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Parked for 45 Years: 1954 MG TF

1954 MG TF Midget

Sure this 1954 TF would look more elegant with a nice shiny paint job, but we think it would catch more attention left as is. Obviously there are some areas that are going to need serious attention before it will be ready to drive, but it definitely has potential. The seller claims it has spent its entire life in Southern California, where it has been parked for the past 45 years. Take a look at it here on eBay, where the seller is asking $12,950.

MG TF Interior

This TF is complete, but as you can see, it needs work. The interior has definitely seen better days. Thankfully, all the hard to find bits are still here, but everything is going to need refinishing. Based on the condition of the interior, we would say it’s safe to assume that it was exposed to the elements for a better part of the 45 years that it has been parked.

MG TF motor

The seller is clear that the motor isn’t running and is currently seized up. They haven’t tried to free it, but it will likely need a complete rebuild regardless of whether the motor is stuck or not. The engine is the original 1,250 cc straight-four that was in the car when it left the factory and the seller believes all the other components are also original.

MG TF side

The TF was the final version of the T-type, which was first introduced as the TA in 1936. From a design standpoint, little changed from ’36 to ’55, but mechanically each generation was slightly improved from the last. By the time this TF was built, the motor had gained nearly 10 horsepower with power up to 58 hp. Straight line performance was never the T’s strongest point, but acceleration rates and top speeds have little to do with a car being fun to drive or not.

MG TF rear corner

There is a dedicated and active following for the entire T-type series and demand for the later TD and TF is relatively high. This car has a lot going for it, but as many or more things holding it back. Condition is always a concern with any classic, but anything can be restored with enough money. And that gets us to our biggest issue here, the seller’s asking price. With running and driving examples available for only a few thousand dollars more, this one a tough sell. Does the claim that it is an untouched barn find really make it worth more or is the seller just dreaming?


  1. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Love the look! The price, not so much. After test driving a TD a few years ago, I have really grown to appreciate these little sports cars. The T-series may look archaic, but they really are a hoot to drive. After squeezing through the suicide door and cramming your feet into the tiny pedal box, you will be surprised at how unprotected you feel. The slanted grill and integrated headlights of the TF were a feeble attempt at making the car appear modern because you will feel like you are in something built well before WWII.

    All those little niggles will float away once you get underway though. Put the windscreen down and let the wind blow through your hair. The steering feels good and the gearbox is precise. I was impressed with the TD and would love to get behind the wheel of ones of these. You can really enjoy a backroad without having to go very fast at all. The sound, wind, vibration, and creaking body panels all make you feel like you are moving at much higher velocities than you really are. I guess that is what they meant by the slogan, “Safety Fast”?

    Like 1
    • Alfred Salba

      How old they are and true what ever you said about
      still nice looking car proud you have it just in the garage imagine you drive it.

      Like 1
  2. Jim-Bob

    Once again, we see another case of a seller who misplaced his (or her) decimal point. These aren’t very valuable when in good condition and the full frame-off restoration this needs means that doing so just doesn’t make financial sense.

    Like 0
    • Horse Radish

      Hey, it’s worth a try, no?
      It won’t cost him but a free e-bay listing and some ridicule.
      The upside however is, that he will find some freshly retired baby-boomer and his retirement account lusting for just this…..
      I, personally wouldn’t even pay $1000 for it, get the bare minimum to make it run AS IS, heavy patina and all.

      Like 0
      • Jim-Bob

        True, but when a similar condition Jaguar E type doesn’t fetch much more you sort of have to wonder why they think this is in the same price league as a much more sought after car. I mean, it only needs everything!

        Like 0
  3. paul

    I like it in a kinda tattered way, 13g not so much, but it really is funky as it sits. I’d would almost want to through it mechanically & of course stop any rust & drive as it is.

    Like 0
  4. wayne

    Thanks to Chasing Classic Cars, Barrett-Jackson and the like, the prices are getting just too crazy for the average guy to enjoy the hobby. Great little car though!

    Like 0
    • Horse Radish

      It’s laughable though. Have some fun with it.

      Like 0
  5. Dolphin Member

    I could quibble with the ‘complete’ claim, like if the plastic on the steering wheel rim is gone, then you need another steering wheel. Lots of other things on the car are like that, so when you start the resto or even just try getting it driveable you find that it’s not so complete after all because you need to add a lot of parts. But I’ll just cut to the bottom line instead:

    The seller is a well known restorer and he knows that the car would consume way more money to restore it than it would be worth when it’s all done. In other words: “These T-series aren’t appreciating very much, but the cost of a restoration has, so since It needs everything let’s try selling it to some guy who wants to get into a T-series resto and let him do it.”

