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The Original MG TD Midget

Finishes and Colors

This section covers the finishes of the MGTF in type, material, and colors.

Note: It is generally not considered a deviation from the original if you improve the finish of an item so long as you do not change the texture or characteristic of that item.

MGTF Color Schemes


The table below shows all the body and interior colors available during the entire production of the MGTF. The dashboard was red on red cars, tan on Tan interior cars and green on green interior cars.

Note: There is evidence from a number of cars in Australia that have Tan interiors. To see an unrestored TF Tan dash click here. Note that these were NOT CKD cars.

You can look at a copy of an 1954 MGTF brochure showing the available color combinations here. Courtesy of Jeff Payne TF HDC46/1085C.

Body Color Interior Color Dash Comments
Black   Red      
    Biscuit     Biscuit interiors were not as common. Tan dash color was captured from existing cars and may be different from original because of aging of paint.
MG Red   Red      
Autumn Red   Red     This color on the MGTF was not widely believed to be standard and we are trying to establish provenance for it. The 1954 brochure just states M.G. Red as the red color choice.
Almond (MG) Green   Green     Almond green was a metallic paint refered to as MetalliChrome
Ivory   Red      
Birch Grey   Red     Non metallic. Solid grey. Not mentioned in brochures as being offered in first release but there is evidence of early MGTF's in the NEMGT Register as being Birch Grey.

Note: The colors in this table are approximate. Due to the nature of each computer display and the limits of the color pallet of your system, there may be a large difference between these colors and the actual production colors.

Note: Apparently MG did not have strict formulas or consistent suppliers for their finishes, so even during the production of the T-Series there would be large discrepancies between cars of the same color.

Note: CKD cars were delivered with primer only. This was also available as an orderable option so any paint color is original on one of these cars.

Note:The exterior piping (cord filled fabric material between sheet metal parts) color matched the body paint color.

Note: While the TD used a tan interior color called biscuit too, that color was actually a little lighter in shade than the biscuit of the TF.

MGTF Body Color Codes¹

Starting with the MGTF the car ID plate indicated the color scheme for each car shipped from the factory. The first two letters for the TF were HD, H for MG Midget and D for open two-seater bodywork.

The third letter indicated the body color from the following codes:

  A Black
  B Light Grey (Birch Grey)
  C Red
  E Green
  P Ivory

The fourth code indicated it's class:

  1 right-hand drive home market cars
  2 right-hand drive export cars
  3 left-hand drive export cars
  4 North American export cars, LHD
  5 CKD right-hand drive
  6 CKD left-hand drive

The final letter indicated the paint finish type:

  1 synthetic enamel
  2 Synobel
  3 all cellulose paint finish (lacquer)
  4 metallic
  5 primer finish on CKD cars
  6 cellulose on body, synthetic finish on fenders and splash pans

¹ Body codes used with permission from Original MG T Series by Anders Clausager. Published by MBI Publishing Company 1-800-826-6600.

Note:On most TF's, other than the metallic green, it was common for them to be finished as code 6 (cellulose body, synthetic fenders). On metallic green TF's the entire car was done in cellulose while still being labeled as code 6.

Interior Swatches

The follow are images for the interior softgoods of the MGTF. The interior is made up of both Rexine, a vinyl like product, and leather.

Material Red Green Beige/Biscuit

Paint Formulas


Body Colors

This table provides a list of formulas or color equivalents to the original colors used for the MGTF. As always you should have a quart (or gallon) of paint mixed first and spray it on a large piece of sheet metal before you decide what color you like. Even better is to get a few quarts of paint and give your car a quick paint job before restoration to make sure you like the color. When you are satisfied with the color choice then you can strip all the paint off and start over. Sounds crazy, but at least you will like the results.

If you have a car that has never been stripped of its' paint you may be able to tell what color it was originally by taking off a fender and looking at the area that rested against the body bucket. I was not only able to do that but after the use of a little rubbing compound the paint was in good enough shape in those areas that a color match was done after 25 years of service. The color was compared to other cars painted the same color to insure that I had a reasonable match.

