Essential Postwar British Icon: Highly Original 1953 MG TD Roadster

  • December 15, 2020
Why We Like It

Few, if any sports cars have enjoyed the lasting popularity of MG’s iconic and influential T-Series roadsters, beginning with the TA in 1936. These light, attractive, and incredibly fun-to-drive cars opened a new world of affordable motoring enjoyment, particularly for many former American GIs who first encountered them overseas during WWII. They also gave many of the top racing drivers of the postwar era their first taste of competition success, including Carroll Shelby, who won his first race piloting an MG TC against far more powerful opposition at Norman, Oklahoma during May 1952. The improved and updated TD appeared in 1949 specifically with the crucial and lucrative U.S. export market in mind, with independent front suspension, a stiffer chassis, and available left-hand drive. The engine and gearbox of the prior TC were retained, as well as its classic body, slightly widened and easily identified by the new front and rear bumpers and bucket-type seats. Interestingly, the TD’s independent front suspension design was even still utilized for the eventual successor to the celebrated T-Series, the envelope-bodied MGA, which entered production for 1955.

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The TD is an essential postwar sports car, and this California-based example is a truly wonderful find that does not seem to have needed or endured a restoration. The seller states it’s in great, rust-free condition, and benefits from professional maintenance and comes with all records. There’s even a photo of the car from a birthday party in 1958, and the seller claims it’s still wearing that same factory coat 62-years later, although it’s unclear if or why it would’ve been repainted in the five years since it was new. In any case, it looks great and has obviously been the seller’s pride and joy, but the best part is the price…essential-postwar-british-icon-highly-original-1953-mg-td-roadster00404 aDtNnYATT2s 08g0cn 1200x900

essential-postwar-british-icon-highly-original-1953-mg-td-roadster00E0E 5ScvuljYxzN 0cU08C 1200x900A wonderful opportunity with high originality and 60-plus years of sole ownership, this 1953 MG TD comes to market with California registration and a clean title. We absolutely LOVE this one! It’s truly refreshing to see a well-loved, highly original car like this and one that is extremely affordable and priced to sell quickly. Restored cars seem to be offered around the $20k-$25k mark at auction, but what we really love about this TD is the very fact that it has not been restored, and we’d really want to experience it to learn what a properly maintained and never messed with example should feel like. According to Hagerty’s current price guide, a TD should attract values starting with $8k for a rough #4 driver to $14,600 for a good #3 car, $22,700 for an excellent #2, all the way up to $36k for an as-new concours-quality #1. This highly original and nicely maintained specimen is a true outlier with its modest asking price, while standing tall as a quality, well-maintained example to enjoy with pride.

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People reacted to this car
This is a great time to buy a T-Series car, especially a TD. Prices have been down for the last couple of years, but I expect them to start increasing again soon. This car looks great, although I'd like to see more and better pictures. That being said, based on what I can see I think it's a fantastic deal and I'm tempted to pick this one up myself. Just one little correction though: while the TC and TD do share the same XPAG engine, the gearbox is quite different.
3 months