T Type and T Register History

Here you can find a short history of the T Register which was originally written by Paddy Willmer, subsequently edited and added to by John Ward our Safety Fast editor, and now brought up to date once again.

The MG Car Club T Register – a short history (2021)

We have also been collecting a number of articles on past events and personalities involved in T Types and the T Register so here is a landing page where you can find links to these articles, as well as a description of the role of the T Register historian.

The Whys and Wherefores of Design – two articles from Autocar in November 1939 discussing the design of the XPJM engine

The role of the T Register historian

Last Weekend in June ’86 – the story behind the T Register’s commemorative event of London to Inverness and back in four days

Toshiro Mifune and his MG TD – Hideyuki Okane, Kenji Matsuoka and Peter Cook’s article on the famous Japanese actor and his TD.

Harry Lester’s TA – an extract from Stewart Penfound’s book ‘Harry Lester and the Monkey Stable’

Racing a T Type in the 1960s – a memoir by Allan Scott

Cecil Kimber’s Musical Tastes – written by the club’s Overseas Director Peter Cook, this slightly left-of-field account describes the  fairly large, old, and somewhat tattered red folder that can be found at the top of the stairs at Kimber House. The folder contains twelve 78 rpm records and was given to the club some time ago by one of CK’s relatives. Peter goes on to discern what CK’s tastes were, set in the social context of his time and includes anecdotes which many of us can identify with.

Team Competition with MGs – Peter Ross
Peter Ross has sent a pdf file of slides to record the early days of the Register, particularly concerning the early racing activities. Peter was one of the founding members of the T Register in 1963 and now lives in the USA. Click the title to access the pdf file.
He also wrote a summary/explanation of his slides which is reproduced below –

When we started the T-Register back in 1963, one of the focus activities was to form a T-Register Racing Team to contend the Team orientation of the two relay races which were a major highlight of the club racing scene back then, particularly the 750 Motor Club’s 6-hour relay soon to be renamed the Birkett 6-Hour relay in memory of Holly Birkett, a major figure in the 750 MC who had died. Several MG’s had competed in individual teams over the years prior to 1963, but the M.G. Car Club had never entered a team per se, so the goal was for the new T-Register to enter a team much like the Cream Crackers and Musketeers teams had been entered in the pre-war team trials as M.G. Car Club teams.

Now the bureaucracy appears: the 6-Hour Relay was a National British event and none of us potential T-Register Team members had Full Competition Licences which simply required that drivers had demonstrated satisfactory driving behaviour in at least six race meetings as evidenced by having the Chief Steward sign an RAC race record card.

As far as I remember we had a meeting in the Spring of 1963 after the Brands Hatch Sprint meeting. At that first meeting were the Team captain, Bill Weston, Ian Matheson, Mike Vincent and myself. Of course, enthusiasm ruled the roost and we looked at the racing calendar to plot out how to get 6 signatures in short order. Now the 5-Hour Relay at Oulton Park was a Club meeting when a Restricted Licence was acceptable and entries were solicited from invited clubs of which the MGCC was one such club. So it was planned for the T-Register to enter a team and this would be a good rehearsal for the higher profile 6-hour event. Looking at the calendar there were just not enough opportunities to get 6 signatures during 1963 so the plan became to do the 5-Hours in 1963 and wait until 1964 to enter the 6-Hours. This is the background to the first section of the pdf slides in which I described my events to get six signatures because it was a bit of a challenge.

Ian Matheson and I were good buddies who lived away from the centroid of T-Register formation down in Somerset and Devon, basically north of Exeter. One excursion outside the priority of getting six signatures was that Ian and I planned a European camping trip to visit as many European Race circuits and end up at Le Mans for the race weekend. That had to fit in the 4-week gap between the 1964 MGCC Silverstone and the Motor Cycle Club meeting at Silverstone to which the MGCC were invited and we needed to participate for a signature. There are a couple of slides of that memorable trip in my race prepared TC, which would otherwise be out of context. In itself, the trip is a separate story!

Another goal of our new T-Register was to encourage more clubs to run a specific race, or at least a class, for T-Register cars. I think we represented the start of what was for many years an exciting presence of T-Racers at numerous events.As I document we entered the Birkett 6-Hour Relay for many years with great enthusiasm and while never actually winning, we did finish in second place one year – when it rained! The endurance concept was not appreciated at the time, but I think our achievements were heroic.