Parked 40 Years: 1952 MG TD Barn Find

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Finding a classic project car that is suitable for the whole family to be involved in can be a difficult task. That is where cars like this 1952 MG TD could fit into the equation. They were built using relatively simple engineering and construction techniques. That makes them the perfect candidate for restoration in a home workshop. This particular TD has been sitting since 2007. It is a restoration project that stalled before it could start. The owner has chosen to pursue different interests, so he has put the car on the market. I have to say thank you to Barn Finder Ikey H for referring this British classic to us. It is located in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and has been listed for sale here on craigslist. This can be yours by merely handing the owner $8,000.

The MG has a couple of crucial plus points. The first of these is that it appears to be complete. The second, and more important point, is that it seems to be completely rust-free. The exterior shows no signs of corrosion issues. As you can see, the underside of the vehicle wears little more than some surface corrosion. However, this isn’t going to be a matter of slapping on a fresh coat of paint and driving off into the sunset. The surface corrosion under the car will need to be treated to ensure that it doesn’t deteriorate further. The panels also sport a few dings and dents, so they will need some work before that fresh paint is applied. To do this car justice, it probably should be treated to a full frame-off restoration. This sounds daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. That simplicity that I previously mentioned makes this sort of task relatively easy. It would ensure that everything is done correctly. It also means that the new owner can choose to re-apply the same MG Red paint, or they might consider a color change. All of the trim and chrome is present, but once again, there will be some restoration required. It looks like the frame is present for the top, but I believe that the top itself will need to be replaced.

If you ordered a new TD back in 1952 finished in MG Red, then you could choose to upholster the interior in either Red or Tan. In this case, the original upholstery was Red leather, but it has seen better days. A full retrim is going to be on the cards, and this could potentially be the most expensive single aspect of the restoration process. Trim kits are available, but they will leave the buyer with no change from $2,000 if the interior is to be returned to its original state. The steering wheel will require some attention. This could be restored, or a replacement could be sourced for $300. The gauges will also need some TLC, as the needles on some of these aren’t returning to their resting positions. While the gauges are out, the dash could be tackled and returned to its original state of presentation. There is no information on the state of the drivetrain, although we do know that the car does have an engine and transmission. The engine should be the 1,250cc 4-cylinder XPAG unit, producing 54hp. This sort of power does not make the TD a fire-breather, with a potential top speed of 80mph. Even if the engine requires a rebuild, that isn’t the end of the world. The TD is an elegantly simple car, and most competent people should be able to perform a rebuild in a home workshop. Even if machining is required, and new components such as pistons need to be sourced, supplies are both plentiful and inexpensive. The owner indicates that there is a selection of parts and tools to be included in the sale. That will hopefully be enough to give the buyer a head start.

If I were searching for a project car that I could tackle with my family, I would have a lot of trouble going past a car like this 1952 MG TD. These are such a wonderfully simple car to work on, and the vast majority of the work could be tackled at home. If I was a person looking to dip their toe in the water with a first restoration, then the same rules apply. These are no lightning bolt, but a healthy example can be a joy to drive on a sunny day. Easy to restore and fun to drive? That sounds like a winning proposition to me.

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  1. art

    Looking at the underside, it may have originally been British Racing Green.
    Car is sharp.

    Like 1
  2. Francisco

    My dream has been to drive one of these automobiles across the back roads and hills of Vermont during the fall to enjoy the colors and the fresh air.

    Like 8
  3. George Durante

    Buy a set of Whitworth tools to work on it.

    Like 5
    • bob roller25704

      George is right about the Whitworth tools.On some parts a “MetricCrescent Wrench”will work :o).I had a lot of these Whitworth tools made by SnapOn but now I have no idea as to what happened to them.Possibly stolen when I was in the Army
      rom 1954 until 1963.

      Like 1
  4. Brakeservo

    When done it may be painfully slow for people used to the performance of even a Kia Rio!

    Like 1
  5. Chuck

    If only I didn’t already have three project cars. A ’52 is desirable to me since I’m a ’52 model as well.

    Like 2
  6. wizzy

    My first restoration project was a ’51 TD, back in the 1970’s. Utterly simple to work on and very fun to drive. Parts for this are readily available. Don’t hesitate on this one, this is a reasonable price as is with probably some wiggle room, but consider you have to move it too and that costs…who knows how much.

    Like 3
  7. Kelly

    Appears to be a 1950 from the tail lights. Looks like a good solid project.

    Like 1
    • Art

      My 52 has the same taillights

      Like 1
  8. chrlsful

    funny thing abt theses cars is the consistent value.
    I am not an ol car guy but my sis got 1 for college grad gift in ’69? for $14K (good condition – 1 or 2 points above this). After several yrs she decided to sell (’78 or 9) and a complete rehab wuz done (full disassembly, new ply wood, chrome bolts everywhere, etc). It sold for same. I saw one in the 90s – same price. I see it at $14,6 now. Most these oldsters change value over the yrs, not this baby. What gives? A porche just keeps risin, my ’70 bronk is ridiculous now…

    Like 2
  9. Robt

    I think I’d simply put my money into the drive train to make it a runner and road worthy.
    Sick of the ‘patina’ label, but love the look of this car as is.

    Like 0

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Barn Finds