Judson Power: 1953 MG TD

For the most part, I like my cars in stock configuration. But there is one performance combination I’ve always wanted to experience, the MG T-series with a Judson Supercharger strapped to the engine. I know it’s no different than any other supercharger, but there is just something special about the Judson. I love their ads (they made some amazingly ridiculous claims) and the wide range of applications that they offered. This 1953 MG TD is a rusty mess, but it’s packing a period Judson kit. Clearly I’m not the only one who would love to have a supercharged TD, as this one has already been bid up to $5k! You can find it here on eBay in Flippin, Arkansas.

And here is that amazing piece of machinery, the Judson Supercharger! They claimed that just slapping this baby onto your engine would increase power 50 percent! That’s a pretty impressive jump in power for not a lot of work. The stock engine put out around 54 horsepower, so that would mean this engine was good for 80 horsepower if the claims were true. Most cases I can find show the increase in power wasn’t nearly that drastic, but was still a considerable increase.

As cool as this car might look from the outside and as rare as the Judson is, I’m a bit concerned about the rust issues I’m seeing. The frame has some spots that look pretty serious to me. Thankfully, the body can be removed with relative ease, making either repairing or replacing the frame a realistic task. While you have it out, you might as well rebuild the suspension and brake system.

This project isn’t going to be cheap, but it sure would be fun to hit the road to the sound of a supercharger. Let’s just hope it isn’t damaged beyond repair! So do any of you have experience supercharging a TD? I’d love to know how much horsepower actually increased by adding forced induction and if it was worth the expense.

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Comments

  1. terry

    I think this car was on Craigslist a week or two ago for under $5k. It’s about 30 minutes east of me.

    Like 1
  2. Dolphin Member

    This blown MG is in Flippin, Arkansas? Well, the car has an Ohio plate and the seller has sold parts for various American collector cars, so I guess it’s appropriate that he operates out of Flippin.

    The Judson blower was a popular and fairly cheap performance part back when these TDs were new. I knew a guy who had one on his car and it did increase performance. But IIRC the revolving vane inside the housing was made from a sheet of bakelite or something similar, and I always wondered how long it would last and what would happen if it broke….and pieces got ingested….

    • Dave Wright

      I always thought that about Volvo cam gears too……..but they held up fine until someone messed with them.

  3. Scott

    The performance improvement from a Judson is interesting. It give you enough torque so first gear is even more unnecessary. Change the rear end gearing and you have a car that can keep up with modern traffic, but these midgets were named that way for a reason so a little too exciting.

    Now to enjoy it go to the back roads. The added torque allows you to get pulled out of the corners. You now have an engine that matches the handling of these little gems. Also the sound is wonderful.

  4. Mark S

    When ever you booste an engine above natural aspirations you increase combustion temperature my concern would be for the condition of the Pistons and cylinder walls on this engine. It’s not that hard to melt a hole in the top of a piston with a turbo charger so with a super charger the risk could be even greater. One thing that is also true is that the fuel delivered from the carbs will be the same while the air is increased considerably causing a lean fuel situation which will contribute the elivated temperatures. This engine was never engineered for that so I would expect at the very least some serious cylinder wall wear and possibly an unrebuildable engine. JMHO. As for the rest of the car the buyer will have his work cut out for him. I’m not that versed on these small British cars so I won’t speculate on cost or parts availability so it would be nice to here from some of you guys that are in the know. I would be interested in knowing what kind of money would needed to get this to a #2 driver.

    • Klharper

      Uhh not completely correct, with a supercharger or turbo for that matter you are injecting more air and fuel. If set up correctly you should still stay as close to stoichiometric as possible, and the target should be about 13.2:1.
      From looking at this it is a carb suck through set up. You may have to change the fuel jets and perhaps the pump to keep up with the increased fuel requirement. The supercharger is just sucking more air through the carb, but the venturi effect is still valid as more air is sucked in so is more fuel. Boost is relatively low so I doubt you would even need to change the carb to accommodate the needs.
      Now the engine is producing more power and of course more stresses. I don’t know what kind of factor of safety these engines had. If they were living close to the edge then they will go boom, but that would be more of a structural failure versus a thermal failure.
      If the fuel pump could not deliver the fuel required then you are right you would be in a lean burn situation and likely melt a piston.
      If I was to get this car. I would rebuild the engine with modern forged, lightweight piston and eliminate the concerns of the piston. Stronger rods and rod bolts would not be out of the question either.

