This 1952 MG is a wolf in TD clothing

Bring a Trailer/RaceFace

Last year, we ran a feature for Insider on a 1952 MG TD titled “There Will Always Be An MG TD.” David Zenlea, who wrote the piece, was not wrong; with nearly 30,000 built over four years, and almost 80 percent of them shipped to our shores, they’re around, and so are the parts to keep them going.

Of course, today the TD is nobody’s idea of quick, but they’ve always been nimble and charming, and they succeeded brilliantly at getting Americans hooked on small, lithe sports cars from across the Atlantic. The car from the 2022 story sold for $17,850, “about the right money for what looks like a driver-condition TD,” Zenlea wrote. He went on to lay out his thesis: When adjusted for inflation, TDs cost today roughly what they did a decade ago—and a quarter-century ago, and a half-century ago. For investment-minded collectors, such a trajectory isn’t so attractive. “For us, however, it’s a reminder that some things never change, and a welcome sign that not all fun classics are appreciating out of reach.”

1952 MG TD rear three quarter
Bring a Trailer/RaceFace

Our Sale of the Week is a very different 1952 MG TD, and it is easy to appreciate just how fast this fun classic can indeed get out of reach. The car sold on Bring A Trailer on September 6; between 2:45 p.m. and the auction’s end 58 minutes later, 42 back-and-forth bids took it from $35,000 to its selling price—$92,000.

“Not your grandpa’s MG,” one person said in the comments. No, no it is not.

The seller acquired the TD in 2007 and immediately transformed it into what he called a “resto-rod.” From a distance, even from a few feet, the car looks like every other TD you’ve ever seen, and quite fetching in its dark green paint over a tan interior. Only when your eyes fall on the tires, fat BFGoodrich G-Force Sports on 16-inch steel wheels, do you begin to wonder. “Almost looks stock,” said another commenter, “except for the big meats on the corners and the two bazookas jutting from the rear.” Right, those. What better outlet for the 383 V-8 handily tucked up front, eh?

1952 MG TD rear
Bring a Trailer/RaceFace

The engine is a stroked Chevy small-block fitted with Edelbrock fuel injection and sending all of its noise to those bazookas through custom headers. The V-8 is backed by a Tremec TKO five-speed transmission, and its prodigious power (undisclosed, but c’mon) is translated to said tires through a Salisbury Power Lock differential. A Jaguar independent rear suspension holds up the back end and a Chassisworks independent suspension maneuvers the front, with Wilwood disc brakes all around to put a stop to this thing. Kirkey aluminum racing seats are tastefully upholstered in vinyl—and heated, too!—and there’s even a pair of cupholders just ahead of the shifter. A removable roll bar bolts in.

“This guy wins,” wrote another commenter. “I don’t care what the contest is, he wins.” More digging through the comments confirms that claim, in fact, because it turns out the seller, “RaceFace,” once built a 1953 Studebaker into a land speed racer called “The Guam Bomb,” took it to Bonneville, and on his first run earned himself a spot in the “200 Club.” If you squint, you can juuust make out a small blue oval sticker in the lower right corner of the TD’s windshield attesting to the fact: “Bonneville 200mph Club Life Member.” There are bonafides baked into this retro-rod TD, in other words. The seller knew exactly what he wanted to build, he knew exactly how to build it, and he built it, exactly.

These cars continue to sell well; despite the number of TDs offered for sale at auction doubling from 2017 to 2022, sell-through rates shot up in the same period, from 72 to 82 percent. It would seem we can’t get enough of them, though certainly it helps that average prices continue to hover around the fairly accessible $21,000 mark.

All that said, there is absolutely nothing average about this TD. The price paid—the fourth highest ever for a TD and firmly in the top 100 MG sales of all time—seems like a just reward for a job well done. RaceFace—and Mrs. RaceFace, who gleefully joined in the comments herself—should be over the moon with this result. And the buyer, who very clearly wanted this car, can have no complaints. With just 4000 miles on the odo since the build, this 1952 MG TD is barely broken in. From stoplight to stoplight, from turn to turn, it should put itself—and its giggling new owner—quite easily out of reach of all comers for a very long time.




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    Right. Another Frankencar for those lacking the education, culture to appreciate charm over jerking off before strangers at traffic lights.

    My ex-partner did much the same thing to his TD while attending Yale University for his engineering degree. His conversion was a 265 CSB with a Chevy trans and a Jaguar XK rear axle. The engine had a Duntov cam and a tri-power carb setup. It had Dayton wires with what, at the time, were fat tires. He also had bucket seats and a replacement vinyl top.

    It led to our getting acquainted and rallying together. It was our first rally car, which I drove, as I did not know how to navigate. He was a great navigator and had the necessary equipment.

    Man, do I LOVE these things!
    Where else can you have 1930’s styling on a (then-current) British sports-car?

    OK; this one’s totally done over/over-done. It’s still great. Wire wheels would make it perfect.
    But VINYL seats ?!? C’mon, leather is almost required.

    Sure, it’s impractical, but hey; why not get about in real style?

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