Some TB facts and figures

Frank Langridge’s TB0415, winner of the concours at the 2011 New Zealand Pre-’56 MG National Rally – photo by kind permission of Brian Rainbow.

The article on the current state of the market in the UK in the June issue of TTT 2, placed the TB firmly at the top of the desirability list for T-Types. Its principal attributes, according to the summary at the end of the article – “Vintage feel and rare” – are given a tremendous boost by its eligibility for the Mille Miglia.

TB production began on 1st May 1939, the two prototypes, TB0251 and TB0252, having been built a month before. TB0252, now in Sweden, was first registered as BRX 265 in the name of the MG Car Company Limited on 3rd May 1939 and was the factory demonstration car. This was obviously timely to help start selling the 108 TBs, which came off the production line by the end of May 1939.

The TB was essentially a TA, but with the XPAG engine which had been developed from the Morris XPJM type introduced in the autumn of 1938. After the TB was introduced, it shared the same Service Parts List with the TA, but with separate sections for the engine (including ancillaries, e.g. starter motor) and the clutch and gearbox.

Production was short lived and ceased due to the outbreak of war in Europe, albeit the Production Records show that a further 84 examples were built after Neville Chamberlain’s declaration of war on 3rd September 1939.

Daily production figures are as follows:

Date    Chassis numbers      Number of cars

01/05/39          0253 – 0269                17
02/05/39          0270 – 0287                18
08/05/39          0288 – 0307                10
16/05/39          0308                            01
17/05/39          0309 – 0327                19
24/05/39          0328 – 0342                15
25/05/39          0343 – 0360                18
07/06/39          0361 – 0375                15
14/06/39          0376 – 0390                15
20/06/39          0391 – 0410                20
28/06/39          0411 – 0425                15
04/07/39          0426 – 0443                18
05/07/39          0444 – 0445                02
12/07/39          0446 – 0465                20
18/07/39          0466 – 0485                20
25/07/39          0486 – 0505                20
23/08/39          0506 – 0512                07
24/08/39          0513 – 0521                09
25/08/39          0522 – 0528                07
31/08/39          0529 – 0532                04
01/09/39          0533 – 0542                10
02/09/39          0543 – 0545                03
05/10/39          0546 – 0550                05
06/10/39          0551 – 0558                08
09/10/39          0559 – 0565                07
10/10/39          0566 – 0572                07
11/10/39          0573 – 0580                08
12/10/39          0581 – 0589                09
13/10/39          0590 – 0595                06
16/10/39          0596 – 0603                08
17/10/39          0604 – 0610                07
18/10/39          0611 – 0618                08
19/10/39          0619 – 0625                07
20/10/39          0626 – 0629                04

The total number of TBs built (including the two prototypes) was 379. The total of 379 included (according to Clausager) 60 TB Tickfords. The build date for these chassis numbers is shown in the Production Records as the date before they went to Salmons & Sons at Newport Pagnell for Tickford coachwork.

The number of TB survivors is said to be high, but providing the evidence to support this assertion is difficult.

One reasonably accurate measure of TBs on the road in the UK is to interrogate the DVLA “Get vehicle information from DVLA” look-up service https://www.gov.uk/get-vehicle-information-from-dvla

This pre-supposes that one has knowledge of all the TBs by registration number in the UK. However, it is unlikely to be wildly out, since a car that is taxed and in regular use is likely to be noticed and recorded as a survivor.

Details by chassis number and registration mark follow:

Chassis number                 Registration mark

TB0258                                   MG 6644
TB0272                                   JPA 57
TB0273                                   BBE 83
TB0286                                   JK 8438
TB0296                                   819 XUT
TB0302                                   KMY 140
TB0304                                   FAR 245
TB0354                                   XG 7411
TB0368                                   BNR 687
TB0370                                   JFC 999
TB0376                                   FVU 49
TB0386                                   FYH 530
TB0389                                   JVS 997
TB0399                                   HRF 642
TB0422                                   LMC 105
TB0424                                   FLJ 39
TB0438                                   FOH 999
TB0445                                   FVR 786
TB0477                                   DFS 150
TB0486                                   WG 913
TB0487                                   CUK 678
TB0489                                   JPC 901
TB0491                                   5179 MG
TB0493                                   EWK 447
TB0503                                   CBO 369
TB0530                                   GRB 17
TB0540                                   YXG 374
TB0560                                   MG 6743
TB0563                                   OSJ 318
TB0564                                   ERK 536
TB0569                                   ABV 288
TB0574                                   DKU 792
TB0594                                   BVG 142
TB0598                                   DRY 70
TB0605                                   GKA 866
TB0615                                   JP 4737
TB0623                                   JPH 6

Total number taxed and on the road is 38. Of these, only 3 are recorded as having a MOT certificate.

