Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith

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Lot 134

1938 MG TA Tickford Drophead Coupe by Salmons & Sons

  • Chassis no. TA/2736

Sold for $85,250


52.4 bhp, 1,292 cc OHV inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, front and rear sliding trunnion suspension, and Lockheed four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94 in.

  • Very rare coachbuilt TA; one of about 260 made
  • High-quality restoration by marque specialist
  • Wonderful color scheme and presentation
  • Among the finest examples available


As 1938 dawned, The Motor magazine observed that MG was suffering “the perilous inheritance of an honored name.” TA Midgets were being overshadowed, as the company moved ever up-market with larger sedans and tourers, with ever-larger, more powerful engines.

Meanwhile, The Autocar heralded the arrival of a new TA, one considerably more sophisticated than the Midget roadster: a three-position drophead coupe, which bridged the gap between the two-seater and the large four-passenger VA series. The drophead coupe’s bodywork was built by the famous old coachbuilder Salmons & Sons under their new name of Tickford, and it featured such niceties as wind-up windows, a fixed windshield that could open for ventilation, and a three-position insulated convertible top. It also featured an adjustable telescopic steering wheel, while its semaphore trafficators notified other drivers of changes in direction when the windows were raised.

Some 260 Tickford drophead coupes were produced before World War II, and experts believe that about half that number remain in existence.

The excellent example offered here was reportedly the subject of a seven-year restoration effort, completed in 1994, by MG expert Gene Roth. Mr. Roth retained all original and restorable mechanical and body components, to assure authenticity, aside from the engine block, which was replaced in England. The interior was restored in walnut, leather, and Wilton wool carpeting, as original, and the body finished in black, accentuating both the beautiful lines and the quality of the body panels. The brightwork is triple-plated chrome, including the wire wheels. The car retains a correct and complete tool set, including a jack and wheel hammer, and its finishes remain beautifully preserved throughout, with little or no signs of wear and use, aside from a few tiny minor paint chips. The odometer had ticked over only 287 miles, since restoration, at the time of cataloguing.

Certainly one of the highest-quality restored Tickfords to be offered in recent years, this car has been a great favorite within the Smith Collection, and it takes only one glance to know why. It has charm and elegance in equal measure, just as its coachbuilders intended!

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

Cameron Smyth

csmyth@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more