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MG TD TF 1500 - Questions about TD on Ebay

I'm new to the TD-TF BBS, and I'm writing because I know enough about MGs to know what I DON'T know. While I've owned perhaps 50-60 MGs since 1984, none of them have been T series cars. The closest I've come is my YT.

So, currently on Ebay is a 1951 TD:
It's been up for close to five days with a $7,000 opening bid and yet it's had no bids. So what am I missing? I'm wondering what knowledgeable T series folks might know about this car that I don't?

Any comments? I'm not going to make an ill-advised, or a non-advised decision.

Many thanks,
Allen Bachelder
Allen Bachelder

Allen. From the discription this car needs a total restoration and is therefore not as good as it looks in the picture. I recently bought one in similar condition for $5,000 so IMHO his price is high for what it is. Cheers, JL

james Lea

The only thing questionable is the wood... would want to see as much of it as i could?
That seems in better shape then most at $7000. Bet it goes for about $11500.00
Too bad they didn't clean up the engine compartment.
gordon lawson - TD 27667

The wood is the real issue here. Even if you took it as a driver (the video was a nice touch and showed it was not a mosquito control vehicle), it would only be a matter of time before it would become structurally unsound,(as evidenced by the cracking of the bondo). They already made some significant alterations along the sills to allow for the lost wood.

On the other hand, everything is there (except the full air filter assm.) so you would not be chasing those odd and expensive items. Final answer, a good get-to-know the cars car, drive it for a year or so and gather what you needed to do it up and then dive in. The number is about at the end of the line for value, given the number of cars out there for not that much more and in sounder condition.

Safety Fast
Paul (TDs,YB,+)

I belong to a club that is in that part of Wisconsin. if you would like, contact me and I can get you some names of some folks that could probabably go take a look at it for you.

The pictures indicate body wood is going to need to be gone through, but if the paint/body cracks can be fixed and the paint job is ok, the car could be taked apart and the body wood replaced.

If that is all that is needed to make it a driver, it is not all that bad.
Bruce Cunha

I like the little green car in the last pic. Looks like maybe Crosley?
Greg & Grimm
G.J. Cenzer

This car looks good and should bring the asking price, but this is E-bay so it's hard to tell.

The wood is an issue but may last long enough to enjoy the car for awhile. The metal below the door has been hidden with a nice coat of paint and I would suspect there is very little. There should be an expansion seem between the front and rear quarters that has been filled in. The amp meter is not the right one.

Other than that, the car looks decent from the photos and well worth $7,000 retail.

Ron Boisvert

Found a small 3" diameter hole in the rear quarter panel after sanding off the blisters and rust last week. Was amazed that the wood behind was still solid. That bad wood in the photo might be the only place it is rotted, one never knows what is underneath. Judging by the other cars I've seen the front and rear quarter panels (certainly on mine) are the weak points.
If I would have posted a photo of the driver's side front panel (in front of the door) before I bought the car, I'm sure some would have said "walk away".
gordon lawson

Looks like a Crosley HOT SHOT. Had one in the sixtys with a flathead ford V8 stuffed into it. Could not keep it stuck to the road.

T.L. Manion

Definitely worth $7K and probably more. All visible lower wood shot- would have to suspect the rest. This would be a really nice car to restore as most everything is there (except as noted above). See the archives about re-doing the wood- not for the faint of heart. The sheetmetal looks really straight- nice curves to the fenders and running boards (could be bondo- but looks correct in the pictures). George
George Butz

Very honest pictures. Do not help selling this TD. Woodwork is realy shot. Main body timbers bad and also where the A posts meet the bottem rail. Really in need of a body off rebuild.

I bought my car with very rotten wood in 1987 for $8,000 (from a very good friend who needed to sell). In the words of Bob Figenskau in 1990, "Hell Dave, I would drive this car anywhere".

I was very aware of the rotten wood, and continued to enjoy the car until the front wood was literally gone. I figure that based on today's money, I probably paid about $3,000 too much, but on the other hand, I've had the enjoyment of owning a TD, letting my kids drive it when they were teenagers, and am now restoriing a car I dearly love... something that you just can't put a value on, but certainly one of the best investments I've ever made. Certainly better than buying a car and jumping into the restoration.

Buy it, Drive it, Restore it when you can.

Dave Braun

Totally agree with all the previous posts. I did my TD as a frame off in 1968-1970 and it is a big job. I did a second TD where I replaced all the body wood and made the new "timbers" in my wood shop. sold it after the wood was finished and the sheet metal was ready to hang. To this day that car is still not finished. BUT, as I said, I agree that it would make a really good starting point for a frame off.

