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Original Paint: 1952 MG TD Roadster

There’s nothing that beats the feeling that you get when you locate a classic car that has spent years hidden away in a barn or a shed. That is the story behind this 1952 MG TD. The current owner has done a lot of work to return it to a running state, but it now needs the right person to tidy up all of the little details. I have to say thank you to Barn Finder MattR for spotting this classic Brit for us. It is located in Merced, California, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. You could add this one to your collection for $13,500.

When you compare these first two photos, you can see that the seller has lavished some time and effort on the MG. He started from a sound base and believes that apart from the paint on the fuel tank, the remaining MG Red paint might be original. It doesn’t show in the photos, but it does sport a few minor marks and chips. However, for any enthusiast hunting for an original survivor, it still presents pretty well. One of the strengths of this car is that it is structurally sound. All of the steel and timber is in good order, and any work that the buyer would choose to perform would be purely cosmetic. The Beige convertible top looks to be in excellent condition, with no evidence of any rips or tears. The tonneau is also in good order and offers some degree of security and weather protection for the interior when the top is down. The trim and chrome shine beautifully, and the grille features the correct Beige painted slats for this model year. I can’t spot any problems with the glass, but there are a few items that the buyer will need to focus on. The wipers don’t function, so they will need attention. Similarly, the fog lamps will need to be wired into the electrical system.

The good news continues when we lift the hood(s) on the MG because this is a classic that runs and drives. The engine bay is occupied by the 1,250cc “XPAG” 4-cylinder engine, which should be producing 54hp. Bolted to the back of this is a 4-speed manual transmission, which sends the power to the rear wheels. This is not a fast car, with the journey down the ¼ mile taking a relatively leisurely 21.5 seconds. The over-riding characteristic of these classic British sports cars is that they are engaging to own and drive. You don’t spend your life cocooned in isolation. To drive a car like this means that you know and experience everything that is going on. After the MG had been sitting for years, the owner set to work getting it back on the road again. He has replaced most of the wiring, along with the brakes. The fuel tank was cleaned and sealed, and all of the regular maintenance work was completed on the engine. The owner says that the car is now ready to drive anywhere, although a few items might need to be addressed. The engine is started with the hand crank, which suggests that there might be an issue with the starter. Starting these engines this way is not that difficult, but there’s nothing quite like not having to do it, especially in bad weather. The car also drops a bit of oil, which is not a surprise in a British classic of its age. Whether this would need to be addressed will depend on how bad it is. Thankfully, these are easy to work on, and parts are readily available. That means that it might not take a lot of work to rectify this problem.

One area where the buyer won’t need to expend a lot of time and effort will be on the interior. The dash and carpet appear to be in excellent order, while the leather covers on the seats are brand new. Interestingly, the owner states that the interior trim color is correct, but I’m not sure about it. The information that I have shows that during the TD’s production life, Beige trim was the color offered when the car wore MG Red paint. The sole exception was the 1952 model year when the interior was trimmed in Red. My information could be wrong, and I am happy to be corrected if I am wrong. Otherwise, the interior is unmolested, and it would seem to need nothing.

It is hard not to be seduced by a classic British sports car like this 1952 MG TD. That is because the driving experience is loaded with physical sensations. Traveling in one of these little cars means that you hear every noise and vibration from the drivetrain, feel the wind in your hair, experience every dip and bump in the road, and can smell your changing surroundings throughout your journey. They are not a fast car, but it is hard to climb from one after a drive without a smile on your face. Values have taken a hit in recent times, but there are some indications that they are beginning to rise once again. It is possible to find some reasonably tidy examples for around $15,000, although a pristine car can sometimes fetch $30,000 or more. With values beginning that climb once again, this might be the perfect time to look at this one more closely.


  1. Avatar photo John M Cervini

    Sold…if you are the buyer,have fun and maybe put feedback here.

    Like 1
  2. Avatar photo Mike Tarutis Member

    Good on ya, Adam for this posting. And Happy New Year to you and yours as well.

    I have been hunting for one of these for a year or so, trying to get one before it’s too hard to “climb out” of the cockpit from roughly 4″ off the ground.

    Missed this one, too. I may have dodged a bullet, though, because I spotted that all black kitty-cat in the top photo right at the right front wheel. Like: whoa! May have been fate that I barely missed another seventeen years of bad luck with cars!


    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Larry

      I have a 1951 MGTD Roadster that has flawlessly been frame off restored for $22,500. If interested, call 573-541-1970. Delivery is available. To view additional photos, go to http://collectorcars.fotki.com

      Like 3
  3. Avatar photo Pete Member

    Its a good thing all the interesting cars are on the other coast.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Larry

      I am not on the coast. I am smack dab in the middle of the USA

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Stan Marks

        Sweet ride, Larry….

        Like 0
  4. Avatar photo Solosolo Member

    I don’t think that MG’s were ever promoted as “Sports Cars” but their slogan was “Safety Fast!” I enjoyed my 1951 back in 1958 immensely. Great little cars. Ken Tilly. UK.

    Like 0
  5. Avatar photo britcarguy

    My friend has an original paint TD and the finish is worn off at the top of both doors where people rest their arms.

    Like 0

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