1953 MG TD
In 1949 a small group of MG leaders, headed by John Thornley, got together to try to create a car that was acceptable to the North American marketplace while at the same time would limit the investment of the Nuffield Organization. Clearly it would be impossible to completely create a new car, not only from a financial point but from a timing standpoint as well. What was needed was a little of the old, sprinkled with a little of the new. Another key factor was to borrow or incorporate features found in other Nuffield cars of the time that were more up to date than the MGTC.
It is always nice for this writer/photographer to get some British metal to our location. Sure, I have the best job, getting to take pictures, and describe these beautiful works of automotive art as they arrive here in the halls of Classic Auto Mall. My drive of this was very satisfying, as I remember clearly pulling up from my commute and the sun blinding me, backlighting this, one of my favorite British cars, the TD. Here was my experience.
Noticing it was topless, and yes there is a top, but it is very tight, but this can be replaced if you so desire. The structural frame is all there and in good condition. As I walked around taking it in, I can tell you it is not British Racing Green, rather something else. Paint is showing a nice patina, I'm certain is not original, but presents nicely. A close look at the chrome and badging, and it is not perfect, but noting not anything that needs immediate attention. Fenders, running boards steel wheels, attached exterior lighting, is all there and in good condition. After a few go arounds, I decided to hop in.
A swing of the low-slung door, and I was grabbed by, and surrounded in the beautifully crafted interior. From the stitched leather door panels in saddle color, with dual panels, to the comfortable buckets with a solid back, that always amaze me on how much smaller people were, or perceived to be in that era. Needless to say, the tuck and roll works for comfort. A central hump has a handbrake which greased my khakis, but what the heck, and a center mounted small gear shift lever. As I scanned the undulating wood dash that has lost its shine over time, I couldn't help but realizing how beautifully designed the gauges were with their stylish font, and exacting pointers all within this walnut environment. With the push of a button, they came alive. I grabbed on to the oversized banjo style MG emblazoned steering wheel, and let it warm up a bit, but soon I'm off!
As I put the 4-speed manual in first gear, and gently rolled into the accelerator, letting the clutch engage the transmission, I couldn't help but being distracted by the beautiful sound of the exhaust that these TD's produce from a mere 4-cylinder 1250CC twin S.U. carb fed engine. And it ran as smooth as silk!
Upon completing my “tool” which I did not want to stop, I decided to give it a lift and see what the underneath looks like. What to my wandering eyes did appear, but a nice clean, no rust, obviously restored at one time undercarriage, with absolutely nothing remarkable to speak badly of.
For months we could not contact the consigner, so this car sat in what we call our “hall of shame” but it could be call the “isle of misfit cars”, with any number of issues we need to resolve prior to putting them out there. This one just did not seem to have an owner. Visions of sugarplums danced in my head (well actually it was the TD), when I would secretly think maybe the owner will never contact us!! Meanwhile I've given it 3 more “tools”, so I'll leave the light on for the next potential owner. And you may ask why don't I just purchase it? Well as the saying goes, why buy the cow, when I can get an occasional drink of milk for free?!