The Resurrection of TA0844 (Part 5)

Bob Butson continues with the account of his rebuild. Bob’s writing is fast catching up with progress but there will be more for future issues.

Skinning the Body

I have been asked about skinning the body, in particular the forward side panels. My starting point was Chapter 4 (Bodywork) in M.G. T Series Restoration Guide by Malcolm Green. The section on skinning commencing on page 49 gives a very good description of the way to replicate all panels except the scuttle top.

I used steel approximately 1mm thick, sourced locally. It was cut from a sheet into appropriate sizes by the supplier. For the forward side panels I used a sheet metal folder to form the vertical and horizontal folds, starting with the front edge 90 degree fold. Then by clamping the panel to the frame I marked the lower edge, I cut off the surplus and folded again. This gave a panel with folds on two sides which when clamped and checked for the correct fit enabled the door aperture to be marked out. Some say that this curved part can be done on the frame after trimming the surplus metal but I made formers from blockboard and worked off the body. Some work on the panels can be done on the wood frame with care but the frame can ‘spring’ or be dented.

Information about tools and techniques can be found at

Ed’s note: Malcolm Green’s book is available from the T-Shop at £15.95. This price, like all our book prices, is extremely competitive.

Lacquer to finish the dashboard

Also I have been asked about what lacquer I used to finish the dashboard. I used Rustins Clear Plastic Coating obtained from Longhorn. Tel: 01228 511511. Web: The final polishing was done according to the coating instructions.

The headlamp wiring

With reference to the original TA wiring diagram (a copy of which can be found on the website under ‘Publications’), the PLC lighting switch in the Head position is connected to the headlight (main beam) through a blue/white wire to the H fuse in the CJR3 cut-out, through it to a blue wire to the offside headlight.

The dip is achieved by the dipswitch earthing the solenoid in the offside headlamp to effect the dip, which also removes 12 volts from the nearside. The wire used is red/black from the headlamp solenoid to the dipswitch via no ‘7’ terminal on the CJR3 cut-out. This arrangement is now illegal.

As I will use double filament bulbs I altered the wiring as follows. The PLC switch Side/Head position ‘H’, is connected to the H fuse as before (Blue/White). A new wire (blue in my case) is connected from the other side of the H fuse to the dipswitch terminal ‘7’. Two extra wires from the dipswitch unnumbered terminal and terminal ‘33’ on the diagram are used. The earth wire is removed from the 33 terminal. I used Blue/White as main and Red /Blue as dip, to feed to two of the unused terminals on the CJR3 cut-out between number ‘7’ and number ‘12’. From these the feed is to the main and dip headlamp filaments using the colours red/blue and blue/white on the new loom. For original looms this could be the yellow/ blue wire (main) and the red/black (dip) existing wires. Also an extra wire will be needed between the headlamps for dip.

Years ago I thought I would have two mechanically dipping reflectors. Now that better bulbs are available I bought another plain reflector from Keith Ardley Tel: 01353 778493 e-mail [email protected] (the spelling ‘kieth’ rather than ‘keith’ in the e-mail address is correct!).

Having no faith in the earthing of the headlights (and all the other lamps) via their mechanical connections, I have run an earth wire from the lamp fittings to a sound chassis earth.

The air filter

Years ago when I was collecting parts for the TA I had obtained what I thought was a reproduction air cleaner. The original was the same size but with turned over steel ends. This cleaner looks like an original but has cast aluminium ends, I have no record as to who made it. The ends have been turned to fit the casing with the filling being steel wool wrapped in foil mesh (see photo).

Photo 1 – the air cleaner with cast aluminium ends and steel wool wrapped in foil mesh for the filling.

In the Octagon Car Club Bulletin for February 2012, John Mansell describes how he made aluminium ends for an original TA filter casing and fitted an MGB filter.

For TC owners this page shows how to fit a K&N filter into the original filter casing and which filter to use. The ends of the filter casing in this latter article are similar to the one which I have.

Photo 2 – Air cleaner ends with K&N filter.

Research for a filter to fit any arrangement can be done at the K&N website Not having to make ends, I found a filter to fit which is K&N RC-9280. This filter is obtainable at a discount from The filter is pre oiled and is good for 10.000 miles. An oiling/cleaning kit is available from Cotton Filters.

It was necessary to drill a small hole in the top of the filter to accommodate the fixing screw and to insert a rubber sealing buffer inside the recess in the casing end. For this I used a cut-down shock absorber bush which provided an air tight seal.

The indicators switch

I am using a two bulb conversion to the sidelamps. The arrangement for the rear lamps has yet to be decided.

Some will favour the Lucas lever operated self-cancelling switch no. 54033231 for the indicator switch. I am using two period style push/pull switches as I have yet to find a Lucas switch. The arrangement is one each side of an ignition style dashboard lamp with the indicators relay located under the toolbox. If this is not noisy enough I will use a beeper. As my speedometer is not fitted with a 30 mph terminal I am using the green dash lamp for an indicators signal.

Photo 3 – period style push/pull indicator switches with red ignition lamp intended as low oil pressure warning light.

The red ignition lamp between the L/H and R/H indicators switch will now be the intended low oil pressure warning lamp. This makes the two way plug from the dash shown in the last article redundant and is removed. I hope to show the fitted dashboard in the next article and my arrangement for a low oil pressure warning.

Bob Butson April 2012

Ed’s note: Bob’s notes on skinning the body have reminded me to let you know that Steve Gilbert is making TA and TC complete body tubs, skinned in 1mm steel or 1.5 mm aluminium. Photos are on his web site

Steve made me a body tub for my J2 and I am very pleased with it. I’ve said before that I like “one man bands” and I can recommend Steve without reservation.

A T-Type body taking shape in Steve Gilbert’s workshop

Steve is also making batches of TC stainless steel tanks with original brass neck, which was found on the early cars (see photos).

One thought on “The Resurrection of TA0844 (Part 5)

  1. Roy Berg says:

    I have a question. I am trying to restore a 1939 MG TA and I’m struggling with the woodwork. I need a starting point, which I think should be the door pillars. Where can I find what the dimensions should be between the two door posts at the bottom and the top? It looks like the posts are angled outward slightly. The bull horn is of no use because it was previously repaired badly and using the existing bull horn, one side angles out quite a bit more than the other side. Is there a reference book you could recommend which would help? I bought TC’s Forever, but the dimensions appear to be different for late TA’s and the TC’s. I was told they were similar. Any help you could offer would be appreciated.

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