Name: William Hentzen
Location: Mequon, Wisconson
1947 TC 2937 / XPAG 3525, Almond Green / Tan
1948 TC 6391 / XPAG 6961, Clipper Blue / Biscuit
1939 TB 0437 (Tickford)
Bought TC 2937 in May 1981 and TC 6961 in January 1981. Harry Pyle installed a John Bowles gearbox in the ’47. My wife would now drive the car.
Bill apologized for the 47 being dusty in the photo above. They had just completed the Paddy Forks Hill Climb at a GoF. The ’48 was restored and finished in 2002. What a beauty.
There can be few Tickford owners as dedicated to the cause as Bill Hentzen from Wisconsin, USA. At my request, Bill has produced an article on the history of his car. Not surprisingly, the article reveals the close ties between Tickford owners worldwide.
“In 1982, with two TCs and three TDs in the garage, it occurred to me that it was time to look for another model MG. My first ’52 TD was relinquished in 1962 for a three child size VW after 6 years of fun. After the Graber SA Tickford escaped my grasp, perhaps a small Tickford would do. Through adverts in Hemmings, a TA in California and a TB in Illinois were considered. Although more expensive, the TB had the XPAG engine – a correct one – was mostly complete, and drove and stopped well. In August 1982, TB0437, Salmons 5308 was trucked to Wisconsin.
When the Tickford was imported from Oxford and delivered to Illinois in 1964, it was titled there with UK registration MG 6450. It was sold in 1972 to a new owner, also in Illinois, so no problem with title transfer. This owner had to secure for me a title with the chassis number TB0437 as Wisconsin’s equivalent of Swansea would not accept transfer of a number not on the vehicle. Sadly, history previous to ’64 is unknown as the logbook was surrendered to Illinois authorities and had been destroyed by 1982.
Now, to research what I really had and had to do, I went to the New England MG T Register’s journal ‘The Sacred Octagon’ where one Ken Spencer had written articles and had started a list of TA and TB Tickford owners in North America. He passed on the records to Scott Barrow, who upon selling of his TA, passed the list on to me. This list had become part of the International list done in the ’70s by Wiard Krook in Holland along with contributors in the MG Car Club in England.
Contacting, corresponding with and visiting these very gracious North American owners to view their cars and exchange knowledge was marvelous and allowed a consensus of what was most likely done by Salmons & Sons. The extraordinary hospitality of owners continued on a visit to Britain in 1983 and meeting the late inimitable Ian Lloyd. That was the beginning of Ian and my efforts to update and publish a list of owners and eventual basis of the current data base of the M.G. TA & TB Salmons and Sons Tickford Registry List – another story! Securing copies of the 1938 and 1939 UK motoring magazines, and copies of the MG Car Co., 1939 Salesman Manual, TB Instruction and Parts books and sales literature, added to the library of data on details of Tickford construction for the eventual restoration.
The generosity of other owners in sharing was exhibited by Gene Roth ex TA2736 with his loaning an original hood liner for the hood patent, David Tankard, TA2848, supreme Tickford enthusiast, by making the faithful reproduction, including the backing, of the red/black fleck carpet for Mike Collingburn’s interior, Carlyle Merritt, TA2959, by loaning the rear window, the door and window winder hardware and interior lamp as samples for reproductions, Lee Jacobsen, TA2969 by loaning the pin beading for copying, and by many others, which was extraordinary, yet typical. Rather than just doing one copy, a number were made for other owners, as these TA/TB Tickford parts were just not available.
With the accumulation of all these bits and information, the decision to start the rebuild was made for me by TB0437 deciding that it needed a brake system overhaul. Although the original color was red, it was determined to do the coachwork in the MG Metallic Grey with black wings and guards, a black hood, grey liner and red interior. A conversation with Henry Stone at the 1987 National M.G. Meeting in Perth, Australia confirmed literature stating that the engine was black – not so, say respected other good folks?
The professional rebuild, I did only the teardown, chassis painting and running gear assembly, was completed in summer of 1990 in time for its debut at GOF Central, just previous to the August Pebble Beach Concours to which TB0437 was extended an invitation. Since, it has left wee oil markers at Meadowbrook Concours, many GOFs, the AACA Grand Nation Meeting and ran the course at Road America in the rain.
The early 1990s began an increased awareness and interest in the TA and TB Tickford models. A reunion of owners at the GOF in Plymouth, Massachusetts in June, 1995, drew five cars and some 20 owners. Another reunion in Wisconsin at GOF Central in 2003 collected five cars and another, perhaps 15 owners. The MG 2006 reunion gathering in Tennessee had two of the five TBs in North America and six TAs on the show field plus about two dozen owners without cars.
TB0437 and the TA and TB Tickford Registry List connection opened the Magic of M.G. for me as it brought me together with other owners of these elegant little motor cars. All over North America, Britain, Australia, Singapore and Germany, visits were met with graciousness and enthusiasm, just as now when contact is often by e-mail, the post or telephone. We owners have shared our knowledge and efforts, suffered and rejoiced together through each rebuild, and cherish and enjoy each opportunity to gather. These are special friends of mine now, who happen to own a TA or a TB Tickford.