MG T-type

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MG T-type
Manufacturer MG (Morris, later BMC)
Production 1936–1955
Assembly Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Layout FR layout
Transmission 4-speed manual
Wheelbase 94 in (2,388 mm)
Predecessor MG PB
Successor MGA

The MG T series is a range of body-on-frame convertible sports cars that were produced by MG from 1936 to 1955. The series included the MG TA, MG TB, MG TC, MG TD, and MG TF Midget models. The last of these models, the TF, was replaced by the MGA.

The TF name was reinstated in 2002 on the mid-engined MG TF sports car.

TA Midget[edit]

MG TA Midget
SC06 1937 MG-TA.jpg
Production 1936–1939
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door roadster
2-door Airline coupé
2-door Tickford drophead coupé.
Engine 1,292 cc (1.3 L) MPJG type I4
Length 140 in (3,556 mm)
Width 56 in (1,422 mm)

The MG TA Midget replaced the PB in 1936.[1] It was an evolution of the previous car and was 3 inches (76 mm) wider in its track at 45 inches (1,100 mm) and 7 inches (180 mm) longer in its wheelbase at 94 inches (2,400 mm).

The previous advanced overhead-cam inline-four engine was now not in use by any other production car so it was replaced by the MPJG OHV unit from the Wolseley 10 but with twin SU carburettors, modified camshaft and manifolding. The engine displaced just 1292 cc, with a stroke of 102 mm (4.0 in) and a bore of 63.5 mm (2.5 in) and power output was 50 hp (40.3 kW) at 4,500 rpm. The four-speed manual gearbox now had synchromesh on the two top ratios and was connected to the engine by a cork-faced clutch running in oil. Unlike the PB, hydraulic brakes were fitted with 9-inch (230 mm) drums.

Like the PB, most were two-seat open cars with a steel body on an ash frame. A bench-type seat was fitted with storage space behind. From 1938 the car could also be had with a more luxurious Tickford drophead coupé body by Salmons of Newport Pagnell and 252 were made.[2] The soft top could be used in three positions, fully open, closed or open just over the seats. Wind-up windows were fitted to the higher topped doors making the car more weathertight and individual bucket seats used in the fully carpeted interior. Complete chassis were fitted with a very basic body at the Abingdon factory and driven to Newport Pagnell to have their coachwork fitted. A closed Airline coupé made by Carbodies, as fitted to the P type, was also offered but only one or two is thought to have been made.

The T-type was capable of reaching almost 80 mph (130 km/h) in standard tune with a 0–60 mph time of 23.1 seconds.[2]

3,003 were made and in 1936 it cost £222 on the home market, the same as had been asked for the PB.

When first introduced the model was known as the T Type and only after the advent of the TB did the TA designation come into use.[3]

Allan Tomlinson won the 1939 Australian Grand Prix driving an MG TA.

Allan Tomlinson won the 1939 Australian Grand Prix driving an MG TA

TB Midget[edit]

MG TB Midget
MG TB Tickford 1939.jpg
Production 1939–1940
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door roadster
Tickford drophead coupé
Engine 1,250 cc (1.3 L) XPAG type I4
Length 140 in (3,556 mm)
Width 56 in (1,422 mm)

The TA was replaced by the TB Midget in May 1939. It had a smaller but more modern XPAG engine as fitted to the Morris Ten Series M, but in a more highly tuned state and like the TA with twin SU carburettors. This 1250 cc I4 unit featured a slightly less undersquare 66.6 mm (2.6 in) bore and 90 mm (3.5 in) stroke and had a maximum power output of 54 hp (40 kW) at 5200 rpm. The oil-immersed clutch was also replaced by a dry-plate type and gear ratios revised.

Available as an open 2-seater or more luxurious Tickford drophead coupé, this is the rarest of the T-type cars; only 379 were made.

TC Midget[edit]

MG TC Midget
MG TC.jpg
Production 1945–1950
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door roadster
Engine 1,250 cc (1.3 L) XPAG type I4 ohv[4]
Length 140 in (3,556 mm)
Width 56 in (1,422 mm)
Height 53 in (1,300 mm)[4]

The TC Midget was the first postwar MG,[1] launched in 1945. It was quite similar to the pre-war TB, sharing the same 1,250 cc (76 cu in) pushrod-OHV engine with a slightly higher compression ratio of 7.4:1 giving 54.5 bhp (40.6 kW) at 5200 rpm. The makers also provided several alternative stages of tuning for "specific purposes".[4]

It was exported to the United States, even though only ever built in right-hand drive. The export version had slightly smaller US specification sealed-beam headlights and larger twin rear lights, as well as turn signals and chrome-plated front and rear bumpers.

The body was approximately 4 inches (100 mm) wider than the TB measured at the rear of the doors to give more cockpit space. The overall car width remained the same resulting in narrower running boards with two tread strips as opposed to the previous three. The tachometer was directly in front of the driver, while the speedometer was on the other side of the dash in front of the passenger.

10,001 TCs were produced, from September 1945 (chassis number TC0251) to Nov. 1949 (chassis number TC10251), more than any previous MG model. It cost £527 on the home market in 1947.

