In 1936 the MG Car Company released the MG TA Midget which is a two-seater sports car that marked a dramatic change in the design of MG’s sports cars. The MG T-Type is a body-on-frame design, which sports the famous radiator design, sweeping wings, running boards and a large bonnet for easy access, complete with a foldable hood and removable side curtains should it be raining.
The MG TA Midget was in production for just three years and just over 3,000 were made, when they released the MG TB. The newer model had a smaller XPAG engine, which was more modern. The 1250 cc straight four produced an impressive 45 bhp and was coupled to the new gearbox with revised ratios and improved synchromesh. Only 379 Type B’s were produced before the onset of WW2 and the MG factory emptied the buildings to switch to making aircraft components and modifying tanks.
When peacetime returned in 1945, MG turned their attention once again to building sports cars. With no manufacturers developing cars during the war they dusted off their pre-war models and continued as they were in 1939. Despite this, the now badged MG TC was offered and an open two-seater with the same 1250 cc engine, it came as a huge surprise to MG that the Midget was a success and demand for the car grew around the world. With a production run from 1945 to 1949, over 10,000 MG TC’s were built.
1949 saw MG leaders get together to create a car that was acceptable to the North American marketplace. With no time or budget to create a completely new car a few changes were made to the TC. A larger frame chassis which gave the body an extra five inches, the frame was altered to enable more travel in the rear springs giving better damping. This became the MG TD and they also dropped the classic wire wheels, which MG received criticism for throughout the run of the TD. The TD went through a few changes from 1949 to 1953 with a mark II model introduced.
The MG TF model was first introduced in 1953 and was a TD mark II with some cosmetic changes to the bodywork. It was obvious that MG had fitted the wire wheels back on and altered the body slightly to give them the TF, and this didn’t go down very well with buyers. So in 1954 MG fitted the TF with the 1466 cc engine badged as the MG TF 1500 like the one we have here. The power was pushed up to 63 bhp @ 5000 rpm, which was more in keeping with the performance of other sports cars.
Built in 1955, this MG TF 1500 is one of 3,400 produced. Out of that amount, just 244 were made for the UK market and we are pleased to say this is one of those. A UK car with the important matching numbers, which has had 6 previous keepers, with the seller having owned the car since 2007. Prior to the seller buying the MG it resided with a keeper in London who covered just 72 miles in 9 years.
In 1986 the owner at the time gave the MG some refurbishment. The car was stripped back completely with the engine and body removed from the frame. This was inspected for damage and repaired as necessary. The body was also stripped back to bare metal, given the same treatment and finished in the original gloss black colour. Some of the work carried out included, an engine, gearbox and suspension rebuild and a retrim in Conolly red leather by Naylors of Bradford.
2008 saw the MG TF treated to a full rewire which enabled the fitment of halogen headlights along with flashing indicators and a new dynamo. A spin on type oil filter replaced the original canister type and for peace of mind a stainless steel exhaust was also fitted.
In 2009 the seller had a small front end bump that was repaired along with some little bits of rust on the front wings also being treated. It was cut out and repaired, then repainted to match the rest. Also in 2009 there was some major engine work after an issue with a piston. The result was a full top end rebuild and valves suitable for unleaded petrol and four new pistons were fitted.
When the seller purchased the car in 2007 it had 30,926 miles on, as you will notice the car now shows 13,852. The reason behind this is that in 2010 the seller fitted a 4.3 ratio rear axle and so the speedometer needed to be recalibrated to give the correct reading. When this was done it was set back to 00000. The actual mileage at the time of the work was 33,740.
Just recently, on the 9th March 2021, the MG TF received new engine oil, axle oil, gearbox oil, brake fluid flush and new front pads making the MG ready for its new home. Owned since 2007, the seller has enjoyed miles of motoring and hours of maintaining the MG. As time creeps on the seller's wife suffers with back pain and he feels the need for something with a bit more comfort, and also not to be lying on the garage floor during the winter months, so has made the decision to part with the MG.
The V5 is present. The MG TF is MOT exempt but looking back on the MOT history shows it last had a certificate that expired on 16 June 2013, and you can also see on here the mileage before and from the speedometer recalibration after the install of the new axle.
The seller has some history prior to his ownership and he has kept invoices, receipts for work carried out, which is all documented in a folder.
The inside of the MG TF as already mentioned, was retrimmed in 1986 in the red Conolly leather. This is still in lovely condition. There is no real wear to the seats, just some creasing to the mattress thickness squab and backrest. The carpets are all matching and again don’t show any real signs of wear.
The door cards and dashboard are trimmed to match, and again, like the rest, have no real signs of wear. The MG three spoke steering wheel is the original item and is in the matching cream colour to the instrument surround. The speedometer is working correctly and shows a reading of 13,852. The seller did want to point out that the clock in the lower part of the speedometer does not work. The oil pressure, ammeter, water gauge and rev counter are all working correctly.
Behind the seats is the storage area for the wet weather side panels, spare inner tube and wooden tool to go over the knock offs. Also is a lift up panel for access to the differential fuel pump and handbrake cables. This is covered with a matching red leather cover that hides it all, keeping it neat and tidy.
Inside the engine bay is a full tool kit, the original jack, a starting handle and a hammer to remove the knock offs.
This 1955 MG TF is finished in glorious Gloss Black. Starting at the front, the chromework on the bumper and grille is all in a nice bright condition with no pitting or dents. The lights are in good condition, although one spot light has been replaced at some point and the lens is slightly different. There are a few age related stone chips to the front edges of the wings but only as you would expect. The bonnet opens up on both sides and is supported by the optional extra bonnet stays. The windscreen does have a nail sized chip on the nearside edge, but it does not affect the vision in any way.
Moving around to the sides, the front wings sweep down to the running boards and rear arches. The suicide doors align equal and straight on both sides. The nearside wing towards the running board does show some slight blistering under the paint, but the seller reports that this has been like this for a while and hasn't seen any signs of getting worse.
The condition of the rear of the MG is again like the front, the bumper and luggage rack is bright and clean, with no signs of pitting. The roof pulls up and when closed sits quite tight. Wet weather side panels attach and fit as they should.
The spare wheel is original and does use an innertube of which there is a spare. The other wheels on the car have been replaced in 2016 with chrome rims and stainless steel spokes for easier maintenance. These were also fitted with new tyres that do not use an innertube. The knock offs are all in nice condition and show the MG logo.
Fitted with the later type 1466 cc it was 2009 when the MG last had the top half engine rebuild which saw new valves and pistons fitted that also enabled the use of unleaded fuel without the need for additives. Since then it has covered approximately 14,000 miles and is running like a dream.
As previously mentioned the later MGA 4.3 ratio differential was fitted in 2010 along with new rear shock absorbers. In 2013 the TF received a new clutch and in 2019 a new battery was fitted. The gearbox in the TF is the original 4-speed and did have a rebuild a number of years ago. The seller did point out that, if under load on a hill it would jump out of first gear unless you held onto the gear stick, all the other gears are fine.
The car has been garaged when not in use and always been regularly serviced and greased, we could not see any noticeable oil leaks. Included with the sale, to be fitted by the new owner if they wish, is an SU Electronic Fuel Pump and a Lumenition Optronic Electronic Ignition System.
The MG T-types spanned over 20 years and have had their ups and downs especially throughout the times of war. The MG TF 1500 model, as you know, was the final one and especially more appealing with the more powerful 1466 cc engine.
Well maintained, enthusiast owned and history, you can't really ask for much more when looking to invest in a classic car. Become part of the MG history in one of the most desirable classic MG’s still around today.
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