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MG TD TF 1500 - TD rear shocks

Hi there guys
I have a restored 1953 TD (my father restored it in 1986) and when he did the rear shocks, he changed from lever arm to telescopic.
My problem is that here in New South Wales, Oz the conditional registration scheme run by the state registration authority states the vehicle must be as originally manufactured (except for period accessories) to be registered as a conditional vehicle (this scheme allows considerable costs savings on registration and insurance as it is intended for historic vehicles that are driven for a couple of thousand kms per year)
Do anybody know if TD's were manufactured with telescopic rear shocks or were same available as a period accessory in 1953?
I've looked at a couple of BBS's and no real information there.
Any direction appreciated.

Les Gardner

Hi Les,

To the best of my knowledge, TFs at least never came from the factory with rear telescopic shockies.I suspect TDs also only had the lever action type rear absorbers.In Western Australia,the Concessional Licensing regs are also quite stringent but then again the reduction in vehicle licensing costs per year is very welcome.The money saved can be put into maintenance on the car which from time to time is required to keep this little piece of British motoring history in fine going order.



PS Looks like a nice job on the resto.
Rob Grantham

How knowledgeable are the license people?
gblawson (gordon)- TD#27667

Here is a photo of my frame taken during restoration. The car is registered here in Connecticut as an antique. Don't know if that will carry any weight down there in NSW

David Werblow

Moss has had tube shock (Koni) conversions since the 70's, don't know before that.
George Butz

Les, have you talked with your club plates examiner - I would be very surprized if he knocked you back on telescopic shocks. Regards, Richard.
R Payne

Telescopic Shocks were an after market accessory and I have detailed drawings that were taken from a TF which was fitted with this conversion.

These drawings were taken by a past editor of the MG Octagon Bulletin and at my request crawled underneath his TF to make the necessary measurements.The car rolled off the jack in the process and whilst not seriously hurt( apart from his ego) was trapped underneath. Eventually his wife heard his calls for help and immediately lost her composure and eventualy some neighbours hearing the commotion came to the rescue and manually lifted the car whilst he was pulled from beneath.His ego is bruised forever together with a black eye and orders never to get under the TF again.

The moral of the story is that Tecescopic conversations will fit the TD/TF, and never get under a car without axle stands.


David Tinker. Wales UK
David Tinker

Guys thanks for the info.

Richard, our club here is going through some pain at the moment with conditional registration matters to such an extent that one member who had a 1928 Ford A model, fitted same with 1932 Ford rims and expected us (the club) to accept this as a period accessory. He supplied a lot of information regarding the '32 rims being safer and '28 rims being "virtually unobtainable" to the Roads and Traffic Authority here in NSW.
The club committee (which I am part of) refused to accept the information supplied to the RTA as a quick internet search revealed supplies of '28 Ford rims (repo's of course) were easily obtainable from USA. They were just expensive ($250US each and then costs to ship here).
The problem the club faces is that if we don't police the RTA conditional registration scheme then we (the historic car movenment) put the scheme at risk for all historic vehicles. The RTA don't want to police the scheme themselves - typical public servants.
Here in NSW the 30 year rule applies to conditional registration and we now have Ford XY GTHO Phase 3 vehicles on this scheme. For those OS the Ford GTHO Phase 3 was a 5.7l V8 and at the time of manufacture was the fatest 4 door sedan in the world.
Our club believes the registration of such hi-performance cars is against the intent of the scheme.
The member I mentioned above, after being notified that the club would not sign the historic car declaration to enable hiom to register the vehicle on conditional registration, upped and left to join another local club with less stringent application.
Therein lies my problem - all philosophical but weighing down on me at this time so I guess the TD will have lever cation shocks fitted by end June 2008.

Gordon, the club memebers are reasonable knowledgeable when it comes down to general matters - the conditional registration scheme states vehicles are to be as close to original as when manufactured except for period accessories and certain safety matters such as turn indicators and seat belts. What do we do about modern radios and CD players????
Thanks again
Les Gardner

As the tube shocks were not OEM, why can't you find a pair of old lever shocks to use for reg purposes only ?? Then switch back to the tube shocks. (I am assuming from your message that you only need the lever shocks for registration )It's a relativly easy switch. You might even find another TD down there to borrow the shocks from for a few hours.


Steve Wincze

I have reread your posts a couple of times and think I now understand!
So if I want to get 'antique' registration (and cheaper insurance) I have to have the 'club' give me a 'certificate of authenticity'? Then I go to the 'government' and they issue the plate/papers!
Why do I think this might turn into the old 'concours' debate, only one that will cost me money? I shudder to think that a couple of members in our club might have anything to do with the Ministry of Transportation's decisions? (my hand shakes at the thought).
If you/they didn't allow '32 rims on a '28 (have owned a '28 and the '32 are strongersafer), then no one has a hope in hell of having tube shocks on a TD, or modern radios (can't change to neg ground, thats certainly not 'period')... or MGA engines, or, well the list goes on!!!
Some day there will be no 'Antique' cars left in NSW!

gblawson (gordon)- TD#27667

I also re-read your post as did Gordon,and I agree with his comments,,, I think your club is going to do more damage to the antique car hobby than they realize !! You might want to consider joining another more leanient common sense club... What about a non origional paint color or scheme ??

