MG T Series Racing in Australia

4 Jan

The Patterson Brydon MG TC Special, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

This article is penned to highlight the significance of the T Series MG in the history of motor racing in Australia……… Yes, that’s right…. there were only ever ‘T series’ MG Midgets – they were never officially ‘T type’ Midgets. The only ‘Types’ were the engines, Type XPAG and Type XPEG.

The early T series, the pre-war TA & TB and the post war TC, have been the most successful MGs in Australian motor racing. They have been entered in the most events and they have won the most events, especially in the 10-year period from 1946 to 1956. All these racing Ts were developed and modified for racing locally in Australia.

The MG TC introduced a new era into Australian motor racing. The TC was a rapid little road car, reasonably priced and readily available; strong enough mechanically to stand up to the demands of motor racing, and the competition-orientated MG factory assisted owners with tuning information and made special parts to increase the performance of their cars.

To put the TC’s importance into perspective, of the 1900 or so TCs that were imported into Australia, around 300, that’s 15% of these TCs actually circuit raced in the various states of Australia up to the end of the 1950s.

There were 4300 TCs sold in the UK, and if you use the Australian percentage, the circuit racing figure for the UK would be more than 650……..Of course this did not happen but it helps to illustrate the TC’s significance!

During the late 1940s and early 50s, the T series MGs were becoming a de facto “Australian Formula Two”, starting as stripped body cars and then developing into alloy bodied supercharged specials.

In the 23 years of the Australian Grand Prix, from 1938 to 1961, a total of 77 Ts were entered (52 TCs) for 2 first, 5 second and 3 third AGP places.

Bathurst, under 1500cc Handicap race, Easter 1950. There were 16 TCs in the event. Won by Bill Patterson, #22, Patterson MG TC Special

Bill Patterson, #22, Patterson MG TC Special, 1st under 1500cc Handicap race, Bathurst, Easter 1950


Patterson Brydon MG TC Special, Historic Racing demonstration event at Melbourne AGP circuit, Albert Park

Patterson Brydon MG TC Special in the Australian Grand Prix

Further reading: The official 50-race history of the AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

An Autobiography – Phil Irving

The Patterson Brydon MG TC Special was entered in the Australian Grand Prix five times.

1950 Nuriootpa SA Bill Patterson

1952 Bathurst NSW Curley Brydon

1953 Albert Park VIC Curley Brydon

1954 Southport QLD Curley Brydon

1960 Lowood QLD Keith Russell

The 1953 Albert Park AGP was very significant for Australian motor sport as it was the first AGP conducted to the FIA International Sporting Code under the FIA Formula Libre regulations.

The car’s outstanding race was the 1953 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, when Brydon finished second to Doug Whiteford’s Type 26C Lago Talbot (Chassis No. 110007)

In fact, Brydon may well have been placed first in the event as Phil Irving describes on page 436 of his book “An Autobiography”

Doug Whiteford, who won the 1952 Australian Grand Prix at Bathurst in the Lago Talbot, was lucky to repeat the performance because, although he crossed the line first, he was not immediately declared the winner, through an unofficial report that he had been helped by a bystander to get the Talbot onto the course after over-shooting a corner. Not having the use of a telephone, the Marshall on the corner concerned wrote out a report to be delivered to the Clerk of Course, who did not receive it until long after the race had ended. Doug, who knew the rule book by heartwas aware that the official report of the incident had not been lodged within the stipulated half-hour after the race finish, and shrewdly claimed that it was ultra vires and could not form the basis of a protest. This view being upheld by the stewards, Doug was awarded his third A.G.P., but it was not a very popular victory.”

Ultra vires’ is a Latin phrase that translates to “beyond the powers.” This means that someone is acting beyond the scope of the authority or power that is granted to him by law, contract, or agreement.

The magazine Wheels described Brydon’s race in these terms:“Brydon took second place after an unhurried drive behind the dicing leaders. Not thrashing the car, he picked up places as others fell out and showed that anyone with a good car can run a high place over a long distance if he prepares it correctly.”


Curley Brydon, Patterson Brydon MG TC Special, 2nd outright, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park 1953

Patterson Brydon MG TC Special race entries at Bathurst.

Further reading: BATHURST – John Medley

Patterson Brydon MG TC Special has completed more than 260 racing laps (about 1600 km) at the Mount Panorama Bathurst race circuit where it was entered 16 times in the 21 Bathurst race meetings that were held between 1950 and 1962, the most ever for any MG race car.

