Grandpa’s Project: 1953 MG TD Midget

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The TD was a variant of the MG T-Type Series which was in production from 1935 to 1955. TD sales began in 1950 and continued through 1953. The body was old school as not much had changed since the series’ debut in the mid-1930s. The seller’s 1953 example belonged to his/her grandfather and will need a complete restoration (we don’t know if it’s 100% complete).

Some of the mechanical components of the TD were a carryover from the TC. The inline-4 was the same but the rear axle was new in addition to a new 4-speed manual transmission. Smaller disc-type wheels were used to help navigate the additional five inches of width in the track that was added. Pundits didn’t consider the car as much a sports car than as a way for MG to crack into the lucrative export markets, particularly the U.S. Production numbers for the TD over its entire run was about 30,000 units (less than 2,000 remained in England with the rest shipped abroad).

We assume this TD has been sitting around for years. Perhaps Grandpa’s goal was to restore it himself, but that never happened. The original owner’s manual has managed to survive although it looks like it might fall apart if you used it much (best left in a zip-lock bag). The car managed to accumulate 58,000 miles before coming to rest.

The TD will start but is not drivable, so you’d better bring a trailer with you to Island Lake, Illinois. The current bid here on eBay is $2,400. Is this a cheap wheel project you’d undertake? BTW, the seller’s listing indicates a V8 engine is present, but that must be in error.

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  1. Al

    I have always really liked the MG TC & MGTD, but……….

    I’m too tall to get in them at 2 meters.

    The easiest way for me to thoroughly enjoy either car is to look a photos.

    Like 8
  2. ACZ

    It is a “Red Car”, just not a TC or RHD.

    Like 2
  3. bobhess bobhessMember

    When’s the last time you saw one of the fake whitewalls?

    Like 1
    • Arfeeto

      In ’61, I was eleven and had begun to work at my uncle’s used car dealership where I installed fake whitewalls on dozens of cars. We called them port-a-walls, which was probably a trademarked name back them. They weren’t easy to fit. I’d first break the tire bead from the wheel rim and stretch the port-a-wall around it. Then I’d reinflate the tire, while continuously striking the port-a-wall evenly around it’s perimeter using a rubber hammer. Sometimes I’d get lucky and the thing would lay flat against the tire, as it was supposed to. Most times, though, a small bulge would appear and, maddeningly, resist all attempts to remove it.

      Like 3
  4. Ian GrantMember

    Tch. An MG TD and an MG Midget are two different animals. This is a TD.

    Like 0
    • bobhess bobhessMember

      The TD and the TF both come under the Midget name umbrella. Not sure where that came from but the Spridgets were not part of that naming game.

      Like 1
  5. Warren JohnsonMember

    I had a 54 MG TD that had a corvette fuel injected 283 V8 stuffed in it. The car still exists, I’ve tried to buy it back, the owner won’t sell.

    Like 1
  6. Bernie H

    The days of these cars left many years ago. I was in this restoration business for 40+ years with LBC’s. You’ll spent $20+ G on this to have a $17,000 car-maybe. They are not suitable for expressway driving anymore, too slow and not readily visible after dusk. I done approx 24-26 of these since 1969, and only owned three, and was really upside down on mine after selling. If you really love it then I wish you GOOD LUCK and ENJOY.

    Like 0
  7. Frenchy Dampier

    While it’s faster than a Ford Model A. And even A 32 ford with a Flathead, it’s real joy is going around corners or a curvy winding road.
    That and the positive attention it gets.
    I rarely can go get gas or stop anyplace without people coming up to me to share their stories or ask questions.
    Don’t buy one of these if you can’t fix things. Or don’t want to fix things. They are just about the simplest car to work on. Yet
    Very few mechanics even understand these although there are big clubs of people who own and love them.
    Parts are readily available and even used parts are available.
    Mine I’ve owned since 1962. It’s been across country on long trips, Been to Japan,
    Vintage raced and provided me with a great big smile every time I use it.
    Don’t be tempted to stuff a Chevy in them. While it can be made to fit, everything needs upgrading.
    Plus you lose one really cool feature. Hand crank starting it!!! I never fail to draw a crowd, doing it.

    Like 3
  8. stillrunners stillrunnersMember

    Actually didn’t look that bad…..sold at just under 5 g’s….

    Like 0
  9. Chris Eakin

    Maybe Grandpa had a flathead v-8 he wanted to stuff into it, but never got around to it? He wouldn’t be the only one to do it if he had been successful.

    Like 0

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