An excellent source for color chips for these colors can be found at the Auto Color Library. Select your year and then select AHMG or click here. They can also custom mix paints for you.

Manufacture Black MG Red Autumn Red Almond (MG) Green Ivory Birch Grey


BMC Code BK1 RD14 RD6 GN37 YL5 GR3
Dupont 99   43077 93-96233H 83449  
Ditzler (PPG) 9000 71993 50930 47705 81271 31918
R&M A946 BM121R BM108R BM076 BM127 BM002
Martin-Senour   25011 20216 20214 25235
ICI Code   9448 2752 2007 (metallic) 4138 or 2700 2507

¹ Some color formulas used with permission from Original MG T Series by Anders Clausager. Published by MBI Publishing Company 1-800-826-6600.

Note: The colors in this table are approximate. Due to the nature of each computer display and the limits of the color pallet of your system, there may be a large difference between these colors and the actual production colors.

Paint Formulas

Per Dave Hill, who acquired an original ICI Belco 300 series colour swatch for BMC production colours 1954 - 61. The swatch is in fairly good condition with some minor cracking of the painted surfaces, no shading, and is complete. There are well over 100 colour samples, each having the name, reference number and colour recipe on the reverse. The colour recipes are familiar to me as I worked with many of the indicated pigments and colour matching of automotive colours back in the early 1970s. The pigments appear to be mostly lead chromates, toners, phthalo blue and green, some metal oxides, and a few others.

The following table is provided by Dave. Click the underlined color name for a color chip.

Emgee Red P030- 9448
Crimson P030-9921 65%
Scarlet P030-9920 26%
White P020-9929 5%
Black P030-9901 4%
Autumn Red P030-2145
Garnet Maroon P030-9923 47%
Crimson P030-9921 45%
Black P030-9901 4%
Maroon P030-9922 4%
Almond Green P030-3483
White P030-9929 35%
Black P030-9901 26%
Yellow Oxide P030-9911 21%
Monastral Green P030-9905 18%
Birch Grey P030-2507
White P030-9929 78%
Black P030-9901 13%
Reduced Monastral Green P062-9905 5%
Yellow Oxide P030-9911 4%
Ivory P030-2700
White P030-9929 92%
Yellow Oxide P9911 4%
Reduced Black P062-9901 4%
(Trace of Reduced Fast Green P062-9940 if required)

All would have been dispersed in paint resin, diluents, solvents, etc. Reduced versions are simply diluted so that its easier to add a small amount for tinting.

Miscellaneous Colors

This table provides colors for the non body components of the MGTF.

Note: Many of the colors in this table are approximate and not absolute. But then again, even in the production of the MGTF none of the colors were absolute either, so these are all reasonable choices.

Manufacture Chassis Engine / Transmission² Hood Sidecurtain Frame Instrument Panel (metallic)2 Tecalemit Oil Filter (metallic) Purolator Oil Filter (metallic) Dash Red Dash Green Dash Tan3 Valve Cover4 Optional Valve Cover (metallic)4 Wheels (metallic)


Dupont 99¹ 57597H   5177LH 5386D 43094L       42702   5580 or 5023
Ditzler/PPG 9000 50930 27649 2160 2482         44794 908226 2593
R&M A946


  M63-64 FM130           RM1989 RM1819
BASF       C3M MM249.335     CM2 4433          

The dash colors were created from samples provided by Rod Brayshaw of NZ. The colors match against a computer monitor but look brighter on a painted surface.

¹ The original finish on the chassis parts was a semi gloss enamel.

² Close engine and instrument panel (220-530) paint colors can be obtained from such suppliers as Moss Motors. The MGTF hood and side curtain frames were not the same color as the MGTD's.

3 Note that the green dash color had quite an amount of blue in it.

4 The color of the valve cover is controversial. Generally it is most widely accepted to be the same as the wheels, a metallic gray. Other evidence suggests that it is a pale green/gray non metallic as shown. This is the same color that early TC engines and firewalls were painted. I like to use a metallic soft green/gray paint which is a good compromise and believed by some to be correct also. This is also an acceptable color for the Purolator filter canister although it was a bit darker in shade. There was a tendency to coat the valve color with clear paint, after repainting it silver, that often turned greenish. For this reason many feel that it was never greenish to begin with, but just silver. Al Moss (who serviced TF's when new) reports that the valve cover and wheels were originally painted with plain silver paint, non glossy. Similar to the finish you would get out of a spray can today.

