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MG TD TF 1500 - concours judging

Boris asked about improvements and concours judging in another thread, it was such a cool question, I decided to start a new thread.

My two cents, if I were judging. My car has taken third the past two years at the GOF central (popular vote, but by knowledgeable folk) I offer this only to support my arguments here. However, with 13,000 miles on him, Tommy is probably past his judging prime.

Anything that is hidden from view, or impossible to determine without a measuring tape is fair game to be installed in our cars. Examples:

More Carpet padding
Insulation in the door panels or behind the side panels
4.3:1 rear ends (or other ratio change)
Engine horsepower modifications (cams, pistons, head mods)
Hidden LED brake lights
pertronix (not for me, but hey)
Dave DuBois fuel pump improvements
Bob Jeffers' regulator improvements

Anything that is period correct without changing the character of the car or are removable is also OK. Examples:

Wood steering wheels (guilty)
Aluminum rocker covers or side covers (guilty)
Wind wings (guilty)
Lucas Wing mirrors (guilty)
Badgebars with period lights
Luggage racks (guilty)
Combined oil P / Water temp gauges on cars not so originally equipped
Turn Signals if installed with proper accessories (guilty)
Seat Belts (if desired, I skip them)
Seat armrests
Radios (period correct!)
Snaps for access at the rear of the hood instead of screws (guilty)
Full tonneau covers
Removable LED brake light bars
Fuzzy Dice
Dave DuBois brake light relay (guilty)
Oil Filter adapters but have the decency to paint your filter ;)

Anything that is period correct (five years) but does change the character of the car is suspect:

Wire wheels
Wood dash panels
Non-standard hood colors
Non-standard paint colors
Shiny black paint on chassis/under bonnet finishes
Bright metal on non-bright parts (even on the suspension, like the bronze steering knuckles)

Anything that is post-period and visible should be avoided:

MGB or MGA brake systems
MGB or MBA engines and drivelines
Other engines and drivelines, including 5 speed gearboxes
MGB fans
Oil catches under the engine or heat shields around the muffler
Anti-roll bar systems (guilty)
Replacement parts that can be spotted such as the Spridget generator with spade connectors (guilty)
Door locking/latching mechanisms
Relays, even hidden under the dash panel
Fuses, even hidden under the dash panel (guilty)
Plastic wire harnesses

Things that should make a list but are impossible (almost) to avoid:

Halogen lights (guilty)
Radial Tires (guilty)
Clear Coat paints (guilty- just don't buff the snot out of it)

Well there it is. This is probably one of my most controversial posts. Have fun and fire away!


Dave Braun

I think the biggest turn off for me is replacement engines. Sometimes it has to be done to salvage the car but it's a deal killer for me. Any modifications done with "period pieces" in mind and good taste are ok by me . Obviously on the TF I'm not close to 100 point.

Wrong color, wrong steering wheel, valve cover, tappet cover, super charger, 5 speed tranny, MGB sway bar, radial tires, Pertronix, safety door catch's, full tonneau and hood in stay fast material, chrome wire wheels, Sprite generator I bought at the GOF, polished brass. It all works for me but no way would I show it in a concours event. The TD on the other hand I tried to keep bone stock but still a lot wrong. Clear coat black with biscuit interior which is wrong for 52, Moss replacement steering wheel with no marbling, radial tires, powdercoated wheels, large MG MKII badge on the spare, wood dash, replacement handbrake cables, modern heater, safety door latch's, full tonneau in stayfast. So I guess it's not going to the concours arena either but I think it gives a good representaion of what the car drove like when it came out of the show room. I'd rather drive the TF any day of the week.

I hate the butcher jobs, like Facet pumps hanging lose loose cut into a fuel line. Odd ball rattle can engine colors. butchered wiring.

Just my two cents.

It also depends what venue/orgainization is doing the judging, as well as the MG-specific knowlege of the judges. Some things such as "original" tyres are just not possible. The last time my car was in a concours (Lake Mirror Classic, foreign sports cars class), the judges kept asking me if this or that was correct, and then went over to ask the local nationally known british car restoration guy if what I said was right. They did notice the leather wrapped steering wheel and the Michelins. They did not notice the carefully hidden Pertronix, the Moss forged crank, etc., etc. A beautiful Healy won the class that day. My non-original Seabrook wooden dash is one of the most admired parts of my TD when at any show- no way I would go back to the original! Same with the tires- no way I would go back to bias ply even if they were available. So I vote for doing whatever you want! The car will make everyone smile when you are out driving. George
George Butz

LaVerne, I'm with you on Butcher Jobs, and I've seen some dusies.

George, I agree with you 100% on the doing what you want. But Boris' question dealt specifically with what a concours judge might pick at. So I offered up my list and thoughts in that vein. I bet your concours experience was very interesting.

Thanks to both of you for what you contribute to our hobby.

