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Unrestored TF9052

TF9052 is a MG Red TF 1500 with approximately 5700 miles on the odometer at the time of this writing. The 91 year old owner bought this car new from a car dealer in Long Island, NY in 1955. The car is rarely driven, but it is driveable.

Please read the comments from Frank Cronin below who is the photographer that took many of the pictures on this page. Also contributing to the page are many pictures from Fred Horner. Freds contribution are identified starting at slide number 400 and greater.

Note: There are a few admitted modifications to the car we will try to illustrate but in general the car is fairly untouched. However there are a few characteristics of this car that show up in no other image of unrestored cars and will go against the grain of many restorers and historians. Look for our comments on slides with the selectable icon. You will have to decide yourself how much this car represents what came from the factory. Also note it is well documented that the factory processes were not uniform during the production of the T series cars so what you see in this car may not be appropriate for all cars or necessarily one near its production number. In addition to Frank Cronin, Matthew Magilton, Rob Grantham and Chris Couper contributed to these notes.

Note: Obviously there have been some modifications to these cars since they were produced in the interest of keeping them running. You will notice for example that some of the flexible fuel and oil lines, battery, fan belts, spark plug wires, and radiator hoses were replaced. Compare these pictures to other unrestored cars on these pages.

Note: On these pages the pictures are numbered by the automatic photograph sequence and not linearly. There are intentional gaps based on the quality of the pictures and the sequence they were taken in. We tried to group the photographs by subject area for your convenience.

Exterior Pictures

Interior Pictures

Engine Compartment Pictures

Chassis and Underside Pictures

Miscellaneous Pictures

Note: You may notice that the following pictures were are missing from the collection because they were either duplicates or unclear.

Pictures omitted: 10, 90, 106, 127, 203, 247, 294

Comments from Frank Cronin

Dave Sander reached out me to go check out a TF he has heard a lot about for many years however he has never seen the car in person. "This is the real thing", he was once told by the owner twenty years ago at a MG rally. "Looks brand new." "All the original King Dick tools, factory tires, hood, and it still has the dealer invoice and Factory warranty to the car.

The car was scheduled to attend the NY GOF TF Survivor Challenge (ed 2013) however but unfortunately the owner had to cancel those plans due to a sudden illness. The owner was enthusiastic to attend the NY GOF. He is very proud of his TF. Prepping the car and packing all the documents professionally in a presentation folder so people could flip thru and see the car's history. The owner was disappointed he could not go so he could show his "one of a kind" TF as well as many other people who were anticipating to see this car.

Before arriving, I was excited to have the opportunity to inspect and meet the owner of this incredible car. I knew in advance this was a low mileage all original vehicle but nothing additional could be said to best describe or to prepare me the full extent the beautiful and pristine condition when I saw this car for the first time.

This car is incredible. A pure time capsule. A Red TF 1500 #9052 with original factory top, body paint, Dunlop Made in England bias ply tires, factory exhaust, complete tool roll, bill of sale from the dealer in NY, period brochures for ordering LUCAS, BMC, and aftermarket dealer parts. The red paint is flawless. Exterior body panels, the red dash, and gold / bronze colored instrument center panel are like new. The light brown marble/ pearl steering wheel also like new however does not have the usual cracks we are accustomed to see. Under the bonnet shows many original factory items remain in excellent condition that all seem to perish as time and wear take its toll - in particular the rubber, rubber grommets, rubber pad under the wiper motor, the protective rubber boot on the starter to name a few.

The original light brown canvas top is "as new" as it was when it left Abingdon. The light brown / tan top bow paint has no wear. The bright red leather and vinyl interior is impeccable. The original Karvel carpets have no wear, abrasions, and have no dirt. When I brushed my hand across the carpet the texture was very soft. Underneath the carpets exhibit the padding cushion between the black floor boards and the carpet. Even the Dot fasteners for the carpet are still nice and polished looking. Even the tread to the Dunlop bias-ply tires are perfect and probably still have the original English air in them. The owner bought this car new from a car dealer in Long Island, NY in 1955.

The owner was employed to an aviation company and soon after he bought the car he was transferred to Delaware, USA. The car was hardly driven at all before this work transfer and it remained in Long Island at his parent's house. After a brief stint working in Delaware he transferred to Europe to continue his career and the TF remained at his parent's home. While he was away in Europe, his father once a week, every Sunday, would rotate the TF’s wheels and turn the engine with the hand crank for his son until he returned back to the States in 1979.

Twenty-four years, Let me repeat that. ... 24 YEARS past by from the time he bought it from the dealer in NY and his return back to the US, the car remained parked in a sheltered garage, never driven, and still in showroom condition. The owner states to me this car was never driven exposed to the elements except sunshine. The only exception out on a weekend drive and about a mile away returning home, the TF got in a light drizzle but it was soon under the shelter of an enclosed garage. When I asked how often does he drive it currently, he replied that he puts about 100 miles a year on the TF. Today, there is currently 5,696 original miles on the odometer.

