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MG TD TF 1500 - TD or TF? Not sure of which
|Hi, I'm new to this forum and have heard that this is where to come for information on the T series.|
I own an MGB and have for years hankered for a T series MG.
I can spend up to $ 20,000 on the car. I'm looking for a good driver, no rust, cosmetically decent but not needing paint, and willing to replace seat covers and panels for the interior provided all else is in good shape.
Ideally it won't have a big list of "gottados" - lights, turn signals, wipers, horn, instruments should be working properly. Decent top, tonneau and side curtains would be nice.
I've been looking on eBay and locally.
There is a TF locally that is offered at $ 11,000. It has been converted to an MGA engine and transmission. Exterior is OK, interior is rough. It hasn't been driven in about 8 months and there are things that aren't working, e.g. wipers. Because of the engine swap there are changes to stock wiring and plumbing, so any repairs there begin with figuring it out first.
I've got some misgivings about the engine swap's affect on value. There's no telling what I might find going through electrical system, and since the car wasn't used regularly the seller may not know. Engine bay looks a bit grimy and TF's are very cramped for engine work. And frankly the gray looks a bit like primer.
Here's a link to photos of the TF. It will go to a visual tour site where the pics have been uploaded:
There's a TD out of town that is numbers matching. Asking price is $ 10,000. Paint is faded, but the seller is driving it regulalry and claims everything but the speedometer works. Interior is rough, but new leather seat covers and a new panel kit is included. No top fabric, no tonneau, no side curtains.
Here are photos of the TD:
Between the two I'm not sure of which is the better route. The TF is here, where I can be hands on. The TD seems to have more upside and in better condition - but travel to see it and the cost of transporting it some 1400 miles factors in.
TF's from what I see command a higher price in general. Does the TF under consideration suffer loss of value from the engine swap and does the TD benefit from having the original engine still?
What I'm seeking is opinions as to which might be the better choice.
Of course another option is to wait for a car that is more finished and priced in the high teens.
Newbie seeks some orientation from those who have been through it.
Thanks for the help!
|Personally I would run (quickly) from the TF. Don't think it is worth much with the engine swap, and is really butchered (wires hanging down, shot upholstery, etc., etc). Others may disagree. A huge thing to check on a T-series car is the wood. Main side rails, around the firewall, door supports, etc. Find a car with great, or better yet, replaced wood. I think you could find a pretty nice driver- much better than either of these cars for somewhere in the high teens $. George|
|Bobby, I agree with George, I would definately walk away from the TF..The TD doesn't look so bad but I would say once you got into it, you are looking at a total rebuild pretty much. |
Take if from someone (me)who bought a car taken apart 30 years ago and boxed up in hundreds of pieces. Your best route is to look for a car someone else has already restored; for the money you are willing to pay you should be able to find a nearly perfect TD. It will save you mucho money in the long run. I don't even want to think about what I have spent on my car...so far... and still a long way from being done.
|Richard Taylor TD3983|
|Hi Bobby, I concur with the fellows above. The TF scares me. To answer your question about value, without the original engine, the TF will take a huge hit on resale value. Unlike MGBs, T-Series MGs are greatly affected by alterations away from stock, or at least period correctness. If you don't plan to ever sell the car then I suppose it doesn't matter, but a TF with an MGA engine will be hard to sell for a decent amount, even if it was in show condition.|
The TD is a bit rough but doesn't look too bad. However I think you can do better for $10K in this economy. If you plan to have the car for a long time then do yourself a huge favor now and buy the best car you can possibly afford. Look at it this way, that TD will cost the average home mechanic $15K minimum to put into "10-footer" show condition. For the same $25K you can buy a concourse condition TD. Spend now, save big in the long run!
