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MG TD TF 1500 - CKD Information Sought

I'm interested in learning more about CKD T-series cars - Complete, Knocked Down. So much of this information is anecdotal, that I would like to know what can be proven, and what only surmised. Cars were ordered as CKD because it was possible to avoid onerous taxes on complete vehicles by sending them as virtual kits, to be assembled in remote outposts like Australia and Holland. (What other destinations can be documented?)

I have quickly gone through the Production Records, and find that 8 TA's, 84 TC's, 422 TD's and 75 TF's left the factory as CKD cars (I know this number differs from other given).
I have studied the Molenaar films that show Morris Minor cars shipped as CKD vehicles being assembled (search on Youtube for "Molinaar Morris Minor"), and see that the entire vehicles came disassembled: all interior and exterior body panels came as individual pieces, requiring much welding, fitting and assembly. Bare chassis were supplied, and literally EVERYTHING had to be attached to them. I can only assume that T-series cars came a bit more assembled than these Morris Minors, but how much?

I have seen two photographs of crated T-series cars suggested to be CKD vehicles, but looking awfully shiny, assembled with complete tub and all body parts attached, but apparently lacking windscreen and tires. To my way of thinking, a vehicle in that form would hardly qualify for any tax advantage, so I do not believe those images are of CKD vehicles. They may well be vehicles dispatched to far-off places like Australia, requiring extra care, perhaps to fit into a ship's hold designed for crates rather than cars. (I have also seen the Pathe films of complete cars in slings being loaded onto ships to America.)

The Production Records show one interesting thing: while TA cars listed as CKD had engine numbers supplied when dispatched, not a single TC, TD or TF CKD car has an engine number given in the record. I believe this makes clear that those cars were shipped without engines (to avoid taxes), and that batches of engines were kept separate. Only when the cars were finally destination-assembled would an engine be selected from the supplies, inserted into a chassis, and the engine number stamped onto the Guarantee plate. One way to prove this would be to examine Guarantee plates for CKD vehicles, and study whether the engine-number stampings appear factory or not - the difference should be obvious.

I would welcome all comments on CKD cars, and to try to learn all that can be learned, separating the wheat from the chaff.

Tom Lange
MGT Repair
t lange

CKD was the go in Ireland I believe, taxes were the reason. I believe Ts went to Australia complete, most MGBs were CKD down under from my understanding.

You would be surprised what you can get away with, company I was with shipped an aircraft tug with no wheels/seats to India as parts for said model of tug.

The next ship had the wheels/seat and a few other parts that had been removed as parts for said model of tug.

Taxes were a lot lower on parts, even though India did not have an industry producing tugs to protect.
P G Gilvarry

I think one of the goals of CKD was to employ local labor, a tax break facilitated that. I recall visiting Liberty Motors outside Manila in the early 70s and they were assembling Leyland trucks, Land Rovers and other BL products in their facility.
Recently I have read that the Chinese made MGs are now being sent to the UK CKD for assembly. Some things come full circle!
John Quilter (TD8986)

This is an interesting topic which needs a lot more research (and documents).
We took many pre war MG's as body-less imports to save a large tax on complete cars. The effect of this was to support local body shops such as Holden (later General Motors Holden after the war).
I have not come across any post war CKD T types to Australia however we did have a requirement for Australian tyres to be fitted and in one of the Pathe films you can see RHD TD's on car transporters with black wheels. I suspect these were slave wheels which were swapped out on arrival in Australia for those fitted with Australian tyres?

Darryl Lamb of Ireland who often posts here has an Irish CKD TF.

There are also the German bodied TD's.

I am not sure why a few cars were crated, maybe to travel inland in some country like southern Africa? This would have added a large expense.


