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Spotless Restoration: 1951 MG TD

This 1951 MG TD has undergone a meticulous frame-off restoration, and no aspect of the car has escaped the owner’s attention. Now there isn’t much left to do but for a new owner to hit the road and enjoy some top-down cruising behind the wheel of this British beauty. If a classic sports car is high on your wish list, you will find the little TD located in Quincy, Illinois, and listed for sale here on Barn Finds Classifieds. The asking price has been set at $22,500.

The vehicle is finished in MG Red, and the paint shines just as beautifully as you might expect on a car that has recently been restored. There is no evidence of any flaws in the paint, and the steel that hides beneath looks perfect. There are no signs of dings or dents and no evidence of rust. The MG is fitted with a convertible top in the correct Beige, and this is spotlessly clean and as tight as a drum. Side curtains in the same color and material are included, and their condition looks just as nice as the top. The chrome and trim sparkle nicely, while the grille has the slats finished in the correct Beige. The vehicle rolls on steel wheels, and the condition of them and the hubcaps are a match for the rest of the exterior.

The spotless presentation continues when you open the hood and take a look around inside the engine bay. The mighty little 1,250cc “XPAG” 4-cylinder engine is backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. With only 54hp on tap, the MG TD is not the fastest car on the planet, but that is not the point of these classics. If you have never driven one, I can’t emphasize enough how much you need to address that. These are the most wonderfully engaging car, and the driving experience is not something that occurs in isolation. You hear and feel every part of any journey, and it is immensely satisfying. Because you sit so close to Planet Earth, the TD feels a lot faster than mere figures would have you believe. The engine bay of this car is spotless and meticulously detailed without looking overdone. It appears that the vehicle is in excellent mechanical health, although the owner says that the carburetors would benefit from a rebuild. Some of the gaskets are leaking, so addressing that would be a priority.

It appears that the interior of the MG TD has also come in for its share of attention during the restoration. Cars finished in MG Red from 1951 could have interiors trimmed in Red or Beige, and this one features the latter color. This is a smart move because it ties together the colors present in the convertible top and the grille slats. I also think that the Beige option looks slightly more classy than the Red. All of the upholstered surfaces look perfect, and there is no sign of any wear or damage. The carpet is spotless, and the timber dash glows warmly. The gauges have clean and clear faces, with no signs of clouding on the lenses. The Beige wheel matches the trim, and once again, it appears to be in a flawless state. When you look at it overall, it looks comfortable and oh-so inviting.

This 1951 MG TD has a lot to offer its next owner. Rebuilding the carburetors will not be a difficult or expensive proposition, which seems to be about all that this classic needs. I do not doubt that it is a car that would attract its share of attention, and punting it down some leafy country lane on a sunny day sounds like a winning experience to me. Values softened a bit during 2020, but they have begun to rise steadily once again. Finding a spotless example below $20,000 is now virtually impossible, while pristine cars can easily sell for $30,000 or more. This one looks like a beauty, and the price seems exceptionally competitive. Summer is only a few short months away, so this could be the perfect time to treat yourself to a classic British sports car. It’s an ownership experience that you are never likely to forget.


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    This car rekindled my wife’s loss of her ’53 red/beige grocery getter. It was just plain fun to cruise around town in. Price isn’t too bad either considering it’s basically a new car.

    Like 10
  2. Francisco

    Does anybody know how fast one of these will cruise at on the highway without any strain? On my bucket list is to drive a car like this throughout Vermont during autumn for the fall foliage. But I live in Pennsylvania.

    Like 3
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      Francisco, do it! Or do the made for TV version and drive a Miata. Vermont awaits.

      Like 4
    • AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

      Do it Fransisco! :>)
      Take a week+ and screw the major highways (where as mentioned, TD will only do about 55 comfortably) and come up through the back roads of PA, NY, CT MA and VT.. in the fall you’ll have a journey not soon to forget. There is a VERY large MG club in both CT and MA with many specialty shops throughout as well, so IF something went awry you’d be within short shot to assistance.

      Like 7
    • Bob Roller

      When this car was new I was working at the local dealership and I though 60MPH was comfortable.These are NOT high performance cars but are fun to drive and on a crooked road they will give a surprise to anyone who gets too close with a larger car.
      These cars represent the technology of the 1930’s so drive it with that in mind and nothing else.

      Like 3
      • Solosolo Solosolo Member

        Yep, lovely little, lively cars. They were never meant to be a sports car and the MG slogan at the time was “Safety Fast.”

        Like 2
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Francisco… 55 mph is about what this car will do on the open road with comfort. If you are doing mountain running, which we did with our ’53 in Nevada, you have enough torque to get to where you want to be. A great conversion for these cars is a later transmission with over drive or an outright 5 speed replacement gearbox. Either way they are a blast to drive.

    Like 5
  4. JEFF S.

    It amazes me why someone asking $22 K for a car, tells you the carbs need to be rebuilt. Why not just have the simple work done and up the price the cost of the service. I am not in the market for one of these, but this kind of stuff turns me off, on plenty of car purchases.

    Like 14
    • robert semrad

      I agree….it’s like Marylin Monroe with a pimple…why can’t she just use a mascara brush and make another mole?
      Go figure

      Like 7
    • Richard Martin

      Couldn’t agree more Jeff.
      Doing a reco on SUs is dead easy and the few parts required (mainly gaskets) are very cheap. A leisurely afternoon’s work.

      Like 6
    • MikeH

      I agree Jeff. Why would any one sell a 30K car for 22K if all it needs is the SUs rebuilt to make it perfect? Something’s wrong here.

      Like 2
  5. Armstrongpsyd Armstrongpsyd Member

    Or you could jump ahead 6 years and get a TR3 that would get up to 100 in OD and cruise easily at 70. Not only that, they stop just as well with the first factory standard disc brakes. The advances in cars about every five years was significant back then. Don’t get caught in the rain in an old Triumph. The top is difficult to get up on a warm sunny day in your driveway. On the side of the road in the rain could cause a fellow to cuss.

    Like 3
    • Solosolo Solosolo Member

      Good idea, however, I doubt that you could buy a TR 3 in this condition for anywhere near the MG asking price. I have owned both of them and they are both great cars, with the TR 3 being the greater.

      Like 1
  6. Hans J Hassinger

    Had a 52 for 15 years & u can cruise at 55 all day. An occasional bout w/65 mph is doable but that lil 1250 cc engine is around 4500 rpm & you want to keep her running for a long time. Be gentle & she will reward you w/years of fun. :-)

    Like 3
  7. Will Coyle

    Owned a TR-3 in the mid-sixties, better bring a complete tool box & some spares. Dad owned a machine shop and at times that was the only thing that stood between me and walking. These British roadsters are not modern cars in any way.

  8. Tom Lange

    Nice, but a long way away from perfect. Wrong dash (should be Rexine cloth), threshold plates should be blank and not say MG Car Company, both horns are mounted upside down, missing the hose clamps on the air cleaner hose, and there’s something funny about the top. A pretty car, though.

    Like 1
  9. bobhess bobhess Member

    Agree on pretty car but do question why a Jan 16th date on the posting. Seems we’ve been here before.

    Like 1
  10. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Your right Bob, from 1/15/21.

    Like 1
  11. Larry Member


    Like 1

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