The MG TD Series from 1949 to 1953 were a more modern version of the TC models. The 1952 MG TD Roadster featured in this article is a beautiful representation of the wider and lower design. They were also considered to have better handling than the TC”s and a major selling point for this automobile was that people liked the way it looked. Add to that the fact that most buyers liked the way they looked driving it.
The TD’s outsold their predecessor TC’s by about three to one. It’s estimated that 29,664 MG TD models were sold. More than three-quarters of these were shipped to the U.S.
For U.S. imports these cars of course were built with left hand steering and they sold very well. In addition, the they were raced fairly regular in the U.S. although the car’s aerodynamics were not the best for racing.
The MG T Models
The first of the MG T automobiles appeared in 1936 when the TA model replaced the PB model. The TA model was both wider and with a longer wheelbase than the PB. Similar to the PB’s it replaced, the MG TA was a two seater with a steel body on an ash frame. In 1939 MG unveiled the TB Midget which was followed immediately after the war in 1945 with the TC. The MG TC was very similar to the prewar TB which was normal since almost all immediate postwar automobiles were basically 1941 and 1942 models rehashed slightly. Some will say that it was the MG TC model that did the most to get Americans interested in British sportscars. The MG TD introduced in 1949 was at the time that most automakers were unveiling their true new postwar models.
The MG TD Design
The MG TD was said to have been designed with the American sporstcar buyer in mind. Design credit for the MG TD models goes to Syd Enever and Alec Hounslow. The story here is that both of these designers built the mock up for the TD Series in just two weeks. They cut up an MG YA chassis and set a TC body on it. By doing this the TD was able to keep the basic MG appearance but technical improvements and some dimension changes were worked in to the mock up. Part of the appearance change from the TC models were smoother more modern lines.
The MG TD kept the same engine and transmission as the TC and a good amount of the TC body with the exception of the widening as mentioned above. Also added on the MG TD’s were larger front and back bumpers for the U.S.
The MG TD featured a stiffer welded chassis that was taken from the MG Type Y saloon with box-section side rails, a fully independent front suspension and precise rack-and-pinion steering.
The MG TD such as the 1952 MG featured here is an “open car“. Driving your MG TC or TD in inclement weather conditions could be daunting. Some owners wouldn’t take them out if a chance of rain was 30 percent or greater. A soft top did fit over a metal frame along with snapped in place curtains. These curtains were in place of windows. It’s been said that if you’re driving your TC or TD and it rains you have to be able to act fast.
The MG TD Mark II
In 1952 there was also a MG TD Mark II model available that offered a higher compression engine with two fuel pumps delivering 60 horsepower (some sources report 57 HP), slightly more than the standard model. The MG Mark II was in response to British competition (mainly the Triumph TR-2 with it’s 105 MPH top speed) that was offering higher performance engines. Top speed for the MG Mark II models was claimed to be 83 MPH. The MG Mark II was marketed as the sportscar for the buyer that wants just a little bit extra.
1952 MG TD Specifications
The 1952 MG TD was considered state of the art for it’s period although the engine wasn’t high horsepower. . The car was built with a 1.3 L inline four cylinder engine delivering 54 horsepower but with the car’s light weight this was considered enough to offer a lot of zip. Top speed was claimed to be around 70 MPH +.
Transmission on the 1952 MG TD was the normal four speed manual gear box.
Front suspension was coil and wishbone independent with rear suspension comprising semi-elliptic leaf springs with a sold axle.
Brakes on the 1952 MG TD were four wheel hydraulic drum.
Wheelbase came in at 94.0 inches and the overall length was 145.0 inches. Width was 58.625 inches.
The MG TD used 15 inch tires which was a result of the lower stance. This was in place of the former 19 inch tires.
New car price for the 1952 MG TD was about $2,000.
See the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…
A Service Manual for the MG Series TD is a 1952 publication that was published by Scientific Publishing Company Rockdale Australia. It will occasionally be seen for sale on the internet.
MG TD Collector Cars
Today there are replica kits available for the MG TD built on a VW frame. You’ll find several of these on the market today at a variety of prices, as of this writing many seem to be in the $10,000 to $14,000 range with some depending on the kit quality up into the high teens. The MG TD’s can also be reasonable cars for restoration with relatively low asking prices for non restored models. Parts are fairly easy to locate among several suppliers.
A restored original 1952 MG TD might have a price tag in the low $30,000 to $40,000 range.
(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)