M Magilton

I don't believe that any TD/TF's were imported into Australia in a CKD condition ( I could stand to be correected). However this was not the case for MGA and some MGB's for the MGA I think were crated minus the wheels and maybe the engine and the upholstery then reassembled and painted at the Press Metal Corporation in Cosgrove Road,Enfield in Sydney.The assembly plant was later transferred to BMC at Zetland . I don't know as to when this occurred.
The Press Metal Corporation was formed after the war where a substantial amount of the holding was held by the local Austin Agent Larke Hoskins.
The importation of cars into Australia in CKD condition resulted in a lower import duty, well allowing some Australian content (assembly) to be added to the vehicle and in theory keeping the price down.
J Walton

The Australian owner of TD1253 claims the car was shipped to Australia in CKD condition. However The T Register database list an engine number for the car. The CKD cars I've seen on the T Register database do not have engine numbers. Here's what the owner of TD1253 says about the car. "Current color Ivory/red1950... shipped from England to AUS in a knocked down condition (CKD) and sent to the Pressed Metal Corporation, Cosgrove Road, Enfield. NSW for final assembly.
1950 1973... History unknown.
1973 1993...Stored in a garage in a dilapidated state of repair.
1993 2013...Stored in a different location in a completely disassembled state
2013 2016... Completely restored and awaiting registration. Current engine 22357." I don't have the name of the owner of the car.

Tim Burchfield

Tim, if the owner can show any paperwork for this then we would love to see it. P&R Williams were the importers for NSW for all the T types and their cars were delivered complete off the ships.
I did a quick search of "Pressed Metal Corporation" in the Australian newspaper archive on the Trove website and the company does not get any mention at all until 1956 and they did not start assembling MGA's until Oct 1957.

M Magilton

Thank you for chiming in, Matthew - this is EXACTLY the sort of information that helps separate anecdote from more concrete information.

Tom Lange
MGT Repair
t lange

Matthew, Tom. The lack of mention of a company isn't proof that a company didn't exist. Here is info from Wikipedia, "Pressed Metal Corporation (PMC) was established in the late 1930s as a joint venture between Larke Hoskins, the Austin agents for New South Wales,..."

Tim Burchfield

Hi Tim,
I think the record you have for car TD1253 needs amending for I think you are referring to my car.
Could you therefore please amend your information as follows.

Original engine number XPAG/TD/1285
Build date 3 May 1950
Notes TD1523 EXRU
Current colour Ivory/Red

Current engine number 22357 which I believe came from car number TD21917 with a build date of 12 November 1952 for the Nth.American market.

1950-1973 history unknown.
1973-1993 stored in a garage in a dilapidated state of repair.
1993-2013 stored in a different location in a completely disassembled state.
2013-2016 Completely restored and awaiting registration.
March 20 2016 registered in New South Wales as a historical vehicle.

When I received the car there was no way I could tell as to the original body colour however the upholstery was a dark green.

I visited the Pressed Metal Corporation as well as BMC at Zetland many times during the coarse of my position with Atlantic Oil then becoming Esso Oil as an Industrial lubrication engineer.
A friend of mine served his apprenticeship as a mechanic at the BMC Zetland plant. I will have a talk with him to see what he remembers all being known he started working at BMC in the early 1960's.

Appreciate it Tim if you could amend my details in line with the above information.

John ..Sydney
J Walton

John, the information for TD1523 is already entered correctly showing you as the owner. The information for TD1253 came from a database compiled by someone else. I've changed the information for TD1253. thanks for the corrections. I'll send you a copy of the database for your perusal.


Tim Burchfield

Tom, Dick Knudson may have some insight, or steer you in to the right path. Have you asked him?
D. Sander

Tom, I have TC 7801 (1949)as well as my 2 TD's. During some talk on this forum last year, Matthew said, if I recall correctly, that 5 TC's were shipped to Australia in 1949 with serial numbers surrounding mine. I think he also said that sometimes they were shipped in batches of 6 cars. If that is the case, mine would be in the middle and the missing car. Do your production records show this and if so was it a CKD car? I am really curious. Thanks, Mark
Mark Strang

Mark - TC7801 does not show up as a CKD car. I have these as the only 84 CKD TC cars:

I am impressed at the knowledge that locals have of the histories of their cars, and am sure that Matthew has very sound information on his figures and destinations - sadly, I have no destination information at all.

