1938 MG TA Midget Three Position Drophead CoupeSOLD

RM Auctions - The Ponder Collection - Texas - April 20-21st, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $50,000 - $75,000


$117,700 Sold

52bhp, 1,292 cc, overhead valve inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 94"

Purists and racing aficionados were at first dismayed, but soon saw the benefits of the latest T-Series MG sports car unveiled in June 1936. The Autocar (September 18, 1936) noted “Though there have been many changes noticeable in the latest T-Series MG Midget by anyone who has been well acquainted with its extremely popular forerunners, in character the car remains of the same type. That is, it gives an unusually good performance for its engine size, handles in a distinctly better manner than the ordinary touring vehicle, and processes those touches in the ‘tout ensemble’ that endear it to the owner with sporting tendencies.”

The improved ride came courtesy of hydraulic shock absorbers now being fitted at both the back and the front. Synchromesh was added to top, third and second gears, which precipitated faster gear changes. And, the addition of hydraulic brakes provided adequate stopping power for an MG capable of a top speed of 80mph.

The MG TA ultimately claimed the title as the most popular prewar MG with just over 3,000 examples built. Of those it is estimated that a mere 260 MG TA series cars were stylish, coachbuilt 1938 Tickford Drophead Coupes.

The 1938 MG TA (TA2678) presented here was delivered to Salmons and Sons Ltd. of Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire on October 27, 1938 for the fitting of its Tickford body (4303) and was completed on March 24, 1939. This Salmons “job number” was stamped on the back of the interior wooden trim pieces, on the back of the hood irons and on an aluminum strip on the toolbox lid. The Salmons numbering system included bodies built for other manufacturers, as well as for the MG SA, VA and WA, and thus the MG Tickford numbers were not sequential.

The first owner of the Drophead Coupe was M. Gale of Southport and it still bears its original UK registration number EFY 221. The MG TA’s original 52bhp, 1292cc four-cylinder overhead valve engine (MPJG 2947) was completely rebuilt and detailed to exact specifications. Not only highly presentable, the engine operates smoothly and provides the slightly heavier Tickford with good T-Series sporting performance. Following the execution of the flawless restoration the Tickford was awarded as a Hershey show winner.

The Tickford body was also carefully and correctly rebuilt by a specialist and is painted in a period taupe with a matching cloth three position top for enclosed, sunroof-style or fully open motoring. The maroon painted beltline ties in the fresh, matching leather interior, while the tan Wilton carpet remains unsoiled in this show condition MG TA. All of the walnut garnish rails were elegantly refinished, as was the dash, with its Jaeger gauges and Brooklands banjo-style steering wheel. Other styling features include a push-out windscreen, chrome wire wheels, Lucas King road lamps, a rear mounted spare as well as a boxed tool kit (missing a few tools).

It is believed that fewer than 135 of these coachbuilt, first Series MG TA Three Position Tickford Drophead Coupes exist today. Their original overall production was limited due to the high cost of construction for this custom bodied car. This rare and beautifully restored example has only been driven a mere 450kms since completion and is without question one of the best of those few survivoring examples. The elegance of the interior combined with the sporting nature of an MG T-Series was a key reason MG encouraged in its advertising back in the mid-1930s that customers buy a MG “For Space… For Grace… For Pace.” This Tickford is simply an exceptional example that is flawless in its style, presentation and condition and accordingly we encourage close examination.

Reference Number 7619

as of 2/27/2007

Car 1938 MG TA Midget Three Position Drophead Coupe
VIN 2678 
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