The car is close to 100% factory new for a few minor exceptions. The spark plugs, the spark plug wires, and the hose from the engine block to oil PSI union have been replaced. The battery was replaced with a Lucas reproduction. The battery terminal cables are still original though. The owner replaced the top hose to the radiator / thermostat connection as preventive maintenance but he did keep the original one. For safety concerns the factory Dunlop Bias Ply tires were taken off the car and replaced with radials and new Dayton wire wheels. The original tires remain mounted to the factory wire wheels are neatly stacked near the car.

The owner is very meticulous with the car of the car to preserve originality. Listening to him explain to me the safeguarding measures he had took simply blew me away. He did install his homemade rubbers between the over-riders and the bumper so it wouldn’t scratch the chrome. He installed a sleeve to the chain of the oil cap so it wouldn't wear the paint to the valve cover. The factory carpets are always covered with liners. The white felt in the tool box is protected with foam so the air pump and other tools inside wouldn't soil the white felt. He was concerned the factory dash under-panel would get scuffed up, he bought and installed a replacement and he stored away the original for safekeeping. The factory hood is mint.

To preserve originality and for back up "just in case" something happens , he showed me a vintage OEM BMC factory hood he purchased years also unused and folded neat in the factory box. He stated to me that he was concerned the hand crank might rust. He worked for an aviation company and the shop had a cad plating department. He brought his hand crank to work so the shop could cadmium plate the crank to end his worries of rust. This crank is still in his possession in the garage but an aftermarket is used instead in the car.

Another great example steps taken to preserve originality --the black covered burlap factory tool roll has never been used. It is still neatly folded tucked away and he bought an aftermarket tool roll to stow all the Factory tools in. Most all the tools are marked King Dick and so is the car jack. The only tools unmarked are the knock off hammer, hammer, and the flat head screw driver. The screw driver looks similar to a Shelly but is not stamped I could see. The tools have zero rust and they still have the black paint on them. Repeating myself again. ...They look brand new.

I spent about five hours inspecting, photographing, and talking with the owner. I took about 300 plus photos. Even with this amount of time and photos there are some things I wished I took better photos off. I tried my best to be methodological in my approach taking these pictures. There are so many things with this car it is difficult to capture it all at once. I bet I could spend another half day on this car very easily.

The pictures were taken in a garage with camera flash under a ceiling fluorescent light. Heavy clouds and threat of rain prohibited me wanting to take photos outside I would have preferred to get the best color result of the painted items. Having said that, I am sure no one here will argue nor complain what I have to share.

As I said earlier, I took a lot of photos. When I got home I was asked what were the biggest takeaways I have learned after viewing the car. These are only my expressed views. Yours may differ however. We are all here to learn and to improve our restoration techniques with these cars. This will also give you a brief synopsis what the photos will reveal.

  1. The amount of effort the Factory did to detail under the bonnet to painting bolt heads and screw heads to touch up to match the color of that part it is attaching. They even touched up the tacks exposed heads to the rubber strip with black paint.
  2. The stability of the paint they used. For me, it was a better understanding how the factory paint wears and how unstable the paint it is. Due to this often causes a lot of disagreements "what that color should really be". In addition, how some painted items hold up very well up presently on this car but somehow the same exact paint most likely it was applied to on a similar bolt -- in a similar location -- does not continue to exist! I couldn't understand that. I also suggest caution to prevent jumping to conclusions. One must study the whole car to better understand the Factory final detail procedures when completing these cars. This fine car is still just one example so we must also take in account of other surviving TF to fill in the gaps of where paint was applied or left bare with a natural finish.
  3. All the surviving rubber and protective boots in this car. Comparing to what most is often seen today of what is left remaining is a melted "glob". All melted away and unable to identify.
  4. The surviving black paint on the brake lines
  5. The surviving black paint on the muffler.
  6. The bright white aluminized finish of the exhaust header that is just starting to show some age.
  7. The valve color without a doubt is flat silver. Non metallic. Same paint matches the wire wheels.
  8. How bright red the dash is and under the scuttle.
  9. The bow color is tan light brown that matches real well with the top. The "coffee - pink rose" color most commonly described is only evident on minor finish items on the exterior of the hood which is an area more exposed to direct sunlight.
  10. Last but not least. ... "Never say, NEVER" what is original on these cars. There are a few "stray cats and dogs" out there that the Factory must of had to do to finish these cars. Most likely a supply issue or what was on hand on the assembly line to complete the car. On this particular car, they did not use rivets to the body plate under the tool box lid AND the copper tag on the valve cover. Brass, dome head, flat style screws were used.

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