Restoration of TC9011

1 Nov

Dave Bulmer wrote the following article about his TC restoration for the Preston and District MG Enthusiasts Club, He kindly offered it for publication in TTT 2 and I have lightly edited it.

“We moved to this area from Northwich (Cheshire) where we had lived for 30 years to be closer to our family. A requirement for me in finding our new house was that it must have a double garage, a luxury not before enjoyed.

Having been retired for some years and having the time but not the facilities, I now fancied owning and restoring a classic car. I owned 4 MGs as everyday transport in the 1970s and 80s; in fact, my first car at age 18 was a Midget. Some say it’s in the blood, so an MG to restore it had to be.

I liked the older ones, especially the J2 and PA but as a restoration for a beginner thought that a TA or TC would be best as everything is available.

We had some building works done on the house and to my surprise a green TA resided on the development. One day I saw a chap in a wheel chair looking at his TA so went over to introduce myself, it was of course Bill Ryding (see note at end of article) and we got on well from the start. The next thing was to find one; not that easy if you want one for restoration, but Bill had loads of connections and came up with a list.

There are always a few TCs available in various conditions, more often than not older restorations that need doing again; the problem is, the owners often have an optimistic view of what they are worth and if you pay their valuations plus the restoration costs, you have spent well over what the car is worth. Anyway, I found one in Devon that was realistically priced, a runner but rough. I had it trailered home and drove it round to Bill’s place for him to have a look; he was really pleased to see his TA and a TC on his driveway. I asked him would it be difficult and he asked me if I was any good at DIY. I said I was OK and he said that will be fine then. Then it was back to my garage for the strip down.

Sadly, Bill did not live to see the car finished.

I started in October 2016 and I took reference photos but as it turned out, when it came to putting it back together, not enough. I did not intend to go flat out at working on the car but spent about 4 hours per day 4 days a week over the winter. I wanted it finished by spring 2017. Bill had put me in touch with Andy Shultz (see Editor’s note at the end of this article) who advised me and worked on the car in my garage on jobs I found difficult to do or did not know how to do; for example, removing and replacing all the suspension bushes. He told me everything takes longer than you think and he was right. Once stripped to the frame one of the longest jobs was getting it and other parts clean after decades of oil as the result of leaks. The frame was surprisingly light so I could turn it over. 10 litres of degreaser later and it was ready for POR metal prep then paint in POR 15.

An inspection of the tub showed the timber was sound, it had been off the car in 2009 and repaired. The panels went off for stripping at Ribble Tech (see note at end of article) and on Andy’s advice I went to see Heaton’s for the paint work. Andy delivered the tub and that would be stripped back to bare metal. One of the front wings was found to be full of holes that could not be seen before stripping, an option was to try and source another but that could be as bad as you can’t tell until the paint comes off. I did reuse the wing in the end as Heaton’s filled all of the holes using the traditional “lead loading” method.

Finding a re-chroming specialist can be a problem as they are getting thin on the ground. I went to one in Manchester but did not like the look of it, and one in Leeds that turned out they only chrome don’t repair, so there was no alternative but to send the items off to a traditional metal finisher and Andy recommended Castle Chrome in the Midlands who repaired the radiator and headlamp shells as well as chroming 20 or so other parts.

The wiring loom came from Autosparks who supply to Moss etc., but with the ones supplied by Autosparks to the usual parts retailers, you don’t get the built-in conduit and have to unravel the metal to get it round the wiring, whereas Autosparks build it in when manufacturing – that’s the sort of information you get from people who have done a rebuild themselves.

While the tub and parts were being painted the frame was then built back up to a rolling chassis. One of the key things I learnt was to plan the work so that items that have a long lead time like paintwork or re-chroming can be allowed for.

Everything was refurbished, repaired or replaced. I chose a 2-tone red finish that was available on the pre-war cars but is not correct for the TC. I also had a bespoke aluminium dash with instrument surrounds made reminiscent of the early cars, again, not correct for the TC but I like it that way. The carbs that came with it worked but the spindles were so worn thus letting in air and affecting the slow running and balance. I decided to part-ex them for a fully refurbished set as re-bushing only the carbs is expensive in its own right and would have meant sending them off and waiting quite a few weeks.

The car was built in 1949 and exported to the USA; it is known that it resided in New York State and later in Ontario Canada. It came back to the UK in 2006 which is when the previous owner acquired it and he applied for an age-related registration from DVLA. The engine was changed some time in its history we don’t know why, a guess would be it froze and cracked the block because there is evidence of the radiator being repaired as if blown out by freezing. The engine is an XPAG from a Wolseley which were commonly available. For some reason the engine mounts were fabricated instead of having the correct TC engine mounting plate and mountings fitted. This was rectified in the rebuild for the correct parts. The car has the 5 speed all synchro Ford Sierra gearbox and VW steering rack which is surprisingly good, fitted by the previous owner.

I am happy with the result and enjoyed the rebuild, though there were times of frustration in re-fitting the body panels as they did not go back as well as expected. The learnings for me were; it’s going to take longer than you think, it’s going to cost more and you need contacts that can advise and help. The TC will always be a popular car which is understandable given its 1930s look; I am pleased I have one.”

Ed’s note:

BiII Ryding was the President of Preston and District MG Enthusiasts Club. Readers might recall that his TA was featured in an earlier issue of TTT 2. Following a leg amputation, Bill was able to carry on driving his TA thanks to Andy Schultz of Cuerden Classics Limited. Andy fitted a Morris Marina engine with automatic gearbox to the TA – almost certainly the only T-Type with automatic transmission!

CUERDEN CLASSICS LTD

Stoney Lane House, Stoney Lane, Lostock Hall, Preston, Lancs, PR5 5XQ

Tel: 01772 627120

Proprietor – Andy Schultz

Email: andy(at)pr55xq.freeserve.co.uk

Recommended by T-Type owners in the Preston area.

Ribble Tech is Ribble Technology (Preston) Limited. This company specialises in the chemical and thermal removal of paint, powder and various other coatings from steel, aluminium and other ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Dave used this company to bring the TC’s panels back to bare metal ready for Heaton’s, a paint shop in Bamber Bridge who specialise in classic cars, to paint the car in the 1930s two-tone colours.

NTG Motor Services Limited

Dave asked me to give NTG a mention as most of the parts were sourced from this company and he especially mentioned that Paul at NTG was a great help.

Some pictures of the restoration follow, starting with how TC9011 looked when it was up for sale in Devon.

TC9011 (VAS 442) as purchased and as finished.

Strip down and build back up.

Engine-turned’ dash a la J2


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