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MG TD TF 1500 - The True Survivor MG TF -- Red TF 1500 #9052

Dave Sander reached out me to go check out a TF he has heard a lot about for many years however he has never seen the car in person. "This is the real thing", he was once told by the owner twenty years ago at a MG rally. "Looks brand new." "All the original King Dick tools, factory tires, hood, and it still has the dealer invoice and Factory warranty to the car.

The car was scheduled to attend the NY GOF TF Survivor Challenge (ed 2013) however but unfortunately the owner had to cancel those plans due to a sudden illness. The owner was enthusiastic to attend the NY GOF. He is very proud of his TF. Prepping the car and packing all the documents professionally in a presentation folder so people could flip thru and see the car's history. The owner was disappointed he could not go so he could show his "one of a kind" TF as well as many other people who were anticipating to see this car.

Before arriving, I was excited to have the opportunity to inspect and meet the owner of this incredible car. I knew in advance this was a low mileage all original vehicle but nothing additional could be said to best describe or to prepare me the full extent the beautiful and pristine condition when I saw this car for the first time.

This car is incredible. A pure time capsule. A Red TF 1500 #9052 with original factory top, body paint, Dunlop Made in England bias ply tires, factory exhaust, complete tool roll, bill of sale from the dealer in NY, period brochures for ordering LUCAS, BMC, and aftermarket dealer parts. The red paint is flawless. Exterior body panels, the red dash, and gold / bronze colored instrument center panel are like new. The light brown marble/ pearl steering wheel also like new however does not have the usual cracks we are accustomed to see. Under the bonnet shows many original factory items remain in excellent condition that all seem to perish as time and wear take its toll - in particular the rubber, rubber grommets, rubber pad under the wiper motor, the protective rubber boot on the starter to name a few.

The original light brown canvas top is "as new" as it was when it left Abingdon. The light brown / tan top bow paint has no wear. The bright red leather and vinyl interior is impeccable. The original Karvel carpets have no wear, abrasions, and have no dirt. When I brushed my hand across the carpet the texture was very soft. Underneath the carpets exhibit the padding cushion between the black floor boards and the carpet. Even the Dot fasteners for the carpet are still nice and polished looking. Even the tread to the Dunlop bias-ply tires are perfect and probably still have the original English air in them. The owner bought this car new from a car dealer in Long Island, NY in 1955.

The owner was employed to an aviation company and soon after he bought the car he was transferred to Delaware, USA. The car was hardly driven at all before this work transfer and it remained in Long Island at his parent's house. After a brief stint working in Delaware he transferred to Europe to continue his career and the TF remained at his parent's home. While he was away in Europe, his father once a week, every Sunday, would rotate the TF's wheels and turn the engine with the hand crank for his son until he returned back to the States in 1979.

Twenty-four years, Let me repeat that. ... 24 YEARS past by from the time he bought it from the dealer in NY and his return back to the US, the car remained parked in a sheltered garage, never driven, and still in showroom condition. The owner states to me this car was never driven exposed to the elements except sunshine. The only exception out on a weekend drive and about a mile away returning home, the TF got in a light drizzle but it was soon under the shelter of an enclosed garage. When I asked how often does he drive it currently, he replied that he puts about 100 miles a year on the TF. Today, there is currently 5,696 original miles on the odometer.

The car is close to 100% factory new for a few minor exceptions. The spark plugs, the spark plug wires, and the hose from the engine block to oil PSI union have been replaced. The battery was replaced with a Lucas reproduction. The battery terminal cables are still original though. The owner replaced the top hose to the radiator / thermostat connection as preventive maintenance but he did keep the original one. For safety concerns the factory Dunlop Bias Ply tires were taken off the car and replaced with radials and new Dayton wire wheels. The original tires remain mounted to the factory wire wheels are neatly stacked near the car.

The owner is very meticulous with the car of the car to preserve originality. Listening to him explain to me the safeguarding measures he had took simply blew me away. He did install his homemade rubbers between the over-riders and the bumper so it wouldn't scratch the chrome. He installed a sleeve to the chain of the oil cap so it wouldn't wear the paint to the valve cover. The factory carpets are always covered with liners. The white felt in the tool box is protected with foam so the air pump and other tools inside wouldn't soil the white felt. He was concerned the factory dash under-panel would get scuffed up, he bought and installed a replacement and he stored away the original for safekeeping. The factory hood is mint.

