1954 MGTF - Frame Off Restoration


VIN: HDA468270
Exterior Color: Black
Interior Color: Red
Engine: 1250cc
Transmission: 4-Speed
Status: Sold
Stock: 09-10443
Mileage: 53,466

1954 MG TFExtensive “Frame-Off” Restored “TF” Finished in Elegant Black with Oxblood Red Interior / Tan Canvas Tonneau & Side Curtains 

A Sympathetically Restored, 100% Turn-key, British Show Quality Classic 

Owned by a Local British Car Enthusiast / Collector for 45~ Years! 

DETAILS – THIS PARTICULAR 1953 MGTFDuring our 25 years of specializing in European sports cars, we are proud to acknowledge that we have had more MG cars than we can count. This “TF” is undoubtedly one of, if not the best, driving, well maintained and correctly restored examples that we have had the pleasure of owning.

The MGTF comes to us, as virtually all of our vehicles do, from a local, long time owner who frequents Classic Cars Ltd. It is being offered for sale as a result after over 45 of ownership and seeing the MGTF through a no expense spared restoration that was completed just a few years ago and is “fresh” in every respect.

The car has a fascinating history that will appeal to those who appreciate the value of a well-documented, California “born & raised” British sports car. The car was acquired by its most recent owner in the early 1970’s and in his possession ever since. The cars clean title supports that it has always been in California and reflects a “Date First Sold” of 1954. When he acquired the car 45 years ago, it was not running and while complete, was in need of body work and overall restoration. The owner, the long-time automotive expert and owner of an automotive parts and machine shop totally disassembled every part of the car including the engine, transmission, differential, and literally every component.

His goal was to complete a comprehensive restoration at that time the following work was begun:

– The frame was sand blasted, refinished in zinc oxide primer and finished with coats of black alkyd enamel

– The entire engine was rebuilt and bored .040” over with crankshaft journal welded and ground to standard specification.

– All internal components were checked and most replaced with eh NOS (New Old Stock) components that were still available in the 1970’s.

– The engine was balanced statically and dynamically along with the flywheel and pressure plate.

– The cars original cylinder head was totally rebuilt with hardened valve seats, bronze valve guides, new valves and springs, new rocker shafts and rocker arm bushings.

– All new braking components were purchased along with new shock absorbers, suspension bushings, bearings and other bits replaced.

– The transmission received a complete rebuild at the owner’s machine shop including new gears, bearings, gears and shafts.

In addition to beginning the work as outlined above, the owner purchased every New Old Stock (NOS) component that he needed to perform a “nut & bolt” restoration. It is important to note that the parts were acquired in the 1973-1974 time-frame when authentic quality British parts were still available. Virtually every part of the car has been replaced with NOS or replated and no currently available inexpensive, inferior aftermarket parts were used.

After the initial restoration effort began, the owner open his business / machine shop and the car was parked in his dry garage, partially finished for 30+ years until he retired. At that time, the restoration was resumed and all of the previous work was revisited to update the parts if needed and concentrate efforts to complete the restoration. The effort included:

– All body panels were glass bead blasted, primed, and taken to a local high quality body shop for custom painting (both sides of all panels) and assembly.

– All new rubber trim, felts, etc.

– The entire wood frame was replace with new hickory wood sourced from Abington Spares, LTD. England

– Door hinges were rebuilt with bronze bushings, stainless steel pins and properly aligned

– The interior received professional custom reupholstered leather seats, door panels, carpet, and new side curtains, convertible top and full tonneau cover

– All bright-work was replaced with NOS parts, triple chrome plated

THE NUMBERSThe VIN number system used by Abingdon on the TF commenced with the introduction of TF. The VIN for the TF is completely different from the earlier Abingdon MG’s. This new VIN number system tells us what kind of vehicle it’s attached to, its original exterior color, the market it was originally sent to, the type of paint finish, and the car number as built. This information is found on the manufacturer’s plate. The manufacturer’s plate, which has both the VIN and engine numbers, is found on the engine distributor side of the body firewall for all cars, high up facing forward immediately adjacent to the toolbox latch. Photos of the manufacturer’s plate can be seen in the photos.

The VIN # on this MGTF, HDA468270 decodes as follows:

HD / A / 4 / 6 / 8270

“HD” = Defines the car as an MG / open seat car

“A”= Black (One of six colors offered on the TF) Note: The first Black car was: HDA13/0501

“4” = LHD for North America

”6” = Cellulose paint on body with synthetic paint on fenders

“8270” = Body # (Based on Production Sequence)

SPECIFICATIONSEngine Location: Front

Drive Type: Rear Wheel

Body / Chassis: Steel body on box-section steel frame

Production Years for Series: 1953 – 1955

Price New: $2,500

Weight: 1940 lbs.