Alan Bacheldor of this list was selling a nice solid TD driver in the low teens recently. Maybe his is still for sale? I would feel confident buying his car without flying to see it first.
|I gotta agree with the guys above. I get a great magazine called Sports Car Marketplace. It covers vintage car auctions all over the country. It provides commentary on some of the cars and an evaluation of the prices paid. Most of the guys reporting are very knowledgeable about the cars they are reviewing. It seems to put the market for a TD in excellent condition between $15-$20 thou, mostly at the lower end of that. TF's are maybe $20 to $25, depending on condition. Maybe add another $5 onto those numbers for a 1500.|
I had a TD that I bought for a parts car that had a MGB motor installed in it (same basic motor as the MGA). There was some serious welding and cutting on the frame and some other things that would make it extremely hard to reverse. I'm sure that TF has some of those issues. And it would be tough/expensive to get an original motor and tranny, as well. I'd stay away.
The TD looks OK, it helps that it runs, though that looks to be a lot of money for something that is likely to need a lot of work, especially considering that cars in much better shape don't cost much more.
|I completely agree about the TF; even if you decided to return the engine back to an XPAG, the numbers would never match.|
I'm torn about the TD, because I love honest, older cars like that. The interior looks as though it may be the original to the car, and the paint is certainly old. The missing top and side curtains can be bought (be sure you get the correct side curtains). I urge you to drive the TD all you can before you buy it, and have a knowledgeable MG guy in the area look it over with you - your eyes will be filled with stars, and his won't be. There are so many areas where caution should prevail that it is hard to know where to begin. Body tub wood, engine, trans, wiring, interior, chrome, paint.
$10,000 seems all the money and then some; for $8,000 you should seriously consider it. The very best way to familiarize yourself with the car if you buy it is to drive the 1400 miles yourself - with someone.
For $15,000 you can buy a car needing less work and looking better, but I still love orphans and survivors like the red TD.
|Thanks to all of you! Your comments and advice are just what I was looking for in both abundance and quality. Several members over at MGExperience told me that this was the forum for T-series experts and they were right.|
My feelings about the TF are confirmed. About the TD I have to say that tlange's comment about loving orphans and survivors is why I keep coming back to look at that one. It is "honest," and because of that it holds a good measure of charm.
That said, I think that I will follow the advice of buying the best car that I can afford and not look back with second guesses.
|BTW - Steve S, I followed up and searched for Alan Bachelder and found that his TD, "TeDdy", sold late last year and was shipped to England. Thanks for the lead.|
Somebody over there looks to have gotten a sweet one!
I own a TD and actually would vote for the TF if it were in similar condition as the TD. IMHO, a original TD is a better deal than a non-original TF.
Paint on the TD is not as big a deal as some would think. All the pieces come off fairly easily leaving the tub and if there are no wood issues, the tub is an easy one for a shop to do on the car. But then, it is not hard to take it off either.
Comming in a little late on this one!
First off let me say the TF 1500 has been "my love" since age 3 ...have my reasons. In this case I would honestly say the TD looks to be the better choice though. I don't think I would even consider that TF at that price because of the engine swap. Looks like a real hack-job and to make it right would be very costly. Something you would have a very hard time ever getting back without a correct motor.
The TD apears to have a lot of the hard work done and if your comfortable with doing the cosmetics yourself would be the better car. I still think the price is a little high not knowing much about the engine / transmission. If wood, engine & tranny are strong might be a good one to bring back. There is something to be said about doing it yourself ...a connection you make that is hard to explain till you have done it.
I would have to aggree with others here that a excellent driver TD could be had in todays market for mid to upper teens and 20/25k for TF (or 1500).
What ever you do ...hope to see you back here!
Now for the typical newbie question that's hard to answer:
About how much is it to paint a TD assuming no rust issues?
I'm not talking about a foot deep shine kind of show car job, but a solid quality job of paint and clear coat, if indeed clear coat is needed.
|David, thank you! There's no such thing as "coming in late" - at least not from the point of view of the guy getting the answers he's looking for!|
That little red TD has some kind of charm - I don't know what it is. It was said earlier in the thread that it's one of those "honest" little cars.
If the mechanicals are good, it's one that I wouldn't be at all ashamed of buffing up a bit and driving as-is for a while.
The seller is including an interior kit with leather seat covers and panels, so that's worth close to $ 1,000. I'm confident I could do a decent interior job and enjoy the process.