Dave Braun

I have only been to a half dozen GOF's and have yet to see a "concourse" judging. Almost all of them are by popular vote. Most of our cars are not going to go to Pebble Beach, Amelia Island or others anyway.
Ours are mostly drivers, nice and some great cars out there but still drivers. Some of the Triple M cars are built to be concourse and are trailer queens and maybe the folks look at them differntly but I dont think so from the judging I have seen. To each his own is one moto that goes with our type of cars. Drive em, enjoy em and pass them on.
Tom Maine (TD8105)

Frankly, I would hate to see the MG world go the way of Jaguars-- where Concours is so heavily emphasized and has become almost the sole focus. Sort of goes against the grain of the spirit of MG, IMHO.

A question just out of curiosity, though: Why would you put insulation in the doors and/or side panels? Are you talking a Dynamat or something else? I'd like to know if I should add it to my list of things to do on my TD restoration.

There are a LOT more things that could be considered "period correct" if you want to go that way, though. Bobbed and cycle fenders and two-toned paint jobs predominate in a period car mag that I have. I think if you go down the Concours road you're going to have to stick to "factory," although that is going to create debates. You should have seen the flurry of argument in the Jaguar Journal over the proper color of the prop rod on an XK120 (groan)!!
David Littlefield

Great comment Dave. That is the way I feel to. I see people nitpicking this and that not being(stock). As long as someone enjoys the car, what the hey.. I have a lot of non stock items on my car, ie:wire wheels, signals that were not stock and of course radial tires and MGA disc brakes. love them all. The only thing I really miss is my Judson Supercharger now that I have the Moss crank and pistons and rods to match.
Tom Maine (TD8105)

David, have you ever seen the discussion of the routing of the carburetor over flow pipes here? Might put your Jaguar group to shame. LOL

I'll repeat, the questions offered by Boris was regarding the affect of interior sound and heat modifications on concours judging. Tom is correct, as I stated the GOF is popular vote, but at least by people who know what they are looking for.

Regarding insulation in the doors and panels, you cna go to my website and check it out. Just visit the interior protion of the restoration. I've had my TD in my garage since 1979, buying it outright in 1987. I got to know the car pretty well, and eventually became my own PO (sometimes DPO!). I always felt the car sounded 'tinny' when shutting the doors or going over a rough patch in the road, and I decided that adding some material to the panels and doors would muffle and stiffen them. I was right. Beyound that, it doesn't do much for heat, etc. but on our 2700 mile trip around the Great Lakes this summer, Diane and I were pretty comfortable.

Dave Braun

....ok.... concours judging.... arrgghh!!!!

I can think of absolutely nothing more boring then a row of 'concours' restored T cars.... good God... they have no personality at all.... like a row of IBM executives all in the same suit...!!!
A car didn't get interesting until it left the showroom.... come on, you remember... you bought your MG and went straight over to the accessories counter.... you couldn't afford a wood wheel, so you bought a wood gearshift knob....then the wheel came later.... the engine stuff was added, along with a few dings and scratches.... and slowly the car gained it's own character....

Nope... concours is such a waste.... give your car a it, drive it, drive it.....
gblawson(gordon- TD27667)

Dave, I had to laugh about you bening the DPO comment. Since dad bought the TD in 1972, I was the only one to work on it. Of course I was only 14 years old! You wouldn't belive the stuff I had butchered up over the years. Hey Gordon, to each his own. Last week at the local cruise-in, there were about 130 cars there- from the 30s, a factory painted Delorean, drag cars, 700HP Mustangs, a totally cool "Tames" (English Ford) panel van hot rod, a one owner pristine '73ish Toyota Celica- you name it. My "boring" concours TD won car of the month. The participants/ judges evidently didn't think it was boring. Spectators were facinated with all the chrome, the underhood brass, the tool kit, and the real car guys and gals raved about the quaility of my long and difficult restoration. The guy next to me with the giga-horsepower Buick that ran on "Pinks" a while ago bugged me to come to his car show near Tampa next month he though the TD was so cool. Guess about everyone else but you seems to think a concours TD has plenty of personality. George
George Butz

Since my restoration was completed 14 years ago, I have had my TD in 4 car shows, none of which would come close to a concours type of show. The car has won 4 "Peoples Choice Awards" in the shows. If my car was entered in a "concours" show, it would not be in contention in any way. Over the years, I have made changes that have improved the performance and the looks, to my liking. The changes have not altered the over all appearence on the car, but according to the reaction of the spectators at the shows, the car has created a lot of interest. There is always a lot of people around it when it is on display. Little kids seems to be very interested in looking, and just have to touch it. Lots of little finger prints to be removed when I get home. Kids know "Eye Candy" when they see it. As Gordon L. says, "Concours... aarrgghh!!!!!

George Raham [TD4224]

You are again "SPOT ON"!!!!!
>>>and slowly the car gained it's own character....<<

Steve Wincze

Dave I guess we opened a Pandora box. Here are my thoughts. I got my car 2 years ago from a guy in Virginia. The car was burned and sitting exposed to elements for few years. (I am in California). It was wreck. At the beginning of restoration the Car (affectionately called by me”BG” -Boris Garage not Morris) today regained his rightful name MG TF. When I started it was beyond restoration, most friends though that I was out of my mind (photo attached)... All the wood was gone, the sheet metal was rusted, the nuts and bolts were welded together; the only dissent or repairable parts was the engine, the frame and the drive train.

