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CURRENT BID: £19,250
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1954 MG TF

Guide Price: £17,000 - £23,000


∙Incredibly detailed history
∙Previously restored
∙Wonderful condition throughout

The Background

The MG T-Type, which was introduced in 1936 was the car that put MG on the map. The company’s founder Cecil Kimber, had found growing his then unique brand of sports cars difficult. William Morris, of the Morris Garages, saw little appeal in anything sporty. However, these ‘Kimber Specials’ as they were first known were in fact brilliant variants of Morris’ staid and somewhat uninspiring vehicles. 

Despite a distinct lack of positivity from Morris himself, the cars evolved to become MGs (for Morris Garages) and while they initially struggled in the UK, they were soon adopted en masse by the Americans. They loved the look, the drive and the charm of these little British cars. MG was overwhelmed by the demand from the USA, but this was no bad thing. The car’s popularity was eked out as much as possible. The TA of ‘36 evolved into the TF of ‘54, which would be replaced by the MGA. What a production run!

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The History

Despite the T-Type’s American popularity, the car we have here - a 1954 TF - has never turned a wheel outside of UK soil as a resident. This car was built here, and has lived here all its life. Over the last sixty-seven years it has had just four owners, it has been restored once and it has an incredible history file to back it all up. Today, it presents as a wonderful little classic that has iconic status among its peers. This was the car that made MG what it was. It’s worth owning just so you can say you have a bit of important automotive history in your garage. 

In generally lovely condition throughout, this little MG TF is still earning its keep. It has an MOT, it runs like a champ and it’s in regular use. Is it a concours show queen? No, not at all. But it is a show-worth car that you can drive there and back without worry. It’s a true classic, but one that has been maintained and cared for in a manner to best suit use, not a Brian James trailer. It wants to be driven, and it wants to be enjoyed.

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The Paperwork

Plentiful, that’s the word to use here! There is a box file literally brimming with paperwork, including original documents from when the car was new like the bill of sale! There are invoices dating back to the 1970s, there are invoiced for every part, little or small, and there are photographs detailing the restoration the car went through in the early ‘90s. And it was a significant restoration at that. As the photos and invoices can attest, the car was stripped down, the body was reframed, the chassis was repaired and painted - seemingly very few bolts went unturned, if any. And it was evidently a good job, as the fruits of that restoration are what you see today. 

There is documentation from every event, show and rally it’s been to. There are even old club plaques in the box. There is a copy of a period correct ration book, and even the car’s original registration document is there. There are old tax discs, owner’s manuals and even an impressive collection of technical drawings detailing the construction of the car. This MG’s entire life is here on paper. You’ll spend a day sifting through it, and you’ll enjoy every moment of it, as it makes for fascinating reading.

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The Interior

Being a car of such diminutive stature, there isn’t a lot of interior on which to focus. Though of course, we mean this in the most affectionate way! There are two seats, in bright red, which are in excellent condition. There is a delightfully tactile back and polished metal steering wheel, there is a gear knob, a collection of centrally-mounted hexagon-shaped (because MG) dials and there is some carpet. That’s about your lot. All of it, though, is in wonderful condition. Though it would be remiss of us to not mention that if you’re 6ft 3in, it might be a squeeze. People were smaller in the ‘50s, it seems! 

The doors, which open outward from the A-pillar are in good condition, having been reframed as part of the restoration in the ‘90s. The door cards, while small, are in good order. The dash is bright, clear and everything functions as it should. The chrome screen surround is in great condition, with no severe pitting or damage to report. It also drops down when you really want the wind in your hair. Behind the passengers is a black-carpeted ‘deck for stowage of a few overnight bags. 

Finally, there is the roof. This is in wonderful condition, and is perfectly water tight. The mechanism is in good order, as are all the fasteners and clips. There is a full set of door uppers, which slide onto the doors to fully close the cabin. Or you can, as per the pictures, run without them and just leave the roof up. There is also a cabin cover included, which covers the passenger seat, and leaves an opening for the driver. It can then be fastened up to keep the cockpit dry. And finally, there is a chrome luggage rack included, which fits to the rear of the MG over the spare wheel, and gives a platform for the included wicker basket to sit. Very charming.

