By Lawrie Alexander
Eighteen MG TCs are coming to Placeville.
Affectionately known as “The Sports Car America Loved First,” the diminutive MG TC has long been a favorite of MG aficionados worldwide. Made in Abingdon on Thames, England, from 1945 to 1949, many of these nippy roadsters were brought back to the States by returning U.S. servicemen.
They quickly gained popularity with American auto enthusiasts as, despite the comparatively low power from their 1250 cc four-cylinder engines. Their light weight and excellent roadholding enabled them to outperform the ponderous domestic sedans of the time on twisty, winding roads. Many TCs were raced in sports car races during the late ’40s and early ’50s. Indeed, America’s first Formula One World Champion, the late Phil Hill, won his first ever motor race in a TC at Carrell Speedway in Gardena in July 1949.
Clubs catering to MG enthusiasts soon formed and many of those clubs are still in existence. Nowadays, TCs are usually seen in car shows, beautifully restored and seldom driven. However, some are still treated as “real cars” and driven both locally and long distances on MG club outings.
The Placerville area is no exception as at least three TCs are seen driving around on a regular basis, including one belonging to Placerville resident Brian Sonner, was restored from the frame up in the summer of 2010 and hnas since been driven over 18,000 miles. Two others, owned by Lawrie Alexander and Ed Dail, who both live in Shingle Springs, also see frequent use.
The sight of three TCs is rare enough but how about 18? One of the oldest Bay Area MG TC clubs, the Abingdon Rough Riders, will be in Placerville from Friday, May 3, through Sunday May 5 to participate in a weekend event organized by Sonner.
They will be staying at the Cary House Hotel in downtown Placerville, touring the local countryside and enjoying some of our fine local restaurants. If you would like to enjoy a very rare opportunity to see this many TCs in one place, visit the parking lot behind the Cary House late Friday afternoon or early Saturday or Sunday morning, or visit the Fitzpatrick winery in Fairplay between 11:30 and 1:30 on Saturday, May 4.