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MG TD TF 1500 - Early vs Late TD

Is there a general "rule of thumb" for early vs late TD. I realize changes were made incrementaly but is there a "general date of change " I have a vehicle chassis #4034 which by the charts was built oct 50 ??can I basically consider mine an early TD when looking through archives etc
Jon L

Hello Jon,

It does look from your serial number to be quite early and in fact is what is often referred-to as a Series I, or TD1. Does it have solid, or perforated road wheels? Solid wheels indicate the very earliest, of which most (but not all) were for the 'home' market and were of the RHD iteration, and the slightly later ones for the export market, had perforated ones, and which became standard on the TD Series II (pls don't confuse with TD Mark II).

The other 2 observable changes between the TD1 and the TD 2 include (on the TD1) square tail lights and a flat, chronometric speedometer; on the TD2, the rear lights were round, and the speedometer was of the magnetic drive type in a dished face.

Moss covers this quite nicely in their section on 'Production Data' in the front of their catalogue, and from this, it appears as though the change you are asking about, seems to haver taken place somewhere around June of 1951.

There is published info on ALL the changes over the life of the production. I don't have it handy, but it is easy to locate.

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.
Gordon A. Clark


I don't want to appear to be too picky, or disagree with you, but I must, if ever so slightly. I have a 1951 TD (#5947) which has a production date of early February '51. My chassis plate shows the car as a TD2 (not Mark II as you noted). It has flat-faced tach and speedo, square tail lights, wiper motor in front of the passenger seat (as opposed to the center on later TDs, chrome headlight buckets, and perforated wheels.

As you noted, the date of change from flat-faced to dished gauges, square to round tail lights, etc. is somewhat vague, and subject to variation depending upon which parts were in the bin on the production date (typical British production procedures of the time).

I would guess that Jon's car has perforated wheels, given the production date, as the change from solid to perforated took place in early 1950 (Jan. or Feb.), and his car is an October 1950 car, as Jon noted.

Jon, I might suggest visiting the Original MGTD website ( which Chris Couper has authored. It has much teriffic info. on TDs from every aspect. If the extensive content and detail are any indication, either Chris has no life at all or a wife that is very understanding ;-)

Larry Thompson
Larry Thompson


In reviewing my last submission, I realized that I didn't answer your question - Is there a rule of thumb difference on early vs. late TD's? I gues in my opinion, there are very early TDs (solid wheels), early TDs (flat-faced gauges, square tail lights, wiper motor in front of passenger), and late TDs (dished gauges, round tail lights, center wiper motor). I think, generally speaking, very early TDs were up to January 1950, early TDs Jan. 1950 to late 1952, and late TDs after that.

I realize that the changes were rather fluid, but I really look at the wheels to find very early cars, and the wiper motor/tail lamps for late cars. I'm sure many others will respond with variations to that time line, but nothing is writtent in stone.

Larry Thompson

Larry - Is the TD2 part of your car number or the engine number? Normally the car numbers were either TD/... or TDC/... depending if it was a standard TD or a MKII. The TD2 designation was on the engines as XPAG/TD/... or XPAG/TD2/... . The TD2 refers to the later engine with the longer rocker shaft and the 8" clutch. Cheers - Dave
David DuBois

Larry: My wife will tell you I have no life at all :-)


PS: I finally have my car in good hot weather driving condition so now I can take it out a bit more. But of course it has just started idleing rough. I suspect a vacum leak as I hear a whistling sound too. These little cars never end the attention getting behavior.
Chris Couper


I stand corrected and must eat a bit of crow for Gordon, yes, the TD2 in fact refers to the engine. I was working off of memory (never a good thing) instead of looking at the plate! Yikes!


PS: Chris, does that mean that your wife isn't very understanding? Hmmmm. I think it must be a combination of no life and understanding wife! I know my wife has little (meant no) interest in the "little car", but tolerates my deficiencies. My kids (two girls, 12 and 15) also think I'm completely looney, but what the heck.
Larry Thompson

Not all "solid" disk wheels were on RHD cars. There is a LHD TD in Tampa, FL about the 50th car produced with "solid" rims.
Ernest Betts

There is (somewhere- probably in "The T-Series Restoration Guide" from the NEMGTR) ) a listing of production changes. There is no real early or late TD (other than the clutch size change)- stuff was just gradually changed as they went. My Td #10835, Sept. or Oct. '51 production, has dished instruments, the 8" clutch, etc.,- but is certainly not a "late" car. Later running changes include the obvious- square to round tail lights, wiper motor to center, oil pump/filter, dash to floor dimmer,- to the obscure-Girling to Armstrong shocks, lengthend 3/4 shift rail, cap on shifter housing, clutch cable to rod, change of axle threads, etc.
George Butz


I have TD 1170 an early TD which is LHD originally shipped to the US. It has solid wheels and a 7 1/4 clutch.

Most changes ocurred about TD 22000 with the change in rear lights, head water holes etc. I think the change from early to late TD was about TD 9000 with the 8inch clutch.

Brett Cooper


I have your younger brother, by a few days -
car no. TD/6357 EXLU
Engine no. XPAG/TD/LHX 6708
body no. 5780/68217
body type 22381

and have the flat-faced tach and speedo, square tail lights, and wiper motor in front of the passenger seat.

