1953 MG TD Roadster
In the early 1950's MG decided to go after the American market and did so with full on assault of the MD TD. With its rag top, a more powerful engine, shorter in length, and sports car handling, one could drive like Sterling Moss, and not get a speeding ticket...now there is definitely something to be said for that!
For consignment a California car rust free, nicely redone, and an engine upgrade with a mere 400 consigner stated miles since then. Also, a 5-speed transmission for a lower gear ratio for touring. A Moss ring and pinion upgrade, and newer style air cleaners to allow more O2 to enter for fossil burning. Nicely presenting right out of the 1953 showroom…well, almost!
From the front dual flip up cowled hood, to the low doors, and hanging out there fenders and running boards, this car is all steel, all the way, and all painted red. Plenty of nicely preserved chrome peppers the car with bumpers, brite-work, and trimmings, looking mirror-like. Upfront the sexy chromed radiator surround with octagonal cap mirrors the MG badge below, and it is all very nice and shiny. Black vertical ribs make up the front, and this operation is flanked by round headlights, and fog lights attached to the bumper. Also topping the fender are bullet style bezel turn signal lights and a pair of round chromed mirrors. Moving back the long hood, which is all straight and true, we have the passenger compartment which all glass is surrounded by nice trimmings, and a black, tear free, wear free canvas convertible top covering the interior. In back a clear plastic window is there, and way back a chromed luggage rack, and spare tire are mounted above a rear gas tank covered in red. 15-inch gray steel wheels drilled with 1-inch holes all around are capped by MG badged shiny dog dishes.
A swing of the suicide door and stepping over the running board which attaches the front and rear fender, we note a black leather covered split seat solid backed tuck and rolled bench stretching from door to door. Doors are also covered in leather and have a pouch for storage. In the middle of the split seats is the hump with a handbrake and shift lever. To the dual eyebrow swooping walnut dash which has a central mounted chromed panel that houses the starter switch, a few warning lights and some knobs for various functions. To the left behind the banjo style steering wheel, which is pristine, we note the major instruments in the form of a speedo, chronograph clock, tachometer, and odometer. These are white faced gauges and have shiny chromed bezels adding a great contrast to the walnut veneer behind them. In front of the passenger seat is a glovebox, and below all the interior is nice black carpet. A red dash is behind the walnut on top and it has the rear-view mirror mounted to it. So bloody British I can barely stand it!
A lift of the cowls and we shake hands with a very clean red blocked silver valve cover topped 1250cc 4-cylinder. A new air cleaner setup has been added and this allows a free flow into the dual SU carbs. The engine is original and rebuilt, however the transmission is now a Ford Type 9, 5-speed manual with a great cruise gear. Nearly overdrive...
As the photos show, some minor surface rust on suspension parts, but overall very solid and no invasive rust for the frame, floorpans, rockers and body hangers. There has been some spray painting of these parts, and there may be some underlying surface rust, however it is unremarkable. Independent coil springs for the front suspension, and leaf springs for the rear are noted. Also, a shiny stainless exhaust system works its way rearward, passing 4-wheel drum brakes in its way to the back of the car.
It's British so the British car obsessed writer gets to drive by default, and it was truly exciting. A quick light of the 4 fires, and I was off to the test track. Here it handles nicely, had good acceleration for the 4 cylinders, and in 5th gear cruised at a low 1400 RPMs at speed. Brakes were good for non-powered drums, and all was in working condition control wise. A comfortable interior with a surprising amount of room for my torso which does not have washboard abs!
This is a really nice example, benefiting from spending most of its life in Cali and a recent engine rebuild, with some upgrades like the 5-speed transmission, new air cleaner system, and wonderful interior.