Anyway this prelude to justify my action. 70% of bolts and nuts were not salvageable.
I had to use modern ones. All wood had to be replaced. 50% of the sheet metal was replaced with old new stock or salvaged from other cars. As a result some parts, specifically the nuts and bolts are shiny and not black phosphate, and there are some parts that, sorry to say it, repro from Moss. I am trying to keep correct color theme throughout entire car and keep as much original as I can but sometimes it is not possible.

To summarize my choices, they were either to rebuild and preserve everything that can be preserve or abandon. I chose to rebuild and preserve. Hope that fellow enthusiast will not be hard on my Car for using modern hardware here and there.


B Gruzman

Boris... you are a brave, brave man....well done indeed....!!! New photos?
gblawson(gordon- TD27667)


My compliments to you for what you are doing to bring a great MG back from the scrap heap. Your effort will be very rewarding when you get behind the wheel and drive it.

George Raham [TD4224]

I occasionally see the word 'Concourse'. In automobile parlance, there is no such word. The word does exist but it refers to something the train stops beside. - look it up.

The familiar Concours, is of course French and is a contraction of 'Concours d'Ēlegance' and directly translated means 'Competition of Elegacnce", and has descended from displays of horses in the 1800s, as has a similar application of the word 'paddock' to motor races.

As for its application to our car displays, it depends on what the judges agree is elemental - beauty or originality, but certainly not both - no never!

I see now at the big shows like Meadowbrook, Pebble Beach, Amelia Island, etc, that non-original chrome wires are now acceptable - disgusting, IMHO. Imagine a Bucciali Flèche d'Or with chromed wires. Unfortunately it HAS happened. Again, IMHO nothing can ruin the elegance of a TC more, than 19" chrome wire wheels!

And as for Concours judges walking around with white gloves, with some flunkie tagging along behind, carrying a box of fresh, cleans ones - again, disgusting!

And to sound quite anti-snobbish, as for the "ladies and gentlemen" (and I use the term loosely) who bring their grossly over-restored vehicles in hermetically-sealed bags the these high-class events, well, that's another topic entirely. And to think I used to go to Pebble Beach - I drove my TF there, and they "had no class for my car".

My TF is totally original including paint and interior and has at least 350,000 miles on it - all by me. I doubt my car would even be let on to the parking lot of any fancy show. But I don't give a s--t. I'm the one it has to please; and what's more, I got it there by driving it - all, the way!

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.
Gordon A Clark

Latest photo, I am almost on finish line...Will keep you posted...


B Gruzman

One more thought, I am not about "Concourse" I am about resorting MG to it most original formal glory and then drive it. I am about to keep it as original as I can. As for chrome and other beatifications and "updates" it is matter of preferences but I will try to keep it most original WORKING machine that I believe will look and perform good...I do share Gordon view on some stuff, many Concourses become exhibition of most expensive and over restore multimillion dollar cars for famous. But Concourse should be place for enthusiasts to meet and reflect...

Let's keep them on the road forever!

B Gruzman

Tell me thats not what I think it is sitting to the left of the TF Boris.

That looks too be an E type?
gblawson(gordon- TD27667)

'Concours d'Ēlegance' referred to a competition mainly amongst custom coachbuilders, hence no production car would even be considered, and nothing in period could possibly be taken as disqualifying. Quite possibly anything that some genius might have made at the time should also be taken as appropriate. So, modified cars might well win the show, but "original" mass production cars are out.

If a group wants to define a competition under some set of rules, fine, but let's call it whatever those rules define, instead of appropriating an old term that might still be taken as useful. The term 'Concours d'Ēlegance' in fact specifically includes originality of design, quality of materials and construction, and taste, all of which rule out mass production cars.

"nothing more boring then a row of 'concours' restored T cars"... How about two miles of Madel A Fords, differing only in year and lined up that way?
I appreciate a well restored to "original" car - but it is NOT original although it might be historically accurate, more so a real original car even if not so spiffy, a well used driver, hot rods, race cars, and mad fantasies. If it is not to my taste (or exhibits NO taste!), I just keep walkin' once I quit laughin'.

I once attended an AC Owner's Club meet, got laughed at for my Aceca-Cobra daily driver that was in the middle of a 2700 mile camping trip, and did not get thanked for helping push the glorious but no-run B-of-Show Ace-Bristol back into its trailer; nor did the owner (and other dilettantes) of same appreciate my comments re using rather grossly heavy ex-Wisconsin industrial valves in a Bristol engine because they were too lazy or too dumb to fit new valve guides. He didn't seem to appreciate the concept of shifting the Bristol at the factory redline or the 9000rpm plus that you might get from a modified one.

Good job Boris, drive it a lot and wear it out!

FR Millmore

Thats what I was seeing Gordon... Now I'm really jealous.


I don't know if you're jerking my chain, but in case you missed my point, the word "concourse" has nothing to do with cars and refers to a railroad station according to my Funk & Wagnalls.

