On June 19th, 1936 the MG Car Company announced to the world its T-type. It was the first of a new series of MG’s that would last into the 1950’s. The MGTA sported the famous radiator design, the swept wings, running boards, folding windscreen, and large accessible bonnet. It was a two seater sports car with a foldable hood and side curtains.
The MGTA sales suffered because of its poor performance from a pushrod 1250cc four-cylinder engine, subsequently only 3000 were produced. In 1939, the MGTB was introduced with the XPAG engine (1250 cc fitted with a Y type camshaft) which improved its power range, but with onset of World War II, only a few were produced. The war ceased all production of MG’s and the company was put into service for the war effort making military items.
But the war did bring one good thing to the MG car company - American soldiers. Yanks stationed in England came to love the handling and good looks of traditional British roadsters exemplified by the MG, and started importing them to the US after the war. The United States had much more cash available to spend on cars than war torn Britain. This was the motivation for the MG Car Company, run under the Nuffield Organization, to change their marketing strategy and focus on North America.
The MGTC, produced from 1945 to 1949, was fitted with many elements to make it more US friendly. It had front and rear bumpers, twin horns, and dual tail lamps. But that wasn’t enough to handle American road conditions and only 10,000 cars were produced. What was really needed was a total redesign for the America market.
The MGTD, produced from 1949 to 1953, had better brakes, adjustable steering column, and an interchangeable dashboard for left or right hand driving. The TD adopted rack and pinion steering and front coil springs and wishbones. This, and a change in rear end suspension, allowed for a smoother ride and better handling. The wheel size was reduced to fifteen inches and the tire width increased to 5.50. A larger frame increased the body width five inches, and an optional radio and heater were part of the package. All of these changes made the MGTD a more comfortable and a superior riding car compared to the MGTC. Almost 30,000 TD’s were produced in four years.
One thing buyers didn’t like about the TD was that it no longer sported the wire wheels that where standard on previous models. In 1953, the MGTF was introduced with a chassis almost identical to the TD, a redesigned interior, and wire wheels were added as an option. Still the MGTF never captured the success of the MGTD in the US and was replaced by the MGA within two short years.