1955 MG TF 1500 RoadsterSOLD

RM Auctions - The Ponder Collection - Texas - April 20-21st, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $45,000 - $65,000


$53,900 Sold

63hp, 1500 cc, inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94"

One of the Finest Restored Examples in the Country 1955 MG TF 1500 Roadster

Following WWII, the first British sports car to capture American hearts was the MG TC. This popularity would prompt MG to build a model designed specifically for the US; instantly a success, the MG TD appeared in 1949 with an improved ride, better handling and most importantly, left hand drive. It was not long, however, before MG fans started looking forward to a far more powerful MG, something capable of keeping up with the new Triumph TR2 or Austin-Healey 100. What they got was the TF, unveiled in late 1953. MG purists severely criticized the TF for its flared in headlamps, new bonnet design, sloping hood line and raked radiator with its fake cap, which they felt compromised the essence of MG. Others, who did not share the same endearment for the TC and TD welcomed the compromise the TF offered, and as a result the MG TF sold in healthy numbers with its two year production reaching nearly 10,000 units.

When introduced, the MG TF was powered by the same XPAG 1,250 cc engine that had driven the TD. A mere 3hp increase brought little improvement in performance, although 0-60mph times improved by nearly five seconds to 18.9 (which at the time was still quite slow). Salvation would come within a year, in the form of an additional 250 cubic centimeters.

The MG TF 1500 was fitted with a new XPEG engine based on the powerplant fitted in EX179, the MG that ran a record-breaking 120mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the hands of George Eyston and Ken Miles. No doubt, the publicity helped MG TF sales and, with the exception of 1500 badges replacing the 1250, the old and new MG TFs were externally identical.

While most new cars had abandoned a wooden body tub, the TF had continued the tradition. The side curtains, separate top and top bows had been improved over the TD and were stored behind the new bucket-style seats.

Despite its slightly dated design, the American press welcomed the MG TF. Road & Track (Dec. 1954) stated, “After last year’s test we asked if the TF was really that good. It is, and more. Even though the MG is the lowest priced sports car on the market, it is the accepted standard of comparison.”

Interestingly enough, in today’s collector car market the MG TF has proven to be the most desirable of the T-Series cars. Once described in the most unflattering terms by many MG aficionados, more than fifty years later it is considered one of the prettiest MGs ever made and affectionately know as “The Last of the Square Riggers.”

The 1955 MG TF 1500 Roadster presented here belonged to one of Mr. Ponder’s closest friends for over 30 years. Approximately 15 years ago, the pair restored the MG to show quality, following which it garnered numerous awards and accolades. About five years ago Mr. Ponder was offered the opportunity to purchase the MG and did so, opting to keep it “within the family”, so to speak. Within the last two years the MG underwent a complete restoration again. Its solid body was repainted in the popular color, MG Red. The biscuit interior and tan carpets were a popular color combination, while the added red piping provides a little pizzazz. Under the bonnet, the rebuilt four-cylinder engine was detailed, and is a showcase in itself. Likewise the chassis has also been painted and detailed.
With its folding windscreen, square radiator, cut-down doors, slab gas tank and rear mounted spare, the MG TF embodies the essence of MG. Additional and much appreciated MG 1500 options on this example include a badge bar, luggage rack, chrome wire wheels and an MG insignia exhaust. In 1955 only 3,400 examples of the MG TF 1500 were built, and surely as fine an example as this would be hard to find. This is without question one of, if not the finest MG TFs we have ever had the pleasure of offering. One could simply not duplicate the cost of the restoration within the suggested value range.

Please note that this vehicle is titled by the engine number.

Reference Number 7599

as of 2/27/2007

Car 1955 MG TF 1500 Roadster
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