A New Book on the TD

Practical MG TD Maintenance Update and Innovation

Available around mid-September is a book entitled Practical M.G.TD Maintenance Update and Innovation. Written by Jonathan Goddard, the book is, in some ways, in the “Barrie’s Notes” mould. Those of you who have read Barrie’s books on the TF and the MGB will surely agree that they are very useful ‘handy size’ books to refer to.

However, Jonathan has written his book from a slightly different perspective; let me explain.

When he bought his car, TD0589 EXR RHD, it had just been imported back to the UK from California. A British car garage based there had shut up shop and the business assets, which included a number of “British” cars, including some other T-Types, were bought up as a job lot and shipped back to the UK. Jonathan’s car, which had lived in California since early 1950 came back as a stripped chassis and a collection of cardboard boxes containing most of the parts; but some were missing, and some were from different T-Types!

He therefore had some components from cars built later in the TD production run, which gave rise to some interesting challenges in putting things back together. He remarks that although he did not realise it at the time he was to face some interesting questions on interchangeability, but this gave him the opportunity to take advantage of using later components where advantage could be gained and where originality was not visibly abused. Every TD owner will find something in this book to enhance their enjoyment of owning and driving a T-Type.

As Jonathan’s TD was built in 1950, the first full year of TD production, he has been conscious of some of the original “shortcomings” and has therefore taken a keen interest in introducing Factory and non-intrusive changes to improve safety, reliability and enjoyment whilst giving due consideration to the need to adapt to modern driving conditions.

Traffic has grown exponentially in the UK since the 1950s. When the TD was in production there were just 2.4 million cars on the road. Today there are 30 million cars on our crowded roads and both the pace of driving and driving standards have altered beyond belief. It is therefore not surprising that T-Type owners have wanted to update some aspects of their vehicles in order to improve safety and driving enjoyment. Jonathan has done just this but always with an overriding consideration not to spoil the classic looks of his car.

Details of how you can purchase a copy of Practical M.G.TD Maintenance Update and Innovation will appear on this website when available as well as in the next edition (October 2010) of Totally T-Type 2.

Jonathan has kindly given me permission to reproduce “Door fit and close” from his book.

Door Fit and Close

The passage of time takes its toll, and on TD0589, the need to address worn out ash, particularly around the doors was a priority. Replacing some of the ash woodwork was necessary and the job is made easier if the ash timber sections are purchased ready made, from a specialist supplier. Hutson Motor Co Ltd. and NTG Services Ipswich supplied the necessary wood for my car and this was found to be an excellent fit. All the ash timber was treated to coat of clear timber preservative and I used brass or stainless steel fixing screws where necessary.

The new ash door pieces are now carefully checked against the old wood, and the door opening in the body, to make sure it will fit and that the twist in the frame is correct. Adjustments can be made at this stage before fitting the pieces into the door. Dismantle the frame and now re-assemble them within the door itself, making sure that the tapped sidescreen socket is in place. The front piece of wood goes in first, followed by the bottom and the piece by the hinges.

With these three in place lock the hinge end of the top piece into the frame and force the front of it into the top. If you do not have a good fit it then it is best to remove the wood and trim to fit. Replacing the four major door frame components is not difficult providing care is taken so that the steel door is not overstressed or damaged. Removal of hinges, door stop, side screen locator and latches is necessary followed by the panel pins allowing the door edge to be folded back releasing the old timber. I understand that the timber was not glued (during manufacture) so once the fittings have been removed the timber can be gently prised away from the steel.

Malcolm Green’s book on restoration provides good advice on refitting new wood into the door steel skins and I therefore followed his advice. Before replacing the door timbers I also replaced the under door rail, rear door pillar and rear wheel arch elbow assembly to ensure a sound frame for the door to close onto. The steel body panels need to be gently prised away from the wood to allow removal of old timber and refitting of new.

I also purchased new door frame brace sections (hinge reinforcement) that fit on the rear back section timber, but I found these to be rather less rigid than I had hoped. These were therefore returned to the supplier and I had a local garage make replacements out of a thicker gauge steel that was welded at each corner and therefore considerably stronger. The standard door cross brace was refitted after the door was hung but its effectiveness is less evident (and less necessary) due to the stronger rear brace. If the wood in your car is sound but the door fit and closure is not satisfactory I would recommend replacing the standard rear door frame brace with a stronger heavier example. This is a straightforward replacement and can improve the rigidity of the door with relatively little effort.

The net result of this work is doors that close with a re-assuring clunk, door latches that work every time and a solid door frame with no flexing that has a pleasing body fit.

During the door re-work stage I had purchased two non standard additional swivel catches (Gravelly Fasteners) that I thought I would need to guarantee door locking integrity. My experience with a TC door swinging open on corners had dented my confidence! However the re-work and strengthening had done its job and even now 17 years later the doors still shut with a reassuring clunk and I have not had to fit the Gravelly Fasteners.


4 thoughts on “A New Book on the TD

  1. John Krouse says:

    Before I married my wife 41 years ago, she had had a 1946 TC as a “man puller” and a general runaround for about 10 years. We still have the car and although it did have a respray 25 years ago, I believe the ash frame is still original. The car has not been out of the garage for many years (probably 10 years and not used regularly for twenty years) I noticed the comment by Jonathan Goddard about the doors opening when going around corners and this car certainly does that and also if you park the car with one wheel on the kerb. I felt the car did become unsafe to drive as I could feel the car twisting as it was driven around corners. Do you think that the car needs a full ash frame replacement or could it be just the door frames and rear wheel arches where the doors are attached, as the article suggests.

    If so how can I check what is required, before the whole body comes off? Are the Hutson Motor Co Ltd. or NTG Services Ipswich, the best people to purchase door frames or even complete ash frames from? I think I would replace the frame myself as it would be very expensive to get this job done by a restorer but I would need to read up on it first and I would be grateful for a point in the right direction. I did note that Malcolm Green’s book is good but I have not started any research on the project yet. My wife does not think I will carry out the work and it would be good to surprise her.
    John Krouse.

  2. John James says:

    Hello John,

    You need to tread carefully! Be wary of buying a new body because when you come to fit the panels to it you will find that they probably won’t fit! Chris Oswald (Marlborough area) has been through all this before and can offer you some sound advice. I’ve sent you his e-mail address and phone number by separate e-mail and he is expecting a call from you.

    The following link contains lots of photos of Chris’ TC rebuild – he has several more photos to upload when he gets around to it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mgtcdismantle2006/

  3. Tim Green says:

    I am not an expert on the TD, but have owned one for some years. If the doors are flying open on corners, this implies the chassis is twisting and I would suggest that it is the chassis rather than the body which needs to be looked at carefully. When I was looking to purchase a TD I looked at one or two with this problem and decided they were not for me. I’m sure the state of the timber work must also be relevant, but it could be that tin-worm has got into the chassis somewhere.

    The car I eventually purchased has been restored, and the chassis looks really solid underneath and hardly flexes at all.

  4. Jan W. Garnaes Johnson says:

    I would recommend Michael Sherrell’s book, TC’s Forever as a good primer of what’s involved in a body rebuild. The definitive book on “T” bodies has not been written and I wish Craig and Fred at the Whitworth Shop would write one now hat they are winding down their body works. After rebuilding my TA (twice-not happy with it the 1st. time)body, I’ve learned some things or two!

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