Fighter Pilots favourite – The MG Midget

Probably made even more famous through its ownership by Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader, one of the RAF’s Battle of Britain fighter aces during the early years of WW2, the MG T-Type was a series of compact yet speedy, open two-seater sports car, produced by MG from 1936 to 1955. It included within the series the MG TA, MG TB, MG TC, MG TD, and MG TF Midget models. The last of these models, the TF, was replaced by the MGA. When first introduced the model was known as the T Type and only after the advent of the TB did the TA designation come into use.

The TA Midget replaced the PB in 1936 and was an evolution of the previous car being 3 inches wider in its track at 45 inches and 7 inches longer in its wheelbase at 94 inches. Like the PB, most were two-seat open cars with a steel body on an ash frame. A bench-type seat was fitted with storage space behind. It had a four-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh on the two top ratios and was connected to the engine by a cork-faced clutch running in oil. Unlike the PB, hydraulic brakes were fitted with 9-inch drums.

This 1,250 cc straight-four unit had a maximum power output of 54 hp at 5,200 rpm but was nonetheless still capable of reaching almost 80 mph with a 0–60 mph time of 23 seconds. The TA was replaced by the TB Midget in May 1939. It had a smaller but more modern XPAG engine as fitted to the Morris Ten Series M, but in a more highly tuned state and like the TA with twin SU carburettors. Wind-up windows were fitted to the higher topped doors making the car more weathertight and individual bucket seats used in the fully carpeted interior. Complete chassis were fitted with a very basic body at the Abingdon factory and driven to Newport Pagnell to have their coachwork fitted.

Only 379 TBs were made before the MG factory emptied its buildings and switched to making major aircraft components and modifying tanks, in support of the war effort.

Priced originally at around £200 (in the currency of the day), it’s interesting to note that the Auctioneers Bonhams, had Bader’s own MG on sale for around £80,000 (in today’s money) only around 5 years ago in 2015….now what an investment that was!

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