My Classic Car: Jack’s 1954 MG TF-1500

My Classic Car: Jack’s 1954 MG TF-1500

When I was in junior high school, I read a Scholastic paperback called The Red Car by Don Stanford.

First love rediscovered: A 1954 MG-TF | Jack Long photos

First love rediscovered: A 1954 MG-TF | Jack Long photos

When I was in junior high school, I read a Scholastic paperback called The Red Car by Don Stanford. It told the story of a teenager in Colorado who bought a wrecked MG TC, rebuilt it with the help of a mysterious mechanic named Frenchy, and raced it in an early road race. I was very taken with that story and identified with the main character, Hap.

A few years later I started working after school for a car dealer who also had a storage garage. In that storage garage, covered with dust, sat a small red MG. I know now that that MG was a TF model, not a TC, but for me it was The Red Car incarnate.

I made every excuse I could find to cut through the storage garage, stare at it and imagine driving it down a twisty country road. In college I bought a very tired MGB, but had to discard it for a reliable car when life intervened.

When my kids were grown and gone, I indulged myself and bought a much better MGB, which I still have, but in my heart I still lusted after a TF like the one in the garage, and in 2013 I found her.

On the Dustoff rally

On the Dustoff rally

Her name is Harriet and she has quite a story of her own. She was built in Abingdon, England, on September 22-23, 1954, and was sold new in San Francisco. She spent much of her life on Alameda Island where she was a prized and pampered toy. In 1990 she returned to the land of her birth on the New England MG T Register “Circuit of Britain” and spent three weeks touring England and Scotland. She went to live in Sacramento in the late 1990s and then on to Alabama when her owner retired. And that is where I found her.

She has been restored a couple of times and is still in excellent cosmetic and mechanical shape. She is driven regularly on tours, rallies and to shows and last summer she made the trek to Watkins Glen, New York for the Vintage Grand Prix, driving up and back from Baltimore without missing a beat.

Most recently, Harriet won the vintage class for the second year running in the annual Get The Dust Off road rally. And every time I look in my garage she makes me smile.

— Jack Long, Forest Hill MD

On the Dustoff rally

On the Dustoff rally

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