In the early 1950s MG needed a new car to replace the MG TD model. At that time the British Motor Corporation (BMC) was deeply involved in the Austin-Healey project and did not have the resources to provide a completely new car to replace the MG TD. Therefore instead of a completely new car, BMC updated the MG TD which resulted in the MG TF.
In the fall of 1953 BMC introduced the MG TF. It was similar to the MG TD, but with a slanted, slightly curved grille, headlights grafted to the fenders, and the body length was increased slightly.
Many MG enthusiasts were disappointed with the MG TF, as they were looking for a “new” car. The old style of the MG TF looked staid when compared to other sports cars on the market at that time such as the Triumph TR 2.
The MG TF Was An Update To The MG TD
The MG TF had a dash that was symmetrical so that it would work for both lefty-hand drive and right-hand drive. In the picture below you can seen the central location of the gages and switches. The car below has an optional rear luggage rack to supplement the small storage volume in the MG TF.
The Central Gages Are Suitable For The Steering Wheel on Either Side Of The Car
The presence of the rear luggage rack is a useful option, but the rear end of the car looks less cluttered without it.
This MG TF Does Not Have A Rear Luggage Rack
The other disappointment with the MG TF is that the early models of the MG TF had the same 1,250 cc engine that was in the MG TD. This engine produced 57 horsepower. Later MG TF models were fitted with a bore-out version of this same engine which increased the horsepower in the MG TF to 63 horsepower.
1,500cc 63 Horsepower MG TF Engine
In 1954 the MG TD with the 57 horsepower 1,250cc engine sold in the United States for $2,195. In 1955, the MG TF with the 63 horsepower 1,500cc engine sold for $1,995. Compare this with the Triumph TR 2 which had a 90 horsepower engine and sold for $2,448. If the MG TF was fitted with wire wheels then about $130 would be added to the cost.
I am not sure why the 1955 was about 10% lower than the 1954 MG TF even with the larger engine. However I suspect that it might have been done to help improve car sales.
The MG TF Looks Fine Even With The Top Up
I took the photo below at the MG Rover Day in 2011 at the Larz Anderson Museum of Transportation in Brookline, Massachusetts which shows a direct comparison between the dark blue MG TF on the left and the white MG TD on the right.
A Dark Blue MG TF Compared To A White MG TD
I cannot find very much rally history with the MG TF. I have competed in a couple of time-speed rallies with the Taylors from Pennsylvania who have competed in a number of time-speed rallies, including the Great Race, in a MG TF.
The Taylors In Their MG TF
I like the styling of the MG TF, but I can understand the disappointment that many MG fans had when it first appeared. As it turned out, the MG TF had a rather short life span, as it was replaced by the stylish MGA in 1956.