A top and tonneau are needed - and side curtains. Top and tonneau are just under $ 1,000 from Moss. Side curtains I'd look for second hand in all the usual places. I don't expect to have it out in weather unless I get caught unexpectedly.
I've never tried to paint a car and that might intimidate me - but then again we get these little cars to try new skills and grow along with the little hummers.
Thanks for the encouragement, and no ... I won't be a stranger to this forum. I feel right at home already!
|Bobby - to keep my head screwed on straight as to T-series values, every few weeks I go through the Completed Listings on eBay and see exactly what cars have sold, what cars have not, and their conditions and prices. It's very instructive, and patterns emerge quite clearly.|
I don't care what anyone says, I can still buy a running and driving TD (needing some work and a lot of cleaning up) for $6-7,000, a parts or project car for under 5, a nice car for 10, a very, very nice car for 15 and an undriveable show car for 25.
I'm pleased that we have the same affinity for honest orphans and tired original cars.
PS - pricing a paint job is almost impossible because when you do one thing another 19 become needy. Old chrome looks always shabby after new paint; rubber always needs to be replaced after paint, the engine really needs to come out in order to paint the firewall, detail the engine and replace the leaking core plugs, and that first gear whine really needs to be checked over by pulling the trans - replace the clutch while you are doing it. The floor boards are probably split in places, and while you have them out you might as well paint the frame. Get the picture?
That said, if you take off and strip the fenders, fuel tank, running boards, bonnet, doors, etc, and do much of the prep work yourself, a $3-4,000 paint job will be pretty good.
|I have to admit, I had that same feeling as some of the guys here when I saw that TD. It does have a charm about it. But, we all know what happens when we let emotion take over during a car purchase decision! Emotion can cost a lot of money. At 10K, that TD would have to be a lot better than it appears, which is possible, or I would have to get it for at least a couple thousand less. Regardless, I always make it a point to expect that a car will require a lot of unexpected and expensive repair right after purchase. That way I'm not shocked too badly if/when I get bit.|
|Hello Bobby, I'm a late arriver also. Most of the guys on this forum know of the work I've been doing on my car, which is getting a frame off restoration. I purchased this particular car for three reasons. 1st I've always wanted a TF 1500, 2nd the engine was totally rebuilt and had ten hrs running time on it, (very important to me), 3rd, all the numbers were correct as when the car was built. Now, for whatever it's worth, when done, I figure I'll have $35,000.00 in it plus a few pennies. It's being built as a nice very correct driver, not a trailer queen show car. Will I ever get my money back? I'm not looking at it that way, as I didn't buy it for an investment. I bought it for the love of the car which, when I'm incapable of driving it anymore, will someday go to my oldest son. So what I'm trying to get at is, choose your reason for buying the car and let that be your guide to help choosing one. That being said, listen to all the guys before me on this post, there's years of experience in what they're telling you. And with the deepest appreciation, I've learned so much from them, to explain it, I wouldn't know where to begin. PJ|
|Also another late comment,,,, I have always found that working on the engine on a TF is a lot more difficult than a TD,,, The TD bonnet opens with the side opanels to allow much better access to the engine compartment than the TF in which only the top of the bonnet opens. The side panels stay in place.|
Just my opinion,
Where do you live in this great state?
If at all possible, I would give preference to a car that has been fitted with the 4.3 CWP.
To use the old cliché "Don't leave home without one". If you buy a car with the std 5.125 or 4.875, you will immediatly realize the need for the conversion to a 4.3 or better, the increasingly rare 4.1.
These CWPs are getting hard to find. Ask the seller if this conversion has been done.
|Gordon A Clark|
|Wow! Thanks again all for all of the orientation, it is really helping me a bunch.|
To address a few things "in person," let me go around the room a little:
tlange - thanks for the paint info - If I were to go for the little red survivor I would first go see and drive it after negotiating a good price. Paint would be as you footnote - fenders, doors, lids and tank off and a modestly priced new coat. Like I said before, if it isn't that bad I might just leave it alone for a while and drive it and let it show its age.
David K - you can't bee too far away. From what I saw that gt.rr.com area covers from Kerrville to the coast around Corpus Christi. I'm in Round Rock, just north of Austin.
