Three Decades Parked: 1955 MG TF 1500

In case you find a Morgan too boring or a Caterham too wild, there exists a pleasant middle ground in the form of the MG TF roadster. This example is the later 1500 model with a bit more power than its predecessors, and it’s been hiding out in a garage for the last 30 years. The seller seems optimistic (don’t they all?) that this example isn’t too far gone despite its long-term hiatus. Find it here on eBay with bidding at $4,500 and the reserve unmet. 

The T-Series MGs always strike me as some of the most authentic sports cars ever built. They gave little care to the outside elements, almost encouraging drivers to head out with little to no weather protection and hope for the best. The TF seen here is one of several two-seater roadsters made in the T-Series lineup, and almost all of them are desirable today. We don’t see examples like this pop up all that often, and despite its long-term storage, the limited photos don’t show any obvious body damage.

Of course, cosmetics demand up-close inspection, and given the aforementioned inclination to drive them in all types of weather, checking for rust is a must-do. Despite most of today’s sporting cars living under a cover and rarely venturing out when the weather gets rough, owners of TDs and TFs were a more adventurous lot. I personally prefer them a great deal over the later MGAs, as they seemed to lose some of the spunk. The interior doesn’t look past the point of saving, and LHD is a welcome site for U.S. buyers.

The seller hasn’t done much to establish the mechanical well-being of the 63 b.h.p. mill, but at least the head remains attached and the valve cover sealed up. God knows the workload grows considerably more significant if the internals are left exposed, which, given the surface rust we can see, would have been disastrous. I’m certain the rodents have had field day with the wiring, so hopefully, the lack of info and roll of the dice for the next owner will encourage the seller to consider placing a reasonable reserve on this vintage roadster.

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  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    You got your work cut out for you here, it will need everything. At least there a small car and will allow for more room around them in your garage while you tear it down to start your restoration. This is and car I’ve never had the chance to work on or drive but they look like there a lot of fun.

  2. SMS

    I loved my TD do I feel this is worth the effort to save. Looks to be an assembled pile of parts as everything needs to be taken apart and redone.

    You can buy many parts, some are challenging to find.

    The big question is the wood frame. My guess is there is not a piece of wood left that is good. Not difficult to replace, just time and money.

    There are good ones out there cheaper than this will be. Then again there is nothing that needs to be done here that is above the skill of most good mechanics.

  3. Chuck F 55Chevy

    I have always loved the faired in the fender headlights of these, but never thought I could afford one until I ran across a garage find in my town even. The seller’s dad had it since around 1960, he remembered riding behind the seats as a youngster, and inheirited it when his father passed away. He was a mechanic, and wasn’t interested in working on it, so he put it on Craigslist for a great price. He said he had offered it to other local Brit enthusiasts and none were interested. It has been half restored, new wood, new paint, and new Moss leather interior kit included. Lucky me, I have 2 55 Chevies, and a 55 MGTF!

  4. 71FXSuperGlide

    Well, on the plus side, the built-in flag holder on the ‘boot’ would come in handy for parades. :D

    These seem to bring some pretty decent $$ when restored, wonder what the reserve is?

    • Steve H.

      Oh, so that’s what that was!

      • 71FXSuperGlide

        Well, there should be a long-gone spare, but with the Brits, who knows? :D

    • ken TILLY

      @71FX. I don’t see a flag holder on the boot. I only see the spare wheel carrier and number plate holder.

  5. graham line

    Always thought the TF’s lines made it a good candidate for Airline Coupe treatment, if you could get the bhp up to an acceptable level. This one will need to be completely taken apart and reassembled.

  6. Christopher A. Junker

    Several years ago I found one in about the same condition. Two serious MG T series looked it over and said not only does it need everything, but there was much to be redone, especially with the body. All the bits and pieces were eventually sold for $16,000. Add the restoration cost on top and the buyer at that time had to be underwater. I’d rather have one of these in good condition than a Morgan.

    • ChuckF 55chevy

      Wow, $16k! That would definitely convince me to part with mine, where was this, the UK? I laughed at flag holder, I was thinking the reason it didn’t have a spare was the same as mine, the seller said his dad had lost a couple wheels from losing the knockoff cap, or whatever you call them, nut? A guy named Jamie was going to pick up a free wire wheel for me from a guy in Raleigh, ;) I think certain old cars are like precious metals, better than money in the bank, especially when I think of the 82 911SC I sold back in the late 90s for $8500. For 16k I would even throw in a British muscle bike, a 1970 3 spd Raleigh Chopper, you know you want it.

      • Peter

        Wow re R Chopper. Is that green original? I\thought they were only in vermillion red.
        I see the MG has a 30 year old chicken dinner in the battery holder awaiting the next buyer ( :
        ‘Knockoff hubs’ generally used, but ‘caps’ is correct as it was the cap that was lost.

  7. ccrvtt

    I’d love to have one of these. I talked to a few of the local MG cognoscenti and they seemed to think that they were available locally.

    So after perusing the internet and seeing the gamut of available cars I came to this conclusion: If I ever have the means to get one I’m going through the local club. It seems like the ‘net is a real crapshoot and you’re not likely to know much about what you’re getting. Even from such upright dealers as G—wing & BHCC …;)

    You’d even get a lot of reliable advice and probably welcome help from these guys. I can tell the depth of their passion since most of them are on second and third marriages – the cars obviously came first.

    Nice find, especially if you believe in the Resurrection.

  8. Doug

    One period correct upgrade for these and the TDs to consider if the engine is too far gone to save – A Volvo B18, with the 4 speed out of an 1800, which has a shift extender that moves the lever back to the proper place for the T series MG,
    makes a wonderful swap. Not much difference in weight, and a decent B18 should give north of 100 hp easily – they can be built to deliver over 150 hp reliably without going to a turbo, and they are almost bulletproof.

  9. Robert Thomas

    My cousin’s uncle parked his TF and Mercedes 300S Cabriolet in a garage and they sat for 25 years. Later, my cousin moved the cars upstate and Ilater had a chance to drive the TF after it was cleaned up. Fun!

  10. Maurader

    A wood frame in 1955? I wonder how far back this design date to? I remember looking under the dash of my ‘79 Silver Shadow II and was I surprised to see a partial wood framing!

    • ChuckF 55chevy

      Wood frames date back several hundred years to the first wagons LOL, the first cars had wood framed bodies. The actual frame of cars were metal, it’s the bodies that were metal nailed to wood frames, I think modern Morgans are still made this way. Chevy switched to metal in 1937, and Ford a few years earlier, I think the MGA was the first all metal? And Peter, the Raleigh is original green paint, I wanted a red 5 speed in 1970 but never got one, this was a $20 yard sale find.

  11. Maurader

    Thanks. Great info!

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