- Here’s a great example of the classic MG motoring experience.
- MGs and other postwar sports cars offered high-quality driving at affordable prices.
- Check out the auction, which ends on March 14, on Bring a Trailer—which, like Car and Driver, is part of Hearst Autos.
Morris Garages started life as sporting specials, lightweight bodies perched on the chassis of heavier Morris cars. Early MGs were lively handlers and helped spur the postwar sportscar craze on both sides of the Atlantic. Up for auction this week is a lovely slice of vintage MG life.
This 1954 MG TF 1500 is essentially an updated version of an idea that started in the 1920s. It followed the MG TD, which was preceded by the TC, and it by the TB. The MGA that immediately followed it in 1955 was the first modern MG, and it gave rise to a breed of cars that would create a new generation of enthusiasts.
Returning GIs brought a few MGs back from England’s green and pleasant land, and MG also had success as an exporter. They weren’t Jaguars or Austin-Healeys, but they were more affordable to buy and relatively simple to work on. That simplicity is necessary, as owning a vintage British car requires a certain mechanical aptitude—and an even deeper knowledge of creative vulgarities.
This TF example wears a little more chrome than may be acceptable in collector circles, but it is well restored and has the desirable 1.5-liter engine. The twin-carburetor four-cylinder is good for 62 horsepower, which makes the octagonal, 105-mph speedometer seem a trifle optimistic.
Cars the likes of the TF weren’t built for interstate drudgery. They were made for zipping around on country lanes at a pace that feels criminal but won’t raise concern with the constabulary.
It’s the wind in your hair, bugs in your teeth, what’s-that-funny-smell, sheer exhilaration of motoring that has kept these vehicles popular into the current day. An MG T-series feels more alive at 30 mph than a Porsche Boxster does at 70.
MG left the U.S. market with the rubber-bumper MGB, which had a crash-test-mandated ride height like a Porsche 911 Dakar. The MG brand is currently part of Chinese manufacturer SAIC’s portfolio, and its U.K.-market electric MG4 crossover is reportedly pleasant to drive and comes in at about three-quarters the price of a VW ID.4. But the present is not the past, and while the future of the U.K. auto industry has glimmers of optimism, experiencing an MG T-series like this one will take you back to the brand’s golden age.
Brendan McAleer is a freelance writer and photographer based in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada. He grew up splitting his knuckles on British automobiles, came of age in the golden era of Japanese sport-compact performance, and began writing about cars and people in 2008. His particular interest is the intersection between humanity and machinery, whether it is the racing career of Walter Cronkite or Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s half-century obsession with the Citroën 2CV. He has taught both of his young daughters how to shift a manual transmission and is grateful for the excuse they provide to be perpetually buying Hot Wheels.