MG TB Tickford Drophead

Small sports cars from British production are known throughout the world today. However, most people are mainly concerned with the vehicles from the 1950s to the 1970s and forget that this tradition was established much earlier. An example for this is the brand MG, whose abbreviation stands for Morris Garage. Under the direction of Cecil Kimber, the British company developed various racing and sports cars. With the M-Type Midget they offere a very successful vehicle from 1928, whose successor, the T-Types, came out in 1936. The TA was still clearly based on the previous model, but received a wider track and a longer wheelbase. Under the hood sat a four-cylinder engine from the Wolseley Ten with 37 kW/50 hp. This was cheaper than the relatively complex engine of the former M-Types. Thanks to the more modern chassis configuration, the TA was able to beat the Midget in virtually every driving situation. In addition to the classic open two-seater Roadster with sheet steel construction over a skeleton made of ash wood, from 1938 there also was the Tickford Drophead, whose bodywork was manufactured at Salmsons & Sons in Newport Pagnell. By 1939, around 3,000 copies of the TA had left the production lines.

A small facelift transformed the TA into the TB in 1939. MG reduced the displacement by 42 to 1,250 cc, but could increase the power to 40 kW/54 hp by the use of two SU carburetors. Customers once again had the choice between an open two-seater Roadster and the Tickford Drophead produced at Salmsons & Sons. Due to the beginning of World War 2, MG soon had to stop production, resulting in only 379 copies of the TB. After the war, they started the production again with the T-Types and manufactured the TC, TD and TF with only slight modifications until 1955. Then they exchanged the pre-war concept with a completely new developed car, the MGA.

Of the 379 MG TB built, only 57 received the more expensive Tickford bodywork. Through the war some copies were lost, others didn’t survive the decades after that, so that today only about 30 cars with the more luxurious bodywork are known. Accordingly rarely is the chance to purchase a MG TB Tickford Drophead today. If you are currently looking for such a vehicle, you can contact Hyman Ltd. in the US. Chassis number TB 0440 was first delivered in Leeds/UK in August 1939 and got the licenseplate ‘HUM7’. At that time, the car was painted red, wearing a fawn soft top and biscuit upholstery. In the 1960s, father and son Orr found the car in a garage in Swinton with engine removed, but offered together with the car. As fans of pre-war cars, they purchased it at a price of £ 40 and pulled the MG home behind their Riley RME. There they rebuilt the car within a year. Until the mid-1970s, Christopher Orr used the vehicle as an everyday car on the way to the university, where he quickly became known with this classic car. Eventually it became too impractical to drive the old MG everyday and his father finally sold it.

In the late 1970s, the MG left the UK and moved to the York Motor Museum in Australia. There, the car received a comprehensive restoration and was sold to Harry Pyle in 1983. He researched the history of the car and even flew to Great Britain to meet with the widow of the first owner. In 2002, the current owner bought the MG TB, brought it over to the US and handed it over to Tom Metcalf of Safety Fast Restoration, where it got a nut and bolt restoration. In this process, the color combination was changed to Oxford Blue and Cambridge Blue on the body with matching interior and soft top. In 2006, the car debuted at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and immediately won its class. This was followed by another class win at the Meadowbrook Concours 2007 and a second place in class at the Hilton Head Motoring Festival in 2014. In addition to the three-position hood, the MG also offers an openable windscreen and roll-up side windows, which significantly increased the comfort compared to the more spartan Roadster. Under the bonnet, the engine shows the same engine number which is noted in the production documents, which makes this a ‘matching numbers car’. In addition, also the original and complete toolbox is located under the bonnet. Now this MG TB Tickford Drophead is offered with Hyman Ltd. The classic car specialist asks for US$ 144,500.

Images: Hyman Ltd.