TA1423 with engine number MPJG 1688 was completed by Abingdon on 1st June, 1937.
The car was acquired by its present owner, Adrian Sheppard in 1972. Adrian bought it from a friend of his (Bill Ellison) in Cambridge who purchased it from Colin Garrett of Berkhampsted, who owned the car from 1965 to 1969. The owner before Colin was a Mr Brockman.
The TA came into Adrian’s ownership in rather unusual circumstances, which are described below in an extract of a letter written by Adrian to Mr Brockman in August 2001. The latter had traced his old car to Adrian and wondered what had become of it.
In detailing the history of the car, Adrian recalled that his friend, Bill Ellison had used it for a year or so before going to the USA for a couple of years. To celebrate Bill’s return to ‘Blighty’, Adrian and a couple of friends thought it would be a good idea to ‘fire up’ the TA and get it running. Bill was none too keen about this but eventually relented.
Adrian recalled what happened next in the following extract from the letter he wrote to Mr Brockman:
“After a bit of battery charging, checking the oil level, watering the radiator, cleaning the petrol pump contacts & etc plus a good deal of cranking it started up. It didn’t sound too bad so we left it ticking over. We thought it a bit odd that there was no oil pressure but decided that the pressure gauge must be stuck. Anyway, after a few minutes of ticking over there were a few clanking noises and it stopped. After that it was very stiff to turn over on the starting handle. I tried to explain that it was not my fault that no-one in their right mind would design a car without a self-priming oil pump in the sump (MG had though) but this didn’t seem to make Bill feel much better. Anyway, the long and the short of it was that he had wanted to sell it, I had always loved old MGs and was looking for a car to buy so I borrowed the money (£200) and bought it at the price it would have been worth with a working engine. However, but for this I would probably have bought the Lotus 21 Le Mans which another friend was selling, also for £200, in which case I would now be rich, or possibly dead”.
With the car now in Adrian’s possession he set about rebuilding the engine and getting the car back on the road. After eighteen months the TA was up and running again and became his everyday car for several years. However, it was not very reliable and when Adrian met his fiancé who “had a car that worked” the MG got demoted to a shelter in the back of the garden. Marriage, children and several house moves (some of you will be familiar with this!) meant that the TA had a long sleep until restoration to her former glory.