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At $18,000, Is This 1952 MG TD Midget a Pretty Big Deal?

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Nice Price or No Dice 1952 MG TD Midget

The seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice MG TD says they have three project cars and that’s one too many, and the MG drew the short straw. let’s see if its price makes it the right choice for a buyer.

I think it’s a shame that Nissan has been unable, or unwilling, to license the Buzz Lightyear character from Disney to promote its upscale brand. After all, “To Infiniti and beyond!” just plain works. Do you want to know what else just plain works? The $5,600 asking price on last Friday’s 1991 Infiniti M30 convertible, that’s what. Several of you praised that price in the comments, and that praise was reflected in the voting with the convertible cruiser earning a reasonably respectable 59 percent Nice Price win.

Journalist and author Tom Brokaw anointed the American people who survived the Great Depression and fought through World War II as “The Greatest Generation.” That’s a fair assessment and it wasn’t just people that came out of these two major events to make the world a better place, there were a number of cars that did as well.

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One of the major programs that The Greatest Generation enacted after the war was the Marshall Plan, a global effort led by the victorious Allied nations to invest in the national infrastructure of nations—friends and former foes alike—whose economies had been devastated by the conflict. This led to the rapid reengagement of industry and agriculture, thus preventing the economic collapse that had plagued many nations following WWI.

In the U.S., another program, the GI Bill, created opportunities for those returning from the war as well as for their families to gain education and employment that would have otherwise been inaccessible. This confluence of programs and stimuli led to both increased industrial production globally and a fairly affluent audience in the U.S. eager to buy all those manufactured goods.

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One beneficiary of all this government largess was the M.G. Car Company, an offshoot of Morris, and builder of small, light sports cars and saloons from before the war. American GIs discovered MG’s Midget sports cars while stationed in Britain during the war. A few of those went so far as to buy and ship home the tiny, skinny-wheeled roadsters. This opportuity led MG to begin exports of its TC model as quickly as it could following the restarting of the company’s automotive production in 1945.

The only accommodation for the American market made to the TC was the adoption of U.S. standard 7-inch sealed beam headlamps. The rest of the car was still just as it was sold in Great Britain, with right-hand drive and narrow 17-inch wheels.

Image for article titled At $18,000, Is This 1952 MG TD Midget a Pretty Big Deal?

In 1950, the TC was supplanted by the TD, and with that model and many more accommodations were made for the Americans. This made a lot of sense at the time since the U.S. was rapidly becomming MG’s biggest market. The changes included a body that was five inches wider than the TC for more cabin space, smaller (and more readily available in the U.S.) 15-inch wheels and tires, and, most importantly, the availability of left-hand drive. There were many more updates to the TD, including an independent front suspension and revised rear differential, but the drivetrain, including the 54 horsepower 1250 cc OHV four and four-speed manual transmission remained.

The TD would end up being the highest-selling edition of the Midget with more than 30,000 built. Of those, more than three-quarters came to the U.S. between 1950 and 1955 when the car was replaced by the TF.

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This 1952 MG TD is described by its seller as a “restomod.” That’s owed to the mix-and-match updates that have been applied, including a 2137 cc four out of a 1964 Triumph TR4A. That engine was rated at 104 horsepower by the factory, or almost double what the MG’s original mill was able to offer. The Triumph’s four-speed transmission has also been installed so that power won’t snap a gear in two at the first angry application of the throttle. An additional benefit of the later motor is the more modern alternator making electricity. That should give the headlamps a little more throw.

Other updates include the later MGA front suspension and disc brake setup to help rein in all those extra ponies. There are lots of other updates and rebuilds noted in the ad. Also, both paint (BRG, appropriately) and the tires are new.

Image for article titled At $18,000, Is This 1952 MG TD Midget a Pretty Big Deal?

The downside to the larger Triumph mill (aside from the Zenith carbs in place of the MG’s original and lovely S.U.s) is the inability to mount the engine cover over those carbs. That’s a bit of a shame. Other issues include sliver-paint rather than chrome on the bumpers, some significant wear on the dashboard beneath the switchgear, and some minor surface rust on the frame. Other than that, and the apparent absence of the car’s side curtains, it all seems very serviceable and ready to go. The title is clean and the car wears antique plates so registration shouldn’t be a hassle.

Image for article titled At $18,000, Is This 1952 MG TD Midget a Pretty Big Deal?

Now, before we get to discussing this TD’s asking price, I should point out that MG prices on the whole are criminally low. For some reason, the Abingdon-based car maker has never seen any of its mainstream models enjoy the kind of rise in value the way that, say, Porsche or even Triumph has.

That means that MGs can end up being some of the best values in the classic sports car market. Now we’ll have to see if this TD toes that line.

Image for article titled At $18,000, Is This 1952 MG TD Midget a Pretty Big Deal?

The seller is asking $18,000 for the car, stating that MG Midget and Porsche 914 projects are taking the majority of their time. What do you say, at that price, is this “restomod” MG worth our time? Or, is that too grand for this little Midget?

You decide!

North New Jersey Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to David Lepard for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

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