T & Y Series Spares

Covering the MGTA TB TC TD TF (1936 - 1954) & MGY YB YT (1947 - 1953)

T-Types: Some general notes on originality 


We are frequently questioned about the importance of originality concerning the models that we serve, in fact some people think that we might disapprove of changes that they wish to make, sometimes even to the point of being apologetic!

This is only intended as a general guide to the spirit of the classic MG and its use in the 21st century and our comments, having been in the trade since 1966.


Back in the 60s there was no recognised classic car scene except for pre-war vintage cars, but there were many, mostly young, enthusiasts who could not afford a modern car anyway but chose these models because they valued them far above other more mundane old cars, considering them worthy of preservation, although funds and mechanical knowledge were severely limited.  During that time there was a tendency to modify and update the cars in ways that would be frowned upon today, such as the fitment of extra switches and gadgets to the dashboard, modern fog and spot lamps, non-standard interiors, vinyl hoods etc.

Generally the movement is now towards changing these features back to original specification, but sometimes current owners assume certain features are original because they are not obviously out of character. 


However, owners of sports cars have frequently modified their cars and added accessories that they feel enhance appearance, performance and convenience.  Some parts, such as steering wheels are used in preference to the maker's item. Other parts such as aeroscreens, luggage racks, extra mirrors, gauges etc. would be chosen in relation to the type of use envisaged for the car, whether racing, rallying or touring is to be undertaken.  There were also many accessories available from specialist manufacturers from heaters to hardtops, especially in the USA.  Alloy rocker covers and sideplates were especially popular along with different air filter arrangements, sometimes required because of a carburettor upgrade or fitment of a supercharger.

Some common cosmetic departures from originality include:   Chrome plating parts such as engine parts, headlamp brackets, tank straps, instrument panels and tank end plates (these last 2 only show a plated edge) contrasting wing piping (originally matched paintwork), coloured carpets (originally black), black hoods and sidescreens except for TA/TB and a few early TCs.


A great deal depends upon the owner's intended use of the car.  If the object is to compete in concours events, then the car cannot be too original, but many owners simply want the car to be to their personal taste.  It is rare to find anyone whose sole interest is to compete in concours and willing to pursue originality as near as possible to exact factory specification.  Even then it is difficult in a very close contest for the judges to choose between one car that is more original but less well finished than another. The writer has judged on a number of occasions and has been faced with this dilemma.


There is surely room for various approaches to restoration and it would be somewhat dull if everyone restored to exact factory specification.  Many TD & TF owners like to convert to wire wheels even though these were only offered on the TF. (MG offered a conversion for the TD only during TF production, so it is a moot point as to whether this could be considered original for the TD).


Some owners feel that in order to cope with modern traffic conditions certain updated features are desirable, such as 5-speed gearboxes, higher final drive ratios, brake servos, disc brakes etc.  Having not driven a T-Type regularly, the writer returned to using a TD fairly recently, and was pleased to find that the standard machine felt safe and pleasant to drive in standard form.  A 5-speed gearbox has now been fitted and the result is quite a transformation although some owners feel that the original gearbox should be retained as part of the period driving experience. Although the engine has been considerably modified, the standard brakes are found to be excellent in spite of being accustomed modern braking systems for daily motoring.  Electronic ignition and an up-rated water pump are also installed.


To take an overview, personal preference will always prevail in the end.  Few would re-paint or re-trim a car in the colours that it left Abingdon if they disliked the combination.  We are always willing to discuss individual owners' requirements, so that the right decision is made at the early stage. It is unfortunate if a  feature is adopted because the owner is not aware that it is not original, but a different matter if it is decided to make a conscious change because of personal taste.  The writer has changed a few small features on the TD, and when pointed out as non-original the response is "yes, but I prefer it."


Remember - it's your car!!


Mike Green December 2014