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MG TD TF 1500 - barn find sort of.

Hi everyone, I have never posted here. I usually post on the MGA forum. But I am looking for some feedback. I posted this on the MGA forum too.

I met a retired gent with a 1954 unrestored, all original mgtf that was unfortunately left unattended and clearly at times uncovered. It has been in storage inside until most recently. This TF was last driven in 1965. It has just over 50,000 miles original. Looks to have had a valve problem to first lay it up. The head is off and the motor has been exposed. There is rust on the tops of the pistons and the motor in all likelihood is seized. It's a 1250 motor. Anyway, on a rough inspection there is very minor surface rust in a few places. The original black paint looks like it would come back with some elbow grease and TLC. No dents or major dings. The upholstery is still intact but with rips and damage evident by the elements. Critters have nested in the engine bay. The steering wheel has lost all of its bakelite (?). It has old bias ply tyres 5.50 15s on wire wheels. The bumpers are in great shape but would need rechroming. Much of the chrome would need replating showing signs of corrosion and such. It has the original Lucas headlamps. The owner bought it new in Germany and had it shipped home. He is the origial owner. It has a builder's tag from Frankfurt and I am asuming it was a knocked down version sent over from England. (Did they do that to cars sent to Germany?) Perhaps this builder's tag is like a dealer tag. I don't know. So, what should I offer for a relic like this? Assuming as I am that the wood and the frame are in good condition and will need nothing. It really looks like a cosmetic resto is all this car needs. Perhaps even saving the original paint and tatty interior as an unrestored example of this model. What do you guys think? What would you expect to get for this car if you owned it and wanted to sell. Not what you would want to pay for it. Thanks for your advice.
David Holmes

David Certainly less than 10K. The question is how much less. I think my first bid would be 5K. But I might be willing to go to 7.5K depending on the shape of the body and it's wood.

I have both a TD and a TF1500, both now restored. So I am aware of how much you will get invested before you are finished.

Good luck with your negotiations!
R. K. (Bob) Jeffers


Never go into a restoration of a T-type assuming that the wood is going to be's doubtful after 50+ years that all if it's going to be. It's probably safe to assume that the frame is going to be okay though and even if it's not, minor patch panels are going to be easy enough to fabricate and install.

As for saving it as an unrestored example...well, it won't be so why try to act like it is. You'll probably have to install a new wiring harness as well as a rebuilt engine, new steering wheel, tires, etc. Plus it had 56K miles before you bought it so other changes from the original have taken place.

I would probably offer up to $8K based on your description, less if I could get it for it. As for what I'd expect to get for it if it were mine? All I could....


Gene Gillam

Hi David,

Congratulations on the TF find. Rebuild the motor and clutch,check out the gearbox and radiator core ,stainless steel line all wheel cylinders and the master cylinder,renew rubber brake cups,crank your new found MG up,and just enjoy driving this amazing little English sports car !! If you are concerned about what the car would be worth at the end of the day,possibly T Type ownership may not suit you at this stage.The joys in owning these cars relate to the people you meet and the fun to be had.


Y'all are mighty generous. I think $3-5K would be about right. It has sat for over 40 years. Condition of the wood is unknown. Even a "cosmetic restoration" will be costly.

I gave $2K for mine (the rest of it was hanging from the rafters in the shed.

Carl Floyd

Your advice is really appreciated. The owner is not interested in selling yet. Has dreams of getting the car restored. This probably will not happen. I'll keep an eye on this car over the next few weeks and months. I agree that the condition of the wood and frame are unknown. I also agree that to think that keeping the car in an unrestored condition is folly. Your points are well taken. Thanks.
David Holmes

David -

You mentioned that the car had a Frankfurt manufacturer's plate. If that is the case - and it is not just a dealer plate, this may be one of the German fabricated cars - I know that the TSO had an article on a german produced TD - there were several interesting detail changes on the car. It was an MG - just one with some parts sourced locally and produced locally - it was not a one off car. This TF may be a similar type MG. Worth looking into. You said that the owner may want "to have the car restored." I would mention to him that most professional shops wouldn't contract with him for a total restoration for less than 40K-50K these days - parts and labor and paint and so forth. Maybe that will help him decide to let you save it.

I would check on that makers plate - can you post a picture. If it is a german built TF, I would imagine those would be few in number.
J Delk

Jeff, it is as you say, a German built car as claimed by the original owner. I'll see if I can get any pictures and post them. Thanks
David Holmes

Two dealers in Germany after the WW 2, one had a dealer badge which looks like a blue oval and the other a depiction of Koln cathedral.
Our car has the blue badge on right side of the bonnet, C. Odendahl, Frankfurt which was in the US Zone. The Koln badge was the dealer in the Brit zone.
Most of the cars built with custom German coachwork are usually TD's and are slightly different than the standard car and very rare.
Whats' the serial no.?
Price, just figure what it would cost to restore and what its value would be at the end.
If you have to have the work done on the outside, a frame up resto could cost you close to $40,000.
Colin Stafford

This is the Christian Odendahl, Frankfurt badge.
If it came from Germany and the buyer was in the service, he might have the original license plate which should say, "US Forces in Germany" like the orig one on our car.

Colin Stafford

Colin, the badge is similar and I do believe it is Odendahl. The layout is different though. I'll try to get a photo.
David Holmes

This thread was discussed between 09/07/2007 and 10/07/2007

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