One of the Little Guys…

1 Jul

Tom Lange seems to have it very lucky – he lives in one of the most beautiful rock-bound parts of the American coast, Bar Harbor, Maine, where he works exclusively on 1939-1955 MGs. Tom makes and supplies top-quality parts for T-Series cars, works on them, and helps others with their T-Series parts needs. He also analyzes and verifies engine and chassis numbers of T-Series cars, based on his copies of the original factory Production Records, from which the on-line database was transcribed.

His first car, bought in 1967, was a 1939 MG TB which he still owns (it recently received a superb and correct tub from Craig Seabrook), his second was a TF1500 which he ALSO still owns, and he has and drives quite a variety of other T-Series cars. In fact, he is the only person I know who owns one of every T-Series model made, as well as an Arnolt! 

Arnolt coupe 252, presently with a Ford V-8 fitted.

He is particularly knowledgeable about Mark II (TD/C) TD cars, and he is frequently called upon to answer detailed questions about authenticity. He’s also done quite a bit of research on the EX176 engine, a prototype XPEG engine used with great success by Ken Miles in his two MG racing specials in California, and in the very successful 1954 Bonneville Land Speed Record attempt, where a streamliner went over 150 mph. Tom is probably best known to many readers for his helpful, informative and common-sensical contributions to the various on-line forums for T-Series cars.

Tom’s business, MGT Repair, began in college when he worked with MG Guru John Twist, repairing various TD cars. He later found he needed parts that were not available elsewhere, so he began making them. Brass core plugs were the first MG engine part to be offered, since steel core plugs rusted through, often in short order. When he heard that the makers of Roadster Gaskets were no longer offering their superb silicone rubber valve-and tappet-cover gaskets, he approached the owner and took over the manufacture and sale of these excellent products, designed to reduce oil leaks from the top of the engine. These can be had in either orange or grey, as the owner wishes.

Realizing that many original head studs have stretched and been weakened in previous installations, and that many cylinder heads have been re-surfaced a number of times, Tom benefited from the engineering skills of renowned MG expert Terry Peddicord, who arranged for the manufacture of highest-quality XPAG cylinder head studs. They enlisted ARP in California, maker of fasteners for racing and high-performance cars, to manufacture exceptional cylinder head studs, re-engineered to include far better-quality steel and with 1/4” of added stud length to compensate for thinner heads. They also incorporated an Allen-hex to the top of the stud, so installation and proper torque can be achieved without a Stillson wrench or pliers!

These head studs and nuts are so respected that the racing community has embraced them, but these are not exclusively racing parts – they are the best way to stop blowing head gaskets due to poor-quality or stretched head studs in ANY T-Series car. These head studs were so successful that Tom now has ARP make equally-strong and precise XPAG mains studs and nuts, which provide total security for the bottom end of the engine, as well.

MGT Repair’s stainless thermostat housing also fills a need, and its corrosion-resistant housing has a number of improvements over others on the market. The most notable is that the stainless steel thermostat can be removed and changed from the top, unlike others that load from the bottom and require complete disassembly. Along with it, Tom supplies high-quality gaskets, proper stainless steel Fillister-head screws and washers for the elbow, and a stainless steel thermostat retaining circlip. This housing is cast and machined in Australia to a very high standard, and has been called a veritable work of art. Tom also makes a lovely stainless steel rear cylinder plate that eliminates the common rust-through situation of the factory steel plate, and comes complete with a new gasket.

Tom’s superb supercharger kit (re-sold by dealers in the UK) dramatically improves the performance of any T-Type and is available either in raw aluminum or fully polished. The kit comes complete and ready to install with excellent instructions, and customers have been very complimentary about the quality, ease of installation and performance.

Most recently, Tom has taken on Dave Clark’s very successful TD/TF axle shaft business, which offers a high-quality steel axle of significantly-improved design, that is extremely strong. In the many hundreds sold, there has not been a single breakage!

Always on the lookout for new products, Tom and Terry are in the process of designing a new oil pump that will be indistinguishable from the original, but which has modern trochoid internals that will be self-priming and much more efficient. Still in the design stage (but quite a bit farther in the future) is a 5-speed conversion for T-Series cars, using entirely new Tremec or similar transmissions and a proprietary clutch housing, requiring no modifications to the vehicle of any kind.

Tom’s web-site lists these and other impressive parts at https://mgtrepair.net

All parts prices include shipping in the US; please contact Tom with any questions or shipping needs if you are outside the US.

TC 6432, a weekend-racer in the 50’s (originally Clipper Blue), fitted with Lucas magneto, waiting to be re-assembled.

Tom also owns TC 10,000, found disassembled in a back yard in Kentucky. Amazingly, Steve Baker reports that he sold TC10001 last year!


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