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MG TD TF 1500 - Auction wrap up

I thought I should give a final chapter to the adventure.

I looked at every car at Barrett Jackson and Russo and Steele but of course my interest was particularly in the T type cars for auction. These are my observations...

The TD at Barrett Jackson...

Nice car..presents well..however..the paint was as shows in the photo slightly off color between the bonnet and the rest of the car. Nothing really spectacular about the documentation as to what was done to the restoration. Listed as a 53 but in reality it's a 52. Wrong colored piping but to each their own. I did not check the door operation on this car or any others so I can't comment about the wood condition. This car sold Thursday for $88,000..including commission which I believe is 10 percent. This same car sold ( by Barrett Jackson) in September in Las Vegas for $29,000 Make your own conclusions.

The TF at BJ.. again a nice car but nothing spectacualar. The shade of red was a bit to much pink in my estimation and would have put me off. This car sold for $ 35,200 again with commission added.

Next car sold was my TD Friday at Russo and Steele
The I had the car detailed before I took it down and the paint showed no swirl what so ever. Presented very well I thought and was presented with a full list of the exstensive work done. Bidding stopped at $26,000 grand at which time I declined to remove the reserve and was prepared to bring the car home.
They phoned the next day by which time I was deep into a case of the flu and I accepted 25 grand to me for the car...I still don't what they listed as a sale price. I think somebody got a hell of a deal but realistically it's about what I think a nice TD should be at. I had hoped for more but I'm happy the car is gone.

Next at Russo was what I would best describe as a real beater TD. Bad paint home made vinyl interior including seat covers and everything well worn, no tach cable and just about every item you could see was fixed with whatever was on hand...pretty ugly car. Sold for $20,900 including commission. I think the seller did very very well.

Next at Russo was a Clipper blue TD..listed as a 52..but was actually a 51. Nice car with an older restoration. Tried to open the glove box and the knob came off in my hand....uggh. Exhaust pipe had a big kink on the top side just below the exhaust manifold ??? again no documentation on the car.
Sold for $31,900... Hmmmm

At Gooding they sold a TF which I have only seen in pictures. Nice black finish, with red interior. Missing the piping between the bonnet sides and the grille, obvious wire wheel conversion with a wrong type knock off on the spare. Looks as if it might have Alfins engine shots. And again no real documentation. Sold for $88,000

Shellby's TC Sold for 380 grand in 2008..went for 500 grand at BJ.

I really don't know what to say....draw your own conclusions
MG LaVerne


MG LaVerne

It is puzzling. Can't make any sense of the $ 88,000 car. Maybe it's a wink and a nod kind of deal between buyer and seller for other considerations aside from the car.
As for the others that sold for more than yours - ?????
$ 25,000 for your TD is about what I figured the bottom to be. Closer to $ 30,000 is what I expected.
The auction world is just too weird.

Bobby Galvez

Welcome to the car auction business. Did it for three years.

Has to be the lowest time in my life and would say that I have never met a more sleazy group of people before, both buyers and sellers.

And then there was the cars. Many were complete fakes or had such serious flaws you would not believe. Did not make any difference to anybody.

As was pointed out before its mostly boys-will-be-boys and one upmenship. Also its a pyramid scheme.

Be happy you escaped unscathed.
Christopher Couper

It would seem to me that the big auction houses are best left to the dealers and insiders while people off the street are really at a disadvantage. I had a TD for sale in NY back in 2005, Carini called and tried to buy it on the cheap which I refused. Ultimately sold through a private sale in your price range. My best estimate is there was 35K in the car not counting my time for the complete restoration. Not sure what the answer is but in any case sellers beware....For buyers it could be worse..
R Brown

Chris, can you elaborate a bit on how it's a "pyramid scheme" and how these amazing prices get paid when obvious real cars like LaVerne's don't get those prices? Should I decide to auction mine someday I would like to know how this "really" works! So would others here I am sure.
efh Haskell

The pyramid scheme is where your car is constantly being traded up. First guy buys it and then sells it to the next guy who overpays. That person has to find another sucker to overpay and on it goes.

We even saw people put in fake sales histories to make one car look better than it should. And now that we have TD's and TF's pushing $100k the cats out of the bag.

Sure some cars like the Shelby and MM cars get sold because of who owned it before, but every other car gets sold because somebody thinks they are getting something special too or a better deal than other people are smart enough to understand. Hence everybody invents some stupid story about their car.

These crazy TV shows don't help either. Everybody is on a get rich quick scheme. Flip cars as fast as you can and never look back.
Christopher Couper

I don't no, I'll get flamed for this but:
1: it's an auction pay/ bid what YOU think the car is worth to you.
2: if I have 100,000 in a restoration it doesn't mean the car is worth that.
3: IMHO a real nice show condition, correct TD is today probably going to bring 20,00-25,000 but then again it depends on where you are selling and who is buying
4: when I restore a car (hobby) I don't count my own time cause I do it cause I like it...not necessarily to make a profit, which I probably never could if I did anyway.
5: so, don't happy! Life is good!