To preserve originality and for back up "just in case" something happens , he showed me a vintage OEM BMC factory hood he purchased years also unused and folded neat in the factory box. He stated to me that he was concerned the hand crank might rust. He worked for an aviation company and the shop had a cad plating department. He brought his hand crank to work so the shop could cadmium plate the crank to end his worries of rust. This crank is still in his possession in the garage but an aftermarket is used instead in the car.

Another great example steps taken to preserve originality --the black covered burlap factory tool roll has never been used. It is still neatly folded tucked away and he bought an aftermarket tool roll to stow all the Factory tools in. Most all the tools are marked King Dick and so is the car jack. The only tools unmarked are the knock off hammer, hammer, and the flat head screw driver. The screw driver looks similar to a Shelly but is not stamped I could see. The tools have zero rust and they still have the black paint on them. Repeating myself again. ...They look brand new.

I spent about five hours inspecting, photographing, and talking with the owner. I took about 300 plus photos. Even with this amount of time and photos there are some things I wished I took better photos off. I tried my best to be methodological in my approach taking these pictures. There are so many things with this car it is difficult to capture it all at once. I bet I could spend another half day on this car very easily.

The pictures were taken in a garage with camera flash under a ceiling fluorescent light. Heavy clouds and threat of rain prohibited me wanting to take photos outside I would have preferred to get the best color result of the painted items. Having said that, I am sure no one here will argue nor complain what I have to share.

As I said earlier, I took a lot of photos. When I got home I was asked what were the biggest takeaways I have learned after viewing the car. These are only my expressed views. Yours may differ however. We are all here to learn and to improve our restoration techniques with these cars. This will also give you a brief synopsis what the photos will reveal.

The amount of effort the Factory did to detail under the bonnet to painting bolt heads and screw heads to touch up to match the color of that part it is attaching. They even touched up the tacks exposed heads to the rubber strip with black paint.
The stability of the paint they used. For me, it was a better understanding how the factory paint wears and how unstable the paint it is. Due to this often causes a lot of disagreements "what that color should really be". In addition, how some painted items hold up very well up presently on this car but somehow the same exact paint most likely it was applied to on a similar bolt -- in a similar location -- does not continue to exist! I couldn't understand that. I also suggest caution to prevent jumping to conclusions. One must study the whole car to better understand the Factory final detail procedures when completing these cars. This fine car is still just one example so we must also take in account of other surviving TF to fill in the gaps of where paint was applied or left bare with a natural finish.
All the surviving rubber and protective boots in this car. Comparing to what most is often seen today of what is left remaining is a melted "glob". All melted away and unable to identify.
The surviving black paint on the brake lines
The surviving black paint on the muffler.
The bright white aluminized finish of the exhaust header that is just starting to show some age.
The valve color without a doubt is flat silver. Non metallic. Same paint matches the wire wheels.
How bright red the dash is and under the scuttle.
The bow color is tan light brown that matches real well with the top. The "coffee - pink rose" color most commonly described is only evident on minor finish items on the exterior of the hood which is an area more exposed to direct sunlight.
Last but not least. ... "Never say, NEVER" what is original on these cars. There are a few "stray cats and dogs" out there that the Factory must of had to do to finish these cars. Most likely a supply issue or what was on hand on the assembly line to complete the car. On this particular car, they did not use rivets to the body plate under the tool box lid AND the copper tag on the valve cover. Brass, dome head, flat style screws were used.

Frank Cronin


Frank Cronin


Frank Cronin

Bright red leather seats...

Frank Cronin

One thing I noticed was the center console paint was more bronze. It did not match the hub to the steering wheel which is gold.

Frank Cronin

A close up of the dash paint and under the scuttle. To me it showed how the factory was really took care to match the red paint of the dash to the red interior.

