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The Original MG TD Midget

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MGTD's were produced in England from 1949 to 1953 and established the sports car craze in the United States of America. This website is dedicated to the preservation of the MGTD motor car by providing information on the aesthetic features of these cars to enthusiasts the world over. You will find very little mechanical information at this site, as that is covered well by many other sites and books.

Visit the companion site on the MGTF by clicking here.

Contributing to the Website

A great deal of the content of this website is provided by readers like you. If you have something you think would be of interest to the community and would like to share it, I will gladly find a home for it somewhere in these pages. You may send content or a description here. There are a few guidelines that must be adhered to:

Site Overview

I hope that you will find this site a valuable tool in your enjoyment of the MGTD motorcar. This is the only site that I am aware of on the Internet exclusively devoted to the MGTD and it's originality. While this site is exclusively designed for MGTD enthusiasts, there is information here that is applicable to all the T Series MG's, and to many other sports cars as well.

You will find that this site is dedicated to the originality of the MGTD but at the same time acknowledges and supports the idea that change is what made the MGTD so popular. While the MG Car Company created a simple little sports car, it was really the aftermarket industry and enthusiasts surrounding it, that made the TD, and even the sports car craze, what it is today. I have never seen an unrestored MG T Type that did not sport at least some accessories or modification over it's history. Even my own car did not leave the dealership without getting altered in the form of a full tonneau cover, tire cover, a flow through muffler, and windscreen windwings. Today it sports a custom wooden dash, wooden steering wheel, wooden gear shift knob, wire wheels, front wing mirrors, windwings, luggage rack, tire cover, and a full tonneau cover.

You will find a common look and feel amongst these pages both from a computer display basis as well as from an MG viewpoint. The colors are decidedly MG. Cream and Cracker (ivory and brown) are predominant as they are trademarks of the MG Car Company.The Original MGTD Home PageYou will also find the background (in cream and cracker) on all the pages to be the ever popular Safety Fast slogan. A popular term used to describe and market the MGTD during it's production.

At the top of each screen is a navigation bar that will take you directly to the eight major topic areas and site map. The site logo with the MG crest (cream and cracker again), the red MGTD, and the site name is prominently displayed on each of these eight sections. Also included on these major topic pages is a list of the sub topics, hypertext linked, to their appropriate pages. The observant of you may have noticed that to display these links I have chosen the original instrument color, a soft seafoam green.

This site is broken down into eight major categories for ease of presentation and browsing. The topic areas are:

A quick overview of these categories follows.

Home Page

This is the page you are reading now. The home page provides general information on the site for new readers. This page also contains information on the author and technical considerations on using this site. You can check the Home page for any current change status to the site as a whole.

If a section has changed in the last 60 days a New flag New Flagwill be displayed in this section by each topic that has received an significant update.

History

These pages contain information that relate to the history of the MGTD. A brief overview of the history of the MGTD is cited along with production information, a list of reported production exceptions, original suppliers of components to the cars, a short summary of the people that were key to the developement and success of the MGTD/TF, Asia Pacific and European importers, variants of the MGTD, racing MGTD's, a section on accessories or dealer add-ons, a story on the impact that the MGTD made on the American sports car scene, factory and dealer documentation, the story of my own MGTD and finally pictures of the racing scene of MGTD's.

Details

In this section we delve deep into what was original on the MGTD. First and foremost is a detailed list of the finishes of the TD, by color and type. Next we dive into those pesky little details that are easily overlooked and sometimes so hard to get right. I have created a list of MGTD replacement parts and how well they adhere to the original specifications. If your etched parts are missing or in need of repair the plates and etchings pages are for you. For those into esoteria, we have the original bolt and nuts pages. This should keep you up at night. If that was not enough Dave DuBois and friends take us deep into the fasteners for the XPAG engine. For those of you who don't have your Workshop Manual handy I have reproduced the General Data pages with the specifications and measurements. The original firewall layout is provided here. Finally, we take a look at an original set of tools. Most original MGTD owners discarded these immediately due to the fact that they were next to worthless. I also provide information on how you can create your own original type tool roll. A page of MG wiring colour codes is provided by Barrie Jones. A section on miscellaneous details such as codes for Lucas spotlamps is included.

