The History of the TC Motoring Guild Badge

The TC Motoring Guild badge has always been a source of pride.  For nearly 70 years it has been displayed prominently at the front of MG TCs around the globe.  Its purpose is to tell the world that you belong to a very special organization whose affection for these great cars is unfailing.  The design of the badge has gone through a few changes over the years but you still see each one of them in use today out on the open road.

While the badges are beautiful to look at, they are also functional and see many miles of bugs, rocks and other weathering.  You can see a great example of this in the accompanying photo of Jim Crandall’s car.  (click image to enlarge)  The photo was taken in 2005 and shows how his early badge had become so worn from all of the miles behind it that he had to touch it up with paint so that it could be read!  Beside it he has recently placed a new Anniversary Badge.  This is a perfect example of how these cars, as beautiful as they are to look at, are still used as intended in the modern age.

Version 1a: 1955

This was the very first design of the TC Motoring Guild badge. Designed in 1955 by Yvonne Schnaer (Harvey Schnaer’s wife), it featured a dome-shaped face and three colors of what appears to be clear coated paint over brass. The background was bright white, the TC light green and lettering a medium red. The axle, brakes, knockoffs, radiator cap and headlamps are in brass (uncolored). All other items on the badge are outlined in brass. Fixing was by a single hole at the bottom.

Only one run of this version was manufactured due to an apparent communication error between the designer and manufacturer which resulted in a significant visual error. Ron Simon was there when it happened

and had this to say: “The first batch was made with a printing error which was very minor. The badge showed a narrow black line going from the top of the fenders to the top edge of the radiator on each side.” The original 1950′s artwork shown here is undoubtedly the cause of the error. The line appears to have been drawn as a guide for the artist, but the badge maker would not have known that.

(Click image for more info)

The line itself may have been minor but it led to further problems. It is believed that the color on the badges was hand-painted, and whoever painted them colored everything inside the black lines. This makes for a very strange-looking TC indeed!  Very few examples of this badge remain today.  In fact only three are currently known to exist.  One is in the TCMG history files, another is in private hands and a third is still mounted to the ex-Earl Sargent TC.

Being hand-made, there were other imperfections as well.  In the example pictured above as well as on another examined, the badge has been made crooked, with the entire face rotated slightly clockwise compared to the mounting tab.  The bend in the tab is not quite straight either, nor were any two bent at exactly the same angles.

It is rumored that the second batch of badges retained the line but were not filled with green.  To date we have not found an example of this type.  If you own an example of this badge version, with or without the extra green, please send us a photo for reference!

Version 1b: 1956?-1957?

In later production runs of the early badge, as shown here, the line which caused so many problems was deleted.  With the extra green removed, we finally have a proper-looking TC!  The text has been very slightly thickened as well, but there are no other obvious differences.  The highlight on the headlamps is now the only central part which retains the green color.

Again the badges were hand made so you may notice that the badge pictured here is much straighter than the last one, and the angle of the tab is sharper. 

After the problems with the first batch, the manufacturer was probably being much more careful with these ones!  Still, the tab has been stamped with a slight horizontal twist.  This newer version, believed produced around 1956-1957, was delivered wrapped in a thin brown paper,an example being shown here.
Version 2a: 1958?-1961

The next generation badge was issued in the late 1950’s, the earliest reported sighting being at the 1958 conclave. The badge was made flat, with two holes in the face for the steel rivets which held the mounting bracket on. The graphics were slightly changed from the previous version, most evident in the shape of the grill surround and TC letters. A darker green was used on the TC and the lettering font has been changed, showing a characteristic “long L”.  Also, the white face is less bright than before.  The headlamp highlights are shorter but thicker, and are now colored white.  Other minor details have also changed including larger spinners, a different bend to the axle, a curved radiator cap and a more aggressive camber (tilt) on the wheels.  Overall detail is also somewhat reduced from the version 1 badges.

The writing also changed to a green color (possibly to save time and cost) which made it the only badge to use a font color other than red. The rear was painted (or plated) gray but the badge material, or plating, like the badge before and all those that followed, was still brass.

Version 2b: 1961-1964?

This version is almost identical to the former one.  The biggest difference is that the writing has been returned to red where the previous was green.  The rear has also been left brass color.  Some of the outlines on the TC and fonts appear thinner than in the previous version, which give slightly better overall detail, and the green color on the TC has been further darkened.

If you look closely, you will see white showing through some of the colors.  On this version of the badge, it is reported that this happens with road use because they arrived entirely white – no black, green or red.  Before delivery to club members, they were all hand-painted by then member Erwin Ashenfelter.  No one is sure if this was a mistake or if it was done to save money.  The badges were issued on April 26, 1961 and it’s known that they were available through at least 1964.  The mounting plate on the badge pictured here has been bent.  It would originally have been straight as seen in the photos of versions 2a above and 2d below.

