1953 MG TD - $24,900
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  • Overview & History
  • Specifications
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The look is instantly recognizable, and even people who don’t know much about cars seem to know that this is an MG and that an MG is special.

The 1950 TD was the first major update of the beloved English 2-seater from Morris Garages since before the war, and it was long overdue. GIs returning from WWII had made the MG TC a household name and 2-seat British sports cars were now a fact of life on American highways. Longer, lower, wider, more powerful, and with improved steering and brakes, the TD was everything enthusiasts loved about MG sports cars only more of it. Today they remain equally passionate about these lovely little machines, which skillfully combine Old World craftsmanship and entertaining road manners to create something that just can’t be found anywhere else. If you like the elemental feel of a purpose-built machine going about its business, an MG might be just what you need.

This appealing MG TD is a late production TD, one of only 5021 built for the US—suddenly MG’s biggest market. Outside, the look is instantly recognizable, and even people who don’t know much about cars seem to know that this is an MG and that an MG is special. The handsome Ivory Yellow paint certainly helps, giving it a bright, cheerful look that stands out among all the British Racing Green and bright red TDs at most shows. This is an older restoration that’s showing some light age, but it hasn’t been driven much so it remains very attractive with very few demerits. It’s difficult to resist running your fingertips down the long hood and while the TD was a notable update over the TC, it still has that old-fashioned MG look with separate headlights, an upright grille, and those long, flowing fenders that make it one of the best-looking small cars ever made. This particular car is nicely dressed with wind wings, accessory Lucas driving lights, and a chrome trunk rack, which is a wonderfully old-fashioned touch. The chrome was all restored with the rest of the car and remains in very condition. It was not restored to be a trailer queen, so there are a few signs of use, but it sure it a pretty little car that will always draw admiring stares.

The interior is trimmed in green leather making for a fantastic combination that really pops. Interestingly, MG used individual lower seat cushions but one single backrest, which is adjustable for angle, so even taller drivers can get comfortable. There’s also a steering column that’s adjustable for reach, which is a nice feature on an early car like this. The hides are supple and smooth with only moderate signs of use on the driver’s cushion, and the door panels are beautifully fitted with built-in map pockets. The only real demerit is that the plastic steering wheel is delaminating, but reproductions are available and not terribly expensive. The switches are familiar, from the pull-out starter knob, to the rotating headlight switch with the ignition in the center, to the big horn button right on the dash. For weather protection, this car has a neatly fitted tan canvas convertible top that folds and stows behind the seat, as well as a full set of matching side curtains and a full tonneau. There is no trunk, but the area behind the seat offers some extra space and includes a narrow compartment for storing the side curtans.

Mechanically, the TD wasn’t all that different from the TC, including the gutsy XPAG 1250cc inline-four cylinder engine. The numbers say it only makes about 55 horsepower, but in such a lightweight package it’s plenty spirited and makes wonderful vintage sports car sounds. Fed by a pair of side-draft carburetors breathing through a single AC oil bath air cleaner on an aluminum housing, it’s quite correctly finished and nicely detailed, from the MG Maroon paint on the block itself to the soft gray finish on the tinwork. During the restoration, it was fully rebuilt to factory specs and it runs quite well, starting easily and running down the road with a gutsy sound that is a big part of the MG experience. Details like the wiring harness, hoses and clamps, generator, and fasteners are all correct, and while it shows a few minor signs of use the quality of the restoration work is evident throughout. Again, this one was built to drive, so it’s not perfect, but you’ll never hesitate to open the hood at shows and show it off a little bit.

The 4-speed manual gearbox is probably the one thing that makes people fall in love with MGs. With light throws, just the right gear ratios, and a wonderfully precise feel, you’ll find yourself shifting just for the sheer joy of it. The engine is torquey enough to pull 4th gear even from low speeds, but the fun is in running it through the gears with enthusiasm, letting the engine sing its surprisingly baritone song through the single tailpipe out back. It’s not fast, not by today’s standards, but the fun is in driving it at 8/10ths and still running at a moderate pace without endangering the countryside. You feel like you’re exercising the car and having a ball doing it. The suspension was upgraded on the TD and the rack-and-pinion steering is a wonderful addition, giving improved precision with less effort. There’s a correct reproduction exhaust system, the wood floors are obviously not rotten, and the structural pieces are in excellent condition throughout. Manual drum brakes are plenty powerful and with the light curb weight, even those 165/50/15 radials on factory steel wheels are more comfortable and handle far better than the original bias-plys.

This is an excellent car for the novice or experienced hobbyist and the cheerful look will win it fans everywhere you go. These cars are demonically expensive to restore properly, so it always makes sense to buy one you can use right away, and we can’t find many things to fault here. Call today!

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any car in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1953 MG TD
Price: $24,900
Stock Number: 117056
Mileage: 2640
VIN: TD23767
Engine: 1250 cc inline-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 5.125
Wheelbase: 94 inches
Wheels: 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 165/80/15 blackwall radials
Exterior Color: Yellow
Interior Color: Green leather
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