5 Frank Cronin reports you should ask that Flop Control not be used to allow the new metallics to lay flat.

Sheet Metal Finishes


The following table describes the finishes on the sheet metal of the MGTF.

Item Color Comment
Fenders, hood, hood sides, front and rear splash aprons, running boards, firewall (scuttle), fuel tank, fuel tank straps, door hinges, engine inspection/access panels (vents) Body Color Both sides of these items were painted with the body color of the car. The exception would be the inside of the toolbox which was black covered by an off-white felt. Underside of tool box lid was black, top was body color. On most cars the inside lip of the toolbox was body color.
Inside of battery box Satin or semi gloss black On MGTF's the inside of the battery box was painted black.
Fuel tank sides Body Color Note that the fuel tank side panels had the edges chrome plated. The paint actually covered the rolled part of the edges.
Body bucket, doors, tool box lid (outside) Body Color Body color on exterior finishes, black on inside finishes. Note that the black paint was not glossy but a semigloss or satin finish. Used as a protective coating more than a shiny finish like the color coat. Note that on some ivory colored cars the inside of the panels were painted an off white color.

The underside of the toolbox lid was painted black and had the body number plate riveted on it. On some cars the entire inside of the toolbox was black (as though the lid was in place when the body color was applied). On other cars the inside of the toolbox was painted body color. On most cars the toolbox lid appeared to be painted while it was resting on the side curtain box as there are ghost images of its outline in the body paint color in some cars.
Dashboard Dash Color The underside of the scuttle (touching the top of the dash) was sprayed to match the dash. This was done before the dash was put in.
Toe plate (beneath scuttle), side curtain box, steering wheel column and steering wheel extruder plate, propeller shaft tunnel, gearbox cover and plate, rear cross brace assembly (behind seat), crank clips, inside of toolbox. Black  

Engine and Transmission


See the note on Gold Seal engines.

Item Color Comment
Engine block, head, tappet inspection cover, water outlet manifold, oil pan, timing chain cover, cradle, bearer plate, transmission housing and cover, bell housing, oil pump housing, main pulley, water pump, fan blade spacer, water branch pipe, throttle return spring bracket, front motor mount bracket Engine Red This color was similar to MG red but a little darker.
Breather pipe and clamp Engine Red  
Inlet manifold Engine Red Some cars may have had this painted black.
Exhaust manifold, manifold clamps Aluminized This is a spray of liquid aluminum that gives the appearance of a white, softly textured surface. Very hard to keep clean.
Engine stabilizer and bracket Black Some like to cad plate the nuts and expander but they were all black.
Valve cover Light Gray-Green See comments above
Oil canister - (Tecalemit) Part number I62451 Bronze A slightly darker color than the instrument cluster/steering wheel center color.
Oil canister - (Purolator) Part number I62429 Light Silver-Green Used on some later cars. Noted by the large attaching bolt and capped plate at rear of the filter. They had no identifying plate as on the Tecalemit filters, but were decorated with a decal naming the company and listing the maintenance procedures.
Air cleaner, starter, generator body, fan blades Black  
Thermostat body, air cleaner breather pipe Engine Red  
Generator fan/pulley/front plate, distance piece Engine Red Most believe these to be red but some claim they were black.
Engine block drain, oil drain, engine ID plate Natural Brass Some paint this the engine color. The ID plate should be left natural but on original cars the drains were most likely painted red.
Oil line - block to head Engine Red Many like to leave the entire pipe or the brass ends natural. Most likely all red from factory.
Carburetor parts: choke coupler, jet links, springs, couplings, anchor clips Black Note that some of these parts were blued and not painted black. Bluing is a metal treatment that has a black, transparent type of look to it. It is very common on firearms.
Most carburetor parts (see exceptions elsewhere), transmission dipstick cover wing nut, carburetor overflow lines, generator lubricator, tachometer reduction gearbox, crank handle, distributor body, oil pressure gauge line and brass coupling on firewall Natural Many like to polish these unfinished parts for an enriched look.
Carburetors, fuel pump base sections Natural Aluminium Polishing these items makes for a very nice effect but was not originally done. If you do polish these parts it is recommend that you spray the carburetor body with a clear sealer because it will be impossible to keep the polish up after the carburetor is assembled.
Fuel pump and carburetor fittings Natural Brass parts left natural. Again polishing and coating with a clear paint will preserve the shine of these parts.
Exhaust pipe bracket, clamp and spacer on transmission Black  
Gearbox remote linkage Natural  



