Live Auctions

One Family Owned: 1954 MG TF

The TF represented the end of the line for the MG T-Type. Introduced in 1936 as the TA, the T-type would last through five different generations before retiring in 1955 to make way for the MGA. This next-to-last year 1954 model can be found here on eBay in Cleveland, Ohio, where 49 bids have pushed this no reserve auction to a current bid of $6,600. Thank you to the anonymous Barn Finds reader who sent this in.

Before being brought to Florida in 1966, this 1954 MG TF started its life in the Panama Canal Zone. That same owner who bought the car new in 1954 maintained ownership until their recent passing, at which time the car was willed to the original owner’s grandson. The seller describes the body as “extremely straight and original” with a “very solid undercarriage but has lots of surface rust.” There is an abundance of photos, some showing dents and surface rust. I think it’s easy to believe the seller when they say this car has never been restored and is still wearing its original paint.

Also somewhat believable, the interior is said to be all original. Side curtains are included, but there’s no mention made of the top. The photos show a top frame donning fabric that looks nonsalvageable. I’ll assume the seats have been recovered as they are in considerably better shape than the rest of the car and, again, research shows the original TF seats were pleated.

The only detail offered of the engine is that it does not turn. There’s only a couple photos under the hood, so hopefully you can tell what is and isn’t there from those. The TF series began production with a 1,250cc inline four, but in mid-1954 MG started outfitting the TF with a 1,466cc engine. Not that this is definitive on an entirely original 66-year old car, but research shows the 1.5L models wore a “TF-1500” badge on the side of the hood. I do not see one here.

Perhaps looking outdated by the mid-1950s, the fifth and final iteration of the MG T-Type was superseded by the more era-fitting MGA. Outdated or not, a British roadster painted British Racing Green is now timeless. If you’re like me and have a desire to channel Chevy Chase from the 1988 film Funny Farm, this may be the car for you.


  1. GuernseyPagoda Member

    I know Frank the owner, as he is about a 1/2 hour north of me. Seems like a pretty fair guy who is forthcoming about the state of his cars. Side note: aside from this no reserve auction, he could save himself a lot of phone calls, if he would just list the price of his cars, instead of listing export prices to Felixstowe or wherever…….

    Like 3
  2. GuernseyPagoda Member

    Johnny- It also says on his website that the engine does not run, but it does turn over, and the ebay link doesn’t work…. Thanks for the write up.

    Like 1
    • Jonny Collier Staff

      Thanks for the heads up. The link has been fixed.

      Like 1
  3. ccrvtt

    This car is keeping company with a lot of shiny, highly desirable companions in that garage. Why is it, then, that this ratty TF is the one I want the most?

    I don’t know much about these cars but it seems like TFs, MGAs, & MGBs will only go up in value in the near future. E-types and Austin Healey 3000s are pretty much out of reach of mere mortals anymore and even millennials can appreciate the cool factor of these rides.

    Kudos to the seller for providing the undercar photos. There’s more work here than I am capable of but someone needs to buff this one up and enjoy it.

    Like 3
  4. Rabbit

    I’ll take a hard pass on the MG, but I’d love to take home that ’71 Ghia…

    Like 3
  5. Dave Christopher

    Buyer better take a close gander at the wood, sheet metal body skeleton, and invest in some ash trees. Lots of work here.

    Like 2
  6. ccrvtt

    With the current situation I have waaaaay too much time on my hands. I decided to do a little research on another site whose initials are Hemmings. This very car is listed there for $14,950 though it has had some spirited bidding on ebay.

    What’s really interesting is there are 19 TFs available on Hemmings ranging in price from $14,950 to over $33K. There is even one non-runner for $16,000 that is in MUCH better shape than this one. It looks like you could get a really nice driver for less than $20K and save yourself the heartache.

    The two bidders on ebay have pushed it up to $9,000 at this point. I guess they know something I don’t.

    I’m inclined to think that with the vast number of local MG clubs that a much better deal could be had elsewhere. It certainly pays to shop around, if only vicariously.

    Like 4
  7. JudoJohn

    One family owned and abused! Who effing cares if this is the way the car is left to rot? Apparently, there are enough fools out there to buy this for the overpriced pile of tin that it is.

  8. Johnny

    Something about these little cars . That I really like. Though I have never had one. I keep looking . I saw a place out in Hannibal.Mo. Where a guy has alot of these old MG,S from 1956-1962 he has 18 of them and from 1970-1980 he has 10 of them plus racks of parts–ALOT OF PARTS FOR THESE CARS. . I really like the bubble fender look and style. I,d like something like this to restore and say I did it.

  9. wizzy

    “…no rust…”??? Please. Rode hard and put away wet. Very wet. VERY, VERY wet. Careful buyers, this looks like a hurricane car or at the very least a flood, then left to rot.

  10. Dennis Zozula

    I had a 54 TF for thirteen years. It was a right hand drive brought from London in about 66. I loved it, but with no facility to take care of it I sold it about ten years ago for $ 16,500 cdn. At that time I was told it could be show quality for another $16,000 and would be worth $ 32,000; so not worth the investment. Mine was a good quality driver just the way I liked it. Compared to this car, it was way ahead mechanically and in finish. I would guess it would take at least $10,000 to get this one to be equivalent to mine. ( could be a lot more) . That said they are fun; 50 mph felt like 90 mph. Old women smiled, dogs barked and children waved. Carefully check the condition of the wood and be careful not to hit your knee on the strike plate of the door latch; it hurts enough that you probably will do it only once.

    Like 1
  11. Phil Martin

    Glad to see so many sensible comments about the viability of owning this car. Even at the price it is now it is not worth restoring. As others have said put in another 410k and go buy a daily driver with lots of lovely patina. The frame work and timber on these cars is a nightmare to restore and it does look like it has been very badly treated and been for a swim. God, chassis unknown, timber unknown, engine unknown, gearbox, diiff, gauges, floors, ALL unknown. Basically a bottomless pit of money and despair! No thanks
    Phil from Downunder in Oz

    • Dennis Zozula

      You are right on. Having sold mine I kept an eye on any for sale for awhile. I have seen some that were very nicely restored and used then put up for sale. I recall you could get a very nice car for between 25k and 35k US.

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