V8 Custom! 1953 MG Hot Rod

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Re-powering cars with bigger engines dates to the early days of motoring, and this V8-powered 1953 MG certainly carries on that hot rod tradition. Appearing almost completely stock, the diminutive British sports car packs a stroked Chevy small block under its bonnet, along with other upgrades to match. The apparently well-engineered and executed result has logged 500 miles in its current form, and comes to market here on Craigslist with a $29,500 asking price, a fraction of the cost to build, according to the seller. Thanks to reader T.J. for spotting this hopped-up MG.

Finned Corvette-style valve covers give a shiny hint of glorious power. Sadly there’s no good picture of the upgraded powerplant, but the listing describes a 383 cid (6.3L) V8 with three Demon two-barrel carburetors. The car comes with engine side panels for greater stealth.

Fatter tires out back just fit under the rear fenders. Compliment the builder for nailing the rolling gear selection. Two foundational elements, stance and the wheel and tire combination, form the visual foundation that makes or breaks a custom. Fail in either of those areas and no amount of amazing engineering will make your ride look cool. Four-wheel disc brakes promise to haul the high-powered custom down from speed with alacrity.

This polished hardwood slab could be from 1953 or even 1903. Vintage instruments and a small shifter give no hint at the V8 and three-speed automatic transmission with overdrive beneath. The TH350 automatic kills the fun for sports-car fans, but it’s a hot-rod staple that buyers under 30 won’t give a second thought, and the Gear Vendors overdrive drops the revs for highway cruising. The leather interior would dazzle in any color but black, but that’s a small nit to pick on this apparently well-done build. How would you describe this just-finished custom in three words or less?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. CadmanlsMember

    I’ll bet this little car will absolutely get it! Most likely on the verge of scary. That’s a tourqe making beast of a small block and the build looks amazing in the photos. A++

    Like 10
    • bobhess bobhessMember

      Agree well done. Just hope the frame was beefed up to take the torque. Nice to see good workmanship on this kind of a build.

      Like 12
      • Vince H

        Even if the frame is beefed up it is still a lot of engine for the car.

        Like 3
  2. Big C

    This car has to get the tweed cap crowd all riled up. Their three words? “How Dare They!”

    Like 9
  3. OldGTRacer

    In the not so distant past the TD was subject to a number of interesting engine swaps…originally a number were raced with flathead Fords…hellacious straight line scoot, but almost impossible to slow down and thus horrible in the twisties and turns. Short wheelbase and big power don’t co-exist well.
    Later, a number of people replaced the tractor motor in the TD with Volvo 4 bangers and this was a much happier race car with improved power and not as much loss of handling.
    The dash on this car is as described…a slab of wood with some poly thrown on it. The original dash/instruments were much more attractive. Despite the comments about well chosen running gear, those huge oversized tires in the rear destroy any sleeper looks the rest of the car might have had.
    Vince H has it right…the TD frame, though stout, is no match for a big V8. When pressed, this thing will twist more than a hula dancer.

    Like 7
  4. Tom Lange

    The TD never had a “tractor motor.”

    Like 3
    • RallyeMember

      Some of the Volvo motors were tractor motors IN tractors.

      Like 1
  5. Ynse Kwast

    Pitty for such a lovely oldtimer. And… impossible to get it registered in Europe as a car with heritage value , and importduty and the normal 21% VAT makes it almost as expensive as an Porsche. By the way did the builder consider the danger of the steering.
    Column In case of an exident it works as a skewer.

    Like 0
  6. Mike

    I’m liking this a lot. The only change would be the rather blank canvas dash. Stick a bunch of real vintage instruments in there and a glove box and call it done.

    Like 6
  7. Morley BrownMember

    Take any car that is questionable in power and performance and you just make it better. That is called a Hot Rod. For an enthusiast this is the only way. Purist be damn.

    Like 8
  8. Rw

    Read the Craigslist ad states frame has been addressed.

    Like 3
  9. George Birth

    What a beauty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like 5
  10. RMac

    Love the color and stance on this

    Like 3
  11. Rw

    Craigslist ad states frame has been addressed.

    Like 0
  12. Lowell Peterson

    My 3? Hold yer’ hat!

    Like 1
  13. DelBoy

    Sign me UP!

    Like 0
  14. Tom

    just three words?? “I WANT IT”

    Like 3
  15. Beignet atthe beach

    This is a DEAL! I had a 62 AH 3000 with a HiPo 289 mated to an Jag XK140 gearbox. Still had the electric overdrive. It is the only car I wish I had never sold, but the need for a new refrigerator came 1st for us, so the Healy went to someone that had the $$ but not the brains to maintain it. The TD brings back another memory of a neighbors back yard/forest in Rockland County NY, where her sons had left the remains of their earlier “projects” were distributed around the landscape. I was asked to “clean things up” so the 47 Lincoln Zephyr got the same treatment as the MG TD (with the 60 HP Ford Flathead… we took them apart and sold the pieces. The TD V8 was just crazy cool, (and was the thing that inspired me to acquire he AH 2 years later.) Sooo happy to see this awesome vehicle!

    Like 2
  16. Smokey Banditt

    A coffin on wheels for any but the MOST experienced driver. Notice the short shift stick, the better to be poked with in the event of a crash.

    Like 0
  17. chrlsful

    ashame ‘who it really was’ is mostly gone. No matter, there R real ones around to see. This one is sorely dammaged but in the nicest way. Wonder the yr of engine and which trucks rear end?

    Like 0
  18. Gregg

    My three words?…. “It’s a bargain!”

    Like 1
  19. Haynes

    Awesome car…to break your neck in.

    Like 0

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