While the MG TC is credited with introducing America to the English sports car, it would be the MG TD that would take America by storm. By 1949, it was evident that MG T series was ready for a makeover with the 1950s rapidly approaching. MG responded with the announcement of the MG TD late in 1949. While not appearing drastically different from its predecessor at first glance, underneath the MG TD was a completely different animal.
Sitting on new chassis, adapted from the MG Y series saloon, the chassis design comprised of box sections, with cross members welded to the side rails, making it significantly stronger than any design used before. In the rear, the chassis was further modified to flow over the rear axle, opposed to earlier models that went beneath. With this change, the rear springs benefited from more travel room, and provided a stiffer and sturdier ride. In the front of the car, an independent suspension was added, now using coil springs and wishbones providing consumers with the smoothest riding T series yet.
Aimed at the American market, the TD would be offered in a left hand drive version, making passing in traffic considerably easier, and much safer. Rack and pinion steering improved handling and driving accuracy, while the change from 19inch wheels to 15inch, with wheel width increased to 5.50 inches further aiding road holding, making the TD far superior to the TC.
Bodywork continued to incorporate both pre-war style and tradition, as the MG TD would continue to be constructed of wood frame with steel skin stretched over.
Powered by the venerable XPAG 1250cc inline four-cylinder engine used in the MG TC. Now rated at 54.5 at 5,200 RPM, and was so successful, it would continue to be used until late 1951. This example is powered by the proven 1250cc engine, and according to the MG T Register was built on May 31, of 1951 for the 1952 model year, being produced on the tail end of 7¼ clutch cars.
Making your way around this TD, the paint in average condition typical with an older restoration that has since been driven. Not without blemishes, one has to be close to notice any great imperfections. Right rear fender has light scraping from a brief scuff at one time. Grill has no dents, but minor scratching and combined with bright work is in good condition, which will be greatly enhanced with a polish. Painted 15 inch pressed steel wheels, distinctive to the TD are in fair condition, however upon close inspection have surface rust beginning in spots. Wheel covers have evidence of use with minor dings matching the patina of the faded MG logo. Chrome headlights appear to be original, with the “King of the Road” medallions found on 1951 and earlier cars. Denting of the headlamps is a common occurrence while closing the bonnet on T series cars, however these lights remain clean with only minor scratching. The foldable Auster windscreen is in nice condition, while wind wings have been added most likely later in life.
Upon entering the vehicle, the doors close very nicely as they should with no door sag, something wood framed sports cars typically suffer from. Black upholstery shows small signs of wear, only matching the exterior of the car, however could stand a carpet kit particularly on the shifter tunnel where rodent activity at one time is obvious. Optional and Smiths heater in mounted beneath the dashboard, while a period wooden steering wheel has replaced the original. The dashboard has been covered in black vinyl matching the seats, and interior carpets, and half tonneau covering the back compartment behind the seats.
Under the bonnet, the engine bay is in driver condition with clean silver valve cover sitting on top of a red painted engine block, and red starter, both showing signs of chipping, however purely cosmetic. Rubber fittings most likely could stand replacement before any great use, as this car would also gain a great deal from full mechanical tune up. It should be noted, the engine currently in the car, while being MG TD engine #8073, is not the original #8458 supplied from the factory and only noticeable with close inspection. Underneath the car is rust free, with chassis in excellent condition – we noted there is not pitting or other signs of corrosion in the past, which may be in part due to the living in Arizona as the registration tag notes.
This car does run and drive under it’s own power. This TD is an excellent candidate for a mechanical restoration, or perhaps good sorting and full service. MG T series cars are very desirable, as they combine pre-war style with post-war technology. The biggest undertaking on any T series car is by far the woodwork, this being a solid example adds to the desirability. This MG TD has excellent bones, and has great potential after a mechanical re-freshening to be enjoyed for years to come.