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Lot 413: MG TD Roadster

Motorcycle and Motorcars, Bonhams & Butterfields (14 November 2009)

The penultimate 'T'-series Midget - the TD - appeared in 1949. Its TC predecessor had proved an enormous success, particularly in the United States, but by 1948 it had become obvious that something more modern would be required to keep MG competitive. A larger car than its predecessors, the TD owed much to the contemporary Y-Type saloon, using a narrowed and modified version of the latter's box-frame chassis, on which sat an all-new body, roomier than before but retaining the classic looks of the traditional MG sports car and the well-tried 1,250cc XPAG four-cylinder engine. This saloon parentage was far from a handicap, for the Y-Type was a later and more advanced design than the TC Midget, employing independent front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. Thus the TD became the first MG sportscar to benefit from these advances. Although thoroughly traditional both in appearance and its coachbuilt method of construction, the TD body offered greatly increased 'elbow room' to its occupants when compared to that of the TC. The latter's vulnerability to the cut and thrust of urban parking in the USA had demonstrated the desirability of sturdy bumpers, which duly graced the TD. Immensely successful, the TD was produced in greater numbers than any of the other T-Series Midgets, in excess of 29,000 leaving the factory between 1949 and 1953.

The TD on offer is bathed in red outside with a black leather interior. Inside, an aftermarket dash houses the original gauges while aftermarket sunshades do a little to help deflect some of the wind when driving at speed. Outside, Lucas Flamethrowers look out ahead of a louvered hood that offers a racy appearance to go with the Laguna Seca grille badge. While the early history of the car is unknown at the time of print, the 'New England MG T Register' badge alludes to an earlier life on the East Coast before moving to the more hospitable West Coast, where Sam no doubt acquired the car. A nice, honest example of one of the most popular British sportscars.

Lot Details
Auction Motorcycle and Motorcars
Bonhams & Butterfields, Los Angeles
TypeCar
Lot Number413
Estimate$5000-$7000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$12000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$14040
Year1951
Condition rating0
Registration number6497/63457
Mileage-
Chassis numberTD3970
Engine numberXPAG/TD/LHX/4272
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors