40 Years In Storage: 1952 MGTD

Though the MGTC was the first model MG exported to the US in any numbers, it was the follow-up MGTD that really ignited the American appetite for British roadsters. This example, located in Roseville, Michigan, is available here on Facebook Marketplace for $8,000.

The TD was more of an evolution than a radical redesign, apart from having the steering wheel on the correct side of the car, of course. The T-series began with the original Midget before the war, and that 1930’s styling was still in evidence when this example was sold in 1952. The line would continue through just one more model, the TF, before being supplanted by the MGA. When it came out, though, this sports car was the most popular model MG had ever produced. Lasting from 1950 to 1953, almost 30,000 cars rolled out of the Abingdon factory, ten times the number of MGTAs produced during a similar run before the war. Of these, the vast majority were destined for America.

Power was delivered by the venerable XPAG 1,250cc inline-four– the engine that had originally been adopted for the MGTB in 1939. The little engine would produce between 54 and 57 hp, depending on configuration. The four-speed gearbox has synchro on the top three. All together and in perfect trim, you’re looking at a top speed in the seventies and a zero to sixty of around twenty seconds. But then, some cars are for going fast, and others are for looking good; this is a car that launched a thousand Beetle kits. It’s a good thing that it does look good, since what it lacks in power it does not make up for in amenities: not only are there no roll-down windows, but there’s not even a fuel gauge. Instead, a warning light informs the driver when it’s time to fill up.

This car looks to be complete, a little rusty, and very dusty: who knows what pleasant surprises may lurk under that layer of grime? Potential buyers should be aware that though these cars aren’t common, they have a devoted fan base, so parts are merely very difficult, not impossible, to find. Given the car’s location, it’d be a good idea to get a good look underneath to check the integrity of the frame before making a commitment. Restored, these cars from the early 50’s can evoke some of the glamour of the pre-war era, are well-suited to top-down country drives in warm weather, and rarely fail to draw admirers at events. They introduced America to the idea of a car built just for fun, and who couldn’t use a little more fun?

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Comments

  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I am still looking for a TD but this is way over my head. 8K seems pretty strong to me.

    Like 10
  2. robj Member

    I agree. Considering the potential cost of restoration, It would be pretty easy to have 15-20k or [a lot] more in this all said and done. Rust, woodwork, no mention if the engine turns, etc… There are too many decent examples out there, [especially older restorations] that can be had and driven if not today, maybe the next day. Might be different if it were a TC. I’m not even sure half the money would be a deal.

    Like 8
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    I wouldn’t be interested in it just because the seller is too lazy to clean it up so we can see what it really is.

    Like 6
    • Gerard Frederick

      True story! The dirt on the car demonstrates the sellers disdainful attitude and arrogance vis-avis any potential buyers.

      Like 1
  4. SMS

    Looks like it might have all the parts, though not one of them can be used as is. This would need a complete tear down and refinish. Good part is that they are simple. Bad part is with the rust showing a few body parts are needed, most likely a chassis, and the wood framing. The wood alone is over $2k and is very labor intensive to replace.

    An older restoration or one that could be a rolling restoration would be a better choice. With so few usable as is parts on this I have trouble seeing that it is worth much. Shame as these are so fun to drive.

    Like 4
  5. Francisco

    Better get yourself a set of Whitworth wrenches.

    Like 4
    • SMS

      Don’t think this one uses Whitworth. My guess it will use a set of vice grips and PB Blaster

      Like 5
      • George

        It’s Whitworth. I’m working on a 54 TF at the moment. Parts are readily available through Moss. This car is going to need a lot of work.

        Like 4
    • George

      It’s Whitworth. I’m working on a 54 TF at the moment. Parts are readily available through Moss. This car is going to need a lot of work.

  6. Glenn Reynolds

    A common misconception is that these cars and Morgan’s have wooden frames. The BODY is constructed by nailing steel panels over ash wood frames, but the CHASSIS is steel. Wood rot in the frame is common and a big job to repair

    Like 4
  7. Christopher Gush

    Primitive, analogous to driving a farm tractor of its decade but you can travel at a higher speed… not much higher…. but higher. Cute as heck, but as with the amusement parks, there will be a height requirement and you will need a size eight shoe size or smaller to articulate the pedals given working them is like having your feet in a bucket. In so far as the whines about cleaning the car… what for.? It’s a badge representing its history, and let the next owner have the surprise of the reveal when they do, be it good or bad.

