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Homepage. This page: A colour photograph showing a dark green MG TD, plus a look at a TD prepared at the factory for export.

1. Norman's MG TD.

First, for this page of MG TD photographs: Norman MacKillop sent me a recent photo of an Austin that he wanted identifying (an Austin 7 Nippy), and he also sent this photo over, taken in 1965, showing his MG TD sportscar in Malacca, West Malaysia (formerly Malaya). He later sold it to an army dentist from New Zealand, who was planning to return home and take the MG with him. Where is SD 3132 now I wonder?
Photograph of an MG TD sportscar

Background information on the 1949-1953 TD sportscar.

Shortly after WW2, MG rushed out a new sportscar model, the TC, which lasted in production until 1949, when the TD was introduced. The new car took the basic design of the TC, and re-worked it with a view to making it more appealing to North American motorists. With Britain on its knees following the war, and exports being all-important to shore up the British economy, this made great sense, especially as few had the money to shell out for a new sportscar in Britain anyway.
The new car had to look like a fresh design, even if many of its components were either shared with the earlier car, or else 'borrowed' from elsewhere in the parent Nuffield Organisation. The MG TD's chassis would be a mildly modified version of the Y type saloon's frame. The XPAG engine was fitted to the TD, a unit first seen in the pre-war TB. Ride and handling were improved over the TC thanks to the fitment of rack and pinion steering, and coil springs up front. This, combined with a reduction of wheel size from 19" to 15" gave the car a much smoother ride, something that would definitely appeal to the American buyers. Visually the car still looked very much like an MG, although the company did get some flak for switching to pressed steel wheels (as with Norman's car in the photograph) for costcutting reasons, rather than the usual spoked wheels that people expected to find on a sporting MG. Wires would later become a factory option for TD buyers.
Three incarnations of the TD would be available throughout the production run, although the changes were evolutionary rather than revolutionary. The 1950 model year cars saw the wheels modified to incorporate cooling slats, as the earliest cars did suffer from brake fade after repeated applications from speed. The TD II saw a tweaked version of the XPAG engine fitted under the centrally-hinged bonnet, and, in '53, revised rear lamps and turn signals fitted front and rear. A revised hood was also fitted. Confusingly, from 1950 a Mark II was also offered by Nuffields, which in essence was a standard TD but fitted with improvements such as slightly tweaked engine, larger tyres, altered rear axle ratios, twin fuel pumps and larger carbs. Instead of buying the improved Mark II, buyers could instead opt for a standard MG TD and simply add tuning parts as time went by.
In 1953 MG would again evolve a new model from the outgoing car's design, this time creating the MG TF. By now the 1930s-inspired design was looking decidedly old-hat, especially when compared to cars such as the Triumph TR2 and TR3, leaving the TF to be the last of the old-school MGs, before the all-new B-series powered MGA took over in 1955.

2. Export MG TD at the factory.

Two original factory images turned up recently, showing an MG TD wrapped up in readiness for export, probably to the USA. The TD is shown sat on a wooden pallet, it's hubs attached to the wooden uprights. The wheels and tyres are just visible stacked inside the car, so presumably final assembly of the interior would be undertaken once the car had arrived at it's destination. The car's handwritten identity - MG TD - can just be made out on the forward end of the pallet. Stacked up against the wall are the side and top panels of the wooden crate that would soon be nailed to the base on which the MG was sat. The bumpers are un-fitted at this stage - note the steel brackets, fitted to the bumper mountings, further securing the MG to the base. Inset is a view of the rear, although much less detail was evident in that shot. Both images are stamped "Nuffield Organization".
A brand new MG TD at the factory, ready for export

3. A 1951 MG TD in the US.

Amongst a collection of photos that Chalmers kindly emailed over, was this one. It shows him and his sister in approx 1957, sat on the running board of their father's 1951 MG TD. Thanks for sending it over!
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A 1951 MG TD in the USA
Return to Old Vehicle Photos Page 7.
The story of a surviving MG TD, built in 1952 and used on that year's International RAC Rally, can be found here, in the Your Cars section of the site.

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