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Homepage. This page: The story of a unique MG TD, reg. MNE 4, entered into the 1952 RAC International Rally of Great Britain.

MG TD of 1952.

Paul contacted me in 2010, regarding research he's doing into this history of his MG TD. This car was entered in the 1952 RAC International Rally of Great Britain. In that event, the MG sported a Manchester Wheelers' badge on the badge bar. He's keen to find a replacement, and as yet he doesn't know what it would have looked like. If anyone can help, please drop me a line and I'll pass the information on. Paul has been in touch with the Wheelers Club, as it still exists, but has yet to find the badge he's looking for.
Paul kindly put together a piece about his MG, and the car's first owner, Reg Harris, a National and International Sprint Cycle champion. The main photo, below, shows the TD on the 2010 Historic Rally Car Register's Daffodil Run, in the Forest of Dean, and also on the cover of an early MG book.
Photos of this 1952 MG TD sports car

The background to the MG's first owner.

"MNE 4 was built on 17 January 1952 for its owner, Reg Harris, a National and Internationally renowned Racing Cycle Champion, to compete in the Second RAC International Rally of Great Britain of 1952.
The MG's owner, Reg Harris
Reginald “Reg” Hargreaves Harris was born in Bury, Lancashire and won the world amateur sprint title in 1947, 2 Olympic Silver medals in 1948 and the professional title in 1949, 1950, 1951 and 1954. He was named Sportsman of the year in 1950 and was a household name during the 1950s.
Reg Harris, on turning professional, was employed by Raleigh and promoted their cycles as can be seen in contemporary advertising. Reg Harris became involved in motor sport in the 1950s. However, he realised that he had entered the sport at an age where he was unlikely to reach the very top and re-focused on his cycling career much to the relief of Raleigh’s managing director who considered motor sport dangerous. Reg Harris was awarded the OBE in 1958.

The 1952 MG TD and the RAC Rally.

MNE 4 is Stage 2 tuned and is currently producing 60bhp (standard TD - 54bhp). It incorporates a number of the features of the TD Mark II including twin fuel pumps, a 9/41 final drive ratio and Andrex friction dampers fitted to the front axle all of which were available as Optional Extras in even the earliest Factory brochures for the Midget Series “TD”.
MNE 4 was supplied by Hooley’s of Nottingham and is thought to have been paid for by Raleigh for Reg Harris. It carries a Manchester registration and is believed to have been prepared by Cockshoots of Manchester, a prestigious dealer in the Manchester area at the time.
The Second RAC International Rally of Great Britain commenced on 31 March 1952 in atrocious weather of snow and ice. There were 2 starting points in Hastings and Scarborough. MNE 4 started in Scarborough as indicated by its running number 167. The first special stage was at Silverstone and MNE 4 can be seen there on the Pathe News web site (Pathe link). Note its Raydyot pillar fitting spot light on the offside of the windscreen, a rear view mirror fitted to the offside wing and the Lucas SLR 700 spot light fitted to the badge bar. The badges displayed were the MG Car Club and the Manchester Wheelers Cycle Club, Reg Harris being a leading member of the Wheelers. The Rally included a night stage at Castle Combe circuit, dodging bollards at Blackpool and a hill climb at Oliver’s Mount before finishing at Scarborough on 2 April. No official overall winner was declared although, unofficially, A G Imhof’s Allard/Cadillac was classified as the winner.
MNE 4’s next 2 owners were from Nottingham and Derby before it was purchased by Brian Corbett, a farmer in Derbyshire, for £150 in 1964. Brian Corbett sold the TD to its most recent previous owner in 1969, one Harry “H” Crutchley.
“H” is well known in MG circles as he founded the MG Octagon Car Club the year he bought MNE 4. The MG Octagon Car Club, from its small beginnings in Staffordshire, now has worldwide membership and caters for pre ‘56 MGs in an effort to maintain and preserve the cars for which Abingdon was traditionally renowned.
MNE 4 was originally supplied in metallic Silver Streak Grey with red upholstery. It was completely restored in 1969 by Steve Baker and finished in Sun Bronze, a contemporary metallic TD colour introduced in 1951. It carries all its period features and is unusual in having the XPAG/TD2 eight inch clutch but the earlier oil pump and filter arrangement. It also carries its original features from its exploits in the 1952 RAC Rally."
Great story Paul, thanks for sending that over. If anyone can help with the search for a Manchester Wheelers' car badge, please let me know.
Visit the Your Classic Cars section at oldclassiccar for more owners' stories. Period photos of other MG TDs can be found here in the vintage photo gallery. Free ads for classic MG TD car parts are on this page.

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