Live Auctions

Ripe For The Picking: 1955 MG TF

Often when I run across semi-completed projects during my research for Barn Finds, I find myself wishing for more information. Often, the simple lack of information that could be easily provided by the seller in the advertisement turns me off pursuing the vehicle. This isn’t one of those cases. The seller provides more than enough to get me interested in this 1955 MGTF, located in Burlington, Wisconsin and listed for sale here on eBay, where the buy it now is $11,750 but lower offers are welcomed!

Note that I’m not saying this car isn’t without problems–for example, the rocker panel that you should be seeing in this picture! But the seller does a great job of explaining what both the shortcomings and the positives of this project are. For example, the seller has recently assembled the car (loosely) to see what’s there and what isn’t.

They have also included this picture to show what things look like under the skin. We’re told that while the wood framing of the doors is good, the wood framing in the cowl will have to be attended to. Not a trivial task, for sure, but those components are available and can be fitted with plenty of patience. I would imagine it would be a very rewarding job once completed.

The appearance of the body reflects that it was media blasted and then left, so there is some surface rust. Thankfully, most of the body shell looks pretty good. The owner does detail some repair work, likely from a fender bender earlier in the car’s life, that will need further attention on the left front fender. Other than the surface rust, the fenders are described as rust-free.

The seller acquired the car last summer and decided to see if the engine would run. After servicing, they were able to get it running and actually drove the car through all four gears despite having zero brakes. The engine seems to be in pretty nice condition with good oil pressure and no unusual sounds. We’re even provided a list of parts the car is definitely missing (there may be more). In other words, this is one of the most explicit listings of a project car I’ve seen. Whether the price works for you is another story, but remember, the seller is inviting offers! Care to make one?


  1. Klharper

    Let this be a lesson, once you strip the paint off a car you need to put something on it immediately to stop surface rust. My favorite is an epoxy primer, and not normal primer, as it will absorb moisture. The only exception is if you live in the desert, then you can get away without a coating.
    Other than that this car is way overpriced, running driving examples can be found in the mid teens and pretty nice but not show cars can be had for mid 20’s.

    • ccrvtt

      Absolutely right. This car will empty someone’s checking account to the tune of about double what it will be worth in the end. They are really neat looking when they’re done and someone will definitely do the next buyer a favor.

  2. Yellowjax Member

    Nice find. How could I not like this TF. Had a few TD’s but could never quite afford this model. I also stripped a car down to the metal once. Went in for lunch….came back out and could see a very light dusting of rust. Very long lunch in the damp Pacific Northwest.

  3. Mark S

    I’m not much on British cars I like there looks but I find them to be to small. As for the restoration if your doing your own work I have a hard time believing that your going to spend double the purchase price. When I here predictions like that it tells me that a lot of people are handing these cars over to a restoration shop. What ever happen to digging in to a project yourself, it can be very rewarding and enjoyable work as well as a lot cheeper to get started and learn as you go. There are still enough older mechanics body men around to get advice has become so much of an investment game, old gems like this car are being parted out or scrapped.

    • Pete W.

      T series MG’s are a different breed of cat. While the mechanicals are dead basic and simple, the bodies are not so easy. Behind those steel panels lies ash wood framing, which support the doors and body tub, are prone to rot, and while available from a number of sources, must be reassembled and hand fitted individually. The steel panels are attached to the ash frame with nails.

      Ash, by nature is very hard, and requires specific talent and equipment to be worked properly. And a lot of time, because it takes a number of attempts to join the frame parts correctly and still have the panels fit as they’re supposed to. And lots of patience. Lots.

      T bodies were hand made and major panels are not necessarily interchangeable. I have two TD’s. Neither the doors nor bonnets can be swapped from one to the other.

  4. Chris A.

    Although clearly an MG TF, by any chance is it a TF 1500?

  5. RichGardner

    Yes, it is a TF 1500. I bought it, and it is currently at my home in central Ohio. Having had several MG’s in the distant past, (a 54TF, a 48 TC, and 3 or 4 TD’s), I am fully aware of the $$$ pitfalls involved, but I wanted just “one more”. All the wood has been replaced, seats rebuilt, chrome redone, rockers still not redone but in process. I’ve found I’m too old for taking on these projects, but I fell in love with the T series Mg waaaay back, and I’m still in love! Hope to paint in early June.

    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      Congrats Rich! Please keep us posted on your progress!

      • Rich Gardner

        I still have hope that the writer (Jamie) of this article might find the time to help me trace the car a little. The seller did not have much information to supply, but perhaps someone on here might have some information that would lead to finding where it was stored, how long, and even previous owners. I know if I were writing about a car like this it would be paramount to attempt to trace it back as far as to when it came over, was it bought in England and returned to states by a serviceman, or one of many that were part of the great influx that basically began the sports car “revolution” in the U.S.? All engine/body numbers are available….Any info would be good! Anyhow, thanks for listing this car in the “Barn Finds”, I just happened to stumble on it through Pinterest pics and realized “that’s my car”!

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        Rich, I will email you directly when I am in front of a computer rather than on my phone. Let’s see what we can do together to find out what we can.

  6. Rich Gardner

    It would be great…and perhaps quite interesting.

    Like 1
  7. Dr.Rich Gardner

    I havn’t heard any further on this matter from Jamie or anyone else. Sure would have been nice to trace it back somewhat…..Summer has come and gone, it’s approaching October in a week or so. We moved from central Ohio down to Hot Springs Village, Ar. few weeks ago, although the car is still located at my previous home in Ohio. My neighbor bought my house and he is continueing some work on the car, including the final paint sometime between now and springtime. We did soooo much sanding, filling, resanding, re-filling, more sanding,etc. My intention isn’t to make a show car as much as just a good-looking and drivable “fun” car. It will be mostly original, but I’m not too worried about that, but I do want to keep it close as I can. As I mentioned b4, back in the early “50’s, as I stepped off our rural school bus in central Ohio I saw the most beautiful RED car my eyes had ever seen! I later identified it as a MG TD, exact year undetermined. From that time on I knew what I would someday own! I’ve had several, and never stopped enjoying them. I’ll turn 81 tomorrow and my only wish is I get the chance to not only drive this car next spring, but hopefully pass on not only the car, but this same enjoyment I’ve always had on to my youngest son some day. He’s been a big help in me obtaining the car, hopefully he will find it as fun as I always have.

  8. Rich Gardner

    Jamie….Perhaps you are no longer interested, but the ’55 Tf 1500 is almost complete.Still needs interior assembled, body work all completed,its freshly painted, new chrome, looks soooo nice now, awaiting brake cylinder repair/replacement in next couple weeks, then its ready to go! Just thought you might like to do a follow-up when the big moment arrives.

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