Frank Cronin

I will post a few more pictures here to generate some interest and discussion. Uploading all the pictures I photographed on to the BBS would be too time consuming and confusing. Chris Couper worked overtime by developing a webpage dedicated to this car with all the pictures so you can view at your own pace to examine and study. There is a lot to see there so check it out.

A direct link is here:

There are lots of material on this car someone can create a topic about and discuss but what amazed me the most was with the amount of detail under the bonnet a factory worker touched up hardware with a paint brush bolts, screws, and bolt heads. For me, it just showed how hands on and personal they were when they built these cars. I will post a few photos under the bonnet and the engine.

Here is a nice shot of the carburetor side. Take note the breather pipe from the valve cover to the Vokes air cleaner is painted engine color. The valve cover without a doubt is flat silver, no gloss or metallic and the white cast iron aluminized exhaust header.

Frank Cronin

I have seen on another survivor TF the red painted bolt to the flasher attached to the tool box. Obviously, on this car, it is in much better condition to see how it really looked.

Also in this picture you can see the warning paper label still attached to the voltage regulator.

Frank Cronin

In this picture you can see the wiring harness, rubber, and sleeves in excellent condition. Looks like it even has the original Lucas fuses in the fuse box.

What I really like about this picture is when doing touch up, the "ooops, the brush slipped" when touching up the screw with black paint. There is another picture like this elsewhere on the car.

Frank Cronin

This is the other picture. Before you go adjusting your computer screen, you are in fact seeing red paint on the fan belt. This is the original fan belt.

On the side of the side panel, you can see how the paint brush may have slipped while some factory worker was touching up the bolt heads to the stay bar supporting the two side panels.

The straps securing the water temperature capillary wire are painted black.

You can not see the drain petcock on this picture but you can on the website. It was painted black.

Frank Cronin

Recall a recent thread on Simmonds nuts? Here are a few.

Frank Cronin


Frank Cronin

What a treasure trove for all TF owners. I've got to go see that car!!
D. Sander

Looks like Rob Grantham has the perfect copy of the Purolator decal on the oil canister.

Frank Cronin

All the tacks to the rubber strip were painted black on this car.

Frank Cronin

I guess I spent too much time cleaning and polishing the brass petcock on the block to get it nice and shiny.... Also on this picture the carb overflow lines go through the hole.

Frank Cronin

This is a chalk mark. I asked the owner and he does not know anything about it or how it got there. It looks like a lower case "p".

"P" for "Pass"?

Frank Cronin

Does anyone know what "DW" stands for and why it is there on the wiper motor?

Frank Cronin

I was laying on my back trying to take photos of under the car. I was basically just reaching out and hoping to get pictures. I did not notice this at first. I must have scanned each photo at least three or four times until I saw this. This is the rear brake back plate. I cropped it to get a better view. It looks like "H 8" but really unsure exactly.

Frank Cronin

This will be the last of my post so people can review the photos and make comments.

This is ONE of the interesting items on this car. On the majority of TF's, they used rivets to secure the plate under the tool box AND on the "Set Rockers at.." copper tag. On this car they are round flat head screws.

Not something I would want on my car it the nut ever came loose under the valve cover.

Frank Cronin


Frank Cronin

And last pic. There are almost 300 pictures on

Frank Cronin

Yes, you do need to see this car soon Dave!

It is a shame this car couldn't make it to the NY GOF in September.
Frank Cronin

I would like to thank Frank for the time and trouble taken to obtain these photos. In recognition of this, and the fact that I did not take enough photos on disassembly, I resolve to spend a ridiculous amount of time studying his photos.

Magnificent - thanks Frank.

Ian Fry

Just a quick note: This link will get you to the top of the page as Franks go past the pictures to his comments captured at the top of this post.

We organized the pictures by subject area and we kept the sequence numbers from Franks camera. This way if you want to post a new thread about a picture just mention the picture number(s) and car TF9052.

If you absolutely need to post a picture then use this sequence (example picture 312):

Chris Couper

Frank and Chris,


My car cane as an abandoned restoration. If not for this site I would be just guessing when assembling it. These photos truly speak thousands of words.

