Motoring Monday: 1951 MGTD


This 1951 MGTD is a prototypical barnfind – ok, garage find! After covering 126,000 miles (kudos to the seller for not trying to pass it off as 26,000), the car was put away for years in a garage. Thankfully, it must have been out of the elements as the car is relatively solid. It’s located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and is up for auction here on eBay with a pretty low buy-it-now price of $6,800. The classic brown and cream color scheme recalls the famous “cream cracker” pre-war MG racers; I’m guessing that was intentional, whether it left the factory that way or not. I wish the photography was better in the ad, there are a few clear pictures but I’d love to see some more details.


As best as I can see from that license plate, the car was last licensed for the road in 1980. So after 35 years, it will definitely take some recommissioning. The seller has gotten the engine started off a gas can, but says it runs rough. If the SU’s weren’t cleaned up before they tried, I’m amazed it started at all. The pictures show that all major components are there, but I’m surprised there’s no pictures of the engine at all.


This rust on the driver’s door seems to be the worst rust visible in the pictures. As long as it’s no worse than it appears here, I’m hopeful that media abrasion, treatment and a good primer-filler could take care of this. Some undercar pictures are included as well, but I’d rather see more. The panel gaps being as good as they are implies that the car hasn’t been in a major wreck, an obvious plus.


I was surprised to see the seller list the top and side curtains as being good, but when I looked closer, I can believe it, especially for a driver. I can’t remember the last time I saw the top up on a TD anyway! This shot also illustrates how the passenger door looks more solid than the driver’s side.


Unfortunately, this is the only halfway decent shot of the interior. I think there are some parts that aren’t original, but I don’t know enough about TD’s to be sure-can anyone weigh in on that issue? Ultimately, you know the engine runs, the car has clear paperwork, the numbers match (on old MG’s the original engine number is on the serial number plate) and there’s no denying that a TD is a classy car. It would be nice to get it running as-is cosmetically, drive it and debug it, get it running perfectly and then restore it cosmetically. I would enjoy the challenge of getting it running by the end of the summer, would you? Let us know in the comments below!


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  1. RayT Member

    I’ve seen worse TDs…and better ones, too, come to think of it. Even if one were not going to do a full restoration (and TDs looks best, at least to me, when completely shined up.

    Getting the engine right should be fairly easy. The body, with what I’m guessing is a non-original paint scheme — I’ve never seen one like it — and some rust (where there’s some, there’s usually more). But it’s not the hardest body in the world to dismantle.

    This could be a lot of fun. I’ve heard stories about MG 1250 engines being somewhat fragile, but for gentle touring should be fine. Nice find!

  2. jim s

    looks like it might be a good project at the BIN or less. not sure about the sellers idea on how to get a title. great find.

  3. Danger Dan

    That’s a deal

  4. Ollie Stiles

    In addition to the 6.8k acquisition cost: Engine rebuild – 8k. New body tub – 5k. Brakes – 2.5k. Wiring: 1.5k. Interior: 5k. My experience is that all of these things are going to be needed for a TD laid up for 35 years. Paint – 5k. This one needs a new dash. And getting those instruments rebuilt will be another 1.5k

    And when you’re done, you will have a car that is worth 16k and drives like a slow beast.

  5. Larry

    Very good price. I have a neighbor that has had his in the garage since the early 70’s. His dad was the orig. owner, I have been trying to buy it for years, he keeps saying he’s “going to restore it ” one of these days, his 2 sons don’t want it. I’m hoping one day he’ll knock on my door and sell it to me. We have never talked money so I hope when and if that day comes he doesn’t think he has a Barrett Jackson car. Good thing is, he says I’ve got the first try at it . Wish me luck :-)

  6. Mark E

    Prettier, more original condition than a Singer I almost bought but then again, the owner claimed I could have driven the Singer home where this one will take quite a bit of work to receive that confidence! ^_^

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