Simanaitis Says

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1954 MG TF—THE LAST OF THE T SERIES

“EVERY TIME WE drive an MG,” R&T wrote in March 1954, “whether it be the TC, the TD, or as in this case, the new TF, the thought comes to mind—here is a car that exemplifies far better than mere words the answer to the question: ‘What is a sports car?’ ”

“To drive an MG,” R&T continued, “is sheer pleasure. This is no car for the average Joe looking for transportation…. To drive an MG like an old maid is a sacrilege.”

1954 MG TF. This and the following images from R&T, March 1954.

The TF was the last of Abingdon’s T series. There was no “TE,” and the TF’s replacement was the 1955 MGA. A total of 9602 TFs were built between October 1953 and April 1955.

The TF was a face-lifted TD, initially powered by the TD Mk II’s 1250-cc engine. In mid-1954, the TD’s powerplant was bored out to 1466 cc, the car renamed the TF1500. (Doesn’t 1466 sound like some important year in British history? Well, 1066 is the Norman Conquest, 1415 is the Battle of Agincourt, and 1666 is the Great Fire of London.)

Like other T series, the TF bonnet opened in right and left halves. Prominent here are the car’s pair of S.U. carbs.

The revised bodywork was a bit old-fashioned for the 1950s, though its faired-in headlights, sweptback grille, and radiator cap being faux suggested modern times.

The TF cockpit featured individual seatbacks, unlike the single benchbacks of earlier Ts. The TF instrument panel paid tribute to the MG logo with its three octagonal bezels.

R&T observed, “The new centrifugal type tachometer oscillates badly at times (though it is noiseless)…. …and there is still no fuel level gauge.”

The March 1954 R&T is replete with MG lore, not to say with 1950s’ social commentary as well: A visit to the Abingdon works, about 50 miles west of London, cited “Half a dozen girls were busy in the upholstery shop.” (Does an image of wistful pre-teens in Brit woolen mills come to mind?)

R&T ended its road test with “Even the office girls hated to see the TF go back.”

A two-page feature in January 1954 introduced the TF. And, in March 1954, along with the road test and factory visit, there was an article titled “MG Processing.” This followed the cars from ship unloading through extensive preparation prior to delivery to dealers.

On MG’s “terrific reputation for dependability,” author/photographer R. Rolofson, Jr., wrote, “… after all, the best of our Detroit wagons usually require a good deal of post-sale tightening and adjusting, without foregoing a long, rough sea voyage!”

An MG TD being off-loaded in Southern California.

The facility’s Service Manager was a fellow named Ken Miles. Yes, as featured in the recent Ford v Ferrari flick, that Ken Miles. As Rolofson mentions, “Most top competition drivers learned on MGs.” ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2020

One comment on “1954 MG TF—THE LAST OF THE T SERIES

  1. Skip
    July 28, 2020

    Another famous Service Manager was John Thornley, OBE who took over the position from John Temple. Thankfully there are several delightful videos of Thornley recalling his time at MG, which by all accounts was a relatively harmonious factory, in the early days that is…

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