One indication that a car was a CDK car is that the Guarantee plate will be stamped with the engine number in a very different and larger font that the chassis number. The chassis number would have been assigned and stamped on the Guarantee plate at the UK factory, but the engine would have been shipped separately, and randomly mated with a car as part of the construction in whatever remote corner of the world. The "local" punches are demonstrably different from factory punches. Many thanks to Robin Barker for confirming that fact with many images of CKD and non-CKD Guarantee plates.

Hope this helps.

Tom Lange
MGT Repair
t lange

Tim, my bad, it was only a quick search. Seems the company was also known as Pressed Steel Corporation according to the papers before 1956 which is why I missed it.

Mark, yes there are several Aussie TC's surrounding yours. Shipping batches to Australia were of various sizes though.

Did Darryl Lamb post a picture of his plate?

M Magilton

Matt. Pressed Steel was part of BMC. My father worked for both at Cowley, Oxford during his working life nd it was all considered part of continuous service. The name Pressed Steel continued over here well after 1956, and up to the end of BL I should think.
Dave H
Dave Hill

Dave, when did the name change to Pressed Metal? Or were they somehow interchangeable?
M Magilton

It appears that the Pressed Metal Corporation of Australia had in the early days no connection with Pressed Steel in UK.

The following is an extract from Wikipedia.

The Pressed Metal Corporation (PMC) was established in the late 1930s as a joint venture between Larke Hoskins, the Austin agents for New South Wales, and affiliated company Larke, Neave & Carter, the Chrysler distributor in that state. It was created to build motor bodies, at a 22-acre site in the Sydney suburb of Enfield.PMC subsequently assembled various Austin cars and commercial vehicles, however, following the creation of BMC Australia in 1954, much of the assembly of Austin vehicles was taken over by Austin Distributors in Melbourne.

J Walton

For the record, my TD was built in Durban, South Africa by a company called Motor Assemblies. It has a normal engine number. The Abingdon body type/number plate was left blank. Instead it has an extra Motor Assemblies plate giving the number TD 51.
Tim Wilkinson

Good info Tim. So there were at least 51 CKD or bodyless TD's sent to SA? Do you know in what form it arrived?

M Magilton

There were quite a few more. According to figures produced by George Dehlen in Sourh Africa, there were 345 CKD imports of TDs there in 1950/51, plus two assembled cars (and 146 to the then Rhodesia). See
I don't know in what form exactly the CKD kits were shipped, but local content could have included at least paint, glass, tyres, batteries and interior trim. Tom Lange concludes that the engines were shipped separately and I agree.
My car was originally a pale blue green colour (maybe Almond Green) with dark green (Apple Green?) interior trim which I don't think was an Abingdon combination.
You can find more information on Motor Assemblies on the web.
Tim Wilkinson

wedding using wedding cars sevenoaksbr>
Only just seeing this post for the first time.

Yes Matthew is right our 54 TF is one of only 7 cars delivered to Ireland in kit form to avoid taxes.
This was very prevelent in Ireland at the time with other makes Jaguars etc being put together at other locations.

Our TF was assembled by a company called Booth Brothers in Island bridge in Dublin. There is a seperate Badge beside the MG badge on the firewall to this affect. I am assuming the number 187 on the badge relates to the total number of cars they assembled in a period and not the number of TFS of which I believe there were only 7 in total.

Below are some notes I made at the time about CKD cars:

Production 6200 TF 1250s & 3400 TF 1500s

My Registration No. ZU9424
Car No. HDH55/2913
HD = stands for MG 2 seater
H55 = ?

MG not built in Abingdon, it was made from a CKD kit (completely knocked down) and assembled by Booth Brothers Dublin.
Hence differences on the identity plate on CKD cars
Apparently Booth Brothers received TFs in Primer with the VI plate stamped HDH55
D=2 seater sports
H=Primer (colour)
5=Primer (paint type)

What does the term CKD mean?CKD - "completely knocked down". A term used to describe cars that were exported in kit form to be assembled "in country". This was sometimes used to claim that the cars were manufactured locally to get by import tax situations. Cars were finished in primer only. To get an idea how CKD cars were utilized check out this web site about the

Darryl Lamb

Excellent info Darryl.

M Magilton

This thread was discussed between 09/06/2017 and 17/06/2017

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