Fuel consumption was 28 mpg-imp (10.1 L/100 km; 23.3 mpg-US).[5] Its 0–60 mph time was 22.7 seconds, a respectable performance at the time.[5]

TD Midget[edit]

MG TD Midget
Production 1950–1953
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door roadster
Engine 1,250 cc (1.3 L) XPAG type I4
Wheelbase 94 in (2,388 mm)[6]
Length 145 in (3,683 mm)[6]
Width 59 in (1,499 mm)[6]
Height 53 in (1,346 mm) [6]

The 1950 TD Midget combined the TC's drivetrain, a modified hypoid-geared rear axle, the MG Y-type chassis, a familiar T-type style body and independent suspension using coil springs from the MG Y-type saloon: a 1950 road-test report described as "most striking" the resulting "transformation ... in the comfort of riding".[7] Also lifted from the company's successful 1¼-litre saloon for the TD was the (still highly geared) rack and pinion steering.[7] In addition the TD featured smaller 15-inch (380 mm) disc type road wheels, a left-hand drive option and standard equipment bumpers and over-riders. The car was also 5 inches (130 mm) wider with a track of 50 inches (1,300 mm).

For the driver the "all-weather protection" was good by the standards of the time.[7] For night driving, instrument illumination was "effective but not dazzling, by a pale green lighting effect".[7] There was still no fuel gauge, but the 12 British gallons (15 US gallons) of tank capacity gave a range between refuelling stops of about 300 miles (480 km) and a green light on the facia flashed a "warning" when the fuel level was down to about 2½ British gallons (>3 US gallons / >11 litres).[7]

In 1950 the TD MkII Competition Model was introduced, produced alongside the standard car, with a more highly tuned engine using an 8.1:1 compression ratio giving 57 bhp (43 kW) at 5,500 rpm. The higher compression ratio engine was offered with export markets in mind, and would not have been suitable for the UK, where thanks to the continued operation of wartime fuel restrictions, buyers were still limited to 72 octane "Pool petrol". The TD MkII also featured twin fuel pumps, additional Andrex dampers, and a higher ratio rear-axle.

Nearly 30,000 TDs had been produced, including about 1700 Mk II models, when the series ended in 1953 with all but 1656 exported, 23,488 of them to the US alone.[2] The main complaint that US owners had with the MG TD sold in the US was the British 12-volt electrical system, which was hard to service when most US cars were still using 6 volts. Also, they had minor complaints over the lack of water temperature and fuel gauges. But in general in surveys, owners of the Americanized MG TD had more positive remarks than negative.[8] 0–60 mph time was 22.7 seconds according to Popular Mechanics.[9]

An example tested by The Motor magazine in 1952 had a top speed of 77 mph (124 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 18.2 seconds. A fuel consumption of 26.7 miles per imperial gallon (10.6 L/100 km; 22.2 mpg-US) was recorded.[6]

In 1998, the rights, intellectual properties and trademarks associated with the production of the MG TD were acquired by TD Cars Sdn Bhd in Malaysia to reproduce the TD series as TD2000.

TF and TF 1500 Midget[edit]

MG TF Midget
Voiturerouge-Ronsenac 01.JPG
TF 1250 1953
Production 1953–1955
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door roadster
Engine 1,250 cc (1.3 L) XPAG type I4
1,466 cc (1.5 L) XPEG type I4
Length 147 in (3,734 mm)
Width 59 in (1,499 mm)
Height 52.5 in (1,334 mm)[4]

The TF Midget, launched 15 October 1953,[10] was a facelifted TD, fitted with the TD Mark II engine, headlights faired into the fenders, a sloping radiator grille concealing a separate radiator, and a new pressurized cooling system along with a simulated external radiator cap.[1] This XPAG engine's compression ratio had been increased to 8.1:1 and extra-large valves with stronger valve springs and larger carburettors increased output to 57.5 bhp at 5,500 rpm.[10]

Voiturerouge-Ronsenac 02.JPG
Octagonal instrument bezels
TF 1500 showing enamel plate

In mid-1954 the engine capacity was increased by 17 per cent to 1466 cc and designated XPEG. The bore was increased to 72 mm (2.8 in) and compression raised to 8.3:1 giving 63 bhp (47 kW) at 5,000 rpm and a 17 per cent increase in torque. The car was now designated TF1500, and externally distinguished by a cream background enamel nameplate on both sides of the bonnet, placed just to the rear of the forward bonnet-release buttons.

Production ended at chassis number TF10100 on 4 April 1955 after 9,602 TFs had been manufactured, including two prototypes and 3,400 TF1500s. The TF was superseded by the MGA.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c "MG T-Series",, retrieved 17 July 2011  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b c Green (1997)
  3. ^ "Basic Information On M.G.'s First T Series Midget",, retrieved 19 July 2011  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d "Second Hand car guide supplement". Practical Motorist. 6 Nbr 68: 768–769. April 1960. 
  5. ^ a b Willson (1995)
  6. ^ a b c d e "The M.G. Midget Series TD Road Test". The Motor. 8 October 1952. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "M.G. Midget Series TD Two-Seater". Autocar. 20 January 1950. 
  8. ^ "The Owner's Report on the MG." Popular Mechanics, June 1952, pp. 89-92/240.
  9. ^ Popular Mechanics – Google Boeken. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  10. ^ a b New M.G.Cars. The Times, Friday, Oct 16, 1953; pg. 5; Issue 52754


  • Green, Malcolm (1997), MG Sportscars, CLB International, ISBN 1-85833-606-6 
  • Willson, Quentin (1995), The Ultimate Classic Car Book, DK Publishing, ISBN 0-7894-0159-2 
  • Jones, Barrie (2005), Barrie's Notes – Maintaining a 1955 MG TF in the 21st Century, The Printing Press, ISBN 0-9546974-2-1 

Further reading[edit]

  • Holmes, Mark (2007). Ultimate Convertibles: Roofless Beauty. London: Kandour. pp. 102–105. ISBN 978-1-905741-62-5. 
  • Sedgwick, Michael; Gillies, Mark (1989). A-Z of Cars of the 1930s. Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-38-9. 

External links[edit]