✨ “Take it easy driving – the life you save may be mine.”
― James Dean


Friday, 28 March 2014

Car of the Month March 2014 MG - TC/TD/TF

To get back into production quickly after the Second Word War, MG of Abingdon, Oxfordshire, had no option but to warm up its pre-war model, the TB. Thus the TC of 1945 had the same big 19in (48cm) wheels, fold-flat screen, crude semi-elliptic suspension and slab-tank body with ash framing. The body was wider now to give more elbow room for its passengers, while synchromesh on second, third and top gear made it more pleasant to drive. Hydraulic brakes were another welcome improvement.

1949 MG TC 

Traditionalists loved it: it was nippy - 78mph (125kph) flat-out - and fun to drive. Nobody seemed to mind the heavy steering and rock-hard suspension. US servicemen stationed in the UK loved them so much they took them home and gave Americans a taste they never lost for European sports cars. Soon the C was spearheading an export drive to the USA - and that's where most of the 10,000-car production run ended up.

Charming as it was, the out-dated TC couldn't go on for ever, so fir 1949 MG introduced the TD: same chassis, same 1250cc four-cylinder engine, but with the new independent front suspension and the rack-and-pinion steering of the YA. Bumpers front and rear and smaller disc wheel didn't do much for the looks, but the TD was roomier and slightly faster, especially in higher compression MKII form from 1952. The TD was a big seller, racking up 29,664 units in its four-year production run.

1954 MG TD 


The final flowering of the traditional MG was the TF of 1953. By moulding the headlamps into the front wings, which sloped the grill and fuel tank, Abingdon had gently modernised the shape. Inside, there were individual front seats and a re-styled dashboard. Early cars had the 1250cc engine, but from 1954, a 1500cc unit, giving 63bhp restored some of the performance.

The TF was a holding operation until the MGA appeared 

The TF looked what it was - warmed-up left-overs - and was really a holding operation while Abingdon prepared its first modern post-war model, the MGA of 1955. Ironically, the TF is the most sought-after of the three "square-rigger" post-war MG's.

MG TC/TD/TF - 1945 - 1955
CAPACITY - 1250cc/1466cc
ENGINE - In-line four
POWER - 54-63bhp
TRANSMISSION - 4-speed manual
TOP SPEED - 78-86mph (125-138kph)
NO. BUILT - 10,000 TC / 29,644 TD / 9,800 TF

The TD of 1949 was the first MG sports car to have the independent suspension system

1954 MG TD rear

1954 MG TD rear
1954 MG TD interior

1954 MG TD grill 



Friday, 14 March 2014

Car of Month Feb 2014 - Jaguar 3.8 MK.II

More than 80 000 MK.II's were sold and the model inspired a whole raft of more expensive variations on the same theme : The S-Type, the 420 and even a Daimler with its own special V8 engine. It is the pure original MK.II, however, that has won the hearts of enthusiasts and collectors.

The sight of a Jaguar MK.II inspires a misty-eyed emotional response like no other 60's saloon. For a decade from 1959, the year of Britain's first motorway, the compact Jaguar was the bread and butter of Browns Lane, Coventry. It was the last proper sports saloon the company ever made.

The MK.II was nothing if not versatile. It was favoured not just by the criminal fraternity (it was no accident that the James Fox character drove a white MK.II in Donald Campbell's superb 1970 film Performance, or Michael Caine's pursuers a red one in the classic Get Carter of 1971) but also by the law itself, because it was so wickedly fast. At the same time, the MK.II was also a very respectable car; a quiet, comfortable and classy businessman's express for the stockbroker belt. It made a fine name for itself on the track as a saloon-car racer, and industry personalities such as Graham Hill and Colin Chapman gave the MK.II the stamp of approval by using them off-duty too.

 Technically, the MK.II wasn't vintage Jaguar (though the unitary shell had broken new ground for the company on its 2.4 MK.I progenitor of 1955), but its beautifully-balanced shape had the classic William Lyons touch, as did the interior with its leather seats and wooden dash and door cappings - the fascia packed with dials and switches like a wartime bomber's flight deck.

The MK.II owner could do a legal 125mph (201kph) if he owned the full-house 3.8 manual overdrive car - it was the fastest saloon on the road for a time in the early 60's - or 120 (193) in the 3.4. The leisurely 2.4, on the other hand, couldn't even mange 100 (160) - which was why Jaguar's press department never

JAGUAR MK.II 1959 - 1969

Engine - Straight Six
Capacity - 2483/3442/3781cc
Power - 120-220bhp
Transmission - 4-speed manual 3-speed auto
Top speed - (3.8) 125mph (201kph)
No. built - 83 980

The 1966 MK.II was one of the last to have big bumpers: slim line bumpers were announced for the 240/340 models of 1967. Jaguar gave the MK.II a bigger rear window and different semi-open spats to help brake cooling.
Excerpt from 'The World Encyclopedia of Cars" by Martin Buckley & Chris Rees

Below : The 3.8-litre engine gave a claimed 220bhp, making the MK.II one of the fastest saloons on the road. 


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