J E Carroll

Thanks to all that made this photo resource available
To all. Photo 312 as linked by Chris Couper (above)
Shows the day/nite mirror and round stem with a round
Rubber pad.
Question - the engine pictures show what
Appear to be plugged heater hose holes through
The firewall (below battery). Did the factory provide the holes
At some point in production?
Rick Walsh
R.T. Walsh

Brilliant job. That will sure settle many questions about originality once and for all. Thanks for taking the time and care to do the documentation, and placing online. Happy Thanksgiving. George
George Butz

Wow ...I plan on spending an inordinate amount of time looking at this ...well done!

I can't agree with the statement "That will sure settle many questions about originality once and for all."
IMHO: I don't think that will ever happen!
Rather, I think this will however reinforce the concept that these cars, having been hand built, will always have areas that will be "different" from example to example.

Don't get me wrong ...this is an amazing example for "study" given the documentation and care it has had, however there are things here that (again IMHO) will certainly spark the never ending debate concerning details. Most obvious, just from the above pictures, would be the use of round flat head screws on tool box lid and valve cover.
David Sheward TF1500 #7427

What a car; stunning!

Normally I'd say it is a shame if a car doesn't get driven, but this car is something else.

What surprises me is that in some of the pictures I can see bare hands. Shouldn't white flanel gloves be obligatory with such a delicate relic? ;-)
Willem van der Veer

What an amazing find. Thank you for documenting and sharing this car.
Jack Long

An amazing preservation. Surprising (to me anyway) are the accessory plug off the battery terminal. Never seen that before. Also the leather wrapped rear springs. Missing the TF stencil on the rear end.

Great work guys.
L E D LaVerne

The leather wraps on the rear springs were put on when the car was new. He wanted to preserve the springs. They are one of the many available to protect the springs from road dirt and keep them lubricated.
D. Sander

To everyone: Thanks for all the kind words. The real thanks should be the owner who welcomed me to their home to document this car. The owner is 91 and doesn’t own a computer nor surfs the web. I bet if he were able to read everyone’s comments, he would be flattered with all the great responses. Although he is generally a private person, he is open for sharing photos of his car with other T-series enthusiasts to examine, discuss, and to help preserve MG car history. Most of all, I bet he would be thrilled if he knew his car helped someone who needed help restoring their cars back to their former glory.

To Lavern:

Dave is right on. These are Leaf Gaiters. I asked him right away when I saw these. I was told by him it was to protect the leaf springs from rust packed with grease. A quick story… when I thought I was all done taking photos and to have a cup of coffee inside, the owner showed me a presentation binder with all the historical documentation with the car – Dealer bill of sale invoice, Warranty card, etc…. It was a really amazing historical piece I really enjoyed looking at. However, I put my camera away back in the car so I did not take photos of this. He had the original company sales brochure and order guide however I do not recall the name of the company who sold them. I do know when he bought these leather leaf gaiters he also purchased from the same company a cover to the grill when driving in cold weather.

I focused on trying to capture if any stencils under the car in particular on rear axle and the brake back plates. There is not a lot of room clearance for a big guy like me to crawl under to get better close ups or maybe wipe off a little oil to see if there was a stencil possibly there. The car is really clean as everyone can see. In these pictures there is no “TF” on the axle. The only stencil or marking I was able to capture a picture of was here.

The only other stencil I never seen or been discussed here is the DW on the wiper motor.

And the chalk mark which isn’t in the same category as a stencil but was “there”

The item you see was installed by the owner. It is a period correct Bosch unit to help trickle the battery when not in use.

To Rick Walsh:

I can not say when during factory production these cad plated knock out plugs were installed. My only guess is, the heater must been a very popular aftermarket item as TF production stepped forward and the Factory probably took notice of this in upgrading / changing parts to equip a heater for an easier install at the dealership. In order to sell more cars, I would guess that you have to keep the dealers happy!

On my early TF #1414 it does not have a removable pipe plug to install a heater on the branch pipe for a return line or a removal plug for a hot water feed at the thermostat. And of course holes needed to be punched out in the firewall for the hoses.