    Like 0
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Well said Dolphin!

      Like 0
  6. rancho bella

    Hagerty claims high fifties, although I don’t know anyone that would pay that much………. with a low of around thirteen thousand for a driver. This poor thing not only couldn’t drive but at best just lays like an uninterested wife after a 45 year nap.

    6K………and that is optimistic

    Like 0
  7. V. Bortoni

    With sites through out the country featuring classic cars running or not, I have seen running examples for $13k and up. Everything has a level of price, this car is not a $12K car

    Like 0
    • DanaPointJohn

      Agree completely! This car is no way worth $12,000, but someone will fall for it, put $20,000 into it and have a $20,000 car.

      Like 0
  8. Kman

    drove the TD myself once but really, design wise, they were just not very pretty compared with the TC or TF. I actually think this was the most attractive one of the lot. I agree with all the comments on overpricing and would look for a driver. They are a very tight squeeze for me even tho’ with age I have shrunk to 6’3″, I’m also not as flexible nor as inclined to put with discomfort so my days of small Brit sports cars may be done.

    Like 0
  9. Rolly Doucet

    The owner claims the car has always been in southern California, and was parked for the last 45 years. I have to ask “Parked outdoors, in the sun and rain”?

    Like 0
  10. Brian

    I like the MGB GTs and $12,950 would buy me a nice one… a real nice one!!!

    Like 0
    • rancho bella

      Spot on Brian.

      Like 0
  11. jim s

    i like MG T cars a lot. when i think of how much money it is going to take to turn this into just a driver i think you could have a driver Morgan for less. still i hope someone falls in love with this and gets it back on the road. great find

    Like 0
  12. geomechs geomechs Member

    The TF is my favorite of all the MG’s. I’d actually go for this one except that in no way can I justify the price plus a restoration. I sure hope the buyer does well with this one; it’s the best.

    Like 0
  13. hhaleblian

    I’m all about this ride….at $5k plus the trip from SoCal to Chicago. Dolphin nailed it. I bought a TD in December 74. Drove it from Chicago to Springfield Il to join a most gorgeous blonde to ring in the New Year. The smoke from the engine oil was so intoxicating I had to peel of the side curtain to clear my head. When my fu man chu iced over up went the side curtain. Made it in time to watch the ball drop and the rest is history. I sure miss her. If I could only remember her name…. For us car guys, cars are interwoven into our fabric and play an important part of who we are and who we were.

    Like 0
  14. Ric Parrish

    Remember those porta-wall white walls?

    Like 0
    • Graham Lloyd

      Dammit Ric. I got almost all the way down the comments and thought that I would have a smart remark regarding those port a walls. You beat me to it.

      Like 0
    • bruce r colbert

      @ Ric Parrish. Ya beat me to it on that comment. had em on my ’49 Ford.

      Like 0
  15. fred

    I haven’t run across many barn finds, but the one I do know about is a similar MG (I’m into American cars and don’t know a TC from a TD, just know it’s the same body.) 10years ago I ran an antique store in the FL panhandle and bought a lot of estates. An elderly store owner in town gave me a much coveted tour of his “stash”- a 5000sf commercial building full to the ceiling of incredible antiques. A few feet from the front door was the MG, British racing green, covered with a tarp, having been there at least 10 years at that time. As I recall, condition was dusty but very good. At the time I was more interested in the jukeboxes, advertising, etc. I have little doubt it still sits in the same spot, as the owner is still around and never sells anything.

    Like 0
  16. ECW

    The realistic, market price for this is whatever Kurt Tanner paid for it!

    Like 0
    • paul

      I think he only does AH’s.

      Like 0
  17. Paul B

    Absurd price for a lovely little car that could someday be made to run!

    Like 0
  18. dave

    duh i plan to do something with it n the next 40 yrs, so i will hold on to it and make u suffer.

    Like 0
  19. Jack Tockston

    The current rage among collectors is “patina,” and the amount of it here is priceless! And if it still had its factory red paint, the box for “originality” could also be checked. Not my cup of tea, but there is a small handful of enthusiasts excited by such things. I hope the seller finds one.

    Like 0
  20. Sunbeamdon

    Now if this little bugger was a TF1500 it might be worth negotiating for. Although caveat emptor comes to mind!

    Like 0

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