Your TF looks glorious. Nice to see a T-Series restored to original, especially the colour.

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.
Gordon A Clark

Sorry LaVerne, I know probably it was opportunistic of me to allow 1/16 of E-type get into camera view. My sincere apology for it... I will take my chance and will let you know that my next projects will be E-type follow by TR. It was one of very early E, to be exactly #173. However I do promise that I will never again let any photos or single word snick into this distinguish MG form. Once again no disrespect intended it was my mistake. My compliments to those of you who was able to identify it correctly.

Gordon, English is not my native language as you my deduce. Little goofs are permissible not only in pictures is in it? Thank you for compliments on my restoration.

B Gruzman

Boris... don't hesitate to post a more complete photo of the E.... back in the day there was a hierarchy in the sports car world about who waved first.... Jag E types certainly didn't have to initiate the wave.......

and don't worry about posting off T topic.... do it all the time.....

gblawson(gordon- TD27667)

I hope that was tounge in cheek Boris. I'd love to see more pictures of the Jag. Best looking car ever mass produced. Pure sex, and by the way the TF looks fantastic.

Gordon, I dont know about a hierarchy waving to whom, but in the Corvette world, the wave is practiced often especially by drivers of the C1-C4 owners. My other car is a Corvette by the way. Of course, all MG owners wave when seeing one another. At least in our area even if we dont know the car.

Tom Maine (TD8105)

OK, if we can post pictures of Jaguars, how 'bout one of mine?

This is my, my lovely bride, and my '61 E-Type at the Hilton Head Concours a week ago. I'm disappointed to learn that we and our compatriots are something less than ladies and gentlemen for attending and showing our cars. We certainly didn't intend to disgust anyone by our presence and participation.

We didn't win anything (my car is more of a driver than a show car), but we had a wonderful time meeting some fellow enthusiasts and seeing lots of very cool cars.

I think you'll find that anti-snobbery is really just snobbery in self-righteous disguise.

Oh, and I love driving my rather tatty MGA almost every weekend when I'm not working on restoring my TD, just in case MG content is required.

David Littlefield

I'll save you some frustration David. I'll trade you straight up for my TD I just finished, for your Jag.

Hi David, I'm with you. I was very disappointed by some of the comments above (Gordon L in particular). For years this group has been postitive and helpful to everyone with any T-series question. I was frankly insulted with his comments about my concours qualilty TD being boring. In fact, the whole tone of the following was pretty much slamming and ugly toward the whole concours thing. Typical of the faceless internet. I have some close friends that show cars in some of these high end circles and I don't think they would appreciate the insults either. As I said above, to each his/her own. That is what makes this country and the world great. May be time to move on from this board if the trash continues. Your Jag is beautiful! George
George Butz

I am good sport and certainly will be more that happy to share photos of my next project. This one was of very early E-type production. Jag's aficionados will appreciate a bit rusted but very complete car with outside bonnet locks, welded louvers, flat floor and serial #85173. I will try to complete it for 50th anniversary of E but will not compromise any originality or quality of restoration.


B Gruzman

I was showing the reciently finished TD this summer, and was told that the red rims were not original. I gave the judges pictures of the car from 1955, then showed them magazine artlcles and covers featuring the car, with the red wheels. I explained that I restored the car as it was for all but a few months of its life, not how it left the factory. Because of the red on the wheels I lost points.
Everybody had the right to restore their car to what they want to. There is a great deal of debate as to what is "proper" in a restoration. When a car has been carefully taken apart and restored it is no longer a production automobile, but rather a hand crafted machine. The debate continues.
D. Sander

George..i'm so sorry if I offended... I just really feel the concourse thing has really gotten out of hand... first of all there are very few people out there who are actually qualified to judge an MGT car and how it came off the 'line'... we have all found that Abingdon was making do most of the time just to get the cars exported...some cars had 'some clips' and some had 'others'... paint was mixed differently each time a new drum came in... and parts from local suppliers were used when the 'regular' parts didn't get delivered or ran out....

I also really feel that a car restored to 'showroom' condition with all Moss parts shouldn't really be put in a concours competition...I mean you can end up with actually a Taiwanese TD.....

My boring comment more or less implied 'all the same'... and came from a show I was in a few years ago with 5 black TDs... I walked over and didn't know which one was mine until I saw the original green leather.... I came straight home and painted the checkerboard on the grill....

My posts over the last 5 years have, I know helped some people looking for 'original' information... there are so many things on mine that were just like they were when it was built...there are many other things that p/o's changed and some that I have changed.... again, I feel a car that has developed character from some accessories and the passage of time is more interesting then when it rolled off the line....

I don't like to see modern stuff added.... period items and accessories I think are great....its just the 'showroom' thing that bothers me cause I remember (to repeat what I posted earlier) looking at all the accessories back then and every couple of months adding things that would make it more 'me'...

Hey... everyone do what they want.... 'showroom'....'survivor'....'daily driver'...'mgb powertrain'....'blowers'.... 'turbos if you can figure out how to do it'.... makes no difference to me.....the cars are great... and we all have the same amount of fun driving them....

