Awfully Inexpensive? 1952 MG TD for $2,450

For a buy it now price of only $2,450, you won’t find many other rust free body MGTDs around. The red primer has been sprayed over what was left of the original white paint, and you can see there isn’t any real accident damage. So as a confirmed British car lover that doesn’t currently own a T-series MG, why am I not pulling the trigger (apart from the 2,960 odd miles I’m away from where it’s located in Caspar, California)? First, take a look at the listing here on eBay. Then keep looking below.

While the gaping hole where there should be a dashboard is not a plus, the even stance of the car and nice looking body panels certainly are. So are the two chrome headlights, the ones that were about to go out of production so that both MG and Morgan had to figure out how to blend headlights into their fenders.

Even that rakish fold down windshield frame is in place. The reason the body is so nice is revealed by the seller’s statement that they have owned the car and have planned to restore it for close to 25 years. The previous owner to them had the car in New Mexico, and it’s believed the car spent it’s whole time prior the the current ownership in that state.

When it comes to the interior–let’s just say it’s a blank canvas. Maybe more than blank. I hope the wooden framework for the body is solid, but I have my doubts. And as we have discussed before in comments on T-Series posts, replacing the woodwork is a challenge. Not an impossible one by any means, but not terribly easy either. You’ll also notice, I’m sure, that there’s a gaping hole where the engine and transmission used to be. No, they are not included.

I’m about to commit heresy, so if you are an MG purist, don’t read further, it may upset your stomach. I’d install an MGB drive train in this car. They are readily available, look the part and offer a substantial power increase. This wouldn’t be the car to start with if you wanted a show TD anyway; why not have some fun. I’ve seen other T-Series cars with this modification and the owners all seem happy. But that’s me, and I’m not ready to take on another project. What do you think?

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  1. BradL

    Rust would be the least of my worries. How’s the wood underneath? It appears to be pretty bad.

  2. Coventrycat

    A MGB engine would be appropriate and right for this. Anything else would relegate it to the same level as kit cars trying to look like TD’s.

    • Bill

      I’d take it further into the realms or heresy.. Late MGB dual carb, significantly “hotted up” with a Morris Marina automatic transmission.. it would see you through the “golden years” when shifting becomes more chore than joy. I’d do this.. boy would I ever. it’s a dream car. (for me)

  3. racer99

    Some interesting cars in the background of the pictures as well.

  4. Chris A.

    Devin Body?

  5. glen

    Could that be the front wheel of a Norton?

    • Tony S


  6. johnj

    Buick or Rover 3.5 and a t-5 5 speed, everything else stock….

  7. Steve

    A common engine change in the days when the T-series where still being produced was a Volvo engine, believe it or not.

  8. Kurt

    I have a Volvo B 1800 engine with tranny, that would fit right in and this engine should have plenty of power.
    To bad I’m too old to take this project on.
    Love this car!

  9. sunbeamdon

    Me thinks the tin worm, carpenter ants and termites got to this one!

    Repowering with the MGB makes sense, but the 3.5 5sp combo would make it a great runner. These thing ride worse than a Mack Truck. Probably have to trade in some kidneys after the first 2,000 (s)miles

    BOL to the buyer

  10. charlie Member

    In the winter of 1962 my roommates, at an Ivy League school, rebuilt the transmission of one of these, in our dorm living room. We jacked the car, in the snow, removed the transmission, two of us carried it to the dorm, and we put down something reasonably oil proof on the rug. We washed the parts outside in gasoline (which we probably dumped on the ground – long before EPA) figured out which parts were not functioning, got new parts from Inskip on Long Island, and a couple of weeks later, put it back together, and, it all worked again. 4th roommate was totally disgusted by it all, would not bring his higher class friends to the room, and found a way to move out.

  11. Doug Towsley

    Different horses for courses is accurate here as there is an actual 4 legged horse wandering around when the pictures were taken. (I used to do the same thing with my cows, close the gate to the road and let them mow the grass in the yard for me).
    The bike in the background is a Triumph T25 250cc unit single of 1969 vintage (Unless its a Bitsa) Its the wrong color though but these are really fun little bikes with vintage flare, easy to start, easy to ride and will actually get up to 70mph without too much effort, Would never ride on the freeway with one but a great back lane bike or take to events. Dont know the seller (Maybe I do?) but his seller ID is pretty special. It is BSABluestar which only a true British bike guy would know. I Have a 1932 BSA Bluestar and they are thin on the ground especially here in the US. It is the predecessor to the BSA Gold stars and very cool, and obscure Brit bike trivia. Based on the pictures this guy is VERY serious about British vehicles, (Good chance he will ALSO be at the All British Clubmans show in San Jose next Saturday. $1 will buy you a raffle ticket to win a British bike. This year they are honoring prewar British bikes. See:

  12. Glen

    This was my neighbours 51 td, he sold it in 2011(I think) for less than $10,000 Canadian. It was in excellent shape. I hope the picture comes through.

  13. icee3

    I have a 1949 TC and am interested in a TD but even tho this is in my back yard Im going to pass. First its right on the coast. I used to live in Eureka CA right up the road so to speak and anything unprotected steel turned to powder in a few years. The pictures are taken many years apart. Notice how the steering wheel is partially missing in the later pictures and the additional coats of primer seemingly slowing the progression of rot. I also noticed the wood is gone missing and rotted away in many places in the later picts. Not a project car but, the parts alone in the fenders make it worthwhile if in need for another car.