Paul J - you're one of the good people on MGE who pointed me to this forum. Great suggestion, thanks.
Steve S - me too, I always set aside a little extra for unforeseens after a purchase
Steve W - yes on the access to the TF engine - it is causing me to rethink it as a candidate unless I find an amazing deal
Gordon - thanks for the pointers on the crown wheel pinion
I'll keep checking back for more.
The cost of a paint job has a number of variables to it.
Shop labor rates being one, type of paint another and the biggest, how much work you can put into it yourself.
I am not a professional in this area, so I don't know what the current going price is for labor.
I would talk to a few shops and see what their labor costs are. Let them take a look at the vehicle as it is. Then ask how much if they take it a part and do everything. Some may quote you a price of just sanding the car and spraying it. My opinion again, but I would not respray a TD without taking the fenders, hood, fuel tank and running boards off, You can, but if you are going to go to the trouble, taking off the misc. parts off the tub is easy and will give you a better job.
You can also paint the firewall without taking the engine out. I strip it down to the block, taking off the carbs, exhaust, and starter motor,
Having you take off the fenders, hood, aprons, tank and running boards and putting them back on will cut your labor costs. With today's paints and mixing systems there is not usually any issue in taking a few parts in to be painted at a time.
If you have the ability, sanding or stripping the body will take hours off the labor costs of a paint job.
A gallon of single stage acrylic paint will run anywhere from $40 a gallon up to #125 or so.
|Hi y'all ... 'smee again!|
Bruce, thanks for the info on the paint.
Another question - if a TD is right hand drive (steering wheel on the right - English style), original, not retrofitted, does that affect the value of the car here in the US?
The car is for sale in the US and has been here for many years.
|Bobby - I think that in the US a RHD TD is worth a little less than a LHD car - a LHD car is also easier to drive. I would say that there is no real advantage to having a RHD car in the US. (That being said, all TC's are RHD, and those owners seems to manage to drive their cars thousands of miles each year...).|
|I disagree with Tom...but then I do drive a TC which as he noted is also RHD. It's very easy to drive even here in the states and remember, rural postmen/women drive RHD vehicles every day.|
I think that being RHD it would stand out amongst it's US brethren. I can probably count on one hand how many RHD TD's I've seen at car shows.
|Thanks, Tom. I'm not seeking any specific advantage to a RHD car, it's just that there is one available that's RHD and looks pretty good. I was wondering if RHD causes a car to lose value relative to its siblings here in the US.|
Gene, you're right. I drove RHD cars when I lived in England some years back and the transition wasn't that hard. The pedals are in the same order as on a left hand drive, so the only real difference is shifting with the left hand instead of the right.
|Bobby, contact me off the BBS. I may have what you are looking for.|
The big advantage to stripping the car down (IMHO) is knowing what is under the old paint.
I dissasembled mine, stripped to bare metal, but had a friend do the actual painting. (didn't trust myself to do a good enough job). I do like the idea that I know exactly what is ubder the paint now. A PO had repainted my TF and they had put tons of "mud" in it as an attempt to make it perfect. I kind of went the other way. What I love about this car is that it was hand made...covering all the little "imperfections" from the panel bashers of Abingdon was not what I had in mind. For my taste it is what makes the car special and is no doubt much closer to what the car looked like when built. I have less than a pint of filler in the car now.
It only took me about 9 months to do!
Lots of dead brain cells from airplane stripper and many hours at the blasting cabinet...but well worth it I think.
|I don't feel there is any difference in value between RHD and LHD. If you decide to sell, you may have fewer buyers for a RHD TD than for a LHD one, but the buyers who are looking for a RHD TD will flock to you. I'll bet it's a wash.|
That said, I own and drive three RHD MGs including my daily driver MGB GT. There are advantages and disadvantages to it but what it boils down to is that some people just can't get comfortable in a RHD car here in the US while others including myself have no problem with it, or even prefer it. Having driven RHD cars before, you're already one step ahead in making that decision. If possible, try to take a RHD car for a test drive here int he US to make sure you're ok with it.