What is nice about this car is it was not installed with a heater so these original plugs remain. On most cars installed with a heater with hoses already thru the firewall, it is difficult to ascertain if the holes were already punched out at the factory and cad plated plugs installed or if it was drilled out by the dealer. On this car, we know it was done by the factory.

As for the mirror, I will defer to allow someone else who can better answer your question than I can. What I can tell you is the dot fasters on the scuttle beside the mirror are longer / taller compared to the most common size on the car. The owner installed these to allow a better fit of the tonneau cover.

Mr. Dave Sherwood…. Yep…. That is why I said there are a few stray cats and dogs out there. Studying these cars will be never ending. This car is a great example…. Answers a few questions… and raises new ones.


Frank Cronin

exactly the same spec as my October 15. 1954 XPEG TF. Colour outside and interior red, wire wheels. Som much to learn here, thank you for sharing!


Jan Kristoffersen

One other note. When you look at the complete slide set you will see a little (i) icon on the right of the picture on some of the slides. We felt it necessary to explain a particular detail or perceived issue on that slide as it was a bit controversial to us when were assembling the slides. Just click the icon to see a popup of our comment.

While this car appears to be 'as original', the owner did do some modifications in order to preserve it.

Also note at the bottom there are few slides missing in the sequence (for you conspiracy theorists). They are not in the set because they were blatant repeats or they were totally unusable (ie blurry). There were not many of these and you did not miss anything by not having them included.
Chris Couper

A hearty "thank you" from this TF owner. I'll be scrutinizing these photos for months to come.

'54 TF
T Norby

Almost as I remember TF9334 that was original before we restored it. I did not take any images then so have been working from memory.

We have restored TF1500's as follows, TF8889,TF8894,TF8947,TF8973,TF8974,TF9125,TF9140,TF9171,TF9334,TF9651,TF10085.

None of these had the two heater holes, some had heaters but the holes were not in those exact places, I have always assumed were dealer made not factory.

TF9124 had a heater fitted by the Timaru NZ dealer when new. The heater pipe holes were poorly done and have been filled by the current owner. I knew the first and know the two other owners of this TF1500.

I have seen the soft top wing nuts before but not on many cars.

I am amazed at the condition of most of the rubbers especially the bonnet rear rest rubber, as all original ones we have had were perished long before now.

I wonder if the brush touch-ups have been done either by the dealer of since the TF was sold. I would doubt the Factory would have had the time to do this, but you can never say never. I will not be adding this to my restorations.

I have never seen the touch-ups on the underside wooden bearers on any TF's we have had, 1250's and 1500's.

A wonderful selection of chosen images that are a record for all to share.

If a second visit is planned I have some areas that I would like photographed, if these could be collated some way I am sure others may also have requests.

A Great effort and a great choice by the owner to not disturb too much originality.

Rod Brayshaw

Amazing car and story!

Incredible that it has been kept in as close to showroom condition as one could imagine.

There's one question on the hood - it's a place I tend to look for "correct" installation:
At the back bow where the two screws are on the right and left side - didn't the factory install these screws and eyelets under the flap on the hood? On this one they are on top of the material in front of the flap seam, and the note says the screws and eyelets were painted to match the hood.

How did the factory install them?


Bobby Galvez


The screw position you describe are factory correct as shown.

The material is also factory correct. The inside colours are described as salt and pepper. The factory half tonnaeu cover is exactly the same. The outside tan with the grain had a sheene to it.

I have found these screws as Philips head on some hoods so was surprized to see slotted screws.

All hoods that we have had were replacements as the NZ sun is harsh on that type of material, so the screws have always been disturbed.

Many Philips head screws on TF's I have found over the years had been replaced with slotted head screws because the removal attempts when seized round off the cross heads, so their removal was by a drill.
Rod Brayshaw

Regarding the windscreen wiper motor -
The original unit on my TF8926 also
Has "DW" stamped on it. I just presumed
That was good foresight and meant
"Don't Work"

Rick Walsh
R.T. Walsh

On photo #32 there is aockwire wrapped around the oil supply line to the cylinder head from an oil gallery plug. This is dangerous because the line will chafe nthrough the copper line with disasterous results.
Still all in all that is one fine MG-TF.

