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An Unrestored Variant 1951 MGTD (8873)

This car is one of the variants probably manufactured by Zepplen Garage. Made by Auto Verkaufs GMBH in Stuttgart, Germany. The cars were on MGTD chassis and had custom body panels that resembled the factory MGTDs.

From Kevin Wiseman, North Carolina, USA

Brief history: the car was owned by a Professor of International Business at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. He owned and operated a foreign car repair shop and tinkered with cars while working as a professor and after retiring from teaching. This car, along with a few others have been sitting idle in his abandoned shop for the past fifteen plus years. I stumbled onto this car while asking for directions for an automotive upholstery shop. About this time last year, I purchased a 73 TR6 from another gentleman in Greenville who had done a partial frame-on restoration and I was trying to locate the upholstery shop where he had his seats reupholstered.

I stopped at an auto body shop to ask for directions and told the owner I was restoring a TR6 and was looking for this particular business that was supposed to be near by. Upon hearing that I was a British car enthusiast he grabbed me by the arm and took me to the business next-door. It was there he introduced me to the gentleman who owned an auto part recycling business. This gentleman proceeded to tell me that he was buying the property and building across the street to expand his business. He went on to say that the now abandoned building was an old foreign car restoration/repair shop and was full of old MG and Triumph parts. He then told me he needed to get the building cleaned out and asked me if I would be interested in taking a look at the parts and a few cars that still remained inside. Needless to say, we all know the answer to that question.

There were several old parts only worthy of acquiring as artifacts. As for the vehicles, there was a mid 80's Jag XJ6, a 1970 Mercury Cougar Convertible and a late 60's Porsche 912. All three of these cars were very rusty and beyond repair, trust me. I was just about to walk out of the building when I noticed the MG TD over in a dark corner and asked if it was for sale. The answer was yes but that it might be complicated given this was an estate sale with two lawyers who represented two brothers who were not on speaking terms. I rubbed the tarnish off the vehicle I.D. plate and wrote down the car number.

The body panels are in very very good condition with just minor surface rust, no dents or creases that I couldn see. It is missing several pieces and a couple of items like the gas tank and the tire rims are rusted beyond repair and will need to be replaced. The seats and interior will need a complete overhaul and some of the wood interior frame will need to be replaced. The wood floorboards are obviously shot.

In addition to the car number being a “CH Only” there are some very distinctive features regarding the body parts that have me convinced this is one of the German made TD's. First, the rear fenders have no seam running from the top of the arch to the bottom of the rear of the fender. Second, the front fenders appear to be a heavier gauge metal and appear to have been fabricated from four separate pieces. There are a few very distinctive lines (seams) in the same places on both front fenders that would indicate the four pieces were welded together to form the fender. Also, the contour on the front of the fenders is much different than the contour of the MG TD fenders made from the Abingdon factory. And last, the louvers on the bonnet are definitely different than the ones on the Abingdon made cars.

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