Easter 1950 Bill Patterson

October 1950 Bill Patterson

Easter 1951 Curley Brydon

October 1951 Curley Brydon

AGP 1952 Curley Brydon

Easter 1954 Curley Brydon

Easter 1955 John Roche

October 1955 Peter Lowe

Easter 1956 John Martin

October 1956 John Martin

October 1957 Greg Hunt

October 1959 Keith Russell

Easter 1960 Keith Russell

October 1960 Keith Russell

October 1961 Keith Russell

Easter 1962 Keith Russell

Easter 1973 Mike Kable

Specifications and history of the Patterson Brydon MG TC Special

Further reading: Australia Motor Sports, November 1950 issue

Australian Motor Racing Yearbook #11 1981/82

The official 50-race history of the AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

Historic Racing Cars in Australia – John Blanden

OPTIMISM – Great Aussie special racing cars – Dick Willis

The Patterson MG TC Special was built during the latter part of 1948, for Bill Patterson by Reg Nutt and Doug Whiteford.

The racing body was designed and built by Bob Baker. Nominally a two-seater, the near side of the cockpit is normally covered by a half tonneau. It was painted green and was panelled in light gauge aluminium over a welded frame of light angle iron. The panels were attached with quick release Dzus fasteners. The highly developed engine of the special was fully balanced, fitted with larger valves, and later with special connecting rods that featured fully floating gudgeons, special fabricated extractor exhaust system and a Marshall supercharger. The ignition was provided by a Scintilla Vertex NV4 magneto and the fuel was fed to the carburettor by air pressure in the tank, by using a hand pump in the cockpit. The special pressurised cooling system used a modified Ford V8 radiator core.

The shock absorbers were changed to a driver controlled adjustable Andre Hydro Telecontrol system; Monaro cooling fins were fitted to the brake drums along with cable torque stays to steady the front axle under braking loads. Four back axle ratios were available to suit various circuits, 4.2, 4.5, 4.875 & 5.125 with 19 inch wheels.

The steering wheel was changed to a Bluemels Brooklands type and the dash board has full and complete instrumentation.

The TC was road registered by Bill Patterson as MG 000. Bob Baker installed the discarded square rigger body on a new rolling-chassis and sold this car to Eric Barrow. (Reg. No. NA 114) The original TC chassis number is not recorded.

The Patterson Special was advertised in AMS Feb 1950 and was sold to Adam Howey “Curley” Brydon. The car was further developed by Brydon and the former motor cycle wizard, Tom “the Prof” Jemison, using the supercharged engine from Brydon’s stripped black TC. It was also fitted with 16 inch wheels with 5.00 front tyres and 5.50, 6.00 or 6.50 tyres on the back.

Curley Brydon ran the car at the 1952 Australian Grand Prix at Bathurst but retired on lap 28 (of 38 laps) with a split fuel tank. Brydon and his TC were both damaged during the last race of the day at the January 1953 meeting at Gnoo-Blass, Brydon injured with a broken arm and the TC with significant body and chassis damage. As a result of this incident the damaged chassis was replaced by the chassis from TC/4134.

Brydon’s major results with the car being 2nd in the ‘Redex’ 100 mile race at Bathurst at Easter 1951 and 2nd in the 200 mile 1953 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

The special was later fitted with a non-supercharged engine and was entered as a back- up vehicle by Brydon for the 1954 Australian Grand Prix at Southport but did not start in the event. Brydon sold the car to John Roche later in 1954.

Bill Patterson, first owner of the Patterson Brydon MG TC Special

Further reading: Wheels, October 1954 issue

Gerald William ”Bill” Patterson commenced his racing career with a P Type MG and then a road going MG TC which was one of the first TCs to arrive in Melbourne after the war. This stripped TC (Reg. No. HX 500) was tuned by Reg Nutt and raced at Point Cook, Ballarat, Lobethal, Fishermans Bend, Nowra and Bathurst. Its last event was the 1948 Australian Grand Prix at Point Cook where the TC retired from the event with overheating.

 The car was sold and it was replaced with another TC which was then supercharged, fitted with a lightweight streamlined alloy body and developed as the Patterson MG TC Special. The special made its first competition appearance at the Rob Roy hill climb in January 1949. Bill Patterson sold the car to Curley Brydon in February 1950.


Bill Patterson (far right) #19, stripped body racing MG TC, HX 500, Lobethal Races, South Australia, January 1948


Patterson MG TC Special first event, Rob Roy Hill Climb, January 1949


Bill Patterson, Patterson MG TC Special, Nuriootpa Races, South Australia, April 1949

Bill Patterson, Patterson MG TC Special, Rob Roy Hill Climb 1950

In 1957 Patterson was to co-drive with Lex Davison to win the Australian Grand Prix at Caversham WA in Ferrari Type 500/625 (Chassis No. 5) and in 1961 he went on to win the CAMS Gold Star, Australian Driver’s Championship, in Cooper Type 51 Climax (Chassis No. F2/5/57).

