The four tax discs above are the designs used for motorcars in UK (from 1936 through 1939) throughout the production run of the TA and at least one of these would have seen use when the cars were new. Might the "War Service" disc on the left have been used on 'official' vehicles only?

The paper discs were normally displayed at the lower portion of the Near Side windscreen as proof that the Road Tax had been paid and also serving as a reminder to the owner for a timely renewal. The taxes collected were to be used for road building. The discs would have been stamped by the county issuing them then, using ink pen filled in by hand, listing the Horse Power, Seat Capacity, Registration No., Taxation amount, Make, Model and Color of the car. As a security measure the background was text printed in very small letters. Through 1938 the text read ROAD FUND LICENCE. In 1939 the wording changed to MECHANICALLY PROPELLED VEHICLE LICENCE.

These examples were found online and altered to resemble a blank disc with only a county stamp showing. Obviously the county stamp changed depending on where the disc was issued. They are interesting period pieces and reproductions of the different year discs are available from a number of UK businesses.


From the collection of Brian Rainbow

You may notice the Reg No. for this Tickford is FAR 220. The T-Register lists it as TA3022 but with no more information. When asked if he knew any more about this car Brian replied; (the car) 'was broken up in 1972. The body, wings and trim were dumped at the rubbish tip at Crowborough, Sussex. The chassis, engine and gearbox were sold to (name removed) in 1982. So there is a possibility that one day it will emerge as an MG TA yet again, but not necessarily as a Tickford.'

As a side note, regarding the removal of the timing cover in this manor; It will come off but because the gears and chain extend forward toward the engine mount a little coaxing must be used.

Also from Brian’s collection is this early Timing Chart. Please DO NOT use these tappet clearances for the TA, however. It was later revised in the Service Sheets to use: Inlet .010 in. and Exhaust .015 in.


Below are three contemporary advertisements for the TA. When first announced in 1936 it was referred to as simply the new T Series Midget. We know, of course, that it was destined all along to be a TA because the chassis were all stamped "TA" followed by the chassis number.

Also found below are other period adverts for various motor related products beginning with Tyres/Tires. And then there's a few words about current available tread patterns and who markets them.

Most of these are probably familiar but perhaps there might be something new to enjoy.

FROM 'The Motor' June 1936

FROM 'The Motor' July 1936

FROM 'Flight' September 24, 1936


The ad above is from a June 1938 'Motor Sport' magazine.

The 1936 photo below (borrowed from The MG Car Club's website) shows the same tyre in use on Aramis, one of the P Type Musketeers with Arch Langley at the wheel.

It is likely that many TAs of the period used this same tyre for trials work.

Knobbies like this were not the tyre fitted to the TA as they left the Works! Those would have been Dunlop 90s ..and a bit more civil.

A Dunlop Service van at what appears to be a race track. Note the gentleman on the right with MG logos on his cover-alls.
(photo source unknown)

This photo is believed to have been taken inside the Works in 1937. Clearly there are stacks of TA firewalls complete with toolbox lids behind the gentleman installing the tyre. Those tyres, by the way, are Dunlop 90s being mounted on outer laced wheels.

Here's a better photo of CJO 617, the prototype TA of 1936, shod with those Dunlop 90s.

Modern Tyres/Tires

Excelsior/Dunlop B5 pattern - Waymaster WM30 - Blockley

Finding new tyres is not a problem today but if it's important, a little research can get you a close match to the original tread design. The closest to original would be the Waymaster Thirty (center) shown here in an image from Vintage Tyres UK website. Quite a number of T-ABCs today are running Blockleys (right) as shown on Abingdon Spares site. This tread is close in design to Dunlop Fort 90 tyres which were offered as an Optional Extra from the Works in 1937. See the list with other Extras offered for the Series “T” M.G. on the Originality page in the Menu above.

The tread design we see more often in use today would be the Dunlop B5 (left). They are an attractive tire and were standard issue on the TC. They're available from Moss and other sellers as Excelsior or T/T Classic Roadmasters brands.

These three are certainly not all the 450 x 19 tread patterns and brands available. Firestone, Michelin, Lucas and others make this size as well. There are also 'High Speed' designs but few of us need a tyre rated at 200+ MPH!

Since tyres are a personal preference no judgements are made here regarding one as being better than another. Each will have ride characteristics and performance slightly different from the others. Perhaps driving a car shod with a particular brand or design would help in making that decision.

That said, a number of T-ABC owners have commented on the disappointingly low milage derived from the Excelsior design as compared with milage they'd obtained with the older Dunlop tyres of the same design. Perhaps it's not just the design as most, if not all, of today's 450 x 19 tyres (assuming that the geometry of the steering and tracking is correct) fail to get milage anywhere near that of a modern car tyre. The definitive explanation (from a former tire engineer) is that the formula for modern rubber compounds are not the same as in the past. And that one cannot compare bias ply with modern radial tyres. Perhaps we are stuck with low milage wear-out!

FROM 'The Autocar' in October of 1936.

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B Davis.