Behind the Wheel: Roadster helped fuel Americans’ love of sports cars

By: Jennifer Sigouin | C&G Newspapers | Published August 1, 2017

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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When it comes to driving simply for the fun of it, many car enthusiasts turn to modern-day sports cars, but for Jon Albert, of Bloomfield Hills, nothing beats the driving experience of the 1940s.

Albert owns a 1946 MG TC roadster, the third model in the “T” series manufactured by the MG Car Co. in England. It’s a car that Albert has had his eye on since he was a kid, and now that he has one, he takes it out on the road “for the sheer enjoyment of driving.”

“I have owned other sports cars, including a Ferrari and an Alfa Romeo, but the MG is by far the most visceral, fun car to drive of any of the cars I have had,” he said.

By 2017 standards, the MG TC roadster might not look like it was built for speed and performance, but Albert noted that the car helped pave the way for the development of sports cars as we know them today.

“The MG TC was the car that introduced America to the concept of the sports car immediately after World War II, when U.S. airmen stationed on English airbases shipped them home after experiencing them there,” he explained. “The first Corvette and two-seat Thunderbird were a direct response by GM and Ford to the MG’s popularity.”

Albert noted that all of the TC models were right-hand drive, and the earliest cars were all black. His MG TC is also one of the first 200 cars built right after WWII.

Albert recently purchased the car from Ann Arbor resident Dick Bremer, a former GM executive who brought the car to the U.S. from England in the late 1980s. Albert said that Bremer took the car apart and completely restored it, and then Bremer and his wife took it on a 2,000-mile MG club road trip, as well as on numerous trips throughout Michigan.

But eventually the car was put into storage, where it sat for the past several years. Then a mutual friend introduced Bremer to Albert, who agreed to purchase it. Bremer didn’t pass the torch to Albert right away, though.

“He sold me the car, then spent five days of his own time working with me on the car at his barn, showing me how to rebuild brake cylinders, change the oil and flush the cooling system,” Albert said. “I think the time spent with me getting it back on the road allowed him to confirm that I was qualified to be its next owner, not unlike a father giving his daughter away to a suitor.”

As the MG TC’s new owner, Albert said he is thoroughly enjoying the 1946 sports car experience. He noted that the car is best suited for two-lane roads — its top speed is about 65 mph — and wherever he takes it, he gets “thumbs-up, friendly honks and compliments.”

“Part of its appeal is that it feels like you’re going much faster than you really are, which has to do with its mechanical feel, how open it is, how it sounds and the engagement it requires of the driver,” Albert explained. “As my wife, Jan, commented after her first ride, ‘This isn’t a car for sissies!’”


Do you own a vehicle that has an interesting history or a special meaning to you? Contact Staff Writer Jennifer Sigouin at jsigouin@candgnews.com, and you could be featured in an upcoming edition of Behind the Wheel.

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