In using the “Get vehicle information from DVLA” look-up service, one can find (if you know the registration numbers) details of cars that are known to DVLA, but are not on the road. The working assumption is that these cars do actually exist in the UK. However, one can be foot-faulted here, as I recently discovered that TB0544 is listed by DVLA as GRA 920 and “Not taxed for road use”, but it is actually in Germany. How do I know? – well, the owner recently contacted me to ask if I had any heatshields left!

There are three categories of cars that are known to DVLA, but are not on the road. These are:

  • SORN (Statutory off the road notification)
  • Not taxed for road use
  • Untaxed

Mike Inglehearn recently asked DVLA what “Not taxed for road use” meant and was told that these are cars on the system which were not taxed before the introduction of SORN, so do not require to have a SORN declaration. I am not sure of the distinction between “Not taxed for road use” and “Untaxed” – perhaps there isn’t one!

I can only find one TB with a SORN declaration; this is TB0265 registration number EFY 481.

I can find eight listed as “Not taxed for road use”, these are:

Chassis number                    Registration mark

TB0336                                   JPE 110
TB0343                                   ETC 402
TB0346                                   ETC 401
TB0388                                   FXV 607                                                         
TB0413                                   1939 MG
TB0469                                   FLJ 271
TB0496                                   FBP 829
TB0521                                   FYR 498

Those listed as “Untaxed” are as follows:

Chassis number                    Registration mark

      TB0284                                         GKE 976
      TB0318                                         JPA 890
      TB0355                                         MG 6573
      TB0365                                         3738 MG
      TB0409                                         JPB 569
      TB0450                                         DKU 738
      TB0471                                         BWF 476
      TB0557                                         GKL 70
      TB0570                                         BHS 899
      TB0585                                         MG 6812
      TB0588                                         MG 6772

To arrive at the number of cars NOT known to DVLA is rather like taking a ‘shot in the dark’. However, some of the uncertainty can be lifted by identifying cars that DO exist, as follows:

Chassis number                    Registration mark

      TB0251                                         BRX 805
      TB0267                                         FOE 890
      TB0269                                         BRX 534
      TB0325                                         FCV 117
      TB0334                                         BJY 917
      TB0497                                         ???????
      TB0511                                         ???????

We are now close to arriving at a total of TBs in the UK, as follows:

Number taxed and on the road – 38
Number “Not taxed for road use” – 08
Number “Untaxed” – 11
Number not known to DVLA, but known to exist – 7
TOTAL – 64

As a guestimate, another 20 could fall into the category of “Not known to DVLA but may exist.” Where are the others? Four are known to have been scrapped. By far the greatest number are in North America (US, approximately 50 – Canada 4).

Australia – 14, New Zealand – 4
South America – Mexico, Brazil, – 1 each
South Africa – 3
Far East – Singapore, Philippines, Japan, 1 each
Europe – Denmark – 2, Sweden – 7, Finland – 1
Europe – Belgium – 3, The Netherlands – 3
Europe – Austria – 1, Germany – 5, Switzerland – 4
Europe – France – 6, Spain – 2, Italy – 9, Greece – 1

These numbers are as accurate as I can possibly make them, but please do not hold me to 100% accuracy. As I write this article, two of the cars currently included in the UK total are due to leave ‘Blighty’; one is destined for France and the other is going to Argentina.

If one takes the total number of possible UK survivors (64 + 20 = 84) and adds in the possible numbers existing outside of the UK (124), the total is 208. As a percentage of the 379 built, this is 55%. I have seen a survival percentage as high as 70% – I hope this correct, but I am not so sure.

Acknowledgement for much of the data used to compile this article must go to Mike Inglehearn, who has spent many hours analysing TB records.

JOHN JAMES

Postscript

…………….and to close, this one has just been uncovered. Its old tax disc shows that it was last on the road in 1969.

The good news is that it will be rebuilt as a Tickford.

2 thoughts on “Some TB facts and figures

  1. jan W. johnson says:

    It’s hard to reconcile with skimpy details, the known TA’s as one often has the Chassis no. but no Reg. no., or vice versa; I once made a suggestion that if we all went through our old car mags.
    (English ones of course) the for sale cars often listed the Reg. and Chassis nos., together, from that
    and owners records, we might compile a better list. Jan

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