Version 2c: 1960’s, Precise Date Undetermined

This version is nearly identical to the previous one with the exception of a slightly different font.  The text is more defined, making it easier to read.  Overall detail is perhaps also improved, with some outlines appearing very slightly thinner, and the green color on the TC has again been further darkened.

The badge pictured here is one of two discovered so far.  This one has no rivet holes drilled in the face while the other one did.  This badge has been glued to a mount purchased from Vilem B Haan (a well known sports car accessory retailer based in Los Angeles in the mid 1900’s), presumably by one of its previous owners.  We aren’t sure if it was a one-off (perhaps a pre-production sample) or if there are others like it.  If you can shed some light on this anomaly, or if you have seen another, please contact us!

Version 2d: 1965?-19xx?

This version of the badge was issued sometime in the late 1960’s. It is very similar to the previous three, with a few minor changes.

The white face is more ivory-colored than before, with the inner grill area using a brighter white similar to the version 1 badges.  The letter font has again changed slightly from the previous version, with the “long L” also now gone. The headlamp highlights are longer and thinner, like the version 1 badges, as is the less aggressive stance of the wheels. 

Outlines are thinner all around, and overall detail increased, with some minor detail changes made including smaller spinners and thicker radiator cap.  Green areas are a shade lighter than on the previous version.  These badges were delivered in a sealed plastic bag. If you have information that will help to date this version, please contact us!
Version 3a: 1970?-19xx?

This version was updated with another change in the graphics and lettering.  The TC is more “square” and cowl humps have been added. A folded windscreen and a grill badge are also evident.  Running lamps have been added (left in brass) and the headlamps are now left background color (white).  The “TC” font has been changed and made larger, now completely filling the grill area.  The lettering is now located entirely underneath the TC, and the white face has returned to a brilliant white, now matching the inner grill.

The badge itself is slightly dome-shaped.  So slight in fact that you might not notice it from a distance.  Not many of these badges are seen today.  The actual date of issue is unknown however we know they were being offered for sale as late as 1974-75, and possibly as late as 1977. 

These badges were originally delivered in a plastic bag, with no mounting bracket attached.  A nickle-plated bracket similar in style to the Version 2 badge brackets was reportedly offered with this badge, along with screws and nuts, but this has not been confirmed.
Version 3b: 19xx-1977?

The second version of this badge uses identical artwork to the previous one.  The badge is still slightly domed like Version 3a, but the mounting method has changed.  Rather than placing two drilled holes in the face for attaching a bracket, a single piece tab was included at the bottom.  This mounting style would continue for every TCMG badge that followed, right up to modern day.

Only five of these badges are known to exist, making it even more scarce than the earlier version.  Compared to the previous version, the quality of finish is noticeably lower, with the letters being harder to read, edges not as crisp and overall finish not as smooth.  The faces were also made slightly off level relative to the mounting tab.

Version 4: 1977?-2004

This version, perhaps the most plentiful still in use, shows several minor changes in design.  It was a substantial piece, made of 1/8″ thick metal and incorporated a mounting flange underneath as introduced in the second run of the previous version.  The face shows a slightly re-shaped TC, even more square than before and using thinner outlines and fonts.  The grill badge is now colored in.  The front axle is changed from black to green.  These badges were delivered in a bag made of bubble wrap.

In 1984, a solid brass 30th anniversary background was offered for this badge as an add-on.  It was a separate piece placed behind the badge itself.  The surround was a rough (cast) finish, painted black, with the decorative part machined smooth and cleared of paint.

Only one variant of this badge was made and is pictured here.  Tony Henkels was in charge of sourcing this version of the badges, and in one batch requested that the manufacturer make two of them using the color Orello to match his car.  One was mounted to the car during Tony’s ownership, then removed when the car was sold to a non-club member in 2002.  The other (pictured) was kept as a future spare and was never mounted.
Version 5: 2004-Current

The latest design was issued in 2004 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the TC Motoring Guild.  Unlike the previous anniversary version, it is a single piece, and for the first time the badge is octagon-shaped rather than round.   The graphic has again been updated with the letters “TC” making up part of the bodywork.  The TC has a less square and more detailed appearance over the previous version, most obvious in the shape of the grill surround, contour of the splash apron, curve of the wings and the bend of the axle.  These changes give the appearance that the stance of the car is wider.

Other changes from the previous version include the addition of a crank starter hole, larger running lamps, the splash pan vents are omitted, the grill badge is once again uncolored, the windscreen is thicker and the cowl humps are changed.  The axle is once again black.  Gold leaves surround the inner portion and a green ribbon along the bottom of the badge reads, “TC Motoring Guild Est. 1954″.

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