Again... i'm sorry to have offended....a lot of my posts are tongue in cheek...and sometimes that gets me in trouble....

gblawson(gordon- TD27667)

I am all for the attempt to bring a car back to look exactly what it was when it came off the factory floor, but to really do this you have to have a very good picture of what exactly was the way it came of the factory floor.

We have some very good examples of original TD's, but as Gordon said. Each TD is a bit unique (You can say that about every of the MG's up through the B's (don't know about the later cars)

At best, a concourse judge is going for the average that a group of knowledgeable folks have agreed on . That is, what did the average MG come off the factory floor as.

My hats off to anyone who gets down to the tiny little things to try and make their TD as close to what the factory turned out. Question I have is just what that was.
Bruce Cunha

Gordon, I know I did not take what you wrote as anything other thangood. Bruce is right about the factory stuff, my car TD8105 came off the line with chrome king of the road headlights and others with numbers close came off with painted buckets. Pictures I have seen from the factory, even though black and white show cars with what appears to be a dark colored steel wheel, which could be black or red. We have one in our club that was redone but done the way the owner bought it 40 years plus ago and it had red wheels when he bought it from the prior owner. What is Factory can be a little off, especially with T series cars.
My moto is like yours "to each his own" Some of like the bling, others dont. Long as the owner likes the car, who cares.
That Given, I hate to see v8's in our cars.
Tom Maine (TD8105)

Gordon, apology accepted. Shouldn't have taken that personally and now get your point. I guess 5 in a row like mine would be dull. Wish I could see your car in person and that you could see mine. Sometime I'll do a long post or maybe do an article about how my restoration became a ridiculous quest for originality. It began on a hot summer day opening the box with the "NOS" ebay ammeter-which I instantly saw was not.....
George Butz

I didn't intend for this thread to hurt any feelings, rather I was expecting more responses along the lines of what one can get away with in doing a restoration to 'origninal' standards, or criticism of the areas I cited. Personally, I understood and enjoyed the responses (one of the reason I outlined the areas I'm 'guilty' of altering) since I am personally acquainted with several of the owners and cars mentioned in the thread.

Words change over time and usage, the language is a living thing. Concours, regardless of its original meaning or reference today speaks to originality and perfection, right or wrong, judge correctly or not. I have a lot of admiration for those who are pretty certain they know how a particular serial left the factory, and even more admiration for those who admit that they can't be sure because of the way the factory mixed suppliers, but still strive to discover the truths buried in time.

The cars originally were fairly well equipped but ripe for modification. After all, a modification to a car did not detract from its original selling price, and price was an important consideration when marketing cheap but cheerful little cars. I've said before that I doubt the originators of the car ever meant or thought that the T-Series would still be revered, restored, modified and loved so many years later by so many.

So if this thread caused any hard feelings I apologize. I hope we can set them aside and remember that above all, we are custodians of a living history of our cars, and that what each of us does with our machines contributes to that history. Fortunately for us, for as many of those who are willing to push the envelope of modification, there are some who push to that perfection of originality... because it is nice to know where we came from, so we can get an inkling of where we are going.

Now, should I toss out that 5.125:1 CWP? It is taking up shelf space...

Dave Braun
Dave Braun

In a way, Dave, you’ve got an answer here to your original question:

It is useless to try to determine what could be “acceptable” in a restoration to win in a popular vote show.

Everyone voting is going to have a different opinion of what they like, regardless of any list of items you and/or a few other people might come up with.

If you want a level playing field you’re going to have to go to a real Concours format like the JCNA. With judging manuals, certified judges and checklists. Although, as I said before, I would hate to see the MG world put as much emphasis on Concours as the Jaguar world does. It just takes so much energy, time, emotion, and money that it tends to become a monster that eats up all other activities for a club, whether local or national.

Talking to people at popular vote shows, even the GOF’s, reveals that people vote for such fickle reasons you can’t really anticipate what will be a winner. Not to be sexist, but women (OK, and sometimes men) tend to vote for the car that has a color they like, for example. Sometimes people vote for a person (not a car) because they are a friend or the other person has already won a couple of times. I had a friend tell me once that he voted for my MGA at a popular vote MG event because he thought it was the most original, even though it is kind of tatty (OK, has great patina). You should have seen his face drop when I told him it had a MGB motor in it. And this is a guy who has restored two MGAs. He just didn’t look that close. How many times have you heard grumbling after the awards ceremony that the winner’s car wasn’t “correct” in some way?

So, nice try, but I think the answer is to restore the car to the standards that are pleasing to you. If you happen to win a trophy, that’s wonderful, but it is not nearly as satisfying and the enjoyment of restoring and driving the car. Trying to restore a car solely to win trophies is going to be a frustrating and difficult path, even in Concours, where the playing field is more level. If that’s what turns you on, fine, but I get enough stress and frustration in my job that my hobby needs to be relaxing, not more of the same.
David Littlefield

Thanks for te picture Boris. Love those early E types.

