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MG TD TF 1500 - Cuban TD

A friend just got back from a trip to Havana... he visited a little auto museum down some side street... here is one for us...(love the hub caps)... Wonder what its numbers are???
gblawson - TD#27667

Not sure about the turn signal but the bumper looks like it came from an early 50's GMC/Chevy pickup. Hub caps- modified inverted milk can lids? Remember those?
Some what suprised at a display of capitalistic transportation in Fidel land.


I read an article in one of the MG magazines a good few years ago. It went on to describe how the locals just could not get spares to keep their 1950's cars going -but they did have access to Russian automotive parts through the Castro relationship with the Kremlin.This resulted in all sorts of ingenuity to keep the cars going. Repair is the only option as new cars are an impossibility. The article dealt with a TD whose SU fuel pump had long since expired with no hope of a replacement. The enterprising owner had acqired a mechanical fuel pump from a Russian Lada, mounted it on the outside of the rocker cover,and, through a slot in the rocker cover, the pump was actuated via the movement of one rocker arm ! Result- fuel to the very worn, but complete SU carbs.
David Burgess

Nescessity is the mother of invention. I know a fellow here who always seems to be finacially challanged in a big way. Fuel pump quit on his late 70's Datsun pickup. No money but some ingenuity. Took the fuel tank and moved it to the roof of the truck and ran rubber fuel hose down through the fender to the carb. I've seen him pull a few other tricks to get by that I would have never dreamed of. You do what you have to do.

I recall an enthusiast with a B who had to make his own parts. I must find the link and post it. It does truly amaze me how ingenious they are. My father was born in Cuba and after a recent trip, he was saddened at how bad it has gotten there. It is a beautiful country. He had many cars pictures to show me.

I noticed the same thing on that car, bumpers lights.....

V.W. Piña

Notice the "tropical" cooling modification. He has removed every other grill slat ;>)

They look like Russian hubcaps !

Dallas Congleton

And a safety strap to hold the door shut.

Paul van Gool

Used to race stock outboards (boats)...3 a.m. on the NY Thruway my fuel pump quit (Austin Mini)...happened to have a length of gas line... Had my mechanic hold my racing Mercury outboard in the front seat between his legs...ran the fuel line out the window and under the hood (open on the safety latch) the carb... Stopped every 23 miles to fill up the tank...watched the bubbles go down the clear line then pulled over. Drove 200 or so miles that way!!! What fun...!!!
gblawson - TD#27667

I recognize the little museum from a visit I made there a few years ago. They also have a great collection of vintage motorcycles. The chap who is the curator is a real car enthusiast who does what he can with almost no budget from Senior Fidel.
Godspeed in Safety Fast
John Crawley

Do you know the address...I will send an MG rad badge....
gblawson - TD#27667

I have a set of hubcaps he can have? Think the US Government would feel that is contraband?

No better good will than helping someone restore an MG.

If anyone knows if we could send the owner items, please post it.
BEC Cunha

You can always send it through a Canadian member... I will see if my friend has the address.
gblawson - TD#27667

Am checking to see if this is it...

An exhibition of classic cars can be enjoyed in this singular place, including the Cadillac used by Ernesto Che Guevara.

The Automobile Depot is divided in two exposition rooms, which share the entire collection composed by 30 promenade cars, two rigid trucks, a funeral carriage, a special vehicle, seven motorcycles, a semaphore, three fuel pumps and two didactic imitations.

The oldest vehicle in the collection dates from 1905, and the latest one comes from 1989.

Most of them are North American, although some cars were made in Italy, Spain, Germany and Great Britain. Pieces of the collection can be remarkable for several reasons: pieces valuable due to its technological importance (Cadillac V16 1930), because of its importance in the history of automobile (Ford T 1918), due to its peculiarity (Baby Lincoln 1930) or because it belonged or were used by a relevant personality of culture or politics (FIAT 1930, property of Flor Loynaz; Oldsmobile 1959, used by Commander Camilo Cienfuegos).

Address: 13 Oficios, between Jústiz and Obra Pía, Old Havana.
Telephone: (537) 55 0585
Entrance fee: 2.00 CUC
gblawson - TD#27667

Yes...thats it..:

There are a few modern, pre-embargo cars in the collection in addition to Che's Chevy. These include two '59 Olds (a Super 88 and a 98) one of which was used by Cuban Revolutionary Camilo Cienfuegos, a '53 MG TD and a '56 Mercedes 190SL roadster. One gets the feeling that everything else from model year 1930 to 1960 is still running on the roads of Cuba, a true museum of the streets.

A website describing it:
gblawson - TD#27667

I have written to Mike Davis to see if we can get the e-mail address of Sr. Maestro of the Habana Depositor.

Somehow, it would be interesting to get the chassis nbr.

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.
Gordon A. Clark

Also wrote an email to Mike and got the curator's email address... sent a note off a few minutes ago.

here are a few other cars in the collection:
gblawson - TD#27667

Added a few photos that my friend just took on the streets....
gblawson - TD#27667

Looks like they can get same parts we have!
Same parking brake as our Triumph! (on the Volvo)
David Sheward

Mr. Lawson:

I also heard later from Gordon Clark asking the same question but also posting the UK MG website which stirred the pot.

Here is a little sidelight which you might want to pass on to your MG pals, since I can't post to the site:

There is a remote chance that black MG-TD pictured on the site in the Havana museum might have belonged to the son of the previous Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista.

Victor Batista, the son of the dictator, was a classmate of mine at Yale University in the early 1950s. He got kicked out for driving his black TD into the courtyard of his residential college courtyard while "un poco baracho." Last I heard, Victor was living in Madrid.
I was not personally acquainted with Victor, but he was well known on a campus filled with "brand names." I think only a son of Adolph Hitler's would have been more notorious at the time, even if he kept a low profile.

Mike Davis
gblawson - TD#27667

Mike Davis just sent me the e-mail address of Eng. Eduardo Mesejo Maestre, curator of the "Deposito Automovil Habana".

It is

If anybody on the BB should contact Sr. Maestro, I for one, would be interested in hearing his comments.

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.
Gordon A. Clark

This thread was discussed between 14/12/2006 and 16/12/2006

MG TD TF 1500 index

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