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Lot 82: MG TA

Collectors Motor Cars, H&H Sales Limited (21 September 2011)

When Sir William Morris (soon to be Lord Nuffield) hired Leonard Lord to rationalise his businesses, one of Lord's first actions was to close down the MG design offices at Abingdon, and to begin sports car development at Morris Motors in Cowley, near Oxford, still under the same chassis designer, Hubert Charles. The TA, announced in 1936, established the famous T-Series pedigree which would persist until the mid-1950s. Designed around a simple new ladder-type chassis frame, with beam axles and front and rear, allied to ultra-stiff leaf springs, it used modified a Morris/Wolseley power train, including an overhead-valve 52bhp/1292cc engine, and a part-synchromesh four-speed gearbox, but assembly was always carried out at the dedicated MG factory at Abingdon. Visually and structurally, the body style was an evolution of earlier MG Midgets, which meant that the two-seater passenger compartment was based around a wood-framed, steel-skinned tub with flowing front wings, free-standing headlamps and an exposed fuel tank. Originally only one style was available, but in due course a heavier style by Tickford, which featured wind-up door windows, was also put on sale. The top speed was up to 75mph, the ride was firm, but the entire driving experience was exhilarating. A total of 3,003 TAs were produced until 1939.

The sale car was produced close to the end of the TA's run in Spring 1939. Owned by the same enthusiast for the past 24 years, it has completed a mere 6,500 miles in that time. 'EBY 871' has reportedly had "a total nut and bolt restoration" during which "every item on the car was either restored or replaced including a new Naylor's ash body". Boasting matching numbers, the MG is said to "run cool with good oil pressure and no rattles". Riding on smart chrome wire wheels, the two-seater also sports a rare original Midge Mascot, replacement Bloomberg steering wheel, brand new tonneau cover, aero screens, side wind deflectors and original Shelley tools (housed in two trays). Featured on BBC TV in the 'Strathblair' series (original tape included) and used to help launch the new MGF at Leuchars air base (photographs), this concours award winning TA is offered for sale with MOT certificate valid until July 2012. 'EBY 871' is further understood to have been "continuously improved over the years" to the extent that the vendor considers it to be "probably one of the best TAs ever to come on the market".

Lot Details
Auction Collectors Motor Cars
H&H Sales Limited, The Imperial War Museum, Duxford
TypeCar
Lot Number82
Estimate£28000-£32000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£28600
Year1939
Condition rating0
Registration numberEBY 871
Mileage-
Chassis numberTA2931
Engine numberMPJG3192
Engine capacity (cc)1141
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2