OK OK OK....if we are showing photo's of our E types, I have to participate as well. Mine is a less desirable 2+2 and I am very jealous of Boris's early series 1, but E types of any kind are the best looking cars ever in my opinion. And David, your OTS looks beautiful, especially the paint, I will be very proud if I can get mine looking anything like that.

Sorry...tried to post a photo, but they are all too big

Joe Hine
53 TD, and 70 etype 2+2 in lots of parts.
J.D. Hine

This image resizer works quite well

Steve Wincze

Hmmm...some interesting but fairly predictable comments re Concours versus the
'Practitioner' approach to our cars!

I feel Dave Braun's comment is most salient,"Fortunately for us,for as many of those who are willing to push the envelope of modification,there are some who push to that perfection of originalty".

I know many T Type associates who thoroughly enjoy driving their cars on a regular basis
and in so doing expose our 'custodianship'to an often appreciative public.

However,there are also owners who revel in looking beyond just the paint shine.'Chasing' down the original fittings,fits,finishes etc.
via Factory photos,Service Parts Lists and magazine articles of the period,can assist in establishing how our cars really were.This is not to say all detail in these publications are correct.Examination of relatively untouched cars,particularly, provides an excellent base.

It seems to me that it is all a matter of degree.Even Concours winners invariably have a few items that have been modified!

Rob Grantham

Rob Grantham

And that is exactly what makes it fun. I am always very impressed by the people who can bring a car back to as close to it was from the factory, but I am also impressed by some of the modifications that folks come up with. Each has a place.

Dave L. You are so right about popular vote. My 67 B Gt is very clean and close to factory as I am going to make it. I got 88 points at Gattlingsburg (I got talked into entering). My GT is Primrose Yellow.

Each year, we have a large British car show here in Wisconsin. There are probably 6 to 10 GT's there each year. I continually loose to a red GT even though his is well modified.

My club suggested I get red lens glasses and have the people who vote on it look through those.
Bruce Cunha

Did anybody see the last Chasing Classic Cars? Wayne's true barn find Saab won sort of an anti-concours-the "barn find" class in a show. The car had not even been washed, complete with filth and hay all over. Wayne was quite pleased with winning first in class by doing absolutely nothing to the car. It was pretty funny! George
George Butz

George, saw the CCC episode and enjoyed it. Cant say that I did not think the Saab was a piece of junk however. I would have voted for it as best Barn Find myself. Waynes show is pretty good. He has one called the British Invasion that has a ND and an Airline in it. that one is good.
Tom Maine (TD8105)

Restored myT.D. afew yrs. ago, Partly because there was not enough good parts on it to part out. But I Had a ball doing it all myself, from the 455 diff.( It Whine's) to the enjine (it leaks) tothe paint job( it's a ten footer) But the smiles we get when driving to town are great and best of all, the GreatGrand Kids think I am a Genius.
Bruce: where is the large British Car show each year?
Dave Rezin
DL Rezin

Folks. Dave is one of those people who can do just about anything. He not only restored his TD to a really nice car. He had to rebuild rusted sheet metal, redo wood and a number of other things that many of us would pass on. (I know, to others, this is also well within their abilities).

Ofcourse he also has a number of other restorations to his credit. And an airplane he built himself.

Dave. The Sussex British Car show is the biggest in WI.
Bruce Cunha

Car shows can be a little frustrating, if you let them be so. My wifes MGB, which is not concourse, due to a carpeted trunk, took 17 months of dedicated time to restore and was shown for the first time at MG 2006 in Gatlinburg, Tn. We were asked why it wasn't in the concourse line? The show, as some of you know, had around 1200 MGs there. VIPs, with their wives, from the UK, who actually worked at the Abington factory were flown to the show as guests. We were fortunate enough to have one, a very distinguished gentleman who was a designer at Abington and his wife look over our car very closely. He told us that our engine bay was absolutely perfect in detail and the car was the most perfect MGB recessed grill in a line of around 50 cars. His wife fell in love with it! We talked for about 30 minutes. Quite an interesting couple. Knowing this, let me say our car received no recognition, why, because people judge a car for eye appeal, such as chrome or polished valve covers, polished exhaust headers and other chrome parts that are not original, but are very eye appealing. I saw a TF with original painted wheels that were perfectly restored, took a back seat to a car with chrome wires, even though in my opinion, the one with the painted wheels was a better restoration. It's something that just has to be excepted. I don't build show cars anymore, I just build them to drive. More fun! PJ