Curley Brydon, second owner of the Patterson Brydon MG TC Special

Further reading: Modern Motor, July 1955 issue – #extract from Modern Motor

THE ARMIDALE SCHOOL – * extract from TAS magazine

Adam Howie “Curley” Brydon was born 14.04.1921 at Armidale in Northern NSW and enlisted as an 18 year old in the Royal Australian Air Force on

04.09.1939, the day after war was declared by Australia. His service number was 578. He was promoted to Squadron Leader, Australia’s youngest, in August 1943 at the age of 22. Brydon was awarded the DFC and bar when flying Hudson Bombers and Kitty Hawks in New Guinea and the Pacific. He later transferred, with the rank of Lieutenant, to Royal Australian Navy Volunteer Reserve, and then ‘on loan’ to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, flying Supermarine Seafires (navalised Spitfire) on aircraft carriers HMS INDEFATIGABLE and later HMS IMPLACABLE.

Brydon’s D.F.C. Citation reads: “He has convincingly demonstrated his eagerness under all conditions to destroy the enemy by individual attacks with complete disregard for his own safety. Squadron Leader has at all times displayed outstanding courage and coolness and intrepid leadership has proven a source of inspiration to all pilots of the squadron. He has completed 470 hours of operational flying and has taken part in 138 sorties, including 52 strikes.” Brydon was discharged from the RAN on July 18 1946.

Squadron Leader A.H.Brydon, DFC and Bar, New Guinea

After his war service he sold cars through his Brydon Motors business and was a partner in the entertainment promoter Pacific Stars Pty Ltd that was formed “to present in Australia top stage and screen stars from USA and other countries. The company handled the Australian tour of Spike Jones and his City Slickers.”

Curley Brydon married Sydney mannequin Lois Stevens in June 1954 and was later to set up Diners Club in Australia.

He joined News Limited newspaper group in the 1960s to work with his good friend Rupert Murdoch and was appointed the General Manager of the Herald and Weekly Times in Melbourne. Later he became General Manager and a Director of News Limited in Sydney and a Director of Australian Newsprint Mills Tasman Pulp and Paper group. In total he was a senior executive with News Limited for more than 20 years and became Vice-President (Operations) of the New York Post. Curley Brydon died aged 65 on 22nd September 1986.

* extract from TAS magazine “He also raced cars with verve, courage and skills which saw him outclass more experienced and better equipped rivals. He sailed in Blue Water Classics”

Curley Brydon’s racing MG #1

Curley Brydon successfully raced a stripped body MG TC from 1947 to 1950 and later the ex-Patterson MG TC Special from 1950 to 1954.

Results with this TC: 3rd in “NSW 100 mile race” Nowra, June 1947

3rd in “NSW 100 mile race” Bathurst, Easter 1948

2nd in “NSW 100 mile race” Bathurst, Easter 1949

3rd in “Australian Grand Prix” Leyburn, September 1949 (handicap placing)


Curley Brydon’s racing MG #1 – Australian Motor Sports, 1950


Curley Brydon’s racing MG #2 – Australian Motor Sports, February 1950

Curley Brydon’s racing MG #2

Brydon purchased the Patterson MG TC Special from Bill Patterson after it was advertised in Australian Motor Sports in February 1950.

The car was further developed by Brydon and the former motorcycle wizard, Tom “The Prof” Jemison. It was then raced on 16 inch wheels with 5.00 front tyres and 5.50, 6.00 or 6.50 tyres on the back.

Brydon’s outstanding race results in this car were his second placing in the 100 mile ‘Redex’ 100 mile race at Bathurst at Easter 1951 and second to Doug Whitford’s Type 26C Lago Talbot (Chassis No. 110007) in the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park on the 21st of November 1953.

The Patterson Brydon MG TC Special was later fitted with a non-supercharged engine and was entered as a back up vehicle by Brydon for the 1954 Australian Grand Prix at Southport but did not start this car in the event. Brydon however was to finish 2nd in this AGP driving his MG #3

Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park. 1953

#26 Curley Brydon, Patterson Brydon MG TC Special 2nd placing, #42 John Nind, MG TB Special, 16th placing.

Curley Brydon’s racing MG #3

Further reading: Australia Motor Sports, June/July 1955 issue

BATHURST – John Medley

The chassis of this MG TA/TC Special was from the MG TA Special which was driven by Alan Tomlinson to win the 1939 Australian Grand Prix at Lobethal in South Australia.

A new lightweight single seat body had been built for it by Alec Mildren and the supercharged engine from the Patterson Brydon MG TC Special was fitted. The TA chassis provided superior handling and steering control mainly because it was fitted with a special steering arm on the original steering box that was also extensively modified by using a unique ‘fore and aft’ mounting and the bronze trunnions that located spring ends.

