In June 1936, the first twenty TAs were built; ten on 25th June and ten on 26th June. The next batch of eight were not built until 2nd July.
University Motors announced through the following advert that they would have one “for trial purposes” on 29th June.
The new model was initially advertised as THE M.G. MIDGET SERIES “T”, but interestingly, the Build Register (Production Record) and the Guarantee Plate (see photo below of the Guarantee Plate of one of the two prototypes) bothrecord it as TA /.
Mention has been made of the two prototypes; fortunately, both have survived. TA0251 is in Canada and TA0252 is in the UK. TA0251 was built on 3rd March 1936 and TA0252 was built one month later on 3rd April.
As the build dates of the two prototypes are so close, one would surmise that they would be very similar. This is true up to a point; for example, both cars have the ‘piano hinge’ bonnet with the two chrome ‘buttons’ on each bonnet top, as found on the Triple-M cars. The picture below shows the bonnet of 0252. It should be possible to spot the chrome ‘buttons’, but it’s more difficult to make out the piano hinge. However, the next picture clearly shows the underside of the bonnet hinge with its bonnet rods either side of the piano hinge.
Both cars have a P-type front scuttle. In the following picture 0252 has trafficators, but they are not to be seen in the publicity ‘shots’ of 0252 (registered as CJO 617).
The partial carry-over from the P-type is to be found in the seating arrangements, where the 0252 seat back has pegs which locate in holes in the floor for adjustment.
Where there are differences, they are to be found most noticeably at the rear. TA0252 has the slab tank with unique 2 bolt side plate fixing.
TA0251 does not have the slab tank.
It is not known if this rear body styling was original to the car, but it seems odd that two cars built as prototypes within one month of each other would have such different styling at the rear. However, having said this, 0251, being the earlier car, has the P-type dash layout with P-type instruments.
Whereas, the dash of 0252 is instantly recognisable as a T-type.
Each car started out in life with a Morris 10 engine, but the Morris engine has now been replaced in both cases.
The history of 0251 is known back to the 1950s and 0252 back to the 1960s.
TA0251 was in the county of Devon, UK in 1952. It was sold to a dealer in the neighbouring county of Cornwall, who sold the car on to Colin Fitzgerald in Vancouver in 1976. Colin still has the car.
TA0252 is in the ownership of Angie and Andy King, who bought the car as a ’barn find’ in 2017. TA0252 had been in previous ownership for 54 years and was last on the road in 1967.
Although 0251 was built one month earlier than 0252, it was registered seemingly out of sequence as CJO 618, rather than CJO 617. This lack of a sequencing pattern was to be found in the engine numbers fitted to the chassis numbers.
The first production TA (TA0253) was fitted with engine number MPJG 501. The second (TA0254) had MPJG 513 (not as what you might expect MPJG 502, for this was fitted to TA0258!).
Furthermore, if you look up MPJG 513 in the Production Record you will not find it. This is because TA0254 had its MPJG 512 engine
removed on 21st November 1941 and replaced with MPJG 3320. By the way, 1941 is not a misprint! What is surprising is that the engine was swopped out on this date and faithfully recorded in Build Register that this was done when the Factory was supposedly cleared of all car manufacturing material, as we were two years into WWW 2.
Of the early TAs, one has recently come to my attention as a result of an enquiry from Jacques-Philippe Champailler in France, who expressed an interest in my PB as he knew it was up for sale.
TA0255 was first registered by the M.G Car Company Limited as JB 9180 and used by Abingdon as a demonstrator.
Jacques-Philippe bought the car four years ago. It was at one time offered for sale by Oselli Ltd.
As will be noted from the guarantee plate, TA0255 was originally fitted with engine number MPJG 527. Jacques-Philippe has recently had a few problems with the engine (blown head gasket and plugs oiling up), so has decided to completely rebuild the engine. By the time you read this, the car should be back on the road.
Here’s a photo of the car in France.
Just to complete the details for the first six production TAs, TA0254 is believed to be in the US; TAs 0256/0257 and 0258 are not known.
It would be good to learn some history of TA0254.