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The Exterior 

As you can see from the pictures, this little MG TF presents very well indeed. The wheels are all in good order, with healthy tyres and original MG hubcaps still in place. The chrome is all in pretty good condition - there is the occasional bit of pitting, but nothing to worry about. Remember, this car was restored some thirty years ago, and it has been used on the regular since then. It has a bit of age to it, but in a nice way. 

The windscreen, as we mentioned earlier, is in good order. The roof too. As for the body itself, the red paint still holds a deep, glossy shine, and it is free from any significant issue or imperfections. There is a bit of a chip/imperfection on the leading edge of the winged bonnet, but that’s all we could see. There are small imperfections here and there, but let us not forget this MG TF has 89,000 miles on the clock. It’s been used and enjoyed on the regular. 

All the lights are present, correct and functional. There are of course, no indicators, as the red rear lights simply flash instead. The headlights are bright and free of any cracks or damage, too. 

Looking underneath the car, everything looks good. No serious corrosion to be bothered by, all the suspension looks good, the floors and chassis too. It’s clear that the restoration, although now some time ago, was done to a very, very good standard. The inner wings are clean and clear, there is nothing of concern to be seen in the floors, around the back axles or by any of the body mountings. It is an exceptionally solid little car - you can easily see why its current MOT was passed without a single advisory.

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The Mechanics

The four-cylinder 1,250cc XPAG engine was a much improved unit. Compression was raised to 8.1:1, larger valves were fitted with stiffer springs, and larger carbs were fitted, too. This meant the TF had a giddy 57.5bhp at its disposal. And given how well this particular example drives, it seems most of those horses are still in the stable. The engine barks into life without hesitation, it revs keenly and pulls the TF along without complaint, rattles or any untoward smoke or smells. No overly present whiff of fuel or anything. It’s in excellent health. 

The transmission is a four-speed manual with crash first and reverse. The bearings in the ‘box have been replaced recently, and so the change is still bedding in. However, there is still a nice, positive action to be had. It’s only got a short throw, and the gears are all easily selected. 

The brakes are in good condition, though given the featherweight nature of the car, they needn’t work hard. That said, the rear shoes might need renewing soon, but the seller has some to include in the sale. The suspension is firm but compliant, and there are no clunks or rattles to be heard when driving. The steering is sharp and laden with feedback for the driver. Finally, the differential appears in good health with no leaks nor any whines or clunks. It’s ready to go wherever you want to take it.

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The Appeal 

When presented with a car from the 1950s, it’s all too common to in turn be presented with a car too polished, to pampered if you will, to really enjoy driving. Many seem delicate and fragile. Better suited to the endless attentions of polish and microfibre cloths. This 1954 MG TF isn’t that, though. Those who have owned it over the years have, of course, kept it in outstanding condition, but they have also continued to use it. This is a car that needs to be driven, it needs to be enjoyed. It would be far more detrimental to it to keep it inside and only use it twice a year. Instead, this MG TF tugs and teases you into driving it. It’s a cheeky terrier of a little car that wants to have fun. And you will. It’s a gorgeous little thing that will bring the lucky new owner many, many miles of happy driving. 

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1954
  • Make MG
  • Model TF
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 89,930 Miles
  • Engine size 1250
  • Location Devon
Bidding history
26 bids
  • fi•••• £19,250 23/02/21
  • tr•••• £19,000 23/02/21
  • fi•••• £18,750 23/02/21
  • tr•••• £18,500 23/02/21
  • fi•••• £18,250 23/02/21
  • tr•••• £18,000 23/02/21
  • fi•••• £17,750 23/02/21
  • tr•••• £17,500 23/02/21
  • fi•••• £17,250 23/02/21
  • Ja•••• £17,000 23/02/21

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