History of the 1953-1955 MG TF
The MG TF represents the end of MG’s venerable T-Series. The TF roadster brought a more modern take to the TD that it replaced by being three inches lower, and sporting a sloping grill and faired-in headlights. The car’s dashboard was redesigned, with central octagon gauges (good for right- or left-hand drive), though there was still no gas gauge. Wire wheels were offered for the first time since the MG TC.
Like the MG TD, a 1,250-cc, XPAG inline-four engine was initially used to generate 54 hp. Shortly after introduction, however, a more potent 1,466-cc XPEG engine was installed. These cars carried 1500 badges on the sides of the hoods to visually distinguish them from the 1250s.
Even though the TF today looks like an elegant update of the MG TD, it was criticized upon its launch. While the TF was a continuation of a line introduced prior to World War II, the brand-new Triumph TR2 and Austin-Healey 100 boasted full-width bodywork and 100 mph top speeds. The TF seemed somewhat antiquated by comparison. Nonetheless, 9,600 TFs were sold, with 3,400 of those being the 1500 model, before the streamlined MGA arrived in 1955.
Today, the TF has overcome its early criticism to be considered the most desirable of the three post-war T-Series models, and this is reflected in prices of the best cars. Enthusiasts typically seek out the 1500 variant, though the 1250 still offers plenty of enjoyment at a slightly lower price.
All T-Series MGs are fairly robust mechanically, though some engine and transmission parts are becoming more difficult to find. Engines and transmissions should be relatively quiet, especially in first and second gear. It is also important to keep in mind that T-Series cars were designed for weekly maintenance, so a bit of vigilance is a required part of the ownership experience.