15 June 2020

More than an old car #147: MG TA

There is a huge backlog of cars that I want to write about, but with the aim of trying to improve my content, I have started to provide professionally-done better pictures for everyone's enjoyment. Naturally, I have to start off with these beautiful 1938 MG TAs!

The MG TA was first introduced in 1936, in the wake of MG's sale to Morris Motors. Amidst instructions to increase profits for Morris, MG's former managing director Cecil Kimber was forced to stop the development of racing cars. He had to work with new restrictions such as uniformity of parts, and the TA was thus born in mid-1935. Initially known as the T-Type, 5 different versions were released over 2 decades where they were the last of the traditional sports cars.

Many people were disappointed initially by the change to the Morris-derived engines. Yet, it turned out that performance was better than MG cars previously. The chassis was strengthened and its body was of traditional construction, built out of ash tree frames. Adopting styling cues from its predecessor, the MG PB, it also featured a spare wheel carrier and a 15-gallon fuel tank at the back. The hood was hinged upwards in such a way that provided easy access to the engines, and it was recognised to be cleaner than the cars before that. At the same time, the TA also featured a more comfortable interior, such as greater elbow room, seats with separate cushions and an improved safety glass windscreen.

All TAs were equipped with a 1292 cc MPJG i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 127 km/h with an acceleration of 23.1 seconds [0-60 mph]. It was 3543 mm long and weighed only 793 kg. In 1938, the TA was also available with a more luxurious Tickford drophead coupe body, built by coachbuilder Salmons of Newport Pagnell. Main differences include wind-up windows, individual bucket seats and an adjustable soft top.

Production of the TA ended in 1939, where it was succeeded by the TB. 3,003 regular TAs and only 252 Tickford coupes were produced. It is estimated that fewer than half of Tickford cars still exist today, and the above unit (in black) is supposedly the only one in the region. From my interaction with the owner, it seems that he had imported it for quite some time and that it sees regular action at the F1 Drivers' Parade: there were signatures of famous drivers on the dashboard. There are also a handful of regular TAs in Singapore too and they appear from time to time.

Cars nowadays are not made like before, although with legitimate reasons such as passenger safety. However, one would admit that the TA is still able to draw much attention, from the wire-spoked wheels to its graceful curves. I encourage you to just look out on the roads and see for yourself the gems that come up unannounced sometimes!

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