It's easy to understand why they built this handsome 1952 MG TD
replica: it looks great! Originals were frequently neglected and
abused, never mind their legendary finicky nature, so it was
probably a smart idea to recreate the look in fiberglass and put
reliable running gear underneath. Traditional British fun without
the downside, what could be better?
This bright red TD has the right look, from the flowing fenders to the cut-down doors to the rear-mounted spare tire, it's going to fool a lot of people. Unlike a lot of replicas, this one nails the correct proportions and doesn't have that home-made look. Instead, the fiberglass body is very cleanly rendered, with paint that's been touched up over the years but could use a professional buff to really shine again. They nailed the details, with a nicely shaped grille, bucket headlights, and running lights atop the front fenders, and you'll love the raked-back windshield. Simple bumpers, unique British-looking taillights, and the high-mounted license plate bracket all contribute to the old world vibe this car gives off, which is entirely the point. It's not perfect and it's probably ready to be called an antique in its own right, but for the price, you probably can't get more 2-seat fun.
The minimalist interior does a good impersonation of the original TD as well, starting with the seat. It's not quite buckets, and it's not quite a bench, instead it splits the lower cushion and puts the parking brake in the middle, which is exactly how the guys at MG were doing it, too. The wooden dashboard is probably nicer than the MG piece, and it includes handsome "Vintage" gauges that seem suitably British, too. The fat wood-rimmed steering wheel and modern steering column might give it away, but it feels right when you're hustling down the road in this open two-seater. Carpets on the floor are a little faded and worn, but the door panels with their built-in map pockets get the look exactly right. There is no heater, but you didn't get one of those in your MG, either, so it's perfectly in line with this car's target audience, although it does have an AM/FM/cassette radio. Nice! Overhead, you get a rudimentary folding convertible top that's in good order with a few older repairs, and quite honestly, it probably works about as well as the MG's original top, too: for emergency use only!
There's some speculation about the powerplant, but open up the "trunk" in back and you'll find a 1600 cc Volkswagen Beetle flat-four. Purists may scoff, but it's a neat fit and there are all kinds of hop-up parts, just as there were with the original MG. The engine is a great runner and has great enthusiasm, particularly with the featherweight body, and the custom exhaust system does its best to disguise the engine's origins. It's pretty stock, which ensures bulletproof reliability, and all the original VW ancillary components, including the generator and fan unit, made the transition intact, so it's easy to maintain. The 4-speed manual transmission still has that vague VW feeling, there's just no way around that, but the ratios are well-spaced and keep the engine at its best. The good news is that you get a VW suspension that's a bit more competent than the original MG's, as well as a set of fairly fat set of Firestone radials to give it a bit more grip. It's definitely fun to drive!
Not a show car, not a car for fooling MG purists, but if you like the look and the open-air experience, and don't mind having a little extra horsepower and fewer headaches, then this MG TD replica might be a smart choice. Call today!
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