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MG TD TF 1500 - Early Lucas D-Lamps ?

I have removed a pair of these D-Lamps from a 1936 TA - chassis 0355, and would like to know if they are period correct for the car or later replacements. I have never seen this type before with the retaining clip - it's usually a screw. The main and side lens are glass.

Thanks in advance,


Another angle


And another


On the back are the numbers - "R.352.A" & a pie piece logo ?.

I can email hi-res photos if required.

Thanks again. Tony


You are asking your tail light question to a bunch of TD-TF guys.
Try sending it to the TA-TC group.
Maybe someone here knows the answer, but our TA-TC brothers should definately know.
Dave B.
DW Burdette


"Period correct" would have been a single round stop / tail mounted on the offside of the car. Yours look similar to the Lucas 476 (early postwar) tho' not quite the same. Australian domestic production?

TA 3243
A W Risk

According to the "Original MG T Series" book, the TA D-shaped tail light and new rear bumper plate started around TA/3200 (Mar 39) or with the start of the TB.
Mike TD/TA

Thanks Dave, I have not had a lot of luck with help on the TA-TC list - there are a lot more "active" enthusiats on this board, so felt someone would be able to help.

The car spent 1936 - 1971 in the UK, before moving to the USA and then to Switzerland in 1986, and finally to Australia in 2012, so the D-Lamps are not Australian. The earliest photos I have of the car date to around 1961, and the D-Lamps are there then.


Wow...! What a beauty!
JL Nederhoed

"wow What a beauty"
Yes - it is a DE-LIGHT ;^)
Dallas Congleton

Don't know anything bout the subject at hand, but just googled up this image of a 1936- are these the same lights?

J K Barter

Contact the T-ABC guys thru

There's about 1100 of them hanging out there.

Gene Gillam

Thanks for sharring the photo ...beautiful!
David Sheward


No offense...but that is the same car...!

No wonder the D-lamps are the same ;-)

See this copy of the T Register...


JL Nederhoed

That's what I get for just checking google images and not the number - It has changed quite a bit since that photo!
J K Barter

The D-lamps were used on a lot of cars, from Land Rover to Rolls Royce.

I have three old Lucas D-lamps which all differ slightly. One has a smaller numberlpatelight window f.i.

Your version with a more elaborate clip would suit a coachbuilt car and an Airline coupé would qualify perfectly?
Willem vd Veer

Willem, You have raised my concern. As this is a unique coachbuilt car it could have had those D-Lamps from new, but to conform to the expectations of "originality", I am forced to fit ST-38 lamps like the rest of the TA's built.

What should I do - help me here Gents ?.

Tony (torn !)


In conformity with the legislation of the time, British cars built before the second world war were fitted with a SINGLE rear stop / tial lamp only. The 1948 Road Traffic Act changed this; and the later introduction of the MOT test made this rule enforceable for older cars(which is how my PB came to be fitted with a pair of Rubbolite lamps). The only Airline(a PA)I have ever seen, some fifty years ago now, had the same single ST-38 as original on the TA, but with chrome case.

I have checked all the trade catalogues in my possesion for the period 1946 to 1960, covering Lucas, Desmo, Rubbolite and Wingard, without result.

I am intrigued by a number of features of your lamps. Post-war D lamps with plastic lenses were usually fresnel-pattern, whereas yours have typical pre-war flutes; are the lenses glass? However the twin-bulb / separate window layout, with quick-release catch for easy bulb replacement, is typical of post-war commercial practice. I am thinking coach trade, rather than haulage.

Could an early TA's electrical system really keep a pair of tail-lamps lit? I know the PB had a struggle with that!

Perhaps someone with access to pre-war equipment catalogues could be more helpful. And what a beautiful motor car!


A W Risk

" conform to the expectations of "originality", I am forced ..."
Who's expectations? Why should you care?

I'm all for the car looking like it did or might have at the time of manufacture, but any later era is fine so long as it is not "ugly". I don't know what the UK regs were, but one light was always a minimum requirement - cheapness its only virtue, and anything not "bottom of market" often had lights both sides. One light was a poor idea then and remains so. Any subsequent change in regs that allows or requires two lamps is only an improvement, and is good justification for a common sense safety change.

