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MG parts spares and accessories are available for MG T Series (TA, MG TB, MG TC, MG TD, MG TF), Magnette, MGA, Twin cam, MGB, MGBGT, MGC, MGC GT, MG Midget, Sprite and other MG models from British car spares company LBCarCo.

MG TD TF 1500 - Any information on Classic Auto LEDs?

I know there is periodic interest in LEDs for our cars. I just came across this company, which offers an LED stop light kit for positive and negative ground MGAs. I suspect they could produce a kit for T series cars, too.

Classic Auto LEDs

"The goal of Classic Auto LEDs is to design and manufacture LED tail lights, front parking/turn signal
lights, and side running lights for British, European, and Japanese classic/vintage cars. We can design and build LED lights for other cars, motorcycles, boats, etc. Call for details."

Phone: 541-619-8335
Albany, Oregon

Note the caveat: "An electronic flasher is needed to
make the LEDs work correctly. One can be purchased at any auto parts store."

Is anyone familiar with this company?

Larry Shoer

Interesting, however, from the web page:

"We use top of the line Hewlett Packard/Cree LEDs in all our tail light kits."

HP hasn't made any LEDs, nor had a subsidiary that has made them, for ~10 YEARS. If they are using stock from 10 years ago, the LEDs wouldn't be very good. Which might be why they are using so many of them... They probably need to update their home page text!

Next, they are using very large (I would say huge) arrays of LEDs. That is one way to go, but is expensive and requires very custom fitted assemblies. It probably also gives a much different look when lit. And, as you must know from looking at various vehicles on the road, one of those LEDs will burn out and then you get a "hole" in the array, which doesn't look very good. There are 252 total in the two midget taillight assemblies! I've already had a couple of LEDs fail in the HMSL of my Blazer, which is almost 15 years old. Believe me, it's very hard to match a replacement LED (color & brightness) when one burns out, unless you have one from the original assembly batch.

It would be much better to use 1-3 high-brightness LEDs for each bulb location, which can be mounted onto a 1156/1157-compatible socket which would simply replace a regular bulb, with a regulator inside the socket. At least that's the way I would do it.

I should probably add that I'm an EE and I have designed a number of LED caving lights over the years. And I work for HP...

I was going to do this project a few years ago but had some injuries and this went to the back burner... Perhaps I need to bring it back when I finish up the other car projects. I've also thought about buying a negative-ground replacement along the lines I've been describing, then disassembling it and rewiring it for positive ground.

Scott Linn

I have checked out and keep track of a couple of LED websites and am still looking for a reverse ground 1157 for my TD. Those multi light lights look good but cost a lot. Is there anyway to reverse the polarity on the light itself so that the 1157's that are out there work on our cars. I know I can reverse Polarity on the car itself, but prefer not to do that.
TRM Maine

Nominally, there are a couple of sources for 1157 positive ground LED units:


12V Positive earth
26MM x 44MM

New brighter version.

19 red LEDs facing rearward and 6 radially mounted white that give numberplate lighting and/or light up the whole of the lens



Not sure if this is another candidate:
Larry Shoer

Here is one in the US that has the 1157 for under $15. There are a number of companies on the web. Search LED tail light bulb.


The two links I provided are to positive earth (positive ground) 1157 units. These are very rare and not compatible with negative ground units.

Larry Shoer

Bruce, the site you show is great but I cant tell if the lights are POSITIVE ground or not. Have you bought them?
TRM Maine

really germaine to this thread, but I manufacture and sell an LED insert for D lamps used on TC's and Y types, also some other British cars. Email me if you have an interest.

Re, 1157 type LED replacements, in some applications you need lights that shine to the sides, LEDs shine straight back.....

Terry in Oakland
Terry Sanders

> Re, 1157 type LED replacements, in some applications you need lights that shine to the sides, LEDs shine straight back....

True regarding illuminating the sides, however not all LEDs just shine "straight back". For example here are Lamertian high-brightness LEDs that have at least a 150 degree emission pattern from a single LED.

