In the wake of the TC’s surprising success in the early post-war years in America, MG needed a sure bet to build their momentum and keep one step ahead of growing competition in the increasingly lucrative sports car market. The TD, introduced in 1949 as a 1950 model, was the perfect formula for success. The styling retained elements of the TC’s old-world charm but was updated and modernized – in the MG sense of “modern,” at least. More significant changes were afoot under the skin, including a heavily revised chassis independent front suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, 15-inch steel disc wheels, and a modified XPAG engine for improved flexibility and performance. MG indeed found the magic formula again, selling nearly 30,000 TDs between 1950 and 1953, with the overwhelming majority of those cars coming to US shores.
In 1950, MG quietly added a special tuned model, hoping to boost the TD’s performance in the face of increased pressure from rivals Triumph and newcomer Austin-Healey. The TD “Competition Model,” later known as the “Mark II,” or TD/C, featured larger 1 ½” SU H4 carburetors, bigger valves, and increased compression (from 7.25 to 8.6:1) to give approximately 60 horsepower. To cope with all of those wild ponies, MG fitted twin fuel pumps, high-performance Andrex friction dampers, and a higher final drive ratio. It was the ideal foundation for club racers, many of whom used the hotted-up TD in SCCA competition throughout the 1950s. It was more than enough to maintain MGs street cred, and they went from success to success through the 1960s and into the 1970s.
This 1953 MG TD Mark II is one of only 1,710 TD/C models produced between 1950 and 1953. Presented in a lovely color scheme of Sequoia Cream over green trim, it is an exceptionally well-restored TD, proudly displaying AACA Senior National first prize and coveted Grand National first prize awards. The professional restoration is highly detailed inside and out, with finish levels well above that of the average TD. It boasts excellent paintwork, well-restored chrome, and authentic details like 15-inch steel disc wheels and period-correct Excelsior cross-ply tires.
The TD cabin offers a marked improvement in passenger space compared to a TC, with comfortable leather-trimmed seats and a good amount of legroom. True to its award-winning restoration, correct materials feature on the seats, door panels, and carpets, and the restorers resisted the urge to stray from its authenticity. The dash is correctly trimmed in matching green vinyl, and the proper banjo-style steering wheel remains in its rightful place.
The engine bay is similarly well-detailed, with signature MG red paint finished to a high standard on the engine block and head. It wears the proper SU carburetors, intake manifold, and air cleaner, as well as period-correct touches like a reproduction tar-top battery, cloth wiring loom, and wire-type hose clamps. Note the twin fuel pumps on the bulkhead, which are the correct fitment for a Mark II model. While overall it is clean and tidy, the engine bay displays evidence of occasional use, particularly on the exhaust manifold and carb bodies.
Few MG TDs are treated to this level of restoration, and this rare Mark II stands out as one of the best examples we’ve had the pleasure to offer. It is the quintessential 1950s sports car, with snappy performance, unmistakable Britishness, and charm in spades.
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