Rust Free Brit: 1953 MG TD

The MG TD could quite rightly be classed as a “middle child” of the MG T-Series range. It featured some pretty substantial upgrades over its predecessor, the TC. However, it has never retained the sorts of values of the TC, or its successor, the MG TF. This is good news for people looking to purchase a classic British sports car because it means that a TD remains far more affordable than its siblings. This 1953 MG TD is a solid example that will require a complete restoration. It is located in San Rafael, California, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set the listing to open at $3,999, but there have been no bids to this point. It might not be the cheapest project TD on the market at present, but it comes with a substantial cache of spare parts that would make it a very tempting proposition.

This little MG has spent its entire life in sunny California, and the benefit of this can be immediately spotted thanks to its rust-free status. There is certainly some surface corrosion to be addressed, but the car looks encouragingly solid. It has been partially dismantled, but only to a pretty limited point. This means that the new owner will not be lost in a sea of nuts, bolts, and brackets that will be a total mystery to them. In addition, it looks like the car comes with some spare side curtains and a few other body components to assist with the restoration task. One of the biggest physical changes that came with the TD was a new chassis, although the term “new” probably isn’t that accurate. The chassis of the TD first saw duty in the MG Y-Type and allowed scope for some significant mechanical updates that made the TD a better car than the TC.

The interior of the TD is going to require a full restoration, but at least it does appear to be complete. The big-ticket item is going to be the steering wheel, which has probably deteriorated beyond the point of being viable to restore. These aren’t cheap, with an original wheel costing around $500. However, the remaining interior trim components are actually remarkably inexpensive, meaning that getting the interior back into decent shape will potentially be quite affordable.

Powering the TD is the XPAG 4-cylinder engine, with a capacity of 1,250cc. Power output was around 54hp, which was sent to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. It was within the drive-train that the TD saw substantial improvements over the TC. The TD featured rack-and-pinion steering, independent front suspension, along with a different transmission and rear end to the TC. Our little TD doesn’t currently run, but it does appear to be mechanically complete. One of the great attractions of these post-war British cars is their basic mechanical simplicity. That means that performing rebuilds is actually quite a straightforward task. When I referred to spare parts earlier, the vast majority of these are mechanical components. I can see at least one complete engine, as well as engine blocks, oil pans, cylinder heads, clutches, suspension components, and sundry other odds and ends. That should be enough to keep the next owner busy. Also included with the car is a Workshop Manual, which should help to solve any mechanical mysteries that the MG might hold.

The “middle child” status of the MG TD is definitely reflected in its value relative to the TC and the TF. A reasonably good TC can set you back around $22,000. A TD in the same condition, and bear in mind the number of updates that this model brought to the table, can be had for around $15,000. Even the TF, which was essentially a facelifted TD, will cost around $21,000. Those variations are not insignificant, and it is why the TD is a bit of a bargain in the entire T-Series. A rust-free and complete example, especially one with so many spares, is the sort of car that could be restored in a home workshop. All of those factors could make this car a pretty attractive proposition.

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Comments

  1. nycbjr Member

    Growing up my dad had one.. never ran right lol but was fun to go get ice cream in!! Brings back memories…

    5
  2. Brakeservo

    Gotta wonder how bad it was wrecked “back in the day” – that’s the only explanation that makes sense for the current primer/paint scheme

    4
  3. bobhess Member

    Bought a 20 year old ’53 TD in running condition while living in a small coastal town in Florida. Great fun to drive around town. Nice to see one that can be restored without replacing every part in it.

    3
  4. fcs

    My father-in-law currently has his stored in my hangar. I pull it out and putter around the airport with it a couple of times a year. Fun in a motorized skateboard kind of way. It could certainly do with a new interior some better paint (he had somebody paint in the ’60s for $300 and it shows).

    Its on my list for restoration, but I have to go invest in a bunch of Whitworth tools first and I can’t seem to get motivated to make that investment for just one car.

    4
  5. Chuck

    There are only two problems keeping me from bidding on this one. One, I have no more room for projects. And two, I don’t think I’m going to live long enough to finish the ones I have.

    7
  6. Jack Quantrill

    Good luck if termites got to the wood frame!

    1
    • DaROAR

      Wood? You’re thinking of a Morgan…

      • fcs

        Umm, no.

        The TD has main side rails that are wood as well as a lot of wood in the body tub and dash. The frame bits are ash and there is a lot of plywood elsewhere.

        Not uncommon for European cars at the time. Even my Mercedes 190sl has a plywood false floor.

  7. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    One man’s “rust free” is another man’s “look at the hole in the front fender and wonder why there is primer at the base of the doors.” The latter man being me. Hard to knock this car, at this price, but let’s be honest using the term “rust free” when the quarter view of the car in question shows a quarter-sized hole in the fender is a bit of a stretch. The passenger fender looks like it suffered from the bends too.

    2

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