Scott Linn

I'm not sure I understand either. I complained to the web-site contact that I couldn't read the black fonts on the dark green background.

He responded, asking how this could be changed; but when one checks the author of the code, it's his name. I haven't done any programming for 20 years but the site is using bone-standard Yahoo Site Builder (right click on the body of the web-page and select 'page info').

It isn't too difficult to change from #0000000 which is black to a much lighter colour.

The site author, and I presume the owner of Classic Auto LEDs, is:
Steve Kolseth

Anyway, I think Larry Shoer is on the right track.

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qu.
Gordon A Clark

Bruce just for your info. Recon lights are all negative ground LED and will not work in our cars as LED are polarity specific. They were nice folks when I called but could not help me. I have tried a lot of sites for P Ground LED's but so far no luck.
TRM Maine


"Unfortunately we cannot currently supply the 1157 bulbs in Positive Earth."

Aceparts Ltd
First Floor
11 Victoria Street


From Paul Goff:

"The Ledopto25RST is a 12V Positive earth stop/tail 1157.

I don't know specifically if any have been fitted to MG Ts, but as long as the original bulb faced rearwards they will be suitable.

If the bulbs point downwards, for example, then the LED Lightboard can be used.


2 x Ledopto25RST 25.90 + 3.00 airmail to US.
I can accept credit cards via Paypal (see & pay in GBP), Cheque on a British bank or cash, international money order or an electronic bank transfer in GBP , E mail me for my bank details. All payments made on non British cheques add 7.00 for bank charges."

62 Clare Rd.
Prestwood Bucks.
HP16 0NU
Telephone: 01494 868218
Larry Shoer

Thanks for the correction. I was thinking about my MGB which was converted to Neg ground.

So, why is it these are difficult to make work for Pos ground? Anyone like to give me a LED 101 lesson?

There isn't anything difficult to changing the polarity. It's just that the volume isn't there.

I'd imagine that distributor caps aren't rocket science either, but it seems there are lots of bad ones out there!
Scott Linn

After cruising the 'led info search' it seems that 'one bulb' can be used pos or just hook it up backwards to pos ground...However, most led lighting is a number of bulbs hooked up together soldered to some little 'board' and that is where the problem is?

A friend had pos ground bulbs 'made' for his TC about 5 years ago...not sure where?

Here are positive ground 6 volt led's: maybe a note to them could produce 12V ones?

(I like my regular old tungsten bulbs myself)

The "reflectors" near the top corners on a TF1500 are a great place to "hide" leds.
Still have the stock bulbs and nobody knows the leds are there until I hit the brakes or turn signals.
David Sheward

LEDs are different than normal bulbs. They are a diode with something like a 2V-3V voltage. Which means for voltages below that, there is little to no current flow. Above that, and the diode "turns on" and will take tons of current, to the point of blowing out if the current isn't controlled. So the current must be controlled by a series resistor.

You can put a number in series since the voltage is "around" 12V. So 5 LEDs with 2V forward voltage would be around 10V, and you would then have to drop 2V across a resistor. For 30mA, that would be 66 ohms. Note that the car battery voltage varies quite a bit however, which means that the brightness will change.

For more LEDs, you can add more in series/parallel fashion.

Another option is to provide a voltage source running off the 12V supply and generate current off of that. Yet another option is to have a current source that feeds the LEDs.

In an 1157 bulb, the socket is part of the connection (the "ground"). So in a negative ground LED replacement, the socket is (-) and the two connections are both (+). In a positive ground LED replacement, the socket is (+) and the two connections are (-). Depending on how the replacement bulb is made, this might require a very different implementation inside.

Scott Linn

One of the reasons I dont (reverse polarity) is that I have the pertronix ign. system and dont want to spend another 130 bucks to reverse that. Seems to me it would not be that hard for a manufacturer to just make a +ground LED light. there should be large market out there.
TRM Maine

Hi All,

I bought some 3W 1156/1157 LEDs to try out & see how they might be modified to positive ground.