|To TD owners, I would agree there probably is no difference in value, but it would be a more rare vehicle as we have a lot of RHD TD's in the States. It may have a bit more people appeal in that it makes it a bit more visible as a british car.|
|My TD is right hand drive in a left hand country (Spain) and the only problem is the few times when I actually get behind a car going slower than myself (very rare)it can be difficult to see around the car in front for passing. - oh yea, and trying to reach across the passenger side to get the ticket from the parking machine is impossible!! ... Chris|
|Chris Malcolm (TD 29228)|
HA HA ...that brings back some memories (reach across the passenger side). I used to get some strange looks from people behind me at the bank drive through teller "backing through" the line in my old RHD Bug-Eye. Occasionaly even the old "your going the wrong way" untill they realized we were both on the same side, looking eye to eye!
|David, Actually it's worse than that - this is a very small place and there is only one automatic parking machine on the whole island and that is at the airport using airport transfers tonbridge meaning that it tends to cause confusion at the best of times. Arriving alone to pick up my wife a few weeks ago I had to stop at the machine, turn the car off, leave it in gear so it wouldn't roll because with the handbrake on there isn't enough clearance for me to get my leg past the stick shift and steering wheel so that I could then climb up on to the seat - stand on the seat, walk across to the passenger seat, push the button to get my ticket and then climb back in before the automatic gate decided I wasn't going to enter the parking after all and close on me. Obviously I have been doing it all wrong so the next time I'll take your advice and reverse in at it! This forum is always full of helpful tips..... Chris|
|Chris Malcolm (TD 29228)|
|Chris it's a good point you raise about the difficulty of seeing around a car in front for passing. I hadn't thought of that logistical aspect of a RHD car.|
Since it's a driver I'm looking for, and a lot of time wil be spent on what is left of country 2-laners around here, it's a big consideration. Thanks for the insight.
|If you're married, you had best check with your wife if you're considering a RHD car here in North America. Chances are she'll be the one sitting out there, and after your first attempt to pass a truck, she's likely never get in your car again.|
|Actually, by law here in the islands we are required to have a mirror mounted on the windscreen passenger's side which allows us to look forward for passing. Trust me not only is it confusing to use, it also blocks out a huge chunk of my vision on that side. My solution has been to carry a suction mount mirror in the glove box in case of police and to gauge overtaking safety by the whiteness of my wife's knuckles on the grab bar as she screams NOOOOOOOOO !!|
|Chris Malcolm (TD 29228)|
|Chris.... a friend has a TC RHD and he and his wife travel a lot of miles during the season....she always has this funny look on her face when they are driving...that might explain it.....?|
I'm not going there! (re: funny look on wife's face!) although after arriving home last night about midnight (about 90 minutes on a winding coast road) the poor girl was so exhausted that she's only just now got out of bed! I'll go check for a funny look.... ... Chris
|Chris Malcolm (TD 29228)|
|I drive a RHD car daily. There are pros and cons but no cons that can't be overcome. I have a list on my web site but it's down for another day or two.|
|Correction, the site is now up, and the list is here: http://www.mgnuts.com/rhdcars|
|Bobby, take a look on Ebay now, VEHLTOR Motors has '52 TD. Might be what you are lookin' for.|
Don't forget British By The Sea Waterford, Ct June 5th !!!!!!!!!!!
|Steve, thanks for the reminder, will be there.|
|Even though it has been quite a while since this was an active thread, I want to thank everyone who offered help and advice. My TD arrived on Monday and I think I found a very special one.|
It has been fully restored, finished in 2007. It came with 7 CD's with photos of the restoration. It was delivered by the seller and the restorer, and I find having 41 years' worth of history of my car to be very special.
Drove it for some 25 miles today and we are becoming fast friends.
|Another pic of the delivery.|
|Congrats....lovely looking car and having the history is such a plus....|
(Dave Braun....have you checked your garage lately...?)
Looks really great......
Very nice looking car!
Very, very nice having the "history" as you do.
Have fun getting some bugs on it!
This thread was discussed between 29/04/2011 and 24/07/2011
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