1954 MG TF

  • 1954 MG TF for sale
  • Supplied new to the US market
  • Exported to the UK in 1989 following restoration
  • Offered for sale from the Dave Saunders collection

Like many MG TFs that left the Abingdon factory, this particular car was sold new to the all-important American market. According to records kept by the MG Car Club, chassis number HDP46/7017 was built on 13 September 1954 and was fitted with the larger 1466cc XPEG engine.

By 1989, the car was with Pierre Fontana in Mobile, Alabama. It’s thought that he’d owned the car since 1977, and when he came to sell it 12 years later, he included a hand-written record of the work that had recently been carried out. 

The MG was completely dismantled and all parts were sand- or bead-blasted before being zinc-coated or painted as necessary. The engine was rebuilt, a new clutch fitted, and components such as the dynamo, starter motor and carburettors were overhauled. 

All of the wiring was replaced, the braking system was renewed throughout, and the seats were retrimmed. When Fontana sold the car to a new owner in Norway, he noted that all the TF needed in order to finish it off was rechroming some of the brightwork and for the interior retrim to be completed. 

The MG was first registered in the UK in June 1989 and has remained here ever since. It retains its original left-hand-drive layout and is being offered for sale from the collection of MG enthusiast Dave Saunders at The Classic Motor Hub. Nicely presented and well maintained by its recent custodians, it is a highly usable example of this enduring 1950s British sports car.

Model history

The TF was the last of the T-type MGs, which could trace their roots back to the 1936 TA. Introduced at the 1953 London Motor Show, the TF was based on the same chassis as the TD Mark II but the bodywork was redesigned with a sloping radiator grille and new front wings that included faired-in headlamps. 

MG initially carried over the 1250cc XPAG engine that had been used in the pre-war TB, but this proved to be underpowered compared to rivals such as the Triumph TR2. As a result, the 1466cc XPEG engine was added to the TF during 1954 and gave an immediate improvement in terms of both power and torque, raising the top speed to almost 90mph. 

The engine drove through a four-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh on second, third and top, while suspension was via wishbones and coil springs at the front, with a live axle and semi-elliptic springs at the rear.  

MG sports cars had proven to be particularly popular in the USA during the post-war period, and most TFs were built for the export market. When Road & Track magazine tested one in March 1954, it wrote: ‘Every time we drive an MG, whether it be the TC, the TD, or as in this case, the new TF, the thought comes to mind – here is a car that exemplifies far better than mere words the answer to the question: “What is a sports car?”’

It went on to say that ‘to drive an MG is sheer pleasure. This is no car for the average Joe looking for transportation’.

In total, 9602 MG TFs left the Abingdon factory, of which 3400 featured the bigger XPEG engine, before the model was replaced with the all-new MGA in 1955. 

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