Dusty Roadster: 1953 MGTD

1953 MG-TD

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After the colonies “discovered” the sports car with the postwar MGTC, MG was quick to capitalize on that success. Unfortunately, the engineers weren’t able to proceed with a modern sports car as quickly as they would have liked, and the TD and later TF models were still very traditional and almost prewar in nature, although the TD does incorporate independent front suspension and a few other refinements over the TC. This particular TD has been in hibernation since 1976 after being restored in the late 1960’s. Thanks to Gene S for calling it to our attention. Find it for sale here on craigslist in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania for $12,500.

MG-TD Project

The patina is obvious from the pictures. It’s a true barn find! And those famous words “ran good when parked” are in the ad. Why would someone park a great car like this for so long? I have a car similar to a TD and the view down the hood with flowing fenders in front of you is something very special.

1953 MG-TD Engine

MG T-series cars were not that fast. The TD is powered by a 1250cc XPAG four cylinder engine, which only puts out just over 50 horsepower. But they were much more nimble than the typical American car of the time. I grew up reading The Red Car by Don Stanford cover to cover, over and over, and it’s left me with a bias toward the TC rather than the TD. However, this yellow TD has a lot going for it!

1953 MG-TD Dash

The interior looks complete and relatively unmodified apart from the glove compartment door (which I hope is somewhere with the car). A spare steering wheel and “lots of rechromed parts” come with the deal according to the advertisement.

MG-TD Side Curtains

The top and side curtains are listed as being in good condition. I’m not sure I agree with that assessment given their appearance in the pictures, but maybe the dust will clean off really well!

MG-TD in the Barn

One thing that is puzzling me is what has happened to the running board strips? I can’t figure out why they would have been removed from a running car…perhaps someone was starting to prepare the car for painting and didn’t get very far? I decided to see if they were available, and trusty supplier Moss Motors has them on the shelf for very little money…so that’s nothing to stop you from bringing this lovely primrose T-series home.

1953 MG-TD Spare Tire

Even the front and rear bumpers are straight! And that tire bolted onto the rear lends a certain rakish air, don’t you think? So how about it? Would you attach your license plate to that bracket and motor down the road without cosmetically restoring it? Or would you perform a total restoration…or pick another car altogether?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Peter

    I don’t know, but decent/drivable runners can be had for this or slightly more – definitely $15K or less. I think at half the asking it might be ok, but at this price I’d pass.

    Like 1
  2. Vince Habel

    A pass for me too. Even though it is not far from me.

    Like 1
  3. rapple

    “Was restored in late 60’s. ran good when parked. Will start with a cleaning of electric fuel pump.” Optimistic or ignorant?

    “$12,500 or best offer” VERY optimistic! If, as Peter suggests, he gets an offer for half he should take the money and run.

    On the positive side, it does appear to be a good starting point for a motivated hobbyist to bring back to life and enjoy. It’s a simple machine that’s easy to work on and would make a good project for anyone with basic skills and tools (as long as some of them are Whitworth).

    Like 1
    • jimmy

      if i was optimistic to sell it i would roll it out side clean it up and get it running.

      Like 1
  4. DolphinMember

    Priced far too high compared to a decent TD as already mentioned, especially for a car that’s not original. That ‘restoration’ in the 1960s was almost a half century ago and it was an amateur job from the looks of the paint, which is peeling in a lot of places. And it’s from PA but has no photos to show the condition of the underside.

    There are much better examples available for the same money.

    I like MGs and owned an ‘A’ myself, but when I worked on a friend’s TD back then the test drive was an eye opener. These drive just as vintage as they look. I see these as a good car for someone who wants something from the ’30s or ’40s that’s sporty, affordable and maybe has better parts availability than a car that was actually made back then. Just not this one.