As an upmarket device, "special" cars frequently had more doodads than standard ones, it was part of what you paid for, and you could request pretty much anything you wanted. And on special order cars, you can justify anything "in period" as what you would have ordered then. This is very different from "standard", where any nit picker can argue about whether a particular car out of 1000 off the line that day had this or that sort of bolts holding the dampers on. Personally, I would have double lamps of the original manufacture period, or the first applicable reg change, which is pretty much what you have. The external clips are certainly "in period" even if the date of production might be later - British design was often "behind the times"; I say "conservative of elegance" myself; it's one of the things I like about Brit Stuff.

The present light/reflex arrangement is certainly better than in the black & yellow incarnation, but would be better yet with the number plate and lamps mounted vertically, probably on/below the rather elegant bumper. The D lamps are so perfect for this style plate that I was always under the impression they were designed for such. If you have a different shaped plate in Oz, then perhaps different lights could be better used - just the sort of refinement a coach built car would have had.

Cars should be driven, and the "extra" lamps ARE a safety issue, so leave them. And if electrical load is a problem, put LEDS in them - such a gorgeous thing should not be crunched because it couldn't be seen!

FR Millmore


I have done more research, this time in my photo archive. I had hoped that as your lamps didn't show in any of my post-war catalogues, they might be a pre-war product. However in photos dating from 1954 onwards, these do begin to appear in pairs on many pre-war cars - MGs (TA and VA) Riley, Lea-Francis, Singer, Triupmh Gloria etc. Incidentally the VA in the photos is a Tourer with the rear lamps arranged exactly as on your Airline.

Being a professional historian, I am not keen to make statements unsupported by evidence, but my personal guess is that these lamps date from the early Fifties, probably after 1953, when the cost of chrome plating fell substantially.

Perhaps someone could come up with a pre-war supplier's catalogue? It wouldn't need to be dated; the prices alone would determine the date, as would the lack of purchase tax. HTH.

A W Risk

""R.352.A" & a pie piece logo"
I cannot see these in the pic posted.
Are these the only markings on any of the pieces?
Would help a lot to know the maker!
"Pie" logo sounds vaguely familiar. Are you sure it is not the British Standard parachute logo? In that case, the R.352.A could be a BS spec number, rather than any maker's mark; that would give a limiting date.
I've not ever seen a Lucas anything without numbers on all the major pieces, so I reckon they are another maker.

When you say "these lamps" in your last, are you talking about ones with the clips, or just D shaped ones?

I suspect that the cost of chrome plate is not a big issue, as there was plenty of it about both pre and post war.

FR Millmore


I am talking about the lamps Tony enquired about.

Chromium plating costs in the UK in the post war period rose sharply due to the US stockpiling of strategic materials, and the UK re-armament programme. Costs declined with the ending of the Korean War.

A W Risk

Thank you one and all - we are making progress I feel. Here is a close up of the markings for investigation/research.

I am certainly going to re-mount the plate & two lamps on the back where the bumper is. The bumper is certainly not original and by the style dates to the early 50's - not 1936. I will also be fitting a high mount brake light for extra "proection".

More to discuss yet on the D-lamps mounting ?.




Another consideration is the fact that SA Saloons from 1936 were fitted with D-shaped rear lights (not D-lamps), but integral lights.

Clear enough; try British Motor Industry Heritage Trust or British Library Research Services.
A W Risk

....what an amazing thread (not to mention that it involves the most beautiful MG ever made), but the knowledge on this board is amazing and what a group of sharing, here!!!!
gblawson(gordon- TD27667)

Not a BS parachute!
I've seen this, and I think it is a Rotax mark. I recall it from motorcycle switches, and at the time took it to be a representation of the "window" some of these had.
The R 352 A also seems consistent with Rotax designations.
(I've wasted hours now looking for Rotax marks, not found this one. The "complete" Rotax badge has a segmented circle as background.
Lucas ate Rotax c1926, but the brand continued, being slowly phased out through the 30's and later. Rotax shifted markets from wheeled vehicles to winged ones.

The clip design seems to me to be of early times (though production could have been later), when bulbs were flaky and people perhaps less likely to nick them. And customer convenience rated relatively more highly than absolute profit.

There are many variants of D lamps and bits thereof in the 1946-60 Lucas Master Catalogue; stand alone, number plate box, integrated to the car, chrome plated, painted, etc. Surely someone has earlier books?

I'd be contacting these folks for ID:

I'm pretty sure that will work, but is not, here's another place that ought to be able:

Maybe of help, but to be examined and supported for arcane artistry - and on your side of the ball.:
The bit about the triangular stoplights is a treasure.

FR Millmore

This thread was discussed between 04/06/2012 and 07/06/2012

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