Not Quite – 1961 MG TC Replica

The MG T-series of cars has nearly completely escaped the grasp of the common enthusiast, for better or worse, but what we can still access are some of the replicas. These cars made #22 on the Sports & Exotic Car list, and aside from the more common Fiberfab TD replica, there was also a replica of the MG TC produced by a company known as Octagon Motors. Closer in spirit to the original than the Fiberfab attempt, this car was built on a Triumph Herald platform, and runs a 948cc four-cylinder putting out 34.5hp, versus the original TC’s 54.5hp. Fortunately, the Herald was also built with larger engines up to a 1300 with 61hp, a whopping 6.5hp over the original TC. You can find this 1961 MG TC replica for sale in San Francisco, CA for $3500.

1961 MG TC replica left front

Compared with some replicas (particularly those with rear-mounted flat 4 engines) the proportions are pretty convincing, and if it weren’t for the wheels, you might assume it was a real TC on first glance. Oddly enough, the wheel design seems to emulate Bugatti, and the rear wheels are positioned rather far forward in the wells. There is said to be a spoke-wheel conversion, although for now you’ll probably want to concentrate on wrapping up any unfinished business to get the car drivable.

1961 MG TC replica right rear

Considering the huge price advantage (only 10% of the cost of the real thing), you can’t do too badly on this one. The paint looks good, although a close look shows some checking and likely fading. Assuming it’s made from fiberglass, you’ll want to check for any excessive crazing, although such issues are not terribly hard to rectify. And while you’re at it, check the Herald chassis for rust – there was likely a reason why (aside from nostalgia) they decided to toss the original body.

1961 MG TC replica interior

Unlike most replicas, the lighting, windshield, and most other details don’t look either cheesy, or like they were clearly from some other car. All the same, it would be interesting to know where they sourced the parts. The interior looks good, though the vinyl is a little too plasticky looking for the car. And unlike a real TC, you can get this car with left hand drive (which, incidentally, calls its apparent Kiwi origins into question). The steering wheel is a little too modern – perhaps the hot rod industry has created something more accurate that will fit whatever steering column the manufacturer used.

1961 MG TC replica engine

Here’s the lump, running dual SUs on the other side. Must be painful working on that engine while not leaning on the fenders since they’d likely be damaged – hopefully it’s easy enough to remove a couple of panels for access that gets close to what you’d have on the donor car. As mentioned above, uprating the engine should be fairly straightforward, either by upgrading the 948 or moving up to a larger engine. Performance solutions for the rest of the Herald platform are well-documented too, although you’ll have to be careful not to go beyond what those skinny bicycle tires can handle!

Oh, and what other site has featured or will ever feature a car from New Zealand?

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2 Responses to “Not Quite – 1961 MG TC Replica”

  1. steve in podunk Says:

    Those wheels are awful. I would guess this isn’t a bad deal; the seller is open to offers too. I recall there was another T replica that used Ford Pinto or Chevy Chevette running gear; that would be the one to get, more power, more dependable and cheaper and easier to obtain parts.

  2. Len Says:

    In the meantime this car is up and running in the netherlands and turns out to be one of three ever (hand) built ( including new chassis, modeled on tc design) by gonzalo nene sequia from manila philippines who then started a company michel motors, building ao mg f’s, lotus seven, ac cobra’s, porche roadster etc and starting the manila sports cars club, some provenance:-) drives like a beauty, 948cc, twin carbs, 750kg, who needs more hp’s?

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