1951 MG TD With 1,487 Original Miles!

We see plenty of low-mileage classic cars coming across the desks here at Barn Finds, but occasionally one will appear that takes this concept to the next level. That is the case with this 1951 MG TD. At first glance, this has all of the hallmarks of a beautifully restored vehicle or an exceptional survivor. It appears that the latter scenario is the case because it is a classic with a claimed genuine 1,487 miles on the clock. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Gary for spotting this fantastic car for us. If you would like to follow-up on this one further, you will find it listed for sale here on Auction Ninja. There have been 47 bids submitted, which has pushed the price along to $6,500.

The owner doesn’t exactly drown us with information about the little MG. He doesn’t indicate just how this MG Red classic has come to have such low mileage or what its backstory is. The car presents superbly, and the lack of visible deterioration in the panels, paint, or top raises a question in the back of my mind. I’m wondering whether the mileage is genuine or whether it might represent the miles accumulated following a restoration. It is hard to be sure on that point, although a careful check of the supplied photos does show what appears to be some red overspray in spots that I wouldn’t have expected. The paint shines beautifully, and the chrome looks just as lovely. There is some minor pitting on a couple of pieces, but I wouldn’t class these as deal-breakers. The top appears to be as tight as a drum, and there are no glass issues.

Under the hood of the MG, we find the 1,250cc XPAG 4-cylinder engine, which is backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. With 54hp on tap, the TD was not a fast car, even in a 1951 context. The journey down the ¼ mile took a leisurely 21.5 seconds, which sounds like an eternity by today’s standards. The engine bay of this car presents well. However, a closer inspection does reveal some deterioration to the paint on the generator, along with the deterioration of components like the plug wires. Addressing these problems would not be difficult and should satisfy the enthusiast keen to undertake a bit of tinkering. The owner’s description is limited, but he does indicate that it runs and drives well. That mileage claim is an interesting one, and I hope that the owner holds some form of verifying evidence.

There’s a lot to like about this little MG’s interior and not a lot to be critical of. The weak point here is the dash, as the timber can deteriorate badly if it isn’t cared for. That is not an issue here, with it shining richly. The upholstered surfaces all present well, with no appreciable wear or tears. The wheel is free from wear and cracks, and there are no visible aftermarket additions.

This photo was one that raised some doubts in my mind. There are some noticeable wiring changes visible behind the dash, and it isn’t clear why or what this is about. They are quite untidy, and the insulation type isn’t period-correct for this car when it was new. I hate to see wiring hanging loose in a car, and I like it even less when bare ends are floating in space. That is an issue that I would address quickly. If those are “live” wires, then they raise the possibility of a fire. Nothing spoils your day more than emptying an extinguisher into the smoldering ruins of what was once your pride and joy.

I’m willing to give the seller the benefit of the doubt with this MG TD. If the mileage claims are accurate, then this is an extraordinary vehicle. Even if they aren’t correct, then it is still an attractive car that needs little.  Values have softened slightly in recent times, but there is no reason why they couldn’t trend upward in the future. Tidy examples will easily fetch $15,000, while pristine cars can sell for twice that price. If the mileage can be confirmed, I would expect it to sell for that higher figure. If the bidding stays at around its current level, it could be a bargain buy. What do you think? Is the odometer accurate, and is this an amazing survivor? Or is this an MG that has done no work since it received a restoration?

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Comments

  1. ChingaTrailer

    Mileage claim must be regarded as BS unless extraordinary evidence exists, even then it is a restoration as cars age, corrode and deteriorate over time, even when not being used. Grease hardens and congeals, paint and upholstery shrink and crack, wiring and fabric becomes brittle, rubber hardens. Impossible for this to be a low mileage original unrestored car.

    Like 17
  2. A Rover

    Ermm…. call me picky….but can somebody please tell me why this “original” car has two tail lights on the rear deck… at two different heights in relation to the bodywork?… I know the British (and everybody else) blame Lucas electric for a lot… but this would be a real stretch.

    Like 3
  3. A Rover

    …oh!…wait!… I figured it out… it’s so a heavy driver can drive the car and make it look level to the cars following them!… sorted!!… carry on as you were!