    Like 0
  5. Mark E

    I agree that it’s a bit too much…a year ago there was a nice TC a hundred miles away. It was silver w red interior, old restoration from the late 70s, very clean & ran great, needed new gauges but the seller was including rebuilt ones. All for $12k. No contest, IMO…

    Like 1
  6. jim s

    what is with the hole in the radiator? this is one where you do the PI and make the seller an offer with cash in hand. nice find

    Like 0
    • MGsfirMe

      I annoyingly entered my nickname wrong. Oh well, that should be MGsforMe. Anyway: If you mean the hole at the bottom center of the radiator shroud it was where the hand crank starting handle would slide through (and a corresponding bumper hole) and engage the crankshaft. The handle mounted behind the seat when not in use. It was easier to start then you would think, but still a pain in the rear.

      Like 0
      • rapple

        Having used the crank a time or two in my old TD, I thought that’s what he meant at first, but I think the comment was in reference to the hole showing in the engine compartment photo on the other side of the radiator. Add a radiator rebuild to the fuel pump cleaning!

        Like 0
    • tugdoc

      That hole looks as if the water pump failed and fan hit the radiator. Wonder if it overheated? Front wing some bolts are missing, wonder what else? Way too much money.

      Like 0
    • Joe

      These have a manual crank handle that insets thru that hole.

      Like 0
  7. San Jose Scot

    Agree that the value is about $6k if everything looks as good in person.

    These are fun to drive and work on. From experience to anyone considering this car is be prepared to replace all the body frame wood. If that is new to you do some research. It is quite a bit of work. Not expensive or difficult.

    Like 1
  8. jimmy

    A real nice restored MG TD was auctioned off by mecum and sold for right under 30k the only thing that kept it from hitting 30k was that it was right hand drive this TD is certainly not a 12k car

    Like 1
  9. jimmy

    this TD is original with matching numbers and only 15k

    Like 1
  10. Dan h

    Absolutely love that dash!

    Like 0
  11. John A

    This should be left in the barn for that price! JMO

    Like 1
  12. charlieMember

    College roommate had one (a ’52). In winter of 1960 we (mostly 3rd roommate who was mechanically inclined) pulled the transmission (in a parking lot in a snowstorm), put it on a dolly and brought it to the living room of our dorm suite, and rebuilt it. Fourth roommate divorced the 3 car nuts at that point and only came home to sleep.
    Took it on a 60 mile road trip to a women’s college one winter Saturday (3 of us, no seat belts, one of sidewise in the little space behind the seats), plexiglass sidecurtains, COLD, until an electrical fire on the way home, added a bit of heat, pulled the wires apart, fire stopped, thing still ran but no headlights, but had fog lights, and got home.

    Friend now has an “over-restored” beauty, much better than it came out of the factory in every detail, and does not dare drive it because it might get dinged. It sits off to the side in his heated garage, he has a trickle charger on it, takes it out in the driveway and runs it once a month or so, but never goes anywhere. What fun is that?

    Like 1
  13. SETH

    I started my MGA with the hand crank once. Not as hard as it sounds.

    Like 1
  14. gunningbar

    Had one in high school and college…great fun to drive…wonderful handling good looking car. Girls loved it. I d love another. Short on power but felt fast.
    From another era…this is what old cars are about.
    But..yes over priced. Negotiate!

    Like 1
  15. Chris A.

    Friend of mine has one of these that he turned into a VSCCA vintage racer. #757 @ Pittsburgh GP and elsewhere. Wonderful car that he says is fun to drive, looks good and he is able to maintain. There is a TD Mk II with some upgrades that came out just before they went to the MG TF series. Good car if you love vintage.

    Like 1
  16. jimmy

    i saw the post about mg td engine swaps and that made remember that there’s a video on jaylenosgarage on youtube and he’s with a guy that has a td with a 350 engine swap

    Like 1
  17. docvoltage

    I sold one for 11K a few years ago. It was a good daily driver 15-footer. I agree that 6K seems reasonable for this mess.

    Like 1

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