Fuel Economy: 25MPG~

• Length 145 inches

• Width 58.3 inches

• Height 56 inches

• Wheelbase 94 inches

• Weight 1931 lb.

• Drag coefficient (est.) 0.65

• Top speed 81 mph (w/ stock differential

ENGINE TYPE:I-4 1250 cc | 76.3 cu in. | 1.3 L.58 BHP (42.32 KW) @ 5500 RPM

65 Ft-Lbs. (88 NM) @ 3000 RPM

Bore: 2.6 in | 67 mm.

Stroke: 3.5 in | 90 mm.


4 Speed Manual

Gear Ratios

1st Gear : 17.06:1

2nd Gear : 10.09:1

3rd Gear : 6.725:1

4th Gear : 4.875:1

Production / Roadsters : 6,200

EXTERIOR• Frame Off / “Nut & Bolt” restoration of a solid, originally California MGTF

• Show quality paint in factory delivered paint color / highest quality 2-stage base coat/clear coat

• Extremely straight body lines & door fitment / closure

– NO sagging or ill-fitting doors or hood panels

• Very tight, rattle free “TF”

• All exterior chrome is exceptional and free from any pitting or damage

• Beautiful bumpers with factory correct over-riders

• New windscreen & rubber trim

• Excellent, virtually new beige canvas tonneau cover with functional center zipper to allow for “splitting” the driver’s and passenger compartments or covering the entire car

• Like new, hardly up, high quality canvas tan top with perfectly clear window and restored top bows

• Front & rear side curtains included (4) also fitted to chromed (originally painted frames & finished in matching light vinyl fabric with clear windows (refer to photographs)

• Both doors open and close and secure properly with solid hinges and no sagging

• Original black / yellow license plates included in sale (To California buyers only as they need to be turned in for out of state sales)

• Currently registered and just renewed until 6/14/18 (CA buyers only)

• Beautifully restored front grill

• No radio or antenna (the way it should be for a vintage British sports car)

INTERIOR• Beautiful custom Oxblood red leather seat upholstery

• Beautiful original totally restored steering wheel

• Beautiful original type vinyl covered dash & gauges

• All original gauges and all work except for small clock below tachometer

• Excellent tan door panels each w/ a storage pocket

• Glove box opening in dash

• All new black floor carpet w/ rubber mat on driver’s side

• Space for luggage behind the front seats with separate felt lined compartment for side screens / windows (included per above description)

• Factory correct center mounted rear view mirror

• Wipers work

• Functional hand brake

• Working (loud) horn)

• Lights & electrical system is fully functional


This example is absolutely striking in black, with an oxblood red in interior and tan canvas top and side curtains. The restoration effort was done to a very high standard with considerable attention to detail that resulted in an absolutely beautiful MG.

The convertible top and color coordinated full canvas tonneau cover and top are in virtually new condition and the interior is exceptional. The engine bay is highly detailed and remains in stock configuration. The bright-work is very good, particularly both bumpers.

The underside is California clean and supports that the car has not seen rain since restoration (refer to photos). The inner fender wells were painted during the restoration and the completely replaced chassis wood is still clean and fresh as shown in the detailed underside photos.


Frankly, this “TF” car runs and drives better than any early MG that we have owned. We attribute this to a totally rebuilt engine, transmission, rear end, and other drive-line components. It starts immediately when cold and equally as well once it is fully warmed up. The engine does not hesitate, has excellent power, and it runs smoothly as it is shifted up and down through the syncromesh gears of the totally rebuilt transmission.
There is no unusual noise in the drive-line including the rear end, engine, brakes, and other components.

The MGTF does not pull to the left or right, brakes straight and sure with a functional e-brake. It does not not exhibit any drivability issues. MG enthusiasts will notice that the instrumentation is MG is period correct. Due to a new wiring harness and a very particular owner, all of the lights and electrical system are fully functional. The speedometer recently needle recently “stuck” around 30 mph but moves upward. We are investigating the cause of the glitch.

The MG runs at normal operating temperature with no indication of overheating. The other gauges are fully functional (speedometer, tachometer, oil pressure, ammeter) as are the lights and horn. Engine oil pressure reads 60~ lbs., well within the normal operating specifications and the MG runs cool even in warm Northern California temperatures partly as a result of the restored cooling system. The car is totally sorted, usable at highway speeds and, personally, we would not hesitate to take it on a long (and enjoyable) journey.

The MG is perhaps the most mechanically solid example that we can remember owning. It will certainly be well received at any car show, cruise, or British car event.