My TC was lucky enough to find her way into my garage in July of 1988. Her engine, XPAG 8543, brought new meaning to the term low compression, and driving across any bridge was a heart-stopping experience, as she would go anyway but in a straight line. And, was she reliable? It was always hit or miss as to whether you'd drive home, or push her home. In short, TC 7881 was a perfect example of why British cars had such a terrible reputation in North America in the 60s and 70s.

Over the years, TC 7881 had gone from a new car to a pile of parts in a garage. In 1962, two college students bought her, and made her into a "show car". Extra chrome, a white top, black AMCO interior kit, chrome wire wheels, blue metallic paint with white body piping, and hey! She took home some trophies!

After that, she spent some time in the living room of a local petrol head, then she was passed from one owner to the next, each of whom intended to restore her, but then bought a better TC, because it was cheaper to buy one already done!

Along the way, she'd suffered such mechanical indignities as having a half shaft welded to the hub (presumably to repair a snapped shaft); homemade front motor mounts; bolts and rivets replaced with such things as stove bolts; bits of garden hose used as suspension bushes; and having two cracked front brake cylinders left in place! All these short cuts made for a very unreliable and "interesting" drive!

Over the years, I've never really taken TC 7881 off the road, I enjoy driving her too much! But, I have done a complete engine overhaul, including fitting the new forged crank and sleeves to bring it up to 1466 cc. (I kept the original block so I can return to 1250 if I wish.) New motor mounts, tapered rear half shafts, new radiator core, new 4.625 Crown and pinion, all new suspension bushes, new front springs and pins, tapered roller front wheel bearings, new brake cylinders, new fuel pump and lines, new steering box bearings, and various other new engine ancilliaries have made TC 7881 into a reliable car that's fun to drive, goes where she's pointed, and stops…well, on a quarter!

No Datsun steering box! No Ford Sierra gearbox!! No needle bearings in the Bishop Cam!!! No 240Z brake drums!!!! I LIKE the vintage driving experience, and I'm going to do all I can to keep it as close to original as possible. She's been down the coast to San Francisco (from Vancouver), and this coming summer, I hope to drive her to Santa Barbara for GOF West.

I've slowly returned the body to stock condition, with original headlights, horn, driving light, mirror and painted wire wheels. And one day, especially if I win the lottery, I'm going to have the tub disassembled, any suspect timber replaced, and the original MG Green paint applied.

TC 7881 looks a lot happier now that she's in my care.

Rick Waters