    Like 1
    • Gerard Frederick

      —– the whines about the cleaning of the car—-? Who the hell was ¨whining¨? Apparently you don´t know the deffinition of the word.

  8. charlie Member

    20 years ago, a friend, airline pilot when they made great money, had a complete restoration, British Racing Green, far more perfect than it rolled out of the factory, sitting in a corner of his garage, which, it was so perfect that he would not drive it and risk a stone chip, let alone an accident. It sat there for years, while the “new” expendable parts deteriorated, gaskets, hoses, tires, battery, etc. and other than showing it off to people to me, it was no fun.
    On the other hand, a college roommate had one, the transmission got rebuilt in the living room of our dorm suite, and it got driven from Texas to New England and back (once) and all around town, all year round. It was not perfect by any means, but it was really fun to drive on the “Blue Highways” – the US Routes before the interstates.
    SO, if this can be made driveable, it might be worth it, fixing what has to be fixed, driving it for fun, and showing it as a “survivor” which even Pebble Beach now has had a class for.

    Like 4
  9. Tom Lange

    “…though these cars aren’t common … parts are merely very difficult, not impossible, to find.”

    I’m afraid I disagree on both points. They made 30,000 TD cars, so parts and parts cars are not at all hard to find – in fact, they ARE common. Abingdon Spares has almost everything you need, and eBay has what little they don’t, so very few parts are difficult to find! These MGs certainly DO have a devoted fan base, and generate more smiles-per-mile than almost any other sports car.

    Like 8
    • Rick

      They truly are “the sports car America loved first.”

      Like 3
  10. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster

    I have a rolling TF, new wood, no rust, but just sitting in my Florida garage, I’m such a car hoarder. Even has a Moss motors interior kit, I need to retire, stop buying cars, and start fixing them.

    Like 6
  11. SMS

    My father and I both had ‘52 TDs. He bought his new and I bought mine decades later. What I never understood was how he fit. I’m 6 ft with size 10 feet and it felt tight. He is 2 inches taller with size 12 feet.

    Like 5
    • Simon Lucas

      My mother bought one in ‘53 and my sister still has it. I am 6’4” with size 13 feet. I learned to drive in it. It has been restored and looks better than new.

      Like 4
    • Lee Jacobsen

      MGs are a favorite, and I have several of them, including a TA Tickford .
      Size is not an issue, as I am 6’4″, size 14-1/2 feet, and have no pedal problems, just use the side of a foot…also ….on the TA, just toss the seat cushion in the back and sit on the floor!

      This one needs a total restoration, just too rough to risk one’s safety without new brake lines, wheel cylinders, etc, and , as others have mentioned, parts are cheap compared to other endeavors. How so?

      I am also doing a 34 Packard Twelve roadster, just the starter motor, if found, runs $2400, carb $3500 vs a starter for a TD can be found for $30…restored carbs $300, in fact, when I get frustrated working on the Packard, the maintenance on a TD is a ‘relief’…..

      This one is worth around $3500, maybe $5000 tops, and will take around $20k and two months to make pristine…..been there, done that…..

  12. TouringFordor

    Looking at the green “patina”, I think it has already been to Moss Motors and back.

    Like 1
  13. keith robertson

    would like to be able to connect with owners on cars .make payments plans . wouldn’t mind having this car.

  14. bobhess bobhess Member

    Glenn…. have done wood replacement on British and German cars over the years. In the mid ’80s did a complete wood replacement on a ’52 Mercedes convertible driver’s door for a customer. His bill, mostly for labor, was half of what this seller is asking for this almost parts car.

  15. Lee Jacobsen

    MGs are a favorite, and I have several of them, including a TA Tickford .
    Size is not an issue, as I am 6’4″, size 14-1/2 feet, and have no pedal problems, just use the side of a foot…also ….on the TA, just toss the seat cushion in the back and sit on the floor!

    This one needs a total restoration, just too rough to risk one’s safety without new brake lines, wheel cylinders, etc, and , as others have mentioned, parts are cheap compared to other endeavors. How so?

    I am also doing a 34 Packard Twelve roadster, just the starter motor, if found, runs $2400, carb $3500 vs a starter for a TD can be found for $30…restored carbs $300, in fact, when I get frustrated working on the Packard, the maintenance on a TD is a ‘relief’…..

    This one is worth around $3500, maybe $5000 tops, and will take around $20k and two months to make pristine…..been there, done that…..

    Like 1

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