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The Original MGTF Midget

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MGTF's were produced in England from 1953 to 1955. This website is dedicated to the preservation of the MGTF 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.

See the companion site on the MGTD motor car.

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

We hope that you will find this site a valuable tool in your enjoyment of the MGTF motorcar. You will also find other sites on the MGTF listed here. While this site is exclusively designed for MGTF 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 MGTF but at the same time acknowledges and supports the idea that change is what made the MGTF 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 TF, and even the sports car craze, what it is today. We have never seen an unrestored MG T Type that did not sport at least some accessories or modification over it's history.

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. Black and White are predominant as they were the colors of the TF medallions.The Original MGTF Home PageYou will also find the background on all the pages to be the ever popular Safety Fast slogan. A popular term used to describe and market the MGTF during it's production.

At the top of each screen is a navigation bar that will take you directly to the seven major topic areas and site map. The site logo with the MG crest , the red MGTF, and the site name is prominently displayed on each of these seven 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 we have chosen the hood and tonneau color, a tan.

This site is broken down into seven 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 authors and technical considerations on using this site. You can check the Home page for any current change status to the site as a whole.

History

These pages contain information that relate to the history of the MGTF. A brief overview of the history of the MGTF is cited along with production information, a list of reported production exceptions, and a section on accessories or dealer add-ons.

Details

In this section we delve deep into what was original on the MGTF. First and foremost is a detailed list of the finishes of the TF, by color and type. Matthew has provided a detailed description of the MGTF for restorers and judges. Next we dive into those pesky little details that are easily overlooked and sometimes so hard to get right. The firewall layout is provided here also. Finally, we take a look at an original set of tools. Most original MGTF owners discarded these immediately due to the fact that they were next to worthless. We also provide information on how you can create your own original type tool roll.

Myths and FAQs

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

Literature

This section covers both current and period literature. In the book review section Chris posts his reviews of MGT related books that he has in his collection. The magazine section contains the covers of MGTF related magazines, mostly period. In the sales brochure collection we have reproductions of some of the original sales literature. We have posted pictures of the original operation, workshop, and parts manuals in the Original Manuals page. In the Period Reports pages we have posted recreations of a series of period reports on the MGTF. We have provided some interesting advertisements to give you an idea what the period MGTF owner was offered. Finally we have posted some period photographs of the MGTF.

Gallery

In the Gallery we have assembled a collection of pictures that you may find useful and entertaining. Some are of period cars, recent photos, unrestored MGTF's, MGTF toys and models.

Links

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

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 MGTF 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.

All of the pictures in this website are property of the authors 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 we have referenced or reproduced in these pages.

This website is a personal and non commercial site. We 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 MGTF motorcar.

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

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 we run out of material. This may take a number of years. We do want to share with you some of the items that we are planning on doing, or things that we are working on. To that end, you will at times see this logo on a number of pages. This symbol indicates that we are either planning to bring that feature to The Original MGTF Midget in the coming months, or it may in fact be under construction. This gives you a chance to see where we are heading, and maybe even to get a sneak peak, prior to a page's formal debut.

Who We Are

Christopher Couper

My name is Christopher Couper and I am the owner of MGTD 19629.Chris Couper's 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. I am also the author of the MGTD companion site. In addition to benefiting from my fathers vision or foresight, I was also blessed with other opportunities to learn about MGT's over the years.

During the mid 1970's, 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 MGTF go from about $8,000 to over $30,000. You may send e-mail to Chris here.

Art Mafli

Art Mafli TF 1500My name is Art Mafli, I live in Snohomish, Washington, and I am the owner of MG TF #9870 (see picture). In 1958 I joined the newly formed MG Car Club NW Centre. My chance to actually own a MG came in the spring of 1960 when a BRG MG TF 1500 was advertised for $850. What a great car! In six years I drove that TF 75,000 miles including a tour of seven western states in three weeks. Being a beginning teacher, I had no money for professional shop work so I carried out all repair and adjustment myself. Sadly, that TF was sold in 1966.

