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MG TD TF 1500 - '53 For sale, advice please

I've been looking for the right '54TF for a while , but just came across this TD that is not too far from my home. I was wondering what you think. It's a 2 hour drive, so depending on the feedback from here I may go have a look on Wednesday.
Any advice on what should absolutly scare me away.
I currently have a '72 midget that IU've restored into a real dependable, if not 100% original.

Thanks, Phil

Looks like it's been in a serious FIRE. look at pictures under the bonnet. Also painted over fender piping. I would pass on this one.
Bob Wrenn

Phil, I don't think it has been in a fire. If the wood is solid, I think it is just years of grime on it that makes it look darker, and the underside wood that was exposed was often sprayed along with the rest of the body. Given the very darkness of the pictures under the running boards, etc. I think the car was originally black, and treated to a quick color change. Some of the exposed underside parts may have been treated with black paint to hide surface rust, too.

They probably didn't take the interior out for paint as it looks like an old AMCO interior, which were all black as well. (The T-Series never got a black interior from the factory, but it became popular in the 60s to put one in, and they all came in black because new MGs were getting black interiors and you only had to after market manufacture one color). AMCO hasn't been available for years, so it probably isn't a kit someone recently found. A lot of folks installed them with screws; what you were supposed to do is use the black hidem to set in nail heads. An AMCO door panel is a work of art though, plenty of stretch in the pocket area.

The engine compartment does show a ton of neglect, but it says there are some 'newish' parts there. He probably would have been better served to 'gunk' the entire compartment and then spray it off instead of just wiping it with a rag. That much oil says neglect, or new seals, or both!

The snaps on the tonneau cover are hideous, as is the stecil on the spare tire cover.

All in all, probably a serviceable car needing a lot of maintenance and whatnot to bring it to a more presentable level. However, if one could get it for under $8K and drive it as is, fixing as you go, it might be a good buy. If the wood is shot, plan on starting over from the ground up. Check under the car, in the tub rails, and forward where the wood hoops come down between the tub and the firewall. If those are in good shape, the rest of the car is probably solid. I would bid on it if I were looking for my first T-Series and wanted something I could work on and drive at the same time. Good luck!

Dave Braun

IMHO If I were going to look at this one I would definetly take a compression meter with me. Engine bay is kind of scary. Check front & rear seals with dilagence. I would ask some questions about the engine and it's "history". Wonder what they were towing with this? Cost of rebuilding motor should be something you keep well in mind.
If you are not doing it youself plan on throwing at least $5k> at it very soon to have that done so keep that in mind when/if you bid!
David 55 TF1500 #7427
David Sheward

Phil, looks like a typical 70s restoration- interior very much like my old black Amco, if not one. Looks like most of the original parts are there (except air cleaner). If it ran well you could just drive it like this. Cost a fortune to restore. George
George Butz


I have had a good look at the pictures and have noticed two details that leave a question about the information contain in the offer for sale.
[1] The windscreen is from an earlier TD, as the wiper motor is located on the right hand side.
[2] The chrome head lamps were discontinued on the TD in the early 52 model. The later 52 model had head lamps painted the same colour as the car.

With the experience you had with your 72 Midget, you should be able to establish how sound the car may be. They are fun to drive and the mechanics are not overly involved. Good luck in your search.

George Raham
TD 4224
G. L. Raham

George R, good eye. There is also some kind of a mutant wiper connector bar. Definitely the early style wiper motor mount. I looked at the headlights again- the chrome rim seems too wide, and the buckets not pointy enough, so maybe not original Lucas headlamps? Anyone else see this? George
George Butz

I knew I could count on you all. Thanks for critiquing this car for me.
I'll pass on this one and keep my eyes open for what I realy want.
It's amazing how much knowledge we have on this site and how willing we are to share and help each other.
Thanks again, Phil

He just put the 'buy it now' to $11,500 ....not a bad price to start out with?

The windshield frame is for an earlier TD. This one should have a center mount windscreen wiper.
Jim Merz

George is right; typical '70's restoration. These were just cheap old cars back then. There was alot of cheap aftermarket interior kits (Amco, J C Whitney), as well as Earl Scheibe paintjobs, etc. Also alot of bastardization from junk yards.
Also, Are you sure that there are enough of the worst looking tonneau snaps on this car? That tonneau probably could have withstood huricane Andrew!
Not only is the welting painted body color, which might not be a bad thing if it was painted seperately with a plasticizer mixed in to the paint, but the rubber between the fenders and the running boards are painted over-also the side curtain sockets. This makes me think that it was painted all together with one of the aforementioned Earl Sheibe enamal specials. I think that they ran about $79.00 in the seventies.
I agree the headlamps probably are not origional and I'm wondering about the radiator shell as well. The grill slats should not be plated, unless it is a well hidden Mark II (I don't see Andrex shocks or a right side bonnet bulge)-afterall, the seller does call it "One of the last and rarest of the TD models "...I wonder what he meant by that??!!
Anyway, he does represent it as a driver, and it probably would be a decent purchase for 7 or 8 Thousand-As long as no one thinks that they will save money or effort restoring this car. When you start with a basket case, you can usually spot its faults and you don't have to undue someone else's sloppy work.
Steven Tobias

Grill is not original. Never had chrome on any TD but the MK II. Grills were easy to ding up though, so a replacement is not unusual. Windshield is an interesting issue. Early TD. Headlights would not have been chrome.

Fire wall is black, so car was probably not taken apart when the repainted it. Probably was black. Black interior is not original as mentioned.

I would also say that is an AAMCO kit They wear like iron. Mine has been in the car since I got it in 1974. Can't say when it was installed, but it is still in great shape.

With the exception of the engine compartment (mine is very nice), the car looks to be in about as good shape as mine. If the engine checked out ok, would probably be a nice one to just drive.

How serious is your quest for a TF?
Some years ago I was "run-down" by a neighbor that had a TF "basketcase" is search of "what is correct" to finish the project he had started. He seamed to have most of "the pieces" but having purchased as basket case was somewhat lost as to getting it back together. Haven't been by there in a few years but I could check for you if interested. (legal disclaimer: I have no intrest as far as commision or profit). Most of the work I saw had been done to a fairly high standard, but he seemed to have a lot of other projects going on as well and this one seemed to be on the back burner. Let me know if you want to hook up with him and I'll swing by and see what happened to this project. Again, I have no intrest far as profit ...but was on a " Quest" for a TF myself years ago, so I DO know what that is like!
David TF1500 #7427
David Sheward

Thanks for the offer. I think I'd need to find something closer and possibly running as restoration/ assembely time is probably a while off.
My Midget needs attention, and I'm in school full time (at 55 yrs.), so the better half would kill me for buying an unassembled car.


Got ya. I am by no means "an expert"...but do consider myself an avid "student" of the TF series. If you come across something in this area would be happy to look it over for you. I should swing by and see how he is doing with that one anyway...haven't seen him for a couple of years he might have it done by now! Last time I saw it was sitting sideways in the back of a 2 car garage, blocked in by a Lotus & a Jenson.
Cheers and best of luck with the search!
David 55 TF1500 #7427
David Sheward

This thread was discussed between 25/05/2009 and 29/05/2009

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