The highly successful MG TC, which had enjoyed a production run of 10,000 over a period of four years, was essentially a pre-war car and by the late 1940s minds at Abingdon were concentrating on a replacement. The catalyst for change was almost certainly the introduction of the Y-type saloon with its independent front suspension.
The prototype MG TD was built towards the end of 1948. With legendary Abingdon ingenuity, a Y-type chassis was shortened and a TC body mounted on it. This was to serve as the basis for the ensuing design work and the model was brought into production in November 1949.
The chassis was quite different from its earlier T- Type cousins, its design being closely related to the Y saloon, It differed from earlier T-Types at the back where the chassis passed over the rear axle and at the front where provision was made for rack and pinion steering and independent front suspension, The front suspension set up was to continue through to the MGA almost unchanged and is even recognisable to the MGB owner.
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Other improvements over the TC were the front brakes (twin leading shoe) and a completely different design of rear axle to replace the Achilles heel of the TC.
The XPAG engine was essentially the same as fitted to the TC but with some detail alterations to cater for the different layout at the front (for example, the water outlet casting was at a different angle). Apart from this there were a number of improvements as a result of the development of the XPAG engine. One noteworthy one which was to be found on later TDs was the oil filter arrangement; a larger 8" clutch replaced the 7 1/4" clutch on engines designated XPAG/TD2.
The TD was the first MG sports car to be available in left hand drive, which helped enormously with the export drive. Of the 29,884 TDs produced, just over 26,000 were exported with well over 20,000 going to North America.
A competition model, the TD MK II (not to be confused with the TD2) was available from the Factory, but very few of these were produced for the Home Market.
A special bodied TD, the Arnolt MG with styling by Bertone was offered by a Chicago MG dealer. One hundred of these, hand built in Turin and shipped to the US were produced, 65 coupes and 35 convertibles. Around a half have survived.
By 1953 sales of the MG TD were dropping off and once again Abingdon needed to prepare a face lift. They did so with the MG TF, very much a stop gap model before the introduction of the MGA.
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