The MG Midget TC, one of the most representative post-war roadsters of the once all-powerful British automotive industry unfolds its masterful simplicity on the slopes of Mount Parnitha…
In September 1945, five months after the end of World War II in Europe, the MG factory was ready to start car production. At that point in time the company had a very significant advantage over its competitors, as its industrial sites were among the few in Great Britain that had not been bombed by the Nazis. The model with which MG returned to the world of peace was the Midget TC, which had only minor differences from its predecessor (the Midget TB). The latter stayed four months on the production line (May-September 1939), managing to number only 379 units, before the war stopped it…
The benefits of a vanguard
For the Midget TC the omens were much better, giving it the opportunity to capitalize on the reputation the company had gained from the 1930-1935 racing period, in which it officially participated. In these five years, there was almost no trophy in its category that it had not won on the most famous British motorways of the time. Alongside its appearance in major European races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Spa, MG already had a very remarkable record in 1931: A roadster of its own with a turbocharged engine became the smallest car in the world to exceed 160 km/h top speed.
The credit for all this, the beginning of everything for MG’s subsequent decline, belongs to the M-Type of 1929. That’s because that model, with an initial power of just 8 hp that soon became 20, was the first truly low-cost roadster which appeared in Old Albion. With all of the above as a legacy, the third in the “midget” series of the MG family after the TA and TB, was ready to march towards success.
The pre-war 1,250 cc four-cylinder in-line engine. took place under the TC’s split front hood. With a slightly higher compression ratio than its previous version, the XPAG-coded engine now produced 55 hp at 5,200 rpm. Known for its numerous tuning and boost capabilities, this excellent and thoroughly British engine was mated to a four-speed manual gearbox (all synchromesh now), sending power to the rear wheels (back then it was pure sacrilege to even think about the fronts). Aided by low weight, the result of all this was a very pleasant ride, clocked in with a 0-100 in just over 22 seconds, fantastic performance for a small sub-1.3-litre roadster in 1945.
Beyond that, the attractive exterior of the model was the reason, with clean lines and curves on the wheel arches dominating both the bodywork and the well-crafted quality dashboard (but why don’t modern cars have curves?). The tachometer was located directly in front of the driver, while the speedometer was on the other side in front of the passenger, a clear reference to the early MG racing in the 20s. Finishing off the look were the all-time-classic 19-inch spoked wire wheels, which housed Dunlop tires. You could buy this whole ‘package’ in 1947 for less than £550. The first model in MG’s history with independent front suspension (the Midget TC also had this first) remained in the company’s available range until November 1949, with a total of 10,001 units produced. With this performance, it became the British company’s most successful car to date. It was also exported in significant numbers to the US market, despite never being built in a left-hand drive version. The TC that made it to the other side of the Atlantic featured slightly smaller headlights, dual taillights and chrome front and rear bumpers.
With MG in Parnitha
The photos of Thanos Iliopoulos, exactly the day after the Acropolis Rally and George, Mr. Gavrielidis of our group of “partners” immediately responded to our request. For the photography of the iconic car, a jewel for the Classic section, the responsibility of Mr. Hatiras who loves these really old cars and does not hide it…
Giorgos, with adaptation to both the threshing floor and the salons. It is his honesty that characterizes him, if he trusts you he ranks you among his friends, thus resulting in a balanced relationship between racing drivers, even when they are not competing.
When he commented “mine you will photograph” the validity of the venture was given, since he talks a little and you know that the meeting will also take place and in perfect condition will be this iconic two-seater with a heavy history.
Of those that we classify as pre-war and are not in the heart and we do not hide that we would like to climb Parnitha with the sophisticated and much more modern Sinanoglou that adorns the FILPA events, while we have seen it climb the mountain swiftly.
Pull me and let me complain …
«Come ride it“, Giorgos’ proposal which does not go well with the objections and we pushed ourselves into the leather seat, taking advantage of the few kilos of weight of this era. The steering wheel is huge, the Veglia’s instruments are bad ergonomics but excellent in aesthetics, while the engine with the two dual SU carburetors is immediately operational. It sounds like the four-cylinders we grew up with and from the first meter you are surprised. From how the first gear in the four-speed gearbox engages, from how the vertically positioned handbrake is released and from how the clutch works. It usually requires strength and following the process you understand why it was loved 30 years ago by charming ladies who participated in the FILPA events.
Our own presence does not charm and the car wants our attention going downhill and especially from the time the traffic thickens, so many retreat with respect, some are excited, while a few are indifferent through the ignorance that justifiably characterizes the younger people. We are discouraged, we remember how the selector works when you are sitting on the right and we upshift or downshift without the double use of the clutch. An ally are the brakes, which usually get tired in a classic car going down Parnitha with the many hairpin turns, but no problem. Or almost, because it’s the steering wheel that takes you back in time and places you in a period frame, so attention is required to work with the gaps that arise in its use, overcoming the weight as well. The ladies with dumbbells for hands would be well trained you think and notice George on the left, watching confidently. Answering our questions of a social content, it is clear that this Historic sporting competitor is an exemplary family man, proud of his family members.
Apart from the MG today and the Lotus tomorrow, you want Gavrilidis with Sir Nikos Mouzakis next to him on the dirt, but we went to enjoy him together with the other contemporaries at the Achaios Sprint Rally, in Chalandritsa in Patras. You know it’s really impressive and betrays the culture that characterizes the “comrades”, while it is generally missing, to adore a pre-war car as a preserve not to sell it and for the maid, but because it charges your emotions and famously binds that you participate in races with History, while moving with Legend…
The fact that the historic sporting expression of the Greek games is right on the road, thanks to the people who participate and those who organize and supervise. Community that will shine in the Historic Acropolis Rally and stay tuned._ S.X.
Instead of an epilogue
Mr. Giorgos Gavrielidis acquired his own Midget TC – built in 1948 – several years ago. He found it in an overseas market in good condition, which he turned into excellent by spending time and money. Sitting in the passenger seat and watching him drive the iconic roadster, you realize that he knows exactly what this build represents and why he is behind its wheel. Also, he knows well why he does what he does (don’t think it weird, but most of us can’t answer that question). The epilogue was spontaneous, interspersed with a philosophical question: “Will this very special expression of Motoring exist in the next generations?». The driver’s answer was immediate and clear: “Yes, there will be»
MG MIDGET TC KINTHTRAS: 4-cylinder in-line DISPLACEMENT: 1,250 cc. POWER: 55 hp/5,200 rpm TORQUE: 87 Nm/2,600 rpm GEARBOX: 4-speed manual TRANSMISSION: Rear-wheel drive LxWxH: 3,543×1,422×1,346 mm. Wheelbase: 2,388 mm WEIGHT: 838 kg 0-100 KM/H: 22.7 sec. TOP SPEED: 129 km/h
PHOTOS: THANOS ILIOPOULOS