History of the MG TD


The MG TF Midget 1953 - 1955

Something had to be done about the flagging sales of the TD, but all that could be done at the time was to give it a facelift. Hence, the MG TF Midget was introduced in 1953. Essentially this car was the same as the TD, having the same form of chassis, suspension, brakes, steering, engine, and transmission.

MG TF 1953 - 1955

The bodywork displayed the most changes, although it still had that un-mistakable and by now old- fashioned MG style. The most obvious changes were to the front end where the radiator grille had been lowered and raked to give a lower hood line. The front wings were shaped so that the headlights could be faired into them rather than being separately mounted. At the rear there was little difference compared to the TD, although a valance was provided to fill the gap between the bottom of the fuel tank and the bumper.

MG TF 1953 - 1955

In terms of performance, there was no change in comparison with the TD, and despite the new body style, MG were kidding no-one but themselves. The sales figures for the car reflected this. By 1955, the TF was seen even at Longbridge to be a flop, but all that could be done in the short-term was to increase the engine to 1466cc, and the car was called the TF 1500

The MG TF 1250

All that the Austin-dominated management would sanction was a face-lift of the aging TD, so in an effort to retain their marketplace until EX175 could be produced, the MG Car Company took a TD Mark II, made some cosmetic changes to the bodywork, and called it the MG TF. When the new TF was announced in September 1953 it was immediately shunned by the public. It was obvious that all MG had done was to tweak the engine, pound a bit on the body and fenders, add some more comfortable bucket seats, and throw on some wire wheels. In fact the car was worse in many ways because you could no longer open the bonnet sides to access the engine for maintenance, as you could on all the previous T types.

MG TF 1953 - 1955

The MG TF 1500

By 1954 the 1250cc TF performed poorly compared with other sports cars of the period, so in September 1954 a more powerful 1466cc engine was fitted, replacing the XPAG. This larger capacity engine was designated XPEG, and the car was called the TF1500. The power of the engine increased from 57bhp at 5,500 rpm to 63 at 5,000, and the torque was increased by a massive 17%. This larger engine made the TF1500 a much better-performing car on the freeways and toll ways of North America, but by April 1955 something more modern was required, so after only 18 months in production, the TF1500 was retired and the factory geared up to start producing the MGA.

MG TF 1500 1955

This larger capacity engine did improve the performance greatly and made the MGTF 1500 a much better performing car on the freeways and toll ways of North America. Still the MGTF never captured the success of the MGTD and was replaced by the MGA within two short years.

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