsense motoring that made these cars so beloved with GIs returning after the war. To understand it, you probably have to get behind the wheel—don’t say you weren’t warned, because you’re probably going to fall in love. Call today!

Harwood Motors welcomes and encourages personal or professional inspections of any vehicle prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1946 MG TC
Price: $37,900
Stock Number: 116117
Mileage: 14,092
VIN: TC181
Engine: 1250 cc inline-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 4.88
Wheelbase: 94 inches
Wheels: 19-inch wire wheels
Tires: 4.75/5.00-19 Firestone blackwall
Exterior Color: Red
Interior Color: Tan leather
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