Paul Hinchcliffe

Well I guess maintaining a TD is a like lot medcine more of an art than a science. After reading the posts here is what my little bag of surprizes is. My vehcile is chassis #4037 (Oct 50) it is clearly original with little or no maintenance, never mind redo. My vehicle if LHD , steel wheels with holes , square tail lights, Brakes with no Brake steady springs. Concave ( curve out) sppedo and tach with monochromatic ( ? grey or steel with Black markings) Windshield wiper other Right ( passenger position)Orange vertical oil filter. Just a another bit of Abingdon consistency. Maybe Early vs Late Td will have to go down like the Neaderthal and Homo Saipens arguement maybe not a line of descent but rather a co-existing evolving being.
Jon L

Jon - For a list of the evolutionary changes to the TD over the production run see the following two books (excellent books for T series owners to own): The "T Series Handbook" from the new England MG T Register and edited by Richard Knudson and the "Original MG T Series" The Restorer's Guide to MG TA, TB, TC, TD and TF by Anders Ditlev Clausager. Both of these books are available from Moss Motors and BritBooks
You have drawn the correct conclusion, there is no distinct dividing ling between early and late TDs, just an evolution, with perhaps the sharpest deleniation being the change from flat faced speedo and tach to the dished faced instruments (I am sure that there are those who will dissagree with this definition), or the point where the changeover to the XPAG/TD2... engines, but with the MG company's habit of using up all the parts on the shelf (TC parts showing up in TDs and TD parts showing up in MGAs), it is very difficult to know where to draw the line. It is nice to know where your car falls in the evolution and what production changes are in it, but the most important part is to just enjoy the car. Cheers - Dave
David DuBois

For me, the "break points" and there are about 3. Those with solid wheels (no question), the small clutch, flat faced instruments and Girling shocks, were early TDs. Mid TDs were large clutch, dished face instruments, retangular tail lights, Armstrong shocks, wiper on the passenger side. Later ones had centre wiper motor, rectangular into round tail lights [52-53], Speedo high beam indicator light and floor mounted dimmer switches. Frankly Scarlett...! They are all TDs. Sounds more like an amusing interchage between the incompetent judges at a local Lions club car show.

Well Looks like you have one that must have left the factory about the time mine started on the line. I have TD 4139 EXLU/XPAG/TD/LHX/4429. I figured it was made around November or December of 1950.

My TD has flat faced speedo and tach, oil pressure without temp, wiper on passenger side. Two bow top. and no footwell. Dimmer on dash, no Hi/lo beam on speedo. No turn signals, rectangular tail lights. Girling shocks, small clutch with cable clutch system, one piece oil filter seperate from the oil pump and slotted steel wheels. Pretty sure mine is near original as I bought it from the original owner and when I took all the paint off, I found inspection ink marks on all the metal parts. The numbers were within 100 or so of each other.

Two parts that came with the car and I don't know if they are from it or? Car has a Jaeger water temp guage on the left hand side of the dash. Appears to be an add on, but the guage matches the oil pressure and amp guage perfectly. Also, I have a spare amp guage but it only goes to + - 20 amps whereas the one in my dash goes to + - 30 amps.

Bruce Cunha
Bruce Cunha

Paul Hinchcliffe and I TD'd up to Jon's on Thursday to see his car and try to answer some of his questions. Now we know why he's puzzled. It turns out that his car and engine are, indeed, 1950 version. However, in an earlier life the car was owned by an innovator. The entire dashboard, with instruments, has been transplanted from a later car ('52/'53) with dished instruments, dual oil/water gauge, 30 amp meter, etc. And, to top it off, the car came with a working Judson supercharger! We're still trying to help with the rear brake problem. It mat have to do with the relined shoes that he bought.
Bud Krueger

We're still trying to help with the rear brake
problem. It mat have to do with the relined shoes that he bought
Sand them down. The factory actually had a "chaff cutter." which countoured the shoes to fit the drums.


The March/April 1980 issue of The Sacred Octagon had an article called "Points of Originality." This article chronicled each production change by serial number and date it was added to the production line.
Steve Markman

To Larry Thompson:

My TD has chassis no. 1034, March 1950, AND SOLID WHEELS. So does TD 1275 of which I saw a picture in Safety Fast. It's time people correct the moment of the transition to pierced wheels.

Denis L. Baggi

I'm with you. My TD #533 also has solid wheels, which according to the books was already not available on my Jan 1950 car.
Cheers, Rob
Rob Silverman

Rob and Denis,

I'm not too surprised that your cars have the solid wheels given the early chassis numbers and the production techniques ("if it's in the bin, put it on the car") of the time. I wouldn't think that Jons car (chassis #4034) would have solid wheels, since they were probably all used up by that time, but I have been wrong before, and you guys usually straighten me out;-)

I would agree that solid wheels are the best indicator of the earliest of the TDs, though the changes to round tail lights and the center-mounted wiper motor are also some "significant" (as significant as they are) to designate a change to "late" TDs. I'm not sure what you would call everything else in the middle.

Chassis #5947, "mid-TD"
Larry Thompson

Used up for TDs perhaps, but the solid wheels continued on the Y/YB saloons right up to the end of their production 1953. Or think of a "late" TD getting a set of Y or "early" TD wheels later in its long life, and no one bothering to document this alteration. This would seemingly spoil all correspondence of car number and wheel type.
Remo Peter


You just had to confuse things even further, didn't you ;-)

Larry Thompson

This thread was discussed between 11/08/2003 and 21/08/2003

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