Her car,

P Jennings

My TF was advertized as being a 100 point car when I purchased it. Not even close. I did have it "judged" once by a well known "expert". Still have the "sheet" somewhere he used and I paid for the service just to find out what was "right and/or wrong". Over the next 10 years I found a number of things he "missed" ...some of them fairly obvious.
Started out thinking I would make it as close as I could to "perfect".
I am a very big fan of "orginial/unmolested" ...but not such a big fan of "concourse" autos built with re-pro parts.
IMHO: Hat's off to somebody that has gone through the expense & labor of restoring old bits to bring one back...but I am not impressed by somebody that purchased every new part avaiable in a catalog. To me it's just not the same, all it reallly proves is that they have a bigger checkbook.
I get a bigger kick out of something "brought back" than something "bought new".
Half the fun for me was hunting down the old parts. I get all warm & tingly thinking about where some of my missing parts came from!
(some of you here contributed!...thanks always!)
There will always be those that "drive" them in and those that "trailer" to an event...nothing wrong with that.
I get a BIG laugh out of the guy that trailers it the parking lot behind Walmart and drives it in to the show 2 blocks away! (particularly when they pick up that trophy for "furthest distance travelled"!)
I hope I will always be the guy with the stonechips, bugs, and the little kids jumping on my seats with big smiles on their faces.
Said it before ...I'll say it again....
Sticky wipes off with a wet rag.
Some times they don't like me at the "car-show" ....
oh well.
David & Izzy (the not so perfect driver with the bugs in her teeth)
David Sheward

PJ, lovely car. And I think your experience proves the point that popular vote car shows are too fickle to "reward" Concours-type restorations.

I also like your first sentence "if you let them to be so." I'm sure you got much more enjoyment out of your conversation with that couple than you would have out of a trophy.

And sorry, Bruce, about the primrose yellow. :) It was a running joke at our Texas MG meets that it was the rare MGA that hadn't been repainted "resale red," although many fewer came out of the factory that way. Including mine, which was Iris Blue originally. Those pastel colors seem to have been a 50's thing and have never become appealing to people again.
David Littlefield

Unless a "vote for a club member's car" mentality is present I personally prefer People's Choice type judging. A beautiful car is a beautiful car whether it's 100% original or not (and who among us are qualified to judge originality on more than one or two types of MGs...if even that many).
Gene Gillam

My first MG was in 1958, a TF1500, so I've seen the transformation of the "peoples choice" go from nice driver to stricktly "as it came from Abingdon". I personally like the "nice driver" type myself. Mt TF is strictly stock (except for black upolstery) as far is visual aspects are concerned (ignorance on my part).

Since nobody can see inside the engine, we are still free to do some changes there without incuring the wrath of the "originality police".

I have been following the tests in TTT as to modern Gasolene formulations and am still wondering about the outcome of those tests.

When I had the TD engine done I was shooting for 9.3 to 1
compression ratio, but it got a bit higher than that, 190 #/in2, still it runs OK, and nobody complains I can't keep up. If fact it goes like a scared rabbit.

What do I do now??
Bob Jeffers

Rabbit stew. 4.3 rear and 5 speed tranny.

Happy Holidays,
James Neel TD28423

Another point on judging - one which I don't recall seeing so far in the thread.

I believe that all events should stipulate that the hood has to be opened for a car to be judged. Too often, you'll see great looking restos, but without the hood raised, who knows what you're really looking at.

Phil Atrill

Totally agree...I've never voted for a car that has it's bonnet shut even if it was the only car in it's class.
Gene Gillam

I am assuming you mean the bonnet????
Steve Wincze

Bonnet, correct - it's obvious what side of the pond I grew up on, even though I was born in England! Came across on the Queen Mary in 1952 when I was just 3 months old and quickly lost my British accent on the 7 day trip crossing the Atlantic.
Phil Atrill

AACA says Hoods up and Bonnets open!!
Bob Jeffers


You said: "Anything that is post-period and visible should be avoided" and mentioned:

Anti-roll bar systems (guilty)

I may be guilty also, but I looked up "sway bar" in wikipedia an learned that it was patented in 1919!


Mark Sherman
mrkshrmn at
Mark A. Sherman

Gents - this has been a fascinating discussion; the arguments for original restoration and personal modification are all compelling - thank you so much, all of you for taking the time to put voice to such an important [and sometimes emotional!] topic. The common theme running through all these is that we love our cars - and that in itself is cause for celebration.

I don't think I've ever had a vehicle that hasn't been modified within a week of me taking ownership. My otherwise perfect Honda VFR quickly acquired a Muth pipe and Italian wheels; my mundane 24-valve Ford Taurus station wagon ended up with Bilsteins, 17" wheels, and 3.0 X-Jag cams and engine management; my MK I Miata ended up with Konis and a turbo with 12 pounds boost - hell, I spent part of one of my university semesters 35 years ago shoehorning a Chrysler 331 into a Volvo 122 wagon just because my course load was too light and I was bored.

So it was of little surprise to my pals that my TD ended up with as much K Magnette soul as I could muster. Is it original - not even a tiny little bit. But is it lovely - oh my lord I think so, and I'm hoping that some summer not too far away I have the chance to show it to you. I'm hoping you'll be as enthused about 27991 as I have been building it.

It is almost Christmas, and my wish for all of you is that you may enjoy your T's, that you may drive them lustily, and that they will only break down within site of your friends, a full Whitworth toolkit, and a case of beer. Concours or not, mongrel or not, barnfind or clearcoat - God bless us, everyone.


Dave Jorgensen

If he doesn't, who will??
Bob Jeffers

IMHO, you have built/crafted quite a fantastic TD !!!!!!!!!!!! I guess I need a bit of education on one of your other creations,,,, what is a "Muth pipe"??? I did a search, and it kept reverting back to "METH PIPE" !!!!!!!!!
Hope to see it in action in the TARGA !!!!

