Tempting Garage Find: 1953 MG TD

Should the devil come to my door to try and tempt me, there is no question he would come in the form of this 1953 MG TD with British Racing Green and Black fenders and running boards.  Maybe I’d hold out for wire wheels but, in the end, I would surrender and get right in.  This lusty and seductive temptation is listed here on eBay at a no reserve auction, right now, fetching a mere $5,500 as of this writing. The bid closes on Sunday, November 1 at 9:14 p.m. They promised they’d let me out of my restrains promptly at 9:30.

Apologies for the weak first-person reporting: Everyone has their weakness, and the indelible memory of the first time I saw one with a man in a beard and a lady with long flowing hair just laughing and laughing as they left the beach in Plymouth, MA running the car musically through its gears, is mine. This eBay listing is supported by no fewer than one hundred and forty-three photos (no exaggeration) that took hours to go through, followed by the seller’s lengthy legal disclaimer about the sale when it happens. You’re lucky the entire 143 are not attached here because I did think about it along with a legal review of the disclaimer. Again, apologies.

The car has some ailments: the 67-year old paint is checking all along the bonnet top, there are dings on the fenders, and the cabin tub is likely to need a full wood restoration judging from the cracks and the chassis shots of which one is found below. There is a serious breach of the sheet metal where the spare tire attaches to the outer sheet metal of the fuel tank. The seller makes no claim that she runs, rather, that the engine does turn over by hand. The car rolls and steers. It has a clean Florida title.

See where the rust is visible on the passenger’s side cabin support and notice the frame rails are showing signs of rust where the wood is bolted to the frame. This appears to be a replacement wood main rail which could mean a partial resto has been done previously to the lower cabin wood frame. Point of information: there are more than 35 different wood timber pieces comprising the MG TD cabin, some easily seen like the dashboard (walnut plywood) but more are hidden as in the cases of the door pillars (doors are actually sheet metal over wood frames!), cabin pillars, cabin main rails, floorboards, and other pieces. Many of these have compound curves and are impressive woodworking projects. In other pictures, the upper cabin wood supports do not look like they have been replaced. Do you have a bandsaw in your hot rod shop?–’cause you’ll be needing it for this project.

There’s visible wear on the black wood dash, and the non-original carpet seems ill-fitting and needs replacement.  The seats are in decent shape.  The car comes with a black rag top and the seller does have the side curtains to close in the cabin from the elements. There is even an owner’s manual in the glovebox. I do have that English walnut tree I took down and have been drying in the barn loft for a year…

The engine room is actually quite tidy for a lady stored for most of 67 years. The odometer reads 16,217 miles. This 1953 MG is equipped with a 1,250 cc 54 hp in-line four-cylinder engine capable of a top speed of about 80 mph.  You can tell your Mom or significant other that this car is so safe it takes 20.6 seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph, and its quarter-mile drag track time is just short of one week. Man, a ‘53 MG in British Racing Green and black is just a curvy, carnal, alluring, evil temptress that’s not going to beat a Maserati—or maybe even an electric bicycle—but sometimes the slow caress is what steals the heart.  OK, Mr. Jimmy, let’s go have a soda…


  1. CJinSD

    Being no reserve, it will be curious to see what cars like this are really worth. It wouldn’t surprise me if a dealer bids it up to protect their ‘investment’ in other cars that are seeing supply outstrip demand.

    Like 3
  2. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Strangely written article, but quite alluring, perhaps even tempting. But then I’ve never been a fan of British Sport cars. I just read the article because it’s 1:30 am and need something to do.
    God bless America

    Like 0
  3. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    Cheap, so far.

    Like 1
  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    Had ours, loved it. This one is going to take some work but it’s all there, no major rust, and pretty easy to work on. Not normally a green fan but the light green with the black fenders does look good.

    Like 1
  5. Dave Mathers

    58 years ago I dropped a 265 2 barrel Pontiac motor into a 55 MG TF that belonged to a university class mate. Mated it to the MG 4 speed with a bell housing adapter. Looking at that engine compartment I can’t believe I actually shoe horned it in there!! LOL

    Like 1
  6. Stan Marks

    What a beauty. The epitome of a British roadster. Reminds me of the car, Ryan O’Neal drove, in “Love Story(1970) His was a 1945 MG tc.

    RIP James Bond. The ultimate 007.

    Like 6
    • Stan Marks

      BTW… It definitely needs wire wheels.

      Like 0
      • Solosolo UK ken tilly UK Member

        Not if you want to keep it original it doesn’t.

        Like 6
  7. Tom Lange

    A few thoughts: the badge reading Woodhouse is for the Cologne distributor, so this car was probably brought back to thje States by a GI. The welded frame repairs suggest a pretty major crash in the past. The body support bracket rust is surprising; usually these cars don’t rust out there. The various cracks in the finish suggest significant improper body repair, so I would expect to find a lot more wrong under the skin, than meets the eye.

    Like 3
    • Stan Marks

      I was thinking the same thing, Tom.
      Too many secrets…..

      Like 2
  8. Bob MacDonald

    In 1956-57 I traded a 51 ford sun liner for a 53 TD. He needed a bigger car because of a “Growing ” Family, I in turn was 21 single and it made sense to me. That was before the winter winds started blowing in Montreal, I parked it got a more sensible car ( 57 MGA) Come spring I having thought it had antifreeze in it discovered the frost plugs had blown out. After replacing them and parking it in a underground heated garage to thaw out, jumped it from a fresh battery, After about 30 seconds of cranking it fired right up. Sold it shortly after, but since I’ve lived in Florida for over 30years I wish I’d had the money to keep it !’

    Like 0
  9. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Nov 01, 2020 , 8:14PM
    Winning bid:
    US $9,200.00
    [ 30 bids ]

    Like 1
    • UK Paul 🇬🇧

      Thanks for the final bid info.

      Like 1
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        You are welcome Paul, I have been here long enough to see some cars posted here come around again. It’s nice to see what they sold for. Take care, Mike.

        Like 1

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