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MG TD TF 1500 - Spot the Difference

When the children were young and we were going on holiday we bought them puzzel books to keep them quiet in the car. One of their favoutites was spot the 10 differences between two, apparently similar, pictures. Now looks as though the on line auctions are providng a similar puzzel for T series owners. In this case, however, we have to spot the difference between an allegely 99.9% original TD and genuinely original one. If the vendors advertised their cars as "in excellent condition with sensible and sympathetic upgrades" they would take all our fun away.


Jan T
Jan Targosz

steve evans

If you ever want to amuse yourself, go to a reputable car auction with an expert. It is amazing what sort of trash they shove through announcing all this original this and that. I have been to dozens of these and have only once seen a T Series that even closely resembles original.

I also attended a few auctions with a 55-57 T-Bird expert and we found the same story there. It is totally buyer beware and they are hoping you get caught up in the moment. e-Bay is the same but you cannot see the car up close unless you are in the area. In all cases the sellers lie like crazy and their is absolutely no recourse. And this does not even account for things like drive trains that are about to go south, hidden rust and rot, wrong bolts everywhere, ...

I still claim you should never buy a car on line unless you can physically view it first.

Chris Couper

Chris hit this one right on the head..."you should never buy a car on line unless you can physically view it first." I did purchase my TF online....but only bid on it after coraspondence with the broker that had the listing. It was understood (in writing) that my bid would only be binding for purchase pending examanation and confirmation of all claims made in the listing. It was further understood that my deposit would be held in escrow account at the brokers bank pending this examanation. IMHO...if the seller won't abide by that and the car is not where I can go look at it...I'll pass! My TF was advertized as being " over $33K documented investment in restoration....and a 100 point car". If that had been true it would have been the buy of the century. Niether was true! (bid was less than 1/2 that figure) It was, however a good example of an older restoration and a very straight and "near correct" 1500....and I fell in love with her on the test drive.(reaching speeds in excess of 100 MPH) The broker was honest enough to abide by our aggrement although there was litterly another buyer waiting with cash in his office willing to pay $6k more for the car than our deal was for. I have never had car salesman try so hard to talk me "out" of a sale as this guy did! He was quick to point out every flaw he could think of. I gave him my word that I would not turn around and sell it to the other guy but was going to keep it for myself. The other guy chased me down the turnpike for an hour before I stoped for gas and offered me a quick $8k profit. How could I not love this car. The next obsticle was to inform the wife that I wanted to "keep" the car I told her I was buying as "an investment".....this proved not to be a problem. I got home about 3am and parked the TF (on flatbed trailer) in the driveway...when I got up there was a note pinned to the windshield..."welcome to the family little yellow car...I'm sure you will be with us for quite sometime...but I do expect to see you picking me up after work for a ride"!
So there you have (most of) the saga of #7427. Hope that was good reading for a cold day! There is actually even more to the story....maybe some other tyme.
David 55 TF1500 #7427
David Sheward

David - I have, perhaps the only more sure way of getting the wife to let you keep the car - I let her drive it! Since that one drive, the car has been "her's" and she "lets" me drive it periodically. It's been that way for the past 30 years. Chers - Dave
David DuBois

I bought my MGA Coupe through a predecessor to Trader Online, but with a deal similar to Dave Sheward's. I had the owner send me photos as well as emailed pix, asked many questions in writing, and then we agreed to a price and conditions of sale in writing. I agreed to wire him $200 to ship the car to me, with the balance to be paid upon my agreement to take the car; but the contract (minus the $200)was to be forfeited if the car was not exactly as advertised. This was after I checked out the seller, who was an auto exporter in Virginia that had been in business for many years. So i had $200 at risk, but he new that I was a serious buyer.

He then followed up on the deal, and flatbedded the car up to PA. When the car arrived it was mostly as advertised, although the battery shorted out on the trip up and the paint had a bit more "patina" than the pictures indicated. But, all in all, it was a fair deal and I paid him the balance on the spot.

I am still driving the car today.
Ira Spector

David Sheward - I just (belatedly) realized that besides being the story of how you came to acquire your TF, the above was another of the famous (infamous?) "David Sheward trailer" stories. Really David, you should write a book about your adventures with that trailer. It could be titled "A Man and His Trailer, (not always) a beautiful thing". I can just see that hitting the best seller list and you becoming a famous celebrity. Then all of us could go around bragging that "we knew him when..." Cheers - Dave
David DuBois