Brian W.

Well Brian, if anyone flames you it won't be me. I totally agree. I'm amazed that people will put huge amounts of money into restorations, way beyond the value of the car when they're done. I don't get it. when I do some kind of restoration, one of my rules is to make it at least approximately cost effective. I put a total of about $20K into my TD, including the purchase, tax, license and so on, and at this point it's worth probably around that same amount. My time is worth nothing in all this; I view it as recreation that, in the long run, didn't cost anything.

Yeah, life is indeed good. Dang straight!!
S Maas

For those curious like me here is where the car was before BJ.

JWP Policastro

Four years ago I put a 1953 MG TD MKII in the Russo & Steele auction. This is a fully restored MG with 57, 000 original miles. The bid reached 423K and the auctioneer stopped with another guy on the floor pushing me to cancel the reserve. Wrongly or rightly I did. Hemmings later reviewed the car in their magazine calling it "less crisp" whatever that means. There is something questionable about the MG TD sold at Barrett Jackson for $88K when Hemmings puts a value of $18K on these cars. The owner claimed to have spent $30K in restoration.
Ralph Cacace

$423K ???
efh Haskell

Just in case someone has an extra $423K lying around...There are currently 7 cars in my garage.
You can have all 7 for $423K.
I can send pictures if interested ...and none of them are stolen! LOL

Free delivery in the US.
David Sheward 55 TF1500 # 7427

I think that 4 was a lower-case $, in other words the price was $23K.
Gene Gillam

Gene ...pretty sure you are right, but a guy can dream!
David Sheward 55 TF1500 # 7427

Is that 423 kilo's? :-) I do live in Colorado :-)
MG LaVerne

Smoke me some LaVerne! Or should I meet you at a GOF somewhere?
Gene Gillam

Did Shelby actually own a TC or was it on loan from a friend !??

Rob Grantham

In 1952 Carroll Shelby drove his friend's (Ed Wilkins) MG TC (the auction car) in a race in Norman, Oklahoma and won. He had no road racing experience. So no, he did not own the TC.
L Karpman

Somebody needs to find this TD. IF both JFK and Jackie sat in it then it must be worth at least $500k

Christopher Couper

Well, I only hope that the people who are swapping cars at auctions at tremendous prices are having an IRS 1099 for capital gains submitted on them as do real estate sales. Otherwise, a huge tax loophole for the players in this activity.
John Quilter (TD8986)


If just under $500,000 was achieved for a TC with pre war running gear, then I would rate the TD depicted by association as at least a million dollar proposition!!?

Keep smiling.

Rob Grantham

That is an interesting photo Chris. What does the caption say, I cant read it.

This would be an interesting thing to investigate. Wonder if the Kennedy Library could shed any light on it.
Bruce Cunha

That photo was taken in September of 1953. The Kennedys were on their honeymoon in Acapulco, Mexico. The car was probably a Mexican rental. Given that, no telling where it could be or if it even still exists. The photo is in the JFK presidential library. PJ
Paul S Jennings

Bruce, the caption is in Greek, so I can't read it, however I think this came from a Greek 'fan' type magazine of the period. The photo was taken in late September 1953 in Acapulco, Mexico, on their honeymoon. It has been said that the car was a 'rental' car, but that's not been proven to my knowledge. It's entirely possible that the car belonged to a local family friend or diplomat and was loaned to the Kennedy's for the term of their visit to Mexico.

For those who read Greek, perhaps you can translate the caption?

Kevin McLemore

Supposedly reads,

A honeymoon picture of "Jack" and "Jackie" in Acapulco.
Paul S Jennings

It reads:
"A few days after their wedding using wedding cars sevenoaks in September 1953 the bridal couple Jack & Jackie left for a month to honeymoon in the beautiful Acapulco."
David Sheward 55 TF1500 # 7427

Well, It's all Greek to me. LOL
Paul S Jennings

millionaires showing off for one another. That's all.
M. Andrus

Laverne: I'm surprised that your beautifully detailed TD didn't go for more. That was a good buy and the purchaser is lucky you pulled your reserve. I can't fathom the high prices paid for some of the other cars: TC/TD prices vary a lot by region (compare say the UK and the US)... but that makes some kind of sense. How can they vary so widely at one point of sale? Are the Ts common enough to sort-of restore without blowing the budget, but just rare enough so that a someone can sell the sizzle not the steak? Anyway I kept pictures of your car ... it's a model for me of honest restoration.
Peter (Green late '51 TD...)
Peter Pope

This thread was discussed between 22/01/2015 and 28/01/2015

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