Live Auctions

Volvo Power: 1951 MG TD


David writes: Hi guys, I know you guys will love this ’51 MG! It is in fantastic condition and only needs a little bit of work to make it a driver. Is it priced right at $13K?

I have to admit, this TD looks nice; I like the two-tone paint, it’s unusual, and the car really looks like it’s been taken care of cosmetically. It needs clutch and brake hydraulics, certainly not unusual for a British car that’s been put up for a while. It’s located in Tulare, California and is being shown this weekend, so hurry if you are interested! Contact information is here in the craigslist ad. But there’s  a catch (there always is, isn’t there!). Someone has “civilized” this MG by installing a Volvo engine and transmission and an MGB rear end. I’ve heard of this swap being done quite a bit in the 60’s and 70’s in order to make T-series cars more driveable. So if this works for you, I think it might be a good deal. The car will never be valued like an original car, but if you want to drive it a lot, this could be the way to go. If any of you go to see it, let us know what you think.


  1. Kevin Harper

    Double post sorry

  2. Kevin Harper

    Probably not a bad switch if you want a real driver which can keep up with modern traffic and the engine still look vintage.
    it would be nice to see a picture of the installation, and I don’t have a clue about the asking price but it seems within reason if the rest of the car is solid. Need to really check the wood in the door frames to make sure they are good, and if the gas tank needs to be boiled out you have to repaint it.
    So there are a few items to check, among many, before laying down the cash

  3. Doug M. (West) Member

    I like early MG’s, but there is something about this one that doesn’t feel right to me? Not sure if it’s the brightness of the Green? Or maybe I have gotten used to the cool used look of the most recent posts that have scratches and warn paint? This just looks too shiny?? …But it does look very tidy!

  4. Doug M. (West) Member

    I’ve found it!!….. After re-visiting the picture, I think the green wheels are spoiling it for me! Easy fix!! I personally have never seen a car with the body color carried over onto the wheels that I thought did it justice. I think silver or black wheels would do it for me. :)

    • RichC

      That and the beauty rings. Ugh!

  5. David Frank david Member

    This is an interesting car with some interesting possibilities, but it’s in no way a barn find. There are lots of sites out there which focus on things like this. With all the intteresting old cars out there, it seems you’ve really lost your focus lately. What I thought this site was all about was old cars left behind and the possibilities of resurrecting them.

  6. Howard A Member

    I never heard of the Volvo/MG T series engine swap, but if it’s a ’63 Volvo, it probably is the B-18. I’d think a MGB engine would be the logical swap and keep it all MG.
    To david (above): Hi, I think the term “Barn Finds” may be a little misleading, as I’ve come to expect all kinds of AFFORDABLE vehicles here, and not just the ones covered in dust ( from actual barns) If I remember correctly, this was discussed a while back, whether we wanted more cars or just more in depth barn finds, and it seemed most folks wanted more cars. Besides, let’s face it, there are only so many actual barn finds, and so many more “garage”, “field” or ” back yard” finds. Besides, those “other” sites that feature these cars, are more for people with too much money, and this is more the “working person’s” classic vehicle site. Keep up the great work, BFs.

  7. jim s

    would need to know if any cutting or welding was done on body or frame and if the seller is including the stock parts. a very good PI of the changes would be needed also.

  8. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    From what I’ve read, the Volvo swap was the easiest to do without cutting the frame somehow, later MG engines take frame mods to fit, so it would probably be easy to turn back original.

  9. DRV

    Different because it is a few inches high and the green is John Deere, not BRG.
    The B18 is perfect for these for double the power and it leaves the handling the same without being a pain in traffic.

  10. Mark E

    Hm, 50s roadster with a Volvo engine? It reminds me of a Singer roadster I once saw. Was it on here? ^_^

  11. john S

    The Sixties Volvo gearbox is one of the sweetest things. To have it close to hand like you would in a TD – heaven on a stick.

  12. jesus bortoni

    A few issues to my way of thinking. First of all the paint IS closer to JDeere than BRG.
    Secondly, even though the drivability has been improved by the mechanical changes, ie, motor, transmission and rear end, this is a modified and not a restoration. IF no cutting has been done, you’ll spend several thousand dollars in outting it back as it should be. By the time you finish the paint job you’ll have pushed way past $20K and there are a lot of T series MGs available that are correct for that kind of money.
    Then, as Kevin Harper says, the wood has to be perfect. And of course, without interior shots we’re all guessing.
    I owned an MGTD back in the sixties and I remember some of the issues. Even back then, I thought about a Volvo swap.

  13. Dedicated reader

    I agree with Howard A. This has been hashed out in the past. It looked to me like more rather than strictly “Barn Finds” was the consensus. Again to Howard A’s point, there only so many “Barn Finds” out there. Please keep up the awesome job that you guys are doing! I am an everyday reader, after my online newspapers, you guys are next on deck.
    As for the MGB, I think that it looks great! I agree about the rims needing an opposing color. I also think that while devaluing the car $$$ wise it is raising the value usability wise! I would rather have something I can drive worry free than something that is “numbers matching” but questionable in dependability department! IMHO.

  14. Tom Henderson

    Original MGs were horribly un-dependable, so it is probably a good switch, but the resale value is gone and therefore the price is about triple what I would offer.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.


WANTED 1973-1974 Pontiac Grand AM Looking for a solid car. Contact

WANTED 1959 Cadillac Seeking convertible Rust free Contact

WANTED 1970-1972 Honda N600 or Z600 Rough cars that need restoring or for parts Contact

Submit Your Want Ad