Myths and FAQs

The Myths and FAQs section is where I tell all the secrets of the TD that I know about. I start by dispelling as many myths of the MGTD that I can. Next I discuss common mistakes that restorers make in trying to create an as original MGTD as possible. I also include a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) department. In this section I have listed popular questions that I have received over the years about the MGTD. Lastly I share with you some of the tips and techniques that I have gathered from many sources over the years in restoring MGTD's. While generally non technical, you may find some of these points valuable to you in your restoration or maintenance efforts.

Literature

This section covers both current and period literature. In the book review section I post my reviews of MGTD related books that I have in my collection. The magazine section contains the covers of MGTD related magazines, mostly period. In the sales brochure collection I have reproductions of some of the original sales literature. I have posted pictures of the original operation, workshop, and parts manuals in the Original Manuals page. In the Period Reports pages I have posted recreations of a series of period reports on the MGTD. I have provided some interesting advertisements to give you an idea what the period MGTD owner was offered. Check out the cool prices and neat stuff. You might also discover the origin of some peculiar element of your car here. A section of period MGTD photographs is provided along with a sampling of pictures from the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust archives.

EntertainmentNew Flag

The rest of this web site, like most others, is a bit passive. I present information. You look at it, and react accordingly. On these pages you will have to take a much more active role. The entertainment section is where you have a chance to see what knowledge you have absorbed from the other pages of this site, or to just sit back and have a little fun. There are quizzes, interactive games, and a chance for you to enter your favorite car in the Virtual Car Show. I have also included some images that you may wish to use as wallpaper on your computer display, including the background used on this site. One interesting item is the pages on industry mistakes where we explore items that are supposed to be related to the MGTD. What were they thinking? On this same vein, but carried to the extreme, are the reproduction MGTD's. You have got to love those fiberglass spare tires that hide the VW engines.

Safety Fast, the M.G. TD Operator’s Guide is an electronic manual and reference for the M.G. TD Midget series sports car of 1949 through 1953. The guide was patterned after some current and modern electronic car guides available today but with a theme of what the guide would have looked like if it was still 1952. Currently in beta testing.

Gallery

In the Gallery I have assembled a vast collection of pictures that you may find useful and entertaining. Some are of period cars, a rumored to be unrestored 1951 MGTD, other unrestored pictures, my restoration pictures, some MG event pictures such as GoFs and rallies, pictures of my own car over time, MGTD toys, models, and various interesting (not necessarily original) MGTD's that I have seen over the years. I also have compiled many of the pictures from other places in the site here as well for easy access. This includes accessories and advertisements.

Links

These pages contain links to MGTD related clubs and organizations, parts suppliers, models, literature, videos, other MGTD related sites, and sites that are in the spirit of the MGTD.

Map

The site map will provide you with one page where you can instantly access any page within the site. The site map is laid out in a hierarchical manner so you can easily see the relationships of the pages.

Site Information

This website contains information useful to those parties that desire to preserve and maintain the originality of MGTD motorcars. Because an enormous amount of this information is supplied in pictorial form it is necessary to demand that your web browser support true color images for best reproduction and color value. This means that you need to set your computer display to 16 bit color. If you can only support 256 colors you will still see the images but they may not represent the true color of the items. It is also recommended that you set your display resolution to at least 800x600 pixels, but 1024x768 pixels is recommended.

Because of the large amount of pictures at this site a modem speed of at least 56 kps is recommended. I have tried to make the images as small in bytes as possible, sometimes at the expense of quality. Optionally you may click on most of the images to see larger sizes. Also the picture gallery is set up as a slide show so you will get small thumbnail images that will load quickly, with the option of viewing each image individually, in a larger format.

All of the pictures in this website are mine unless otherwise stated in the caption below. Please support the copyright of this site. You may use any of the material provided by me for non commercial purposes. Also respect the copyright of the authors materials that I have referenced or reproduced in these pages.