Item Color Comment
Frame, suspension parts, rear end, brake drums, brake lines, springs, shocks and all chassis parts. Satin or semi gloss black Note most people prefer to use a high gloss paint for all the chassis parts in current restorations because of its look and durability.
Rear axle Black On some cars there is a TF stenciled in yellow or white on the rear end visibile from the rear of the car.
Radiator, lower panel of radiator/grille assembly Black It is not recommended to finish the radiator fins with a heavy based enamel. Optionally you may first paint the fins with a heat based (exhaust type) flat black finish and then paint the rest of the radiator with a high gloss finish. The original was painted with a very thin coat of satin gloss black paint.
Shock absorbers Black Some late TD's with Armstrong shocks were left unpainted for the body with the shock arms painted black. Perhaps same on TF's.
Wheels Silver Al Moss reports that the valve cover and wheels were originally painted with plain silver paint, non glossy. Similar to the finish you would get out of a spray can today.
Note that there were two types of wire wheels for the TF. Early wheels had a shallow more pointed flange. Later wheels had a larger, rounder flange as found on the MGA.
Exhaust pipes, exhaust pipe brackets Black Most today paint the exhaust system with modern heat paint. Originally painted with chassis paint which undoubtedly burnt off in days.



Item Color Comment
Floorboards Black Made of mahogany plywood.
Battery box underliner Black Made of mahogany plywood.
Wooden panel behind fuel tank Black  
Body timbers Black  

Note: All woodwork with the exception of the firewall mounting frame was painted black. This was often oversprayed when the body was painted.



Item Color/Material Comment
Seat tops and outside bottoms, seat back face, top of map pocket, top of door piping Leather Died to match vinyl cloth interior. Used where wear and tear would be a factor.
All door panels, kick panels, seat backs and rears, boot area, padded dash rail Vinyl Cloth (Rexine) Slightly textured precursor to vinyl. Note that the wheel wells were padded with a thin felt. Also the inside of the side curtain box was lightly padded.

Also to note that the piping from the rear at the hood tack strip, down under the doors and to the edge of the dash where the padded rail starts, was all one piece. This material was similar to the piping used on the fenders. At the location of the door strikers the piping was opened up and the spline was removed to allow clearance for the door striker. The striker underplates had holes in them to allow for tacking the piping in place.

On many cars the hidem that was used to hide the tacks on the panels was in one piece. This means that the panels were put in place at one time as the hidem continued from one panel to the next. This is especially evident from the front kick panel to the door sill panel.
Dash underpanel Black Panel was made of hard fiberboard (similar to cardboard and painted black).
Glovebox Interior Vinyl Cloth (Rexine) matched interior color
Tonneau cover, top, side curtains Tan Canvas Similar to light tent material. Side curtain windows were made of celluloid and yellowed immediately. Side curtain nuts were painted tan.
Toolbox Off-white woolen felt More of a natural fleece color.
Side curtain box Black woolen felt  
Gear lever gaiter Leather black leather
Steering column excluder Tan leather  
Carpets Black short hair wool (Karvel) See the detailed section on carpets.