Steve Wincze

I guess the one thing that bugs me about car shows, especially for those folks that have spent many months, sometime years to get their car perfectly restored and a large club comes in with 20 or more members and vote only for club members, regardless of the quality of the cars, giving them a high tally of the votes and ruling out all others. We had this happen two times, two years running at the same show. It was so obvious, that even some club members were very upset. We now go to see the cars and friends at this show once a year, which we do enjoy very much, but our cars are not entered. Not worth the aggravation of prepping them. PJ
P Jennings

Dave Jorgensen,
That last line says it all!
(Even for those of us "one wrench short of a full set of tools!")
Your TD ....pure sex on wheels...the oversize tyres, cycle fenders, roll bars....I love it!

One thing can all agree's about some nice unseasonably warm days in December ...and if not...just dress warm & have fun.
Cheers & Happy Holidays to all.
David Sheward


While the anti-sway bar was patented in 1919 they didn't make their appearance on the independent front suspension MGs until the MGA. It is fairly visible under the front wing, being that the suspension is so open to view. To anyone not familiar with the T-Series, it would be hard to tell it is added on, but I added it, so I'm 'guilty'. It did make an impressive improvement in the handling and in the general steadiness of the steering.


The GOF Central is not nearly so caught up in voting only for club members. In fact, it is sometimes easier to NOT vote for club members because sometimes you know too much about the cars. That said, originality doesn't always rule the day at the GOF Central as the vote is somewhat approving of 'modifications'. At the GOF Central last year, Minnesota had about 8 members present, and it was in Ohio, a fair jaunt. The first place TD was a brand new restoration done pretty well from Indiana. The second place TD was from Minnesota and was trailered in. It is somewhat modified with an interesting air vent on the cowl in front of the windscreen and some rare wire wheels. My TD from Minnesota took third, and was drven there. I think there were almost 40 TDs shown.

However, at more open car shows I've seen the type of things you comment on. In fact two years ago a strangely painted TD won an award because of the turn out from his club members and my TD was shut out, much to the amusement of our club members present.

Dave Braun

I guess I'm screwed. I use the Grocho philosophy " I wouldn't belong to any club that would have me as a member"

To paraphrase an old quote I have heard: "The pursuit of excellence is noteworthy and a worthwhile endeavor, while the pursuit of perfection is neurotic and a complete waste of time and energy."

Or also sometimes phrased as: The pursuit of excellence is healthy and gratifying. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic and a terrible waste of time.”
Source Unknown

Just my .02 worth regarding concours. If you want to see nit-picking try restoring a Model A Ford for "fine-point judging in MAFCA or MARC. Good luck.
Brian Warmuth

Car Show / Crap Shoot ....same thing.
My all time "favorite":
Only 2 entries in the "British Auto" class.
My TF & a TD.
The TD won.
If I go back next time I'll install shag carpet in the bonnet and move my engine to the rear "where it belongs" (according to the astute concourse judge of that class). LOL
I did however win an enormass Teddy Bear that day.
(I'm talking like 8 freaking feet tall)
Gave it to a very delighted young girl.
Had fun at the car show that day? bet-cha!
David Sheward

Dave B. talks of a TD with wire wheels and an air vent cut into the scuttle. This car as he knows is in our club and the wheels are period Boranni's. The car was in a show a few years back and the car that won was a VW TD. there were only two cars in the class. Aint life wonderful.
Tom Maine (TD8105)

A few yeas ago when my TD was just out of restoration I took it to a Florida show which I think is fairly fair in judging, we go there often. Mine won first place but not best of show as I can understand. I went to a local eastern show and decided to put my Td in concours,since it is pretty much authentic. The judging went on and much to my dismay an MGB which was modified with chrome, brass polished like a mirror, mitolite? wheels won first in concours. That one blow my mind as well as others in our SEMGTR register. That did it for concoures. I saw a fight at one of our shows one year over judging

Ellis Carlton

Reading between the lines here,it seems we are very fortunate in Australia to have competent and knowledgeable Judges when it comes to true Concours MGs.

At the National MG Meeting conducted once a year,the Judging Panels of each particular
model have a very high degree of experience
relating to orignality and finish.

If you want/agree to enter Concours competition,rules and knowledge will apply.

Whether a car is "beautiful" or not is only part of the equation.Concours d'Elegance and Concours d'Etat(originality) work side by side in assessment of a vehicle.We are generally forutunate to have Judges in the T series area who have owned or been associated with relatively untouched examples.Their detailed knowledge can't be fooled!

One of our eastern states Australian regular contributors to this Forum is very well respected in Judging TFs and in our own Club in Western Australia our current Club President has published a magnificent book on TC restoration and originality.The book has been sold worldwide for many years.He has also judged in the National events.

It is gratifying to know that when you enter a T Type, at least,in an MG National competition, judging competence is evident.

Rob Grantham

Rob Grantham

This thread was discussed between 19/11/2010 and 01/12/2010

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