This website is a personal and non commercial site. I do not have connections to any MG related business. Any information, products, services, or businesses mentioned in this website are for the sole benefit of distributing information about the MGTD motorcar.

If you have questions or comments about this website or it's contents, please contact me.

Site Creation Information

This site was constructed using very basic HTML features and cascading style sheets with the exception of the entertainment section, which utilizes some Java applets and scripts. The graphics and pictures were scanned using an HP 6250C color scanner. The pictures were edited and formatted using a number of commercially available products. Original graphics were created using Ulead's PhotoImpact version 4.2. The web pages were authored using Adobe's Dreamweaver CS6 software. Most of the color images were saved in 24 bit true color format at between 72 and 150 dpi utilizing GIF or JPEG formats.

This site has been tested to comply with all major browsers. It is intended to be used in a desktop environment but does do well with tablets like the iPAD. There is currently no version of the site for smart phones but one is being considered.

A Few Words About the Completeness of This Site

Throughout these pages you may encounter the Coming Soon coming soonsymbol. This site will always be growing and evolving until I run out of material. This may take a number of years. I do want to share with you some of the items that I am planning on doing, or things that I am working on. To that end, you will at times see this logo on a number of pages. This symbol indicates that I am either planning to bring that feature to The Original MGTD Midget in the coming months, or it may in fact be under construction. This gives you a chance to see where I am heading, and maybe even to get a sneak peak, prior to a page's formal debut.

As updates are made to a page the bottom right corner will reflect the date that page changed. When a page is added to this site, or substantially changed in content, it will include this symbol Flag.

Who I Am

My name is Christopher Couper and I am the owner of MGTD 19629.Brand new 1952 MGTD This is a red on red MGTD that was purchased new by my father in November of 1952. You can read the story of MGTD 19629 here. Just possessing a one owner MGTD would not provide sufficient information to create this website. In addition to benefiting from my fathers vision or foresight, I was also blessed with other opportunities to learn about MGTD's over the years.

My first experiences came as a child where I would spend countless hours in the garage dry shifting the TD while anticipating that grand and glorious day that I would drive her. I even drove the TD once by running the starter motor while in gear. Later I helped my father with routine maintenance and the addition of so many accessories over the years. Still, this was not much of an exposure to what was original about MGTD's, with the possible exception of my own car.

In the early seventies my MGTD needed a major facelift so I decided to restore her. I had very little knowledge of anything outside of basic tune-up and mechanical components. I had never restored, painted, or even replaced a major component of a car. To protect myself from completely ruining the car I took pictures of every component before I took the car apart. I also stuck each item in a specially marked envelope, by sub unit, with a description of the finish or other important observation. I compared what I saw when I was disassembling my car to the pictures in the Workshop Manual, noting any discrepancies.

About the time I had the chassis restored and the painting done, I discovered, quite by accident, that there were a number of individuals in my area doing exactly the same thing. Carl Cederstrands MGTD DashboardA small article appeared in the local paper that showed Carl Cederstrands MGTD dashboard with a few T Series MG's in the background. It appeared that about 30 dedicated T-Series enthusiasts had just formed a club around these cars and were looking for members. I immediately joined and was overwhelmed by the support, camaraderie, and information provided. Everyone was so helpful in providing technical, historical, and emotional assistance. It really made a difference in the quality and speed of my work. I attended my first GoF West at Monterey in 1974 and was amazed at the number, type and quality of T Series MG's on display. What a wealth of information and inspiration.

My car made it's first appearance after restoration at GoF West 75 in Bend River Oregon. It was actually being restored in the parking lot prior to the car display. Even so it took second Author with Premier Trophyplace in the TD class. Later the car would go on to win many second and first place awards as well as the Premier Class in 1978. The car was also entered in many 'invitation only' Concours d'Elegance's during the period. It won numerous awards including Best Sports Car at the Long Beach Grand Prix Concours d'Elegance in 1977.