 Brydon was placed second with this car at the 1954 Australian Grand Prix at Southport in Queensland and went on to his famous win in the Bathurst 100 mile race at Easter 1955.

Curley Brydon’s racing MG #3 – Image – BATHURST – John Medley

Patterson Brydon MG TC Special Owners

For 70 years this exceptional MG has had a very successful racing history at many circuits around Australia.

1948-50 Bill Patterson VIC Supercharged 1250 cc 19 inch wheels

1950-54 Curley Brydon NSW Supercharged 1250 cc. 16 inch wheels

1954-56 John Roche NSW 1.5” SU carbs 1250 cc. 16 inch wheels

1956-58 Johnny Martin NSW 1.5” SU carbs 1466 cc. 16 inch wheels

1958-66 Keith Russell NSW 1.5” SU carbs 1466 cc. 16 inch wheels

1966-75 Peter Savage NSW 1.5” SU carbs 1466 cc. 16 inch wheels

1975-00 Ray Murray NSW 1.5” SU carbs 1366 cc. 16 inch wheels

2000- Richard Townley VIC Supercharged 1366 cc. 16 inch wheels

Patterson Brydon MG TC Special today

Further reading: Historic Racing Cars in Australia – John Blanden

OPTIMISM – GREAT AUSSIE SPECIAL RACING CARS – Dick Willis

The Patterson Brydon MG TC Special is still in original condition and, through the series of owners, has remained wonderfully intact without any extensive alterations or modifications.

This is how John Blanden describe the car in his book Historic Racing Cars in Australia

In July 2000 the car again changed hand with Richard Townley of Melbourne taking possession. A restoration was commenced immediately with the intention of again having it fitted with a supercharger. The car was stripped and rebuilt following which it made its return to the circuits at Sandown in October 2000, followed by the Orange reunion, Rob Roy hill climb in November and Phillip Island in February 2001. More recently it has been at Wakefield Park, Geelong sprints, Calder and Winton. The car remains with Richard in 2004 and he uses it at every opportunity – it is usually recognised as one of the best presented cars at any meeting.”

From “Optimism – GREAT AUSSIE SPECIAL RACING CARS” book by Dick Willis

Is this the most raced car in Australian motor racing history?”………

……..”The present owner, Richard Townley bought the car in 2000, embarking on a full rebuild in which the supercharger was refitted, the car emerging from the rebuild in absolutely pristine condition, attracting favourable attention whenever it appears which is at every possible opportunity. In 2007 at the HSRCA Wakefield Park MG feature it was deservedly awarded a trophy for the best and most historical MG special present.”

I raced the Patterson Brydon MG TC Special at more than 50 race meetings since 2000 but I have now retired from driving in competition events.

Patterson Brydon MG TC Special, Chassis number TC/4134, was issued with CAMS Vehicle Log Book (No. N1542) on 21/11/1969.

On 18.01.2001 this was updated to CAMS Historic Log Book No. H1072 and CAMS Historic Car Certificate of Description No. L.042.04.08.

An application is currently being processed through CAMS for FIA-HTP Historic Technical Passport to certify the Patterson Brydon MG TC Special to be eligible to compete at Appendix K, Period (E) 1/1/1947 to 31/12/1961 (from 1/1/1946 for Grand Prix and Formula 3 cars and up to 31/12/1960 for single-seat and two-seat racing cars) in historic race events in UK, Europe and USA.

Patterson Brydon MG TC Special ran in the historic race car demonstration event at 2017 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park and was displayed in October at the 2018 Motorclassica, the Australian International Concours d’Elegance & Classic Motor Show, at the Exhibition Building in Melbourne.

If I can supply any further information please email me at loritownley@icloud.com

Pics below show the Patterson Brydon MG TC Special at Motorclassica, Melbourne, 2018

Above and Below: Patterson Brydon MG TC Special – article in Australian Motor Sports, November 1950. (click for bigger)

Ed’s note: A most interesting article from Richard Townley and what fabulous pictures of the Patterson Brydon MG TC Special at Motorclassica, Melbourne, 2018! I wish I had more space to show larger pictures!

You might recall that Richard penned the article about his TC (TC9507) which graced the front cover of Issue 48. He’s a lucky chap to be owning both TC9507 and the Patterson Brydon MG TC.

Above and Below: Curley Brydon’s racing MG #3 – article in Australian Motor Sports, June/July 1955’ (click for bigger)

The front cover shows the Patterson Brydon MG TC Special, Lb racing at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. The image is by courtesy of the website www.sdpics.com If you follow the link to “HISTORIC RACING” on this wonderful site of photographer Steve Duggan, you will find more than 120,000 images of historic racing in Australia going back to 2002.


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