MG sports car owned and driven by RAF hero Sir Douglas Bader in WW2 goes on sale for £80,000
MG sports car owned by RAF airman Sir Douglas Bader is to go on sale at auction and is expected to fetch £80,000
Bader is one of Britain's most famous WW2 pilots having taken to the skies despite losing both legs in a plane crash
He was the first owner of the Midget TA Roadster, which he bought in 1938 and registered to his home in Kensington
The British car, powered by 1.3-litre engine, will be sold by Bonhams at its Goodwood Revival sale on September 12
By SAM TONKIN FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 16:34 GMT, 24 August 2015 | UPDATED: 17:13 GMT, 24 August 2015
He was Britain's most inspirational Second World War pilot after helping the Allies beat the Germans in the air despite losing both legs in a plane crash.
Now, the MG sports car once owned by RAF hero Sir Douglas Bader is to go on sale at auction and is expected to fetch £80,000.
The fighter pilot, who famously flew in the Battle of Britain, was the first owner of the Midget TA Roadster.
He bought it in 1938, seven years after he lost his legs, registering the open-top car to his address in upmarket Kensington, West London.
The MG T series is a range of body-on-frame convertible sports cars that were produced by MG from 1936 to 1955. The series included 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.
The TF name was reinstated in 2002 on the mid-engined MG TF sports car.
The MG TA Midget replaced the PB in 1936. It was an evolution of the previous car and was 3 inches (76 mm) wider in its track at 45 inches (1,100 mm) and 7 inches (180 mm) longer in its wheelbase at 94 inches (2,400 mm).
The previous advanced overhead-cam inline-four engine was now not in use by any other production car so it was replaced by the MPJG OHV unit from the Wolseley 10 but with twin SU carburettors, modified camshaft and manifolding. The engine displaced just 1292 cc, with a stroke of 102 mm (4.0 in) and a bore of 63.5 mm (2.5 in) and power output was 50 hp (40.3 kW) at 4,500 rpm. The four-speed manual gearbox now had 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 (230 mm) drums.
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. From 1938 the car could also be had with a more luxurious Tickford drophead coupé body by Salmons of Newport Pagnell and 252 were made. The soft top could be used in three positions, fully open, closed or open just over the seats. 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. A closed Airline coupé made by Carbodies, as fitted to the P type, was also offered but only one or two is thought to have been made.
The T-type was capable of reaching almost 80 mph (130 km/h) in standard tune with a 0–60 mph time of 23.1 seconds.
3,003 were made and in 1936 it cost £222 on the home market, the same as had been asked for the PB.
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.
Allan Tomlinson won the 1939 Australian Grand Prix driving an MG TA
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. This 1250 cc I4 unit featured a slightly less undersquare 66.6 mm (2.6 in) bore and 90 mm (3.5 in) stroke and had a maximum power output of 54 hp (40 kW) at 5200 rpm. The oil-immersed clutch was also replaced by a dry-plate type and gear ratios revised.
Available as an open 2-seater or more luxurious Tickford drophead coupé, this is the rarest of the T-type cars; only 379 were made.
The TC Midget was the first postwar MG, launched in 1945. It was quite similar to the pre-war TB, sharing the same 1,250 cc (76 cu in) pushrod-OHV engine with a slightly higher compression ratio of 7.4:1 giving 54.5 bhp (40.6 kW) at 5200 rpm. The makers also provided several alternative stages of tuning for "specific purposes".
It was exported to the United States, even though only ever built in right-hand drive. The export version had slightly smaller US specification sealed-beam headlights and larger twin rear lights, as well as turn signals and chrome-plated front and rear bumpers.
The body was approximately 4 inches (100 mm) wider than the TB measured at the rear of the doors to give more cockpit space. The overall car width remained the same resulting in narrower running boards with two tread strips as opposed to the previous three. The tachometer was directly in front of the driver, while the speedometer was on the other side of the dash in front of the passenger.
10,001 TCs were produced, from September 1945 (chassis number TC0251) to Nov. 1949 (chassis number TC10251), more than any previous MG model. It cost £527 on the home market in 1947.
Fuel consumption was 28 mpg-imp (10.1 L/100 km; 23.3 mpg-US). Its 0–60 mph time was 22.7 seconds, a respectable performance at the time.