    Like 3
    • Little_Cars

      Bachelor lean….from having one driver all the time. Us MG folks rage about this all the time. Seriously, though, GOOD CATCH!

      PS: the bumper may be sitting a little higher on the right side giving the illusion of the taillight being lower on the fender? Or maybe the license tag holder above the left is tricking the eye into thinking that side is higher?

      Like 1
  4. Haig L Haleblian

    No way this is even close to original. The color scheme never existed and that’s just the tip of the iceberg on the incorrect list. Not a bad looking car, but why buy from a liar or has absolutely doesn’t know of what they speak?

    Like 21
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    To add to that, the Brits never put a coat of paint on these cars with that much gloss to it. Our ’53 had nice paint on it but not that nice.

    Like 15
  6. Little_Cars

    Low mileage survivor with p*ss poor, ill-fitting non original carpet and a new improved convertible top. Shift lever appears to be from a later car as well. Shenanigans will get the seller the offer they deserve. Double thumbs up about the quality of the paint finish…..never a hallmark of 1950s UK manufacturers.

    Like 9
  7. Bruce

    I suspect that the milage claim is after restoration. Just look at the generators ascetic condition as compared to the rest of the car’s engine compartment. The wiring, carpet, top, and many other features are of a adequate restoration but with the seller so far off you should not trust anything he says about mechanical condition. Also inspect the wood framing of the body. Just because the paint is good that does not mean the wood structure behind it is any good.

    As for the paint, there is no orange peel on the paint. I have helped restore at least 20 of these in the 1960 and 70’s and all of them had orange peel some where on the body. This has been stripped and repainted. A restoration.

    Like 7
  8. 53MGTD

    Incorrect speedometer, non matching engine, missing bumper over riders. Someone spent good money on the body but did not finish the restoration and no way is that the actual mileage. Might be the mileage since that speedo was installed.

    Like 8
  9. Andrew S Mace Member

    In the words of Al Borland: “I don’t think so, Tim!” Where’s the original leathercloth on the dashboard, behind what appear to be Triumph TR3 speedo and tach? Where are the bumperettes? Where are…oh, never mind! Nice car; BOGUS “backstory”!

    Like 8
  10. Bernie H.

    I agree with 53MGTD for several reasons. Its a nice restoration, The guy this owner bought from may have claimed the originality and he’s just passing it on. All came with bumper over riders. No wiring or controls passed under the scuttle bar underneath the dash like this one shows. The center gauges look correct for a 1951 TD(pale green), but the speedo & tach are late issue,1952 and later. MG never used gloss paint on suspension/undercarrage, and the celulose laquer factory paint had little real gloss. I retired from British car restorations after 51 years, have done probably 75-80 T=series MG’s plus VA Tickfords, J-2’s and 3’s, YT’s, and the list goes on. Its still a nice car, just not original.

    Like 5
  11. John Mereness

    Maybe 1400 miles since restored and there may be some outstanding original features, but this is not an unrestored vehicle !

    Like 3
  12. Christopher Gentry

    It’s very nice and maybe worth the money. But that millage HAS to be since it was restored.

  13. Steve Clinton

    Once again it’s ‘buyer beware’!

    Like 1
  14. Corky Aeh

    I own a 1952 MG/TD Kit car , so the first thing I always look at is the windshield wipers…. on a kit car the are on the bottom of the windshield and on a real MG they are on the top , but when i looked at the pictures of this MG I cannot find them period ????? am I missing something ?????

    • James

      This is a super rare “wiper delete” model which adds thousands to the value.

      Like 1
  15. SMS

    Okay, so milage seems a bit low. I owned a ‘52 and thinking about it 1,487 miles in 70 years means 21 trouble free miles a year. Maybe it is accurate.

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars

      Trip odometer shows several hundred miles, so that hasn’t been reset in decades. ha ha

      Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey

        SMS & Little_cars,

        Comments like yours are one of the best reasons to subscribe to Barn Finds!

        No about this car: Like several others here on this comment list, I’ve been restoring cars for 30+ years, specializing in British cars. This is a restored car, and not done to a high degree of quality.

  16. Bonephish

    Where are the windshield wipers?

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