1952 MG TD – Survivor Or Driver?

This chocolate-colored vintage MG has just the right amount of wear — pretty enough to take to a car show but just right for spring and fall tours! It’s located in Memphis, Tennessee and is being sold here on eBay. Bidding is up to only just over $7,000 but hasn’t met the reserve yet. By the way, the car is incorrectly listed as a 1949, TD production did not start until 1950.

Although it looks ready to go, the seller tells us that they purchased the car from an estate of someone that owned the car since the 1950s, and the lack of a battery has me wondering about the “driver condition” from the ad. However, if you’re serious about the car the owner has put their phone number in it and encourages you to call with any questions you might have.

The top and side curtains really look to be in outstanding condition, and the somewhat unusual color scheme will really help this car out in a sea of green and red TDs. The seller also tells us that a number of records and pictures come with the vehicle. A TD will never set the world on fire with it’s 1250 cc engine and a 0-60 time of a little less than 23 seconds (!), but the driving experience will take you right back to the 1950s!

Interestingly enough, the interior isn’t as nice-appearing as the exterior, but it looks very nice and just right for the car. I have no idea if it’s original or not, but it surely looks the part.

What a delight to behold; a simple engine with simple parts. I don’t think I’d settle for the red horn, though, and the area just below the horn looks like it could use some touch up paint. I sure think it would be cool to drive, though! What do you think? And what do you think the reserve will be?

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Comments

  1. SMS

    The color was only offered in ‘51 with red or green interior. This does look good. Would want to look at the state of the wood frame. Those parts are a pain to replace.

    Very fun cars and easy to work on mechanically. Unfortunately some parts are difficult to find.

    Lots has been replaced on this car.

    Will long remember driving mine down the road. Stopped at a light. A brand new BMW Z8 pulled up next to me. The very attractive lady in the passenger seat looked at the MG and tried to get the driver to look as well. He would not even look over at me. She shrugged, smiled at me and waved as they drove away.

    Like 5
  2. ken tilly Member

    That’s a krap colour for any car, let alone a TD. I had a 1951 TD and I’m sure the dash was covered in an off white material, certainly not wood.

    • Michael

      Wood WAS the dash… my parents owned two and I’ve owned one and they were all wood.

      Like 4
      • Simon Lucas

        My mother bought the last TD built. It has a wooden dash covered with some sort of vinyl? matching the seats. It has a glove compartment instead of the metal handle shewn on this model.

        Like 3
  3. Rube Goldberg Member

    You know, I never cared for the T series, mostly because, with wire wheels, they always looked spindly, and wires are a huge pain, had them on my MGB, but this car I really like. I think it’s horribly inept for todays travel, but for many Americans after the war, these were their first sports cars. Look at the wipers, wouldn’t want to caught in a downburst with those, and people scream about the Pinto gas tank, by that logic, this is even worse. Brown is a bit unusual, but it’s still better than black or silver. Be a fun little car, for under 50 mph,,

    Like 4
  4. Coventrycat

    A great car for taking the long way home, off the interstate. I’d be happy with it just the way it is.

    Like 2
  5. Bob McK Member

    Great car, but could not get past the color. For some reason I truly dislike brown cars. But I bet someone out there will love it.

    Like 1
    • SMS

      Jaguar used a similar color on their saloons. Looked quite good on them.

      A TD in this color with the green interior is, putting it nicely, striking.

  6. Tom

    Rube – TDs never came with wire wheels. As SMS points out, lots has been replaced on this car – dash, Amco interior, horn, air filters, paint, wheel paint, etc. The VIN given is not an MG number, also. “Nice original car” it certainly isn’t!

    There are dozens of TD for sale right now, so this one might well be over-priced.

    Like 2
  7. Alan Bart Cameron MD

    I have been following a few TDs for sale in California area, and are in the 6-7K range, although hope springs eternal. I learned to drive on a MG magnette and we owned one of 5 in the whole state. We had horrible issues finding parts- even simple things like mufflers. We used to joke that when we took it into the shop for one thing, another would be broken before it left the shop. You did have to drive it hard to try to rally with it, but it was pretty. This brown is NOT a good color. Black or BRG or even Red would be much better. If I were to find that the price was ok for me, I might consider it to convert it to electric. Fun around town with top down, although even then it would be pretty hot. Maybe in Scotland would be ok.

  8. Allen Member

    With a 4.3:1 MGA rear end, these will go nicely at 60 mph – maybe even 65. The dash on this car is not original, as it has no glove box. The windscreen and frame, with the center-mounted wiper motor is from a ’53 TD. Regarding Rube Goldberg’s complaint about TD wire wheels: the paradox is that TDs were never offered with wire wheels. It is the only T series MG to sport disc wheels exclusively.