Steve Wincze

Les. I don't want to address the politics of it all, but I'm curious as to who decides what the "period" is. Is there a set number of years before and after manufacture date that accessories must come from, or is just the whim of the committee? Just curious.


Larry Karpman

Whoops - the Pahse 3 GTHO Ford was the fastest not the fatest 4 door sedan at the time.
Les Gardner

I somewhat agree with your comments after my dissertation on the NSW conditional registration scheme.
It is a very fine line we tread here - the CRS does allow substantially cheaper registration and insurance as it intended that vehicles on CRS only travel a few kilometres per year.
The state government are senstive to the needs of historic motoring and have addressed the matter. It is now up to us (the historic car movement) to police the matter.

It is problematical regarding such things as colour schemes, CD players etc. One car club in NSW even go so far as to state in their rules "Sound systems, where not of a period nature, are to be fitted in such a position so as to be not observable to a casual glance".

Steve - I will convert rear shocks to lever action as modern makes are available and still want to drive the TD as I feel in club events.

Gordon/Steve - the historic car movement is under threat from all sides, go to FIVA site in Europe and see what the legislators are trying to do to us.
Even in the US some idiots have been trying to "cube" all pre-1970 cars using the arguement that such cars are harmful to the environment as they have inferior or no pollution control. Again FIVA have done an excellent survey on the use of historic cars in Europe and some of the results are startling. This is the information we must use to stop the idiots as discussed before. Link to the report -
Very interesting reading.

I agree with all that we must ensure we protect our historic cars and the ability to drive them on public roads. If we don't, we are doomed to have our cars rust away in sheds and museums.

Also here's another thought - who will use our cars when we're all gone?? As far as I'm concerned it may be the little kid who I allowed to sit in my TD and blow the horn at an outing one day.
Les Gardner

Forgot to tell you the FIVA report is called "Research Report: Maintaining our Mobile Transport Heritage" pdf format.

Larry - we have taken "period" as to mean manufactured in the same time as the vehicle and we are a bit flexible about this - as long as it looks the part, we're not too concerned.
Les Gardner

Les, I live in NSW too and long ago decided that the club plates scheme was a total crock. It only costs me around ten dollars a week to have an old car on full rego and I can drive it any time I like without any of the restrictions applying to club plates. I have both a Model A and a TF fully registered. My philosphy is that if I can't afford 20 bucks a week for rego , then I can't afford the cars! I also find that modern mechanics tend to walk around the car in a mixture of awe and wonderment and then just write out the ticket. No debate about the whys and wherefores of rims or shocks.
Regards, Richard.
R Payne

Thanks for the comments.
I am, like you, seriously considering full rego on the TD and Magnette. With 2 cars on club rego and only 11 club runs per year, the maximum number of runs for either car (assuming I share the runs) is 6.
If I had the cars on full rego, I could take the Magnette to Canberra (where one daughter lives) and use the TD locally to shops 15 kms away.
And as you stated, if I can't afford $20/week for full rego, I can't afford the cars. I can still remain in the historic club as membership is $45.00.
Les Gardner

It is very much in the hands of "the inspector"!
I went through an absolute nightmare with the TF & State Of Ohio BMV back in 2000.
Somewhere along the line the "/" in my vin # had been changed to a "1" on the title.
After about 6 trips (to 4 title offices) armed with books & documentation (BMHT CERT) "proving" there was never a TF "built" with the vin # that showed on my title, I was finally told by one that if I removed the vin plate and brought it to the 3rd floor of the title office they would "accept" this as "proof" of the typo and it could be corrected!
I was not about to tell them that (as we all know) you can purchase a "blank vin plate" and have it engraved with anything you want on it!
If I were you I would just try keeping the old pie-hole shut and try a couple of different register offices!!
PS: The "one" that did fix my typo ..I had to promise to take for a ride ....and I did so!
David 55 TF1500 #7427
David Sheward

Les, I find the flexibility of full rego is worth the price. We recently lent our modern car to our daughter in Canberra for a few weeks and used the old ones as our transport. It was good as it forced my wife to drive the TF every day, whereas in the past she had been content to be a passenger!
I have found Shannons very cheap for comprehensive insurance for vehicles which do less than 4500km per year. Even on the Model A which is used almost daily around Bathurst, it is hard to do more than that.
Regards, Richard.
R Payne

This thread was discussed between 23/12/2007 and 30/12/2007

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