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MG TD TF 1500 - 51' TD stored since 1965

Hello, I am a new member here (and very new to MG's). My father in law is giving me his 51 MG TD. It's been stored in a garage since 1965 and has not run or seen the light of day since. I am told he has turned the crank periodically to prevent seizing. It looks complete to me and is in original well used condition and is in need of a restoration. The metal is very solid with no rust or rot, I have not had a chance to inspect the wood yet. I am not foreign to restorations as I have just completed a full rotiserie resto on a 69 Dodge Superbee. However, I am out of my comfort zone with MG's. Although, It is a cool little car.

I was thinking about getting it running, driving and stopping as a start to really assess how much work the car needs. Not sure the best places to source parts for these cars, I have seen Moss Motors has an extensive catalog. My first project was going to remove the fuel tank, give it a proper cleaning and install new fuel lines.

Any advice on tackling this restoration and / or common pitfalls to watch out for as well as any shortcuts would be much appreciated as I venture into this new project and attempt to revive this car from it's slumber. I will try and get some detail pictures posted.

DF Folan

While you are replacing the fuel lines I would also replace the probable 58 year old brake lines. Moss has them for about $80. These cars have a single reservoir system, one leak and no brakes except for emergency brake! The suspension rubber bushings will probably also be bad. The lever shocks will at least need the hydrolic oil refilled. The points in the fuel pump will probably need to be cleaned. Hope this helps and have a good day!

John Progess


Assistance may be closer than you think. There are a couple of us located right in Massachusetts. In the past couple of years I did a complete overhaul of my brake system, fuel tank, and fuel lines and wrote up my work in detail.

Contact me directly by e-mail for more information...and welcome!

Lancaster, MA
Larry Shoer

DF Folan,

Cars are original only once, I agree with your desire to make it run and stop, and then evaluate.

From a pitfalls standpoint, it is possible to go too glossy on the paints used, try satin finish for the chassis.

The replacement interiors from Moss (Seats and Panels) are excellent. Their weather equipment kits are very good too.

Replacing the wood in a car is a major challenge, but if you do, you can do the doors first, make them fit the current opening in the tub, and then do the tub to fit the doors.

Your current fuel line is probably good, running carb cleaner and compressed air is all it probably needs.

Take a look at Dave DuBois website on fuel pumps, it will save you some problems.

The brakes are two leading shoes in the front, one leading and one trailing in the rear. It is possible to assemble the front cylinders upside down and end up with two trailing shoes in the front. If you do, the car will not brake well! Also, the front brake back plates are handed left and right so the brake lines will clear the steering arms.

You may want to visit my website it look over the restoration of my TD.

warm regards, and welcome to the BBS,
Dave Braun

Take lots of pictures along the way. Brakes: replace master, wheel cylinders, and rubber hoses, hub seals. The price of the wheel cylinders has dropped recently. White Post restorations will sleeve and rebuild your master for less than a new one with "lifetime" guarantee. If you can clean the main copper fuel line, no need to clean, just replace the ones between the pump-carb, and carb-carb. Likely the carb seals will be rotted and gas will run out, etc. Change all lubricants, radiator hoses, take the thermostat out and check it, as it is likely a mass of congealed corrosion. The guys here on the board have been doing these cars for years and we will be glad to help you. Abingdon Spares is another excellent parts source. The owner (Bob Seymore) is usually available, they have some used parts, rebuilt and odd items that Moss doesn't carry. Welcome! George
George Butz

onebadbee -- When you get to where you want to try to start the engine, as mentioned above you will want to clean the points in the fuel pump. You will also have to do the same with the points in the distributor. The metal used for the electrical contacts when these cars were built has a tendancy to get an insulating film when they are not used for a long time and they don't make an electrical connection.

For other electrical problems shoot me an email. I'm not that far away.

R. K. Jeffers

Din't paint or do engine till last. Your run, stop and evuate is perfect. Rolling restoration till engine and paint is best
Ellis Carlton

I'm in Plymouth, MA and would be happy to offer any assistance.
Bud Krueger
Bud Krueger

DF Folan,

I am also in Mass, (West Brookfield), and have recently restored a TD. I would also be happy to assist as I can! If I am close, let me know and we can talk.
David Bouchard

DF - I think before you do much of anything to the car a great service to the TD community would be to give it a good cleaning, and then photograph the daylights out of every square inch of the car. You've likely got one of the most unmolested TD's in existence. There are numerous issues that come up on authenticity, and some reference photo's of your car could help in figurung various issues out.

Just my $0.02 worth.
Stan Griffis

Stan, very, very good idea!! DF, defintitly do this, and include all the nooks and crannys underhood, etc. A HS classmate of mine had a copper-colored Super-Bee- think it had a 383 in it or something? George
George Butz

My car was a barn find just like yours. It had 62 plates on it. I started piecemeal work on it but ending up doing a complete overhaul. It was a wonderfur experience. My son was 15 an eager to learn about cars. These machines are so basic that getting the engineering concepts was a snap. If you find that multiple systems need work, don't hesitate to unscrew the floors and the panels and pull the engine. Once I had the parts rebuilt, it took only about less than 10 hours to reassemble the whole car. Because the car is small it is often hard to reach areas. Disassembly and going through each part as it is exposed is often easier than working on it piecemeal.
N. Oakley

All, thanks for all this great information to get me started. As I have done with all my resto's, I will definitely take hundreds of detailed pictures and share them with all of you on this board. It does appear to be mostly unmolested, but you all would know far better than me. As I get into this project, I will certainley be tapping you all as an expert knowledge base. I am located in Norfolk Mass, and will get in touch with the Mass locals directly as soon as the project gets up here from CT.

Thanks again to all who shared!
Look for some pictures soon
DF Folan

This thread was discussed between 26/08/2009 and 17/09/2009

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