What do you do when you have an MG TC in the garage at home in Wales, and the family want to go on a holiday to Sweden? The only answer of course is to put the MG TC on a trailer, hitch it to the family Volvo, and head for the ferry. Simples…
A few weeks back, Welsh farmers Tom and Eva Cowcher and their daughter Nia from Carmarthenshire, embarked on a late summer holiday to Sweden to visit Eva’s family. The MG has just undergone a complete restoration…Tom said not to say how long it took, but it’s been about ten years (!). In preparation for the trip the car has been given plenty of country outings recently in and around Capel Dewi and Llandysul where they live, to check that everything worked. The only problem that Tom encountered was a charging problem, as the lights were draining the battery, ‘good old British wiring I hear you say’. But if he was to drive around Sweden where it is illegal not to have your lights on during the day, then something would have to be done pretty smartly.
The day arrived for the trial run on the trailer, as the MG would have to endure a 1600 mile round trip to Sweden and back, involving multiple ferry crossings, and so it was essential that the car be easy to secure on the trailer. The plan once in Sweden was for Tom and 25-year old daughter Nia, who would share the driving between them, to tour in convoy together with friends in their Volvo PV 544.
So with Nia behind the wheel, Tom instructed her to back out of the garage, which is where the first problem occurred, as the car wouldn’t start…those electrics again! No problem though, as the car pushed out into the drive where Tom cranked it over and she fired up no problem. One might expect that for a 25-year old, driving an MG onto a trailer with (almost) bicycle tyres, would be no easy matter, but Nia drove the car straight on just as though she had been doing it all her life. Things were looking up. There followed a trial tie down on all sides to make sure they had the right amount and length of securing straps, but farmers are used to doing these things and so this posed no problem.
The trial loading exercise over with, it was time for coffee around the big farm kitchen to get a run down of the tour plans. The road map, it seemed, was one that had had a hard life as it was well frayed at the edges, almost worn through along the folds and it didn’t look as though it would survive much open air reference work in an MG cockpit. Never mind, the family had done this trip many times before. The outward bound trip would follow a route to Harwich, Hook-of-Holland, then an overnight stay with friends in Friesland before travelling through Germany to Copenhagen and then via the 7 ½ mile Drogden Tunnel/Øresund Bridge system to Malmo in Sweden.
The MG TC is a 1948 model and is fitted with a 1250cc XPAG engine which was renowned for its performance. The handbook says that it is good for 78mph but it has a little bit of an issue stopping, as Tom put it with a smile. In the nine months since its return, he has used it locally, mostly on sunny days and apart from this particular morning when yours truly pitched up with a camera, it had not failed to start. However, Tom puts this down to the fact that he has only done short runs with it, so the battery has not been fully charged.
When it arrived back here at the farm in December 2013, it was nearly ready to go on the road, and there were just a few remaining tasks to complete before it was road legal. The car is in excellent condition and could be further developed to concourse condition but Tom doesn’t think he would get any more fun out of it than he does now, so he will just make sure it’s roadworthy and legal.
In Part II, we will give an account of Tom and Nia’s tour around southern Sweden in the MG TC, and the enthusiastic attention the car received at a local classic car show there.
Written by: Glen Smale