I put the 1156 & 1157 in my Midget (negative ground), and compared to the original standard bulbs. The 3W LEDs are slightly brighter than standard bulbs but turn on much faster and the intensity of the red is really good. That was looking at them with the western sun blazing straight towards the rear of the Midget so it was pretty worst-case as far as evaluating the brightness. I've been running LEDs in my Midget for 9 years now (array of 19 LEDs in each 1156/1157 bulb). The new 3W LEDs are WAY brighter than the array of 19 from 9 years ago (not a surprise). With the sun shining and the original lower-power LEDs, you almost couldn't tell they were on...

Anyway, an 1156 bulb would be trivial to convert from negative ground to positive ground since there is only one path. But the TD doesn't use those in the rear. If anyone is interested in positive ground 1156 bulbs I could make some up.

The 1157 bulb is more complex. I tore one apart last night to examine the printed circuit board that is used for current/power regulation. I believe that I have a method to convert it over to positive ground without too much trouble. I'll be experimenting more with that this evening. The original design used two diodes to create an "OR" gate for the two (+) connections plus had another path for the brake brightness increase, which switched a separate transistor to boost the output current. The positive ground version will have to do something similar but different on the negative side since that is the side that is switched...

Is there anyone interested in such a bulb conversion? It is just a single 3W red LED that emits rearwards, however it does have a very wide emission pattern (>130 degrees) and is quite bright.

When I get a successful conversion I'll take pictures of the LED on one side of the TD and a regular 1157 on the other for comparison.

Scott Linn

let us know, a lot of intrest in this..
TRM Maine

I would buy a pair of positive grnd LED tailights for my 53 TD.
James Neel

I was searching through for information on what bulbs go in a TD and I found this thread in the archives. Interesting what people have done esp. with positive ground LEDs.

I did a fair amount of work on LEDs when building my diesel motorcycle, which put out far less power from the alternator than a standard engine, so I converted my system to LEDs (and a HID headlamp).

My experience to date is that there are very few good LEDs on the market. The commercial products almost without exception are not as bright as regular filament lamps. There are issues as well with voltage (high power LEDs require constant current which circuit protection) and directionality (few LEDs have the same lighting pattern as an incandescent), and finally heat - the high power LEDs that outperform traditional incandescents also require heat sinks to remove excess heat from the circuit board; and such sinks may well overheat in the lighting enclosures on our MGs.

The products generally available at auto stores (19 - 30 LED array bulbs) do not put out as much light as standard incandescents.

My experience with the ultra high power LEDs (3, 5, and now even 10 and 15W) bulbs is that they are expensive and temperamental; functional perhaps in a modern auto in a modern enclosure with carefully engineered venting; but unusable on an old vehicle with a housing designed without consideration of heat that is poorly sealed to boot.

What has worked for me is relatively inexpensive LED arrays. I built a 73LED tail lamp that used two 36LED boards and 1 1W downward facing SM (surface mount) LED
for license plate illumination and I have been very pleased with the result - much brighter, with more even illumination (the whole housing becomes a light source, rather than a point source) and with a wide arc of illumination.

In the two years I've had the lamp, not a single element has burned out. Naturally, eventually that will happen, but with LED lifespans in excess of 50000 hours, statistically it will happen less often than with incandescents; and then the entire unit can be replaced.

Costwise, whichever LED you choose to use will cost more than a conventional lamp, but it should outlast it by a large margin... either balancing out or making the LED more cost effective in the long run. is a good place to find out more.

And yes, all LEDs on turn signals will require an electronic flasher.

I believe that anyone replacing their turn signals and running lamps and brake lamps with LEDs would do well to convert to negative ground first - it will lower the cost as most modern LEDs are negative ground - and it will prevent costly replacements later should any part of the circuit short...