Brightwork and Chrome


Item Color Comment
Headlamp rings, headlamp ring retaining screw Chrome  
Radiator hose clamps, air cleaner clamps, air cleaner bolts, steering excluder clamp, turn signal relay and flasher, radiator cap Cadmium Zinc plating is often used as a substitute for Cadmium today.
Body plate, MG Car Co. plate, patent plate Nickel Silver Note that etched writing or background on nickeled items were painted black. Plates were made of brass.

Plates held in place with brass round headed slotted screws with square nuts. The body plate was secured with aluminium rivets.
Oil cap and knob Nickel Silver or Cad Some cars show the oil cap body as cadmium platted with the knob nickel plated. The chain was cadmium plated.
Transmission dipstick, engine dipstick Chrome Some like to paint the background of the MG Logo red or black.
Hub caps, knockoffs Chrome See note on hub cap medallions
Hub cap medallions Polished Background painted red.
Radiator shell, nose, hood strips on sides, hood releases, false radiator cap Chrome  
Radiator slats, running board strips Chrome  
Radiator medallion Chrome Black MG on white background.
Fuel tank filler cap, bonnet hinge strip, dipper switch Polished Polished stainless steel
Fuel tank filler cap lever, fuel tank strap receivers, fuel tank strap nuts, marker light screws, windscreen screws and nuts Chrome  
Splash pan x-screws and washers front and rear Chrome  
Bumpers, overriders, door knobs, door latches, side curtain clamps, side curtain nuts in door tops, side lamps, windscreen parts and brackets, rear view mirror, tail lamp rings and bodies, rear license plate lamp cover, fuel tank side nuts and washers, dashboard facia edging, snaps and studs, side curtain strips, emergency brake handle and release button, gear shift lever, passenger grab handle Chrome  
Steering wheel medallion ring, lamp bezels, gauge bezels, starter and choke knob bases, steering column expandable cover Chrome  
Fuel tank sides Chrome The inside of the fuel tank sides were painted the body color with exposed edges in chrome
Tach cable, speedo cable, choke cable, starter cable, emergency brake cables, water temperature retainers on stabilizer rods, bonnet latches (inside), seat runners, fuel lines (braided), wire harness retainer straps on rear frame tube, lug nuts, front wheel grease cap, starter switch Cadmium  
Door threshold plates, running board strips Polished Many like to use the "MG Car Company" threshold plates which were not original to TF's but to MGTA's. TF's had plain threshold plates.

The threshold plates were held in place by slotted flat headed woodscrews. Some may have been brass.



Item Color Comment
Firewall bolts, wood frame and caulking Body Color While most of the car was painted in pieces prior to assembly, there were a few exceptions. In some cases items were assembled and then overpainted with a color coat while others had bolts and fasteners hand painted after assembly. The firewall and body bucket were painted as an assembly which meant that the firewall bolts were painted the body color.
Crank, crank clips, front license plate brackets, front license plate and clips, starter cable bracket on firewall, horns and brackets, passenger foot ramp, accelerator peddle assembly, fuel pump body, headlamp buckets, battery bracket and "J" bolts Black Crank handle was brass
Rear license plate brackets, rear license plate lamp base Black  
Fuel tank brackets and bolts Black Rubber not painted.
Side curtain frames, top frame, side curtain nuts on frames Tan More like a pink-grey-fawn color.
Spare tire carrier Body Color  
Fuel line Black This was part of the chassis assembly and got painted black. Many today polish this with copper polish for a nice effect.
Hood side panel bracket Black Connects to welded tabs on hood side panels
Steering wheel center, steering wheel cap, and instrument panel Bronze  
Fuel tank strap bolt heads and washers, tonneau bars, side curtain box hinges and bolts Interior color Painted to match interior color. Note on biscuit interiors the paint may be the same as the hood frame.
Door checks Body Color Many have these chrome or cad plated as they scratch so easily
Water temperature tubing Black May have been treated to look black rather than painted.
Windscreen wiper motor cover Black Wrinkle Paint Shaft was natural. Oil galleries and screws were natural (cad).
Windscreen "D" washer and locknut (under Acorn nut) Polished Brass  
Grease gun body Blueing Same type of finish found on firearms
Tools Black  
Wiring Harness Black Black with two thread yellow tracer.

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