George Herschell
George R Herschell

' Can't thank all of you enough for all your valuable advice. I anticipated that wood might be the primary issue. Even so, I'm surprised that the car has garnered not a single bid. Not without exception, your collective opinion seems to be that the car may very well be worth the opening $7,000.

Bruce, I'd be happy to hire an experienced TD guy to examine the car for me. Since I don't have your e-mail address, perhaps it is best if you would kindly contact me off the BBS at my address, and we'll go from there.

Again, thanks all,
Allen Bachelder


If you do go after this car, the headlamps are wired wrong. The headlamp wiring is supposed to go all neat and tidy into an opening in the headlamp suport and from there to a clamp under the front wing (fender). I think one of my biggest challenges in rebuilding my car is knowing what could be done better (more correctly, usually) then what I accept as the norm as I've gotten used to from owning a car for so long with quite a few quirks.

Good luck regardless. I hope Bruce is able to arrange an on site inspection for you.

Dave Braun

just for reference, i bought my td a year ago for 9000. wood is excellent, paint fair to good,newer wiring. needed a clutch and the motor overhauled.(crank ground and block sleeved $1050) new cam and misc hardware. i would be very concerned about the wood in this car. tom
tm peterson

Well I see the car now has one bid with 3-1/2 days left. Perhaps this is not unusual; I just haven't followed that many TDs on Ebay. Tom, your advice is not wasted on me! Rebuilding an engine has got to beat replacing body wood.

Thanks again, all. Allen
Allen Bachelder

This car had a listing that ended 8/17 with a bid of $7950 that did not make the reserve then.
Ernest Betts


Most eBay bids arrive within the last few minutes (or milli-seconds, with available bidding software). This car might go for $10,000, or maybe $7500. There's no way to tell what will happen in that last fraction of a second.

Whether to participate in this auction depends on whether you intend to drive the car as is, or eventually restore it as a (money losing) hobby. For about twice this price, you can buy one that has a complete and professionally restored body, accomplished mostly with someone else's money. I know of an example currently for sale that has a nearly perfect body with all new wood, flawless paint, flawless interior, gorgeous dash, and so on and on. The owner would gladly take $16K.

If you buy this one with the intention of restoring it yourself, the cost will eventually total vastly more than $16k. One question is: How much are you willing to spend to support your hobby? For some, the learning experiences and satisfaction are well worth taking the loss.

If you intend for a professional to do the restoration work, you should not be buying any MG. A professional charges about the same amount whether painting a '55 MG or a '55 Jaguar. The Jaguar has a chance of returning much of the investment in paint. Professionally restoring an MG is a money pit.
West Nile '66 Sprite

West Nile,

Of course you're right. I'm not new to MG restorations - just T-series cars. In fact I do all my own work except the actual painting itself, but even so, the costs of materials, machine work, painting and parts run well over the market value of these cars - even ignoring the value of my own time - not to mention shop costs, good tools, etc. The one advantage over buying a restored car is that I know exactly what I have. Usually I prefer to do it that way - only I have a substantial backlog of MG projects here and my wife would be quite unhappy with me if I brought home yet another one. She would not mind if I brought home a car we can drive, show, and enjoy right now. But I feel dishonest showing a car that I did not restore myself. ' Guess I have to get over that!

My interest in this particular car has mostly been an exercise in learning about TD values, more than necessarily buying this particular car. What can one expect to get for $7,000, $10,000, or $12,000? It now seems clear that this is more than a $7,000 TD. And yet it pretty clearly needs a lot of expensive work.


Allen Bachelder

Interesting that you will make a profit on most T's if you don't restore them... judging by the prices coming from sales on eBay, those who have put $20,000 into a car, don't usually get near that (or the car doesn't reach the reserve)... The guy that bought a basket case or barn find, for $5000.00 or less can double his money...or God forbid, strip the car and sell the parts for 4 times his investment.
I know i'm doing what i can afford... driving it and doing little repairs and fix ups as i go... There again, i was lucky buying a car that hadn't run in 24 years and taking the chance that it was put away in good shape and just needed the regular stuff .... which as it turns out it was.
There again, again... we are men... we can be stupid, and we love our "stuff"... what better "black hole" is there then a "T" to dump our money in? "Lets see, a supercharger, or new drapes....supercharger, drapes....hmmmm"
gordon lawson - TD 27667

This thread was discussed between 25/08/2005 and 27/08/2005

MG TD TF 1500 index

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