After retirement, needing another hobby, I purchased MG TF #9870 in 1991. It has given Martha, my wife, and me many memorable tours, rallies and pleasant outings since 1991. In 1997 I began a lengthy restoration this TF. It was repainted, chrome parts were rechromed and upholstery, hood and side curtains were replaced. Much of this work was done by professionals.

Of all the MGs the TF is my favorite. It was an anachronism at the time of production and its sales were bad, but today it is, in my opinion, the most desirable of the T series. You may send e-mail to Art here.

Matthew Magilton

MatthewSometimes people ask me when I joined the MG club and my usual reply is that I was born into the club. My father has been active in the Pre War section of our local club since the '60's and my late mother used to compete in her TA. That same car provided my daily ride to school.

In 1973 Dad bought an extremely well preserved low mileage TF 1500 from its first owner. This car still had its original Birch Grey paint and red upholstery and-unusually- its first hood (top) and toolkit. He used the TF mostly for club events and eventually I was allowed to drive it too. The first owner always regretted selling the TF and he kept in touch with the family until eventually Dad decided to sell the car back to him in 1981. In the next few years the TF saw very little use and sadly the owner passed away in 1989. His family offered the car for sale and luckily at that time I had a little cash saved up so I was able to buy the TF back. It was really strange walking into his garage and seeing the TF again, along with all his tools and bits and pieces neatly stored on the shelves. In the glove compartments was the drivers handbook and his gloves which I still keep. Although time had been kind to the body, mechanically the TF was getting rather worn and one day I suddenly found the engine running very rough. This turned out to be a broken crankshaft, so an engine rebuild followed along with a gearbox rebuild. Now I was able to drive the TF with more confidence and I began to give the other T types some stiff competition in the Motorkhana and Observed Section Trial events.

I have also used the TF in some long distance trips; in 1991 I took a three month holiday and drove right around Australia. When I was not camping out in the 'bush', I was visiting club members in the other state centres. Over the 15,000 miles the TF ran perfectly and the only problems were two flat tyres and a broken engine stabiliser link which I fixed with fencing wire. The story of this trip was written up in the September 1992 edition of MG Enthusiast Magazine. In 1992 our National Meeting was held in Tasmania and it was there that I met my wife who was co-driving her fathers nicely restored green TD. They had driven south from Canberra and I was about to become very familiar with this road.

In more recent years I have become involved in concourse judging at both local and national level within the MG car clubs. With our system of judging, each section of the car has an allotment of a maximum 100 points and after this we judge 'originality' which is worth 200 points, so a tidy original TF could get placed above a glamorous but modified TF. Now because originality is so important (and because I love TF's), I have been seeking out and documenting the few remaining unrestored TF's while there are still a few left. So far I have found about a dozen TF's which have had little or no restoration in Australia. I would estimate at least 400 TF's have survived here. You may send e-mail to Matthew here.

Jeff Payne

Jeff Payne and TFMy name is Jeff Payne. I live in Deer Park New York with my wife Peg and son Chris and I own a 1954 MGTF HDC46/1085. I was fortunate to find the TF in 1999 at Southampton New York. It had spent many years stored by previous owners during our salt laden northeast winters and was in great condition with 58,900 original miles on the odometer. While not totally 100% original ( I had to replace the interior panels, carpeting and floorboards ) the leather seats were intact with no rips or tears just a great patina. The car has matching numbers and is the 584th TF built leaving Abingdon on November 16th of 1953 , destined for J.S.Inskip Motors in New York.

I have taken many digital photos of work done and have shared information with other TF owners with questions as to what went where. The past two years I have been creating a register of TFs worldwide which now stands at 819 cars with owners from Great Britain to Tasmania. I hope to be able to work with Chris on incorporating the list into the website as a means for owners to pass information back and fourth across the Internet. I confess to keeping my TF under cover in the garage during the winter months but do head out for the occasional subzero run on clear days donning goggles and leather flying helmet. As a member of the MG Car Club Long Island Centre and the New England MGT Register I enjoy showing the car at as many events as possible in the summer months.

