TC9996 (LTC 385) – Then and Now

In Issue 27 (December 2014) I related how I had managed to bring together Geoff Southern (a former owner) and Martin Lowe (the current owner). At the time, Martin had not quite finished rebuilding the car. He’s recently sent me the following account of his ownership and of his correspondence with Geoff………….

“I purchased TC9996 in 1980 in a stripped down state, it had been disassembled for rebuild 16 years earlier and was complete, but required a large amount of work. The ash frame and panel work of the main body tub was in poor condition but the wings were very good. I proceeded with a complete rebuild, including a new Naylor Bros body tub.

Rebuilding the car to be fit for the road took approximately 12 months, and how satisfying it was to drive the finished vehicle, and the doors didn’t even fly open over bumps unlike the last TC I had owned.

The years passed by and the paintwork under the wings had deteriorated and some brass was showing through the chrome plating, when my grandson told me it was time for a little renovation work. With his help we set about removing some parts from the car. Three weeks later the car was stripped down to the last nut and bolt.

We proceeded to refinish the vehicle to a high standard including fitting a supercharger to the engine and uprating the brakes. I decided on an Eaton supercharger that runs at 6psi boost. Competition linings and Alfin drums were fitted to the brakes.

This rebuild took a little longer than it did in 1980, 2 whole years in fact, but towards the end of the process I received an email from Mr Geoff Southern who lives in the Liverpool area. He had been trying to track down his old TC which he owned in the 1960s. It was in fact TC9996.

He had used the car to commute between Liverpool and London on a weekly basis. I confirmed that I was now the owner of his old car and sent him some recent history and photos. Geoff replied with some very interesting photos of the car from the time he owned it and confirmed that he sold the TC to buy a Triumph TR2 but always regretted the sale of LTC 385.

Much correspondence change hands until I was rewarded with the wonderful surprise gift from Geoff of a DVD with footage of his father rebuilding the car in the early 1960s, then himself and friends using the car for picnic trips and days out.

So after owning this MG for 36 years another chunk of history had come to light. Incidentally the music that Geoff had played over the DVD is “every time you go away, you take a piece of me with you” and I know how he feels, because I felt the same way when I sold my original TC (HYA 888). This is also why I had to tell Geoff that LTC 385 wasn’t for sale, but I invited him over to reacquaint himself and have another drive.”

TC9996 – ready to motor!