The following has been adapted from a little booklet entitled Our “Old Number One”, The First TB, TB0251 produced by Mike Inglehearn for the participants of TB80 (the TB 80th Anniversary weekend held in May 2019).
“TB0251 was one of two prototypes built in April 1939 along with TB0252. Whatever reason, it was not however registered until 4th July 1939 with the registration number BRX 805. Nothing is currently known of it from then until the 1960s when a log book shows it changed hands in 1961, 63, 65, twice in 66, and again in 67, with owners in London and elsewhere in the south of England.
An MoT, (probably its last) expired in 1968; a photograph (see below) dated May 1968 shows it in front of a greenhouse, which is likely the one in which it was about to be placed, where it rotted away for the next few decades.
After emerging again as a “barn find” it was dismantled at some point and bought by Geoff Radford, who renovated and replaced many of the parts, including having a new body made, but sourcing original wings, bonnet etc. to make it a viable restoration project. It was then sold’”
Ed’s note: I contacted Geoff Radford, who told me that
“I stripped down what was there to bare chassis, checked for trueness, shot blasted it and all the associated brackets etc. then painted it all.
The engine was a Morris XPJM, I sourced an original TB engine!!
The ID plate is with the car, thank goodness as are original axles, gearbox, diff, original radiator shell, but core etc was missing, lost years ago when sent for repair!! The body work was totally beyond all help and repair, unbelievably so.
I sourced original front and rear wings as well as a TB bonnet and original front apron.
The firewall was shot too, I sourced a good TA one.
I also found a perfect correct original petrol tank as well.
I had a new body made.
I saved and restored the original screen, hood frame, side screen frames, hand brake assembly, sourced correct TB headlights (with the inverted rims). I found an original, new rear number plate, single eared and a new original Lucas Pork pie lamp.
Also, an original FT 27 fog light.”
A week or two after contacting Geoff, a chance conversation with Keith Herkes on another matter and me mentioning that I was working on an article on TB0251, resulted in Keith telling me that Geoff had originally seen the car advertised and had asked Keith to go along and see it. Recognising its historical significance, he immediately alerted Geoff, who had no hesitation in purchasing it.
Keith has sent me lots of pictures taken of the car at the time of purchase and I have reproduced some of them to give an indication of the state that it was in. These, follow:
As mentioned previously, having done a tremendous amount of work on the car, Geoff Radford sold it as a restoration project. Quentin Miller, the new owner has had both the engine and gearbox rebuilt and obtained new differential parts from Roger Furneaux.
Here are a couple of pictures to show progress:
TB0252 is in Sweden with Hans Larsson. The picture was taken in early June by photographer, Per Svensson. Per also took a selection of photos for the front cover. The location is St. Anna archipelago, east coast of Sweden.
The Production Records show both TB0251 and TB0252 as built in April 1939. However, TB0252 was registered as BRX 265 on 3rd May 1939, whilst TB0251 wasn’t registered until 4th July 1939 (as BRX 805).
TB0252 was the Factory exhibition car, which still retains its metallic grey coachwork and dark green interior. Its original engine XPAG 506 (TB0251 had XPAG 501) was changed in 1955 by University Motors to replacement engine number XPAG B83435.
The first log book (Hans has this, together with two further continuation books) records TB0252 as being registered in the name of The M.G. Car Company with registration mark BRX 265 on 3rd May 1939. It changed hands on 1st December 1939 to a gentleman with a Surrey address. This chap moved house twice within the county of Surrey before moving again to Kent (the log book is stamped Kent County Council, 7th February 1946).
The next owner is recorded as living in Greenwich, but he or she probably didn’t keep the car very long because there was a change of owner with a Paignton (Devon) address in July 1948. This person kept the car until July 1964 when it changed hands again, but stayed in Devon at a Crapstone address in West Devon.
The next owner, and the last before Ben Hyams of Octagon Sports Cars (but see the next paragraph) bought the car, had a BFPO Ships address with two further change of address notifications to Gosport, Hampshire.
The second continuation log book shows Octagon Sports Cars (then of London E17) acquiring the car in November 1977. Our Royal Navy Officer had sold the car to them on moving to Australia and Hans purchased it from Octagon Sports Cars (who by now had moved to Chart Sutton, Kent) in December 1977.
The original log book for TB0252 in the name of The M.G. Car Company Limited.
Hans drove ‘Lady Grey’ from Chart Sutton (Maidstone) via London to Cambridge, on to Felixstowe and then a ferry back to Gothenburg. In Hans’ words “A very cold trip in minus degrees and snow., but at the age of 27 and a warm enthusiastic heart there was no problem!”
A young and enthusiastic Hans Larsson arriving back in Sweden in December 1977.