During the same period I decided to make a career change and returned to college. Jim and Evelyn Bigler, of Commonwealth Classic Cars, graciously offered me a part time job assisting them in their restoration business. Over the four years that I was with them we restored or worked on dozens of T Series MG's. Many of these had never been restored before. It was a wonderful opportunity to see cars in various states of originality, across a number of years. It also became sort of a contest for the Bigler's, Tim Cane, and myself to be the first to discover a new and unknown (at least to us) original feature of the cars. We restored or repaired many T Series cars and at the time set many standards for quality and prices of T Series MG's. During a short span of time we watched the price of a restored MGTD go from about $8,000 to over $33,000.

Also while working with the Biglers I was able to amass a collection of original MGTD parts that were a bit unusual or hard to find. Such items as original spark plug caps, hose clamps, dashboard washers, and other items that seem to get replaced overtime, I was able to collect. 1952 Mark II RestorationThe Biglers and Tim Cane also managed to amass great collections of original T Series parts and related components, some of which are pictured in these web pages. It was an exciting time to be involved with MG's due to the fact that the cars were just starting to acquire value and enter the classic car marketplace. Up to that time there were literally hundreds of cars that had just sat where they were without being altered for some 25 years. At that time it was very easy to get about anything original on the used market. It was not unusual to see engine blocks, transmissions, and other parts being sold for a few dollars at GoF auctions. Try to do that today!

Also during this time I contributed many technical articles to the Vintage MG Club of Southern California (VMG) newsletter and was their technical editor for a period of time. I wrote many articles on what was original on the T Series MG's based on my experiences above and interviews with other noted T Series specialists. I have also been exposed to many other MG T types during shows, auctions, outings, rallies, and other events. I always tried to keep a camera around to snap pictures of those unusual examples of the Mark. These web pages are full of them.

Henry Stone and authors wife at MG Factory, September 1980On our honeymoon, in September of 1980, my wife and I were lucky enough to visit with Henry and Winnie Stone in Abingdon, England. The Stones took us all around their haunts in a slick little Mini. We stopped at the MG factory but were not allowed in due to the fact that it had received bomb threats that week as they were shutting down production. Henry felt so bad about the missed tour that he took us over to meet with John Thornley. We were not dressed properly and being unannounced, we stayed in the car the whole time. One of the biggest regrets of my life.

That about covers the MG side of the story. How about the Web side. For that we come back to my career change. While I went back to school and received Bachelors and Master degrees in Physics from the University of California, it turned out my real calling was in computers. Since 1982 I have worked for IBM as an engineer, product manager, and information technology architect. Creating MGTD web pages just seemed a natural extension of both of these talents.

Why a Site Dedicated to Original MGTD's

Some may ask why put up a site for original MGTD's when there is already a host of books on the T Series MG's and lots of sites and forums that deal with maintaining the cars. While there is a vast amount of information about on the T Series in general, I have found that the MGTD has been mostly overlooked or under valued in it's place in MG history, and especially as a sports cars in general. This is not by the general public, but mostly by the press.

Also I feel that there seems to be a resurgence of demand for a type of car such as the MGTD, but I am disturbed by some of the trends that I see emerging. There seems to be an overwhelming desire to make the cars better. Such things as MGA rear ends, Datsun transmissions, and other refinements from original. In other words, 'to improve upon what the factory could or would not do'. Now I am not advocating that everyone who owns an MGTD be forced to restore it to an as original status, but to make changes to the car only when they have discovered what and how it was originally done. I believe that part of the adventure of owning an original MGTD is to experience things as they were in it's production period. Also, I encourage you to think about what it would take to remove your improvements if you ever decided to sell your car. The value of a truly original car will always outweigh any funds you incurred in modifying it from original.

Through education with the materials in this site and the many books available, I am hoping that we can preserve the originality of the MGTD for the future. After all, if you want a better car then you should consider one of the later model MG's or perhaps a new Mazda Miata or BMW.

How to Contact Me

If you have any issues or comments about this website, it's contents, it's author, or any related topic you may contact me at mgtd@mg-cars.org.uk.

Acknowledgments

There are too many people who have contributed to this website either directly or indirectly to name them all. You will find many names scattered about these pages. I cannot remember or give credit to even a fraction of the folks who should be mentioned. A few of those that come to mind now are:

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