  14. Warren Johnson Member

    I had a 54 TD. Stuffed a 283 fuelie, 4 spd trans and rear axle out of a 58 vette. A little bit of a challenge keeping it on the road, but damn, I had fun with that car. Wish I still had it.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Warren, that’s what I’M talkin’ about!! You can’t have that kind of fun today.

  15. Allen Member

    Back in the 1950s-60s, a rather popular conversion for the TDs was the Ford 60º flathead V8. I remember seeing a number of them. Volvo conversions have also been quite common.

    But why? Correct XPAG engines are not THAT hard to find. I had a ’53 TD with the original XPAG, greatly aided with an MGA 4.3 differential. So equipped, the XPAG fairly hummed down the road at 3500 rpm and around 60 mph. Yes, a 97 hp MGB engine might be more exciting, but given all the costs of rebuilding one and adapting the car to fit, I see no reason to deny this car its XPAG personality.

    I am NOT a purist. But the essence of these cars lies in their XPAG engines. There are lots of MGBs left, and they are lovable as well as reliable and fun. Probably the greatest of the MGs, they are the only ones suitable for modern traffic. But if you want a TD, you want the whole TD experience. They DO NOT ride like a Mack truck! Properly restored and maintained, the suspension is quite civil. If original XPAGs were impossible to find, I’d agree with the MGB idea; but they are not! Please let this car be at least “more or less” original, so that it can be enjoyed for what it really is. The Austin-based B-series engines definitely deserved their place in the sun, but this car is practically the end-of-the-line for pre-BMC true MG engines. They can be rebuilt for comparable costs. Why replace them?

    • Doug Towsley

      Allen, Its top secret technology. There are only 5 guys in the US who can rebuild them. Nobody else is worthy. Plus, a proper rebuild of the motor alone would be $30,000.00 to $50,000 and takes 5 years as they have to be properly aged and seasoned and JUST the right temperature. *IF you measure in Celsius, the entire engine block will warp as well*, Not too mention If you mix CEI with BSF the prince of insuffecient light will take your first born. If you wash this car with anything other than the specc’ed soap from first year yews and only from the midlands and you have to properly consume Scrumpy while doing so otherwise ALL of your vehicles will spring oil leaks and smoke like Spring heeled Jack on a bender. (Taking the piss…… :)

      • glen

        I have no idea what you just said! ,but, it was very entertaining.

  16. Doug Towsley

    Well Glen, I have spent several decades Fettling Britt Iron and clearing swarf from the Sludge trap. Along with time in the UK,,, Hint, What does LIBYA stand for? (Lakenheath Is Bombing Your A$$) But just when I thought I had a handle on all of that,, I spend some time with mates from Scotland and then realize how little I know.
    Sleep tight. Heyford is on Alert!
    or,, here is the American version

    • glen

      Those movies were hilarious!

      • Doug Towsley

        Glen, Here is a better version, Compilation of “Jive”. Theres an interview with Barbara B (Who played June Cleaver) who was the “Translater” and thats pretty cool too about the filming.

        We used to joke about this in the Air Force.. When TDY with Ozzies we couldnt understand anything, The English insisted we speak “AMERICAN” And not English.
        And at one point I was the only white guy in a shop so we had a lot of race discussions. One of the supervisors refused to use his rank or name, Wanted to be called “Spice” because “The ladies LOVE flavor!”

        Heres a guide to Scottish Slang,, My friends son tried explaing some of it to me when they were here last year,, But almost nobody could understand the kid. His Dad was easier to understand.

  17. Edward Skakie

    Would someone please fix the security certificate issue? The security certificate popup appears, and then I have to keep clicking “proceed” at least 20 times, with lockups in betwen batches of clicks, before I can view the page, and this has been going on for weeks. Apparently the name on the certificate is either invalid, or does not match the name of the site. Reading this page took me 21 minutes, and adding to this comment took me another 38 clicks!

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      What page are you on Edward? Our SSL is current, but shouldn’t even be attached to these posts. We haven’t gotten any other complaints and I cant seem to replicated it either. Can you copy and paste the url here in the comments or email it to us? Thanks.

      • glen

        Actually, I’ve had the same problem.

      • Doug Towsley

        Jesse I continually have problems. I found its easier to compose in a email, Then cut and paste it here. Admittedly I use an older browser, (XP) on my desktop because thats what I like. Our laptop with Win 10 I hate with a passion.
        The pages freezes, locks up, or freaks out. The new freak outs are different. I have to keep resettting to allow text to type and then the page drops my cursor and scrolls way down. (Possessed?) I have to scroll up again, single click where i left off and try typing again. It can take forever to type a message here unless I cut and paste.
        The ads are a problem too which motivates me to subscribe soon (Im broke right now $$) to see if it improves the experience.
        But the ads run video or script and totally screws up my browser and sometimes (often) crashes my other windows I have open such as home email. While I like to comment on postings,, Its a real problem.
        I actually got this written out with out problems so every once in a while the page stabilizes. But just as often the whole thing locks up my computer and sometimes requires a complete reboot.
        Not fun!

  18. sunbeamdon

    Just to support Jesse – I’ve been a long-term user/abuser of Barn Finds with three different service providers and never had a loading problem.

  19. racer99

    I did have one occurrence a couple of weeks ago where that came up but it was gone the next day. It also came up on several other sites I was using so it may have been a Firefox issue. Haven’t seen it since.

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