Sandy I think you are looking at the tacko drive cable. But the oil pipe originally had a wire outer covering.
Rod Brayshaw

Rod Brayshaw: What picture(s) are you referring to?

I have never seen the touch-ups on the underside wooden bearers on any TF's we have had, 1250's and 1500's.>>

Frank Cronin

Rod Brayshaw

Hi Rod,

When I was under the car, this was one of the first things I took notice of. Since I was on the floor and this was less than 6" from my eyes, it looked like it was a "tar?" like substance brushed on the ash bottom rails after the tub was painted body color. Weather preservative from moisture for the wood??

Take a look at picture 235. On the panel where the handbrake cables enter the tub You can see where this was applied with something black-- put on heavy and sloppy causing excess runs down the back panel. I wonder if this is the same "black coating as seen the on bottom rails??

Frank Cronin

Sandy. That's a pretty standard lockwire mechanism for T engines. Seen it on a lot of cars. I don't think there is much movement hence no wear.

Rod: I am not sure what you mean by touch-ups? The bolts and nuts that go through the wood bearers appear to be plain cad and not touched up. Or perhaps the wood pieces being black themselves versus body color? On my TD all the wood inside and behind the fuel tank and underneath were black. I have seen plenty of cars that did not have much black and were body color.

Were you reffering to something else?
Chris Couper

Sandy - I've also got a 'virgin' XPAG with the lockwire looped around the oil pressure line to the head. The wire has to stress on it, and there's no sign of rubbing on the pipe.

It's definitely original!

Tom Lange
MGT Repair
t lange

Wow Frank. Amazing work. Thanks much.

Dave Braun

Hi Frank. Give yourself a pat on the back. Re your comment above about the owner not having a computer. Could I suggest you print this thread when it nears exhaustion & forward him a copy by snail mail. I'm sure he would be very appreciative & totally stunned at the response his car has generated!
Peter TD 5801
P Hehir

Frank, Chris,
This is the TF that I wanted to take pictures of at the GOF,,, the pictures that Frank took reciently are far better that I could have ever taken,,,




just found this image of the rear hood bow screw position on an original hood

Rod Brayshaw

Thanks, Rod. My uncertainty isn't as to the position of the screws on the frame, but rather whether the screw heads should be located under the flap on the top side of the hood - at the rear bow there's a flap that runs across the top and which some say should conceal the screw heads at those locations.
Thanks for taking the time to follow up!
Bobby Galvez

Bobby. When I got my TD in 1969 the original hood bows were stowed in the back of the car. The duck had totally disintergrated. I took the bows, looking every bit of 18 years of age, wrapped them in an old sheet & stored them in my attic, where they've been untouched for the past 44 years. The following 3 pics show what looks like the original canvas duck, about 2 inches wide wrapped around both bows & secured with a slot head machined screw & cup washer. I know we're talking about TF's but could this be the early TD factory version of what you described?

TD 5801

P Hehir

Pic 2

P Hehir

Pic 3

P Hehir


A factory photo. Excuse the poor quality of the image. If you enlarge it you can see the screw on top not underneath.

These two screws initially hold the hood while tensioning the top when fitting as its pulled across the wooden front bow.

Rod Brayshaw

Peter, can you please capture the paint colour on that frame for us? Would be interesting to compare original TD and TF. May need to try both sunlight and flash to see which gives the best representation of the colour.
Rod's picture (6 up) shows my newish hood with original (but touched-up) hood bow paint and the original webbing straps.

M Magilton

Sorry Matthew, there was no paint left on the frame, even under the fabric, just a layer of surface rust. The pics were taken as I began to wire brush the rust off. I kept most of the duck material cut up into smallish pieces which I've stored in a takeaway food container. You're welcome to a piece if it's of any use to you.
TD 5801
P Hehir

Rod - once again thanks much for the follow up!

That certainly helps to clear up one more little detail for me.


Bobby Galvez

This thread was discussed between 28/11/2013 and 04/12/2013

MG TD TF 1500 index

This thread is from the archive. The Live MG TD TF 1500 BBS is active now.