Lisa Beauchamp

Me and My Vintage Car: Keith Munro

Local car enthusiast and member of the Guernsey Old Car Club, Keith Munro, shares with Sure his story about how he became the owner of a 1949 MG TC. Some may say restoring vintage cars is a labour of love and money pit, but after 48 years of ownership, Keith is proud of his accomplishments in keeping this beautiful mechanical piece of history in working order.

In Keith’s own words:

“Whilst going through some old papers in March 2012 I came across these notes scribbled on five sheets of writing paper. The reference to ‘five years ago’ leads me to believe I wrote this in 1976 in Guernsey, as I bought the car in 1971.

In the beginning.

It wasn’t going to be an MG. My father in law owned an Austin Retail Agency so it was thought that an Austin 7 or similar would be appropriate. About that time an acquaintance mentioned a friend who wanted to sell his ‘old MG.’ It was suffering from an oil leak that two engine removals and ‘messing’ with the crank had failed to cure. A price was mention that did not seem too bad, so equipped with another friend who was already the owner of a very early ’46 TC and who had graduated from a P-type vis A’s and B’s we went to view. Well, she was no concours entrant but it all seemed to be there, and it was being used daily as and when oil leaks permitted.

One snag was that the current owner had concluded that the asking price was a little low by current standards (this was 1971) and had upped the price by £75 (!), only slightly less than my friend had paid for his cosmetically better, but slightly less bodily sound version.

So, a deal was concluded at £275 and I was the proud owner of a 1949 TC fitted with 16” wheels all round and a ‘stage two’ modified head. The first thing was to join The Club (MG Car Club), what else?

My first car ever was a 1931 Morris Minor Tourer which could conceivably be called a distant relation to an MG M Type. Although mine had a (luke) warmed – up side-valve motor it could not be classed as a sports car. 

I had never owned a sports car before much less an MG. In fact, a 100E Ford Pop, a convertible Herald and an Austin Mini Cooper (998c.c.) covered my ownership at that time. 

It was soon obvious that the previous owner had not solved the oil leak problem (but then does any T Type owner?) Oil was disposed of at an alarming rate. I say ‘disposed’ advisedly as it certainly was not burning it but proceeded to disgrace itself with a large puddle at every stop. They all said, ‘It’s yer rear oil thrower’, and it was. One more engine out revealed very little scroll on the said thrower.

Now although I am intensely interested in cars, my mechanical ability definitely does not match my enthusiasm. So, then began the saga of ‘friends and acquaintances in the trade.’ There was also my wife who though herself was ‘in the trade’ did not regard ‘old cars’ with great enthusiasm, in fact there are still times etc., but having got the car to her workshop with the engine out (all my own work) she probably deemed it prudent to let the boys work on it in odd spare moments, if only to get rid of it all the quicker. In the event, all the quicker took the best part of two years. It became a question of ‘while that is out, we may as well do this and that and the other’ (ad nauseum).

The whole thing became a “re-job: rewire, reupholster, respray, re-chrome and re-your overdue account!”


Note: Keith still owns the car 48 years later and he did eventually cure “The Leak”, but according to him, that’s another story!

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