      • Mark S

        I get your point and I agree with what your saying, but any time you boost past natural aspersion you are in affect raising the compression ratio which will increase combustion temps. This Is ok in short burst but continus boosting will shorten engine life significantly. I’ve seen factory equipt turbos that were driven hard come into the shop with a quarter sized hole in a piston with its running mates showing signs of failure. Now granted in those cases the owners were bagging hard on their cars. This is what makes me wounder about this engine after all this is the kind of car that would be bagged on. I guess sometimes you just have to expect a short life span, I would not be surprised if that is why this got parked. Power verses life span it’s a trade off.

  5. M/K

    A turbocharger is a supercharger, look up the definition. A turbo is an exhaust driven (instead of belts, gears, ect.) supercharger. You achieve a power increase with an increase in boost, on this just a simple downsizing of the blower pulley or bigger crank pulley or combo of both. I would want to at the very least file the ring gap wider to give more room to expand under the higher cylinder/combustion pressures and heat so the engine has a better chance of living longer.

    • Frenchy

      Boost is what a turbo or supercharged engine provides. Properly set up it adds to the power and reliability of an engine.
      The hardest strain on the connecting rods is during the intake (suction) when only the rod bolts keep it together.
      Under boost that stress is dramatically reduced.

  6. TD Driver

    The Judson supercharger (if working) by itself is worth the purchase price. I suspect if there is a great deal of rust, there is likely a good deal of rot in the wood frame of the body. This would be a project that would be underwater way too soon. A shame to let this car go to pot.

  7. Dave W

    I have restored many MG TC’s and TD’s. Currently doing a 1937 TA. The Judson was a good design for the time and functioned well. The other more interesting thing with this car is the wire wheels. The TD’s never came with wires and this is a set of after market wheels that were available at the time in the back of the car mags of the time. I think they were about $150 a set then which was five wheel and hubs and knock offs. They use a Jaguar sized hub to cover the bolts of the bolt on hubs and a beautiful alloy Boranni rim. I have a very nice set I have been saving for years.This would be a very nice TD to do.
    Cheers, Dave
    Wellwood Auto Restoration, Inc

    • charlie Member

      I owned an MG SA ’39, Salmon Sons body, Tickford top, originally a pushrod 6 (Woolsley sourced I believe). What sort is your TA?

  8. Jamie H

    Who cares about the supercharger, I want it for the steering wheel alone…

  9. David Mcneill

    I have a MGTF that has a frame off restoration with a Judson supercharger ,Five speed conversion ,MGA gears in the rear end, Front Wilwood disc brakes,Tublar rear shocks,Oil cooler, Electric Pusher fan for better cooling, Pan hard rod on rear end and 100amp alternator with MSD ING. and Mallory Unilight Distributor. It took me two years to built this MGTF but it is worth it as I can keep up with the speed of todays traffic and doesn’t wear out the little motor as the car has a fifth gear,and the MGA gears in the rear end are a big improvement. I mounted the oiler for the Judson supercharger in the tool box.

    • Bob Chapman

      You forgot to include an MGB front stabilizer bar, it’s like a night and day improvement.

  10. GlenK

    Road & Track did a test on the Judson on a VW and it did help acceleration but as noted it was to be used in small bursts. The only reason I knew this is I had one on my 56 VW and for me it improved performance.

  11. Jack Quantrill

    I had a 52 like this. Fun car, but don’t open the doors at speed! Put an exhaust cut-out on it, and when it was serviced, they took it off! Said it didn’t belong on a classic car like this.

  12. Frank Opalka

    My first sports car was an MG-TD with Judson S/C, had good power as long as u kept the drip oiler filled and dripping with Marvel Mistery oil, site glass allowed drip rate to be adjusted, ran fine until I ran rod bearings on high speed run at drag strip, is a car mostly for city use, replaced it with 1956 BN2 AH Le Mans engine, much better, plenty of torque and speed, raced it long time and won many races including RA D prod, race 40 laps, 160 miles,in 1959, those were great days, drive to the track, race, and drive home.

  13. Gear Head Engineer

    Man, I go to work for the day, take care of dinner and dishes, and find BF has gone crazy posting a bunch of cars I just LOVE. Took me a minute to decide if I should start at the top or the bottom. Then I saw this car and I knew exactly where to start.

    This thing is really awesome. It’s a perfect example of the mods an enthusiast might do while the car was still fairly new. Would love to get the back story. Too bad it’s deteriorated so far, but enough passion (and some $$) could bring it back. I hope someone saves it rather than parting it out.

    You have to love a car in “Flippin” that’s still sitting on the trailer! Is that a real place or just a state of mind?

    Now on to the next car on the list…

    – John

  14. len siddall

    just completing a full body off rebuild of this car but had lost supercharger when it
    got back to england.

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