Drive It Home: 1954 MG TF 1250

Many of the T-Series MGs on the market are restored “trailer queens” that are rarely driven and essentially go from one show to the next. Others are restoration projects requiring a lot of time to enjoy (and generally are not good financial investments). This 1954 MG TF is neither — it’s a solid car that the current owner drives on a regular basis and maintains they would trust it to drive anywhere! It’s listed for sale here on eBay and 16 bids have driven the price over $9,000 — still a bargain in my opinion for the amount of fun you would have! The TF is located in Vancouver, Washington.

By 1954, the MG TF was looking old, despite losing the separate headlights of the TD and regaining wire wheels. However, the car was surprisingly well-received considering that the blokes at Abingdon would have rather put the MGA into production (it was largely ready) first. This car looks nice in somewhat faded red paint (the seller suggests a repaint is necessary) and tan top. Just right for driving!

The seller states that they purchased the car from California in 2013 and it only had 300 miles on a rebuilt engine! Since then they have replaced all the brake cylinders and installed new brake shoes and tires. They also mention some front end work. The car looks nice enough that you could show it and not be embarrassed but not be afraid to drive it — okay, no more afraid than you would normally be driving a 66-year old British car!

One of the nice features of the TF is a move to adjustable bucket seats from the TC/TD fixed bench. I’m told the seats aren’t that bad for most folks.

This 1954 model still features the 1250 cc version of the XPAG four-cylinder engine as used in the later MGTDs. At some point later in 1954 after this car was produced, TFs were optionally factory fitted with a larger, 1466 cc engine that is considered more desirable. On the other hand, that will keep the price of this car down, which is good, right?

By using this website courtesy of the MG T Register one can find the original production date (and sometimes more information) about any T-Series car. In this case, we find the car was produced on January 27, 1954 and is one of 4,580 1954 TF 1250 cars produced. Be sure and let us know if you decide to drive this one home!

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    What an adventure it would be to drive that from Washington to Pennsylvania. In Fact I will be driving my Kustomm Ghia to Orlando to give to my son and I plan on buying a car there to have an adventure back to PA, so does anybody in that area of Fl. have a cool cheap car for sale that just might make that trip?

    Like 9
    • ccrvtt

      My God! I like your attitude! Best of luck on your trip and I hope you find your cool car.

      Otherwise it’s kind of a long walk back…

      Like 7
  2. Andy

    Perfect as is! Take care of mechanical issues as they arise and enjoy the hell out of it. Rode in one in 1965, tight quarters for my legs, but had a smile on my face the whole time.

    Like 2
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Had a 53 TD weekend driver, red over tan, for a few years and had a great time with it. Nice car here.

    Like 1
  4. 370zpp

    These T-Series cars will always have an allure to me largely due to that incredible story from long ago, “The Red Car”.

    I’m sure I will never get to own one but would enjoy even to sit in a TC or TD just once, before the sun goes down.

    Like 4
  5. Dave Mathers

    In 1962 a school mate at university had a 55 TF – the front fenders had ‘creases in them’. He commented he wanted a V8 for it. I told him I could do it while he flew home for Christmas. I got a two barrel 265 Pontiac (Canadian) at the bone yard, built some mounts, got the local machine shop to fabricate an adaptor between the GM bell housing and the stock tranny (low budget to work with) and welded up the dual exhaust. Guy’s room mate took an off ramp too fast and rolled it into SNOW. He replaced the windshield and the rear view driver’s door mirror and it was good to go.

    Like 3
  6. Robert Thomas

    Drove a friend’s TF and I forgot the car has drum brakes all around. Almost ran a stop sign. You really need to stand on those brakes.

  7. Steve Smith

    I had one when I was 18 years old, about a century ago serial no. 31285. I don’t know why I remember this, must be because this was my first love. Probably the best looking of the T series.

    Like 2
  8. Milt

    I too was a teenage lad hooked by “The Red Car” and could afford a 1952 TD many years later. Initially a real blast but eventually the reality of Lucas electrics, leaking convertible top, marginal performance, cramped seating, etc overcame the nostalgia of the mid 1950’s. More and more, I kept hearing a booming voice “you can’t go home again”.

    Like 2
  9. Doug

    Sadly, with so many roads now crowded with distracted people who never really learned to drive, the T series MGs have become “rolling coffins” when driven anywhere other than semi-deserted 2 lane back roads that are getting scarcer by the day. I have fond memories of a buddy’s dad who had a TD, and would take us out for a spin now and then, back in the mid ’50s. Today, driving those same roads in a good TD would be asking for trouble, as virtually no one behind the wheel of a modern car has any idea of the limitations of the low horsepower and drum brakes that are inherent in these cars – they seem to be astonished that older vehicles cannot stop in as short a distance, or accelerate as fast as their grocery getters.

    Like 1
    • RedLamar

      You are right on every point Doug. And yet……..I still think it would be loads of fun to own one. Here in the midwest traffic may not be as bad as some other areas.
      I am one of those post-war kids that was hooked on cars before I read “The Red Car” and was on fire after I read it.

      • Doug

        In my area, the roads are too crowded with folks who have never learned how to DRIVE a car properly – I’m frankly surprised that many have passed the written test ! That being said, It would be fun to find a “dead” TD and resto-mod it as might have been done in the late 60’s. Volvo B18 with o/d gearbox fits easily, double the power & at least triple the longevity. Then a good set of disc brakes – I don’t know if Wilwood does brakes that will fit or not, but I’ve been told that MGA discs can be fitted, so maybe one of the aftermarket companies has upgrades available. A stronger rear axle assembly , new suspension components & bushings, slightly wider wheels & good radial tires, and you might be able to keep up with an average Miata – but have more fun and style. With the mindset that this would be a fun toy, used mainly for back roads, picnics, and cruise nites, and it could be a lot of fun.

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