Last summer I dismantled the car and had it striped to bare metal and resprayed to original MG Red. In 2000 I entered the TF in a historic rally held at Bridgehampton Long Island which celebrates the round the houses races of the early 1950s. We placed 12th overall in a 100 mile run around the scenic roadways of eastern Long Island and are looking forward to the 10th anniversary run of the event this September. Im looking forward to seeing the website grow as more owners come fourth with photos literature and memorabilia of TFs. Ive have gathered up a small collection of TF related literature and always ready to pass it along after scanning to interested owners. Yours in the Sport………Jeff Payne

Colin Stafford

Colin Stafford and TFMy name is Colin Stafford and I live in the state of Michigan, USA. While I am not a "self proclaimed TF expert" I can claim to have, according to a few guru"s, a very well preserved, low mileage original car. I feel that my car provides an excellent reference guide to the "original" TF.

Other than tyres, battery , top and some hoses, all of the paint and parts are those put on either at Abingdon or by the German Nuffield dealer. I can attest to this fact in that I drove this car in 1956 and it is no different now than it was then.

I possess the mechanical skills to 100% maintain this vehicle and have in the past restored several other sports cars. My aim is to keep this car as original as possible by the restoration and repair of all its original parts. An expatriate Brit, an itinerant driver. My motto, if you don't drive it, don't own it.. You may send e-mail to Colin here.

Mike Walsh

Mike Walsh was an founding member of the Vintage MG Club of Southern California and it's first chairman. Mike owns a MGTF 1500 amongst other MG T types. Mike has also published many T Type articles in both the The Sacred Octagon and the Octagon Topics newsletters. Mike is very often called upon to solve problems and disputes on originality of T Types in general and especially TF's. Mike has been active in many MG organizations over the years and has provided his services as a judge of sports cars at leading concours. Mike recently restored his MGTC. You may send e-mail to Mike here.

Barrie Jones

Barrie JonesMy name is Barrie Jones, I live in Cornwall, England, and I have been a member of the MG Car Club T Register committee for many years. I am currently the TF Registrar, and also the TD/TF Technical Specialist.

I have written countless articles on MGs and related topics, and these have appeared in several classic car magazines. I donated my first book Barrie's Notes to the T Register, and they have sold 400 copies worldwide. I also `starred' in the video Rebuilding the TD/TF Gearbox, which has recently been re-mastered as a DVD. My specialities include SU carburettors and classic car electrics.

My earliest memories as a child concern picnics by the Thames with my father and mother, travelling there in an open-topped red MG. It was a 4-seater VA tourer, registration number MG 6585, and the car is still in regular use today. I know, because I have recently contacted the current owner.

In 1965 I visited the Earl's Court Motor Show, and saw the all-new MGBGT for the first time. I vowed that one day I would have one, but at the time it was beyond my means. I did pick up a brochure, plus another for the MG Midget, and inside was a tiny photo of a car I had never heard of - the MG TF. That was it, love at first sight. Within months I had found one in a dealer's showroom in Kilburn, North London.

I have owned my MG TF1500 since February 1966, and that car has now covered more than 250,000 miles. Originally, it was my everyday car, but after I married and had children, something larger became necessary, so I bought an MGBGT. Over the years I have had immense pleasure from driving all my MGs. I still own my first TF1500. In addition, I have now had four factory V8s, and I still own two of them. I have also owned a further 15 MGBs in the past. You may send email to Barrie here.

Barrie Jones M Phil, DIC, ACGI, BSc(Eng), C Eng.

Rod Brayshaw

Experienced T-Series car restorer from New Zealand. Bio pending.

Contact Rod here.

Why a Site Dedicated to Original MGTF's

Some may ask why put up a site for original MGTF'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, we have found that the MGTF 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.

Through education with the materials in this site and the many books available, we are hoping that we can preserve the originality of the MGTF for the future.

How to Contact Us

If you have any issues or comments about this website, it's contents, it's authors, or any related topic you may contact us at mgtf@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. We 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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