Mister Sheward: Loved the story, particularly about your wife leaving the note to the windshield. It says a great deal about the marriage you and your wife obviously enjoy. You are a very fortunate man indeed. As you are aware, but most on this forum may not, I've recently acquired - but have yet to drive - a 1955 Ford Thunderbird Roadster and a 1954 TF. Both were purchased from the owner of the restoration shop where I now work (to keep from going crazy) after retiring. These two cars and a host of others, are from his personal stables, which he is now downsizing. I took my bride of 28 years for a tour of the shop and she fell in love with the red TBird. Yipee I thought, and a few dropped hints later, we were the new owners. Then the British Racing Green TF came out of storage and she spotted it on another visit. It was "cute" she remarked. A few dropped hints later and lightning struck again! A set of Christmas colours for the garage? It will be very interesting indeed to watch her decide which she wants to adopt as her own toy when the snow finally disappears this spring. Isn't love grand?
Gene Burgess

Chris is right on. NEVER EVER buy a car without being able to see it, kick the tires, crawl under, over and into it etc. I bought an LBC about 3 years ago, sight unseen on E-Bay. I was not smart enough to do what David S. did.
I believed everything that the seller said about the car, bid on it until I got it (paid way way way to much for it), sent off a $1000.00 non-refundable bank check and had it delivered to my house, by the seller no less, for an extra $200.00. When it arrived I was taken back somewhat by it's condition at first glance compared to what was advertised but did not have what ever it takes to confront this bandit and just paid him the balance. I was burned BIG TIME and would never even think about buying anything via the internet again. This was my first purchase on e-bay and my last.The LBC (57 TR-3) still sits under my pole barn. Not sure what I will do with it. In the mean time I am happily restoring a 54 TF which was in much better condition then the TR and I paid less for it. I must admit I am partial to the TR's having owned several in decades gone by but I think the T's are great also.

John Ostergren

"Mister Sheward" ???? that I have quit spinning around in circles looking for my father...(I'm David..."Mr. Sheward" is in AZ.!):
David D.:I keep making the offer...wife still hasn't driven the TF...has too much fun blowing my doors off in her TR! As for "the book" maybe someday..but would no doubt be in the "fiction section"...nobody would believe most of it! (Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas comes close)
Gene: Put me down for $5.00 on the wife taking the T Bird...just a hunch...but (as you know) those are the very 2 cars my Mum & Dad drove back then...I can't ever remember seeing mum drive the TF.
John: Wife claims that must be the first tyme anybody used my name and the word "smart" in the same setance...without the addittion of another "well known" 3 letter word that begines with an "a" and ends with an "s" and contains no other letters!
David 55 TF1500 #7427
David Sheward

The above comments about the wife and the MG recalled my story:
I bought a 54 TF in '73 and painted and apolstered same. Truly enjoyed the car in S Calif. My wife was a little leary of it but one day took it for a spin. For some reason the fan blade leaped forward and dug into the radiator. Dead on the side of the road. Don't know how it was done and couldn't repeat it. (thought it might have been motor mounts, but they were solid) I fixed the radiator and got the TF back on the road...but she wouldn't get in it again... Made me sell it when I shipped out to WesPac. So I lost my little TF and my wife shortly after.. Guess that TF was a better judge of women than me.
'Nother MG story on cold winter's day.

Unsure where this thread is going. Have driven many an hour and across a number of states to look at a car, only to turn around and drive away with no sale. Try to make a point of personally eye-balling anything I buy. Only bought 2 sight unseen, (photos don't count), burnt both times. As to the spouse side of the comments, met my wife when she was 16 and she was with me a couple years later for the 'test' drive of my 1st TD, [at midnight], at a used car salesman's home, (selling his girl friend's car). Had the TD for a long time before it moved on, 37 years later and a LOT of MGs later, still have her. Had a model of a TD on the wedding using wedding cars tonbridge cake and went on the honeymoon in our 69 BGT. My dog was named Cecil K and she made me keep my TD MKII, so I could race it again. My long standing belief, is 'You can't ride in an MG, with someone you don't like. As the 14th is approaching, make that, 'It's easier with someone you love'. For Jan, the kids loved it in the boot, great lullaby. Enough.
Paul Gaynor

Hi All,

I found my '65 B in the MG Enthusiasts classified section. After several phone conversations with the PO and an agreed upon price contingent upon a satisfactory inspection, my wife and I jumped on an airplane and flew to San Diego where the PO picked us up at the airport using airport transfers tonbridge and we wound up driving the car home to Sacramento. The PO was a sargent in the Marine Corp and he had a couple of MGs and because Marine's are constantly being redeployed around the world, it got to be too much to drag a couple of extra cars around with wife and kids etc. We've stayed in touch since then and exchanged christmas greetings etc. The whole experience turned out to be great as well as the car. I do agree with others here. You gotta have a first hand look. Have ya ever heard anybody say anything bad about a car they were trying to sell? Sometimes they sorta "forget" to mention those "surprises" that you find later. This LBC has seen it's last owner during my life time.

Cheers - Dennis - Sacramento
Dennis Rainey

This thread was discussed between 04/02/2004 and 11/02/2004

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