Geoff Baker

A follow-up to Terry Sander's comment above (Posted 03 August 2009 at 02:02:59).

I installed a set of these several years ago and took before and after photos...they can be seen at:

The link at the bottom of the page for Vintage LED doesn't work now so I don't know if they're in business or not...but both positive and negative light inserts are available from Terry.
Gene Gillam

This posting is a follow-up to my question:
"Is anyone familiar with [Classic Auto LEDs]?"
that I posted over a year ago.

I received an e-mail today from Mer Manson, who introduced himself and commented:


From: mer
Sent: Monday, October 11, 2010 12:01 AM
To: Larry Shoer
Subject: LEDs for T Series

Hello Larry

I was doing some searching, and ran into your post from last year:

I know there is periodic interest in LEDs for our cars. I just came across this company, which offers an LED stop light kit for positive and negative ground MGAs. I suspect they could produce a kit for T series cars, too.

Classic Auto LEDs

Is anyone familiar with this company?

The thread was closed and I wanted to share my recent experience with Classic Auto LEDsI have nothing but good things to say. Some history: Im in Olympia, WA and I have had my 1959 MGA coupe for 27 years; Ive been taking it to Keith Ansells Foreign Parts Positively (now in Brush Prairie, WA) for going on 25 years. This year I asked FPP to upgrade my car to Classic Auto LEDs from the existing bulbs, which theyve done on many of the LBCs they work on. Im negative ground; Keith changed my flasher unit to electronic, etc. We initially ran into some complications--my new LED taillights worked great, until the headlight/park lights were turned on. Keith works closely with Steve Kolseth of Classic Auto LEDs, so phone calls were made and answered immediately. We first switched out to another set of LEDsstarting with the easiest, most obvious fix first. When that didnt work, Keith and Steve started problem solving with phone consults. When the first round of ideas didnt fix the problem, Steve drove two hours up from Albany, OR to Foreign Parts Positively and spent time troubleshooting the system. It was quickly determined that the problem wasnt in the LED design, but was with my electrical systemI wasnt getting full voltage to the turn signals by the time power got back to the rear end. However, even though Steves LEDs had been cleared, Steve stayed and continued to troubleshoot, eventually tracing the problem forward to a volt drop across the fusebox. Steve removed the fuse, scraped 51 years of corrosion off the fuse holders, and guess what? Instant success.

Could you expect Steve to personally drive up and assist with LED installs? Probably notIm lucky to live nearby. Can you expect Steve to stand behind his product and offer support if you have problems with his LEDs? Id say definitely yes. He was a joy to work with, and suffered my many questions without complaint (my knowledge of electric circuitry is limitedhis patience is not). If you havent found LEDs for your T yet, I suggest contacting Steve to see if hes working on it, or to do a custom product for you.

Best wishes/Happy driving

Mer Manson
Larry Shoer

If somebody is motivated and lives near Steve Kolseth, Classic Auto LEDs, he may want to contact Steve and see if something can be developed for our T cars. I'm interested in this option, but live on the opposite coast.

Larry Shoer

Geoff Baker made me a pair of tailight LED's for my positive ground TD and so far they are very satisfactory. They are definitely brighter than the original setup which is exactly what I wanted.

James Neel TD28423

Thanks James,

I was going to email you and see how they are working! As my car hasn't moved out of the garage yet, I still haven't had the pleasure of showing them off on the road. Maybe by Christmas!

If anyone else is interested in some high-output LEDs to fit either round or square taillights, email me at geoffreybaker at I'll be happy to make more, but I'm not planning in going into business to produce them in volume.

If you do a search on LEDs on this forum you will find other threads discussing the issue and also photographs of my LEDs compared to the stock lighting. Here's a picture of my MG with left taillamp stock and right LED.

Geoff Baker

This thread was discussed between 31/07/2009 and 16/10/2010

MG TD TF 1500 index

This thread is from the archive. The Live MG TD TF 1500 BBS is active now.