    It comes as no surprise that the original TD intake plenum and air filter are missing. Engine color is wrong too. Also, I believe all TD wheels were argent, regardless of body color. There are aftermarket lamps mounted on front and rear bumpers – presumably for turn signals. Somebody probably decided it was easier to add these rather than restoring the originals. At least they did it unobtrusively – no holes drilled in the bodywork. The fuel-tank brackets should be body color, and the tank end trims on either side should be bright metal.

    None of these are deal-breakers – except if the car is represented as “original”. Rather, as a buyer, I would be concerned about the condition of the body-framing timbers. Do the door hinge screws still snug tight into the “B-pillar” timber, or do the doors sag? Do they stay closed during hard cornering?

    Like 4
    • Rube Goldberg Member

      I appreciate your passion for these, but I never said TD had wires, just the T series WITH wire wheels looked spindly. The 2nd letter on these cars always confused me anyway. I wasn’t really into them. Doors stay closed on hard cornering? Sounds like an old Plymouth my uncle had,,,,

      Like 1
  9. Allen Member

    A couple further observations since my last note: “49211” is a body number, not a chassis number. “VIN” numbers are not technically applicable to cars this age, but when used, they refer to the chassis number, NOT the body number. The more I look at it, the more I’m tempted by the thought that somebody collected parts from perhaps several TDs and built a car from them. For all we know, perhaps it has a “kit car” title. It might be a pretty good car, but prospective bidders should tread carefully regarding provenance.

    Like 3
  10. Andrew S Mace Member

    Yeah, it’s a bit of a mongrel: two different front fenders (one “Girling shock” and one “Armstrong shock”), three-bow top and center wiper motor as per circa 1953 models, but still the rear lamps of the earlier cars, painted headlamp shells circa 1952, (wood dash (should have a glovebox and be covered n leathercloth), etc., etc., But it is what it is, a potentially very enjoyable TD (as any decent TD is)!

    Like 3
  11. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Funny….I like the color….

  12. Little_Cars

    Think he’s got enough lights and mirrors on this thing? Maybe it’s a Memphis thing. If I owned this car, I would do away with what are basically the “modern” safety items. Plastic horns, lights on the bumper, luggage rack, and those wipers. I NEVER expect to drive a droptop MG with even a hint of rain. Those wipers in the down position seem to be a safety concern of their own. This brown color is fine, but argent wheels would make this more sophisticated and factory correct. Right now it presents itself a bit clownish with cream wheels.

  13. Allen Member

    Little Cars. ‘ Agree about the superfluous lights. The parking lamps on the front wings are correct, but I don’t like the clutter created by the wing mirrors – which are useless anyway – IMHO. Actually, I had a ’53 TD for several years. The wipers don’t park like they’re shown in the pictures, but way up by the top. They aren’t wonderful, but they are adequate – especially if the windscreen has been treated with Rain-X. The luggage rack is after-market but a pretty common period accessory on these cars – and useful too for longer trips. (Some of us are looney enough to drive these cars all over the country.)

    Like 1
  14. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Well,it’s a car dealer, so it was probably bought at the estate sale, rolled off of the trailer and onto the lot, and the seller has no idea what this car is, not even the year. Not started or anything, it sounds risky to me.

    Like 1
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Good point Dennis! Been kicking the idea of getting one. Pretty rare around here. I know nothing realy about them except what I have read here over the years. That is a very nice ragtop you have for sale. Best of luck! Take care, Mike.

      Like 1
      • SMS

        If you are considering one the comment by Allen is key

        “I would be concerned about the condition of the body-framing timbers. Do the door hinge screws still snug tight into the “B-pillar” timber, or do the doors sag? Do they stay closed during hard cornering?”

        Dry rot in the wood frame is a pain to deal with.

        Like 1
  15. DuckDuck

    Back in about ‘56 or 57 Bob Burns of Ogden, UT. Stuffed a small block Chev inhis TD 1500 . It ran the tires off all the locals in those days.

    • ken tilly Member

      DuckDuck. There was a guy in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe now) back in the late 50’s that raced an MG TD with the original engine souped up but it wasn’t fast enough, even though he won lots of silverware on the handicap system, so he dropped in a 2.5 Litre Ford Zephyr, straight six motor which could do about 100 mph but still wan’t fast enough to win any scratch races. He then put a Ford V8 OHV motor into it but it still wouldn’t do more than 100 mph. He figured it must be the aerodynamics of the body that was it’s limitations. He then changed to racing a Jowett Javelin with the Zephyr engine installed and then went on to win a lot more silverware.

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