I purchased the car from a gentleman in Muncie, Indiana. He did not know much about the car's history other than he thought it had been owned by a professor at Ball State University. Through a barely legible receipt dated 1/22/68 in a can full of bolts, I was able (with some difficulty) to trace the third owner, who provided the early owner information. The receipt was from the local BMC dealer, McClelland Company, for two taillight lenses for $4.00 and a speedometer cable for $4.25.
Built Tuesday, March 9th, 1954 in Abingdon, England. Car #HDP 46/3878. Originally Ivory with Green interior, with wire wheels option. Dealer installed optional Arnolt heater. Engine # XPAG TF 33871. Body # 13401. Original list price: $2,125.00, plus $135.00 for wire wheels. Total: $2,260.00.
1954-1965 (approximately): Originally purchased from S.H. Arnolt, the Midwest distributor in Chicago. The original owner was a Crown Point (Indiana) High School football coach. The coach's son estimated that his father owned the car for 10 to 12 years. The car was driven on several trips from Indiana to Florida, and possibly had 250,000 miles on it (this seems to be a high estimate). The coach had at least two sons, and this information most likely came from the elder son. One of the sons played football for and graduated from Ball State University around 1968-1972.
1966-1967 (approximately): The second owner was an unknown schoolteacher from Crown Point, Indiana, who likely purchased the car from the coach.
1968-1969 (approximately): The third owner was an Associate Instructor in Physiology at Ball State who had the car for about two years. He saw the MG broken down at a local service station and asked to buy it. After purchasing it for $950.00, he rebuilt the front suspension and did some bodywork. He painted the car maroon but left the interior the original green - an unusual combination. He sold the car when he went to IU for a Doctorate. When I talked with him in the early 80's, he was a professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
1970-1973 (approximately): The fourth owner was a shoe store owner in Muncie, Indiana. Although he registered the car on 1/25/72, it is likely that it sat awhile after he bought it, since he had other old cars (including award-winning Model A Fords). He said he paid $1,500 for the TF. After selling it to me, he called several times asking to buy it back.
April 29, 1973-present: I am the fifth and longest owner. I bought the car for $1,600 after looking for a TF for about two years. There was an informal MG-T club in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where I lived, and I got the list of known TF owners in Indiana. I called to see if any of them wanted to sell their cars. My TF was located in Muncie, painted maroon with the original green interior. It ran very rough, and was rusted on the front and rear tub panels where they joined the fenders, but it was complete - for a price I could afford! The 85-mile trip back home was made on I-69 at night in a blinding rainstorm with strong winds and semi-trucks. It was then that I found out the wipers didn't work but, fortunately, the TF is one of the few cars with a manual wiper knob. I changed hands to operate the knurled wiper knob, as both developed blisters! My 5 year-old daughter Michelle accompanied me and was a help with the wiper on her side.
I finished restoring the car in August 1979 in Fort Wayne, IN, doing most of the work myself except for the body and painting. I was occasionally assisted by my daughters Michelle and Monica, who were 11 and 4 when the car was finally finished. It resided with us in Edmond, OK from late 1979-1984; in Waco, TX from 1984-1986; and in its present home in New Jersey from 1986 until the present.
The speedometer read 41,356 when the British racing green with tan interior restoration was finished. In 2005, it read 74,100. Due to installing a lower-geared 4:3, I estimate that as of 2006, we have traveled about 35,000 miles in the car. In addition to trips made in Oklahoma and Arkansas, as well as Texas when the car resided there, it has traveled to Virginia/North Carolina/Tennessee, Indianapolis Speedway, Ontario, New England, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. It was also trucked to Florida along with a TD and two TC's belonging to friends, and driven around almost the entire coastline and to Key West.
I replaced the fuel pump in Florida, using one of the few spare parts I carry with me. In Canada, I ran on three cylinders for almost the entire Newfoundland trip, and for another three months after returning to New Jersey!
In 2014 the second restoration was finally completed. The TF made its maiden 300 mile voyage to the New England MGT Register’s 50th anniversary in Middlebury, VT for the GoF Mk 95. Competing against about 13 other MGTFs, including previous first place winners, we were overjoyed that our automotive member of our family finally was awarded first place!
In all our travels, the car has never stranded us, and it has introduced us to some of our best friends! I will drive the car until they pry my hands from the steering wheel. The car will not be sold, and it will be left to one of my heirs as the next caretaker.