September 2018 – 1952 MG TD
MNE 4 was built on 17 January 1952 and specially tuned at Abingdon for its owner, Reg Harris, a National and Internationally renowned Racing Cycle Champion, to compete in the Second RAC International Rally of Great Britain of 1952.
The Rally commenced on 31 March 1952 in atrocious weather of snow and ice. There were 2 starting points in Hastings and Scarborough. MNE 4 started in Scarborough as indicated by its running number 167.
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The Rally included a series of tests including a night stage at Castle Combe circuit, a speed test on an artillery road at the Eppynt Range in Wales, dodging bollards on Blackpool promenade, the Rest and Be Thankful hill climb in Scotland before finishing at Scarborough on 4 April. MNE 4 can be seen below at a special stage in the Lake District on the 4th April 1952. Note its Raydyot pillar fitting spot light on the offside of the windscreen, a rear view mirror fitted to the offside wing and the Lucas SLR 700 spot light fitted to the badge bar. The badges displayed were the MG Car Club and the Manchester Wheelers Cycle Club, Reg Harris being a leading member of the Wheelers. Reg Harris and MNE 4 were placed 22nd out of 74 in the Class 1 Open Car category.
MNE 4’s next 2 owners were from Nottingham and Derby before it was purchased by Brian Corbett, a farmer in Derbyshire, for £150 in 1964. Brian Corbett sold the TD to its most recent previous owner in 1969, one Harry “H” Crutchley. “H” is well known in MG circles as he founded the MG Octagon Car Club the year he bought MNE 4.
MNE 4 was originally supplied in metallic Silver Streak Grey with red upholstery. It was completely restored in 1994 by Steve Baker and finished in Sun Bronze, a contemporary metallic TD colour introduced in 1951. I bought MNE 4 in September 2009 and the engine was completely rebuilt in 2010 by Iain Rooney. The rebuild was completed to period Stage 2a tune incorporating larger valves and a higher compression ratio and the engine is currently producing 70bhp (standard TD – 54bhp). MNE 4 left the Abingdon factory incorporating a number of the features of the TD Mark II including Specification No 578 Type H4 11/2 inch SU Carburettors, twin fuel pumps, a 9/41 final drive ratio and Andrex friction dampers fitted to the front axle. All of these features were available as Optional Extras from the earliest brochures for the Midget Series “TD” and MNE 4 retains all its period features. It also carries the extra lights, mirror and badges, mentioned earlier, from its exploits in the 1952 RAC International Rally of Great Britain.
Photography: Colour photograph courtesy of Kevin Baldwin (kpbphotography.co.uk)
B+W photograph part of the Charles Dunn Archive courtesy of the National Motor Museum.
Owner: Paul Critchley
Make/model: MG TD
Month/year of manufacture: January 1952
Colour: Sun Bronze
Engine size/type: 1250cc Stage 2a tuned
Top speed: ?
Gearbox type: 4 speed
Date purchased: 20th September 2009