MG TD “All Clear”

TD showing weather equipment in place (from a sales brochure)

Twelve months ago, having attended many shows, rallies and tours of Europe and more often than not encountering inclement weather, the hood had to be put in position complete with sidescreens. Now sidescreens are not always the perfect fit and most importantly do restrict your view when driving, tend to mist up and create blind spots with the nearside mirror also obstructed.

So I had the idea of making the sidescreens out of two sheets of poly-carbonate plastic 5mm thick and completely eliminating the metal frames and the canvas which frays and also can get quite discoloured; at the same time I wanted to retain the same sidescreen look with the detail at the base of each screen, including the hinged flap.

In the case of the profiled bottom shape of the sidescreen this was made from 3mm good quality sheet aluminium (and then covered with vinyl). It’s light and easy to cut and, of course, you can bend it to the slight radius profile needed to follow the front doors; this also carries the chrome strip piano hinge which you can purchase from good D.I.Y. shops, which, in turn is attached to the plastic screen by means of 4BA screws and domed nuts, but metric screws of similar size can also be used.

The rear sidescreen base was fitted with 4BA rivet nuts (stronger thread) along its length to secure the plastic and vinyl covering in place, using screws with stainless cup washers. Now the profile of the plastic sidescreens basically follows the profile of the hood under the stitched flap, making sure that you are waterproof when all is in place.

Front “clear view” sidescreen
Rear “clear view” sidescreen

Depending on the type of hood you have i.e. two bow or three bow, the profile of the front sidescreen has to take care of the bow frame, which is not straight, to allow you to open the door with the hood in place. I am willing to supply the basic profile templates for the two bow if any fellow owner is interested. These screens are attached to the door using the same set-up, but you need to make two brackets for each side; first you have to make the rear door round pin, which is longer than the original and head diameter of 0.750” and shank of 0.375” diameter 2” long, using 6mm x 20mm flat bar – this is shaped and welded or brazed to the pin as a base angled 90 degrees. Later two holes are drilled in this flat bar and threaded ¼ whitworth, but only when you are satisfied that the position of the screen is correct and with the front bracket also in place.

Now the ferrule that fits in the door shell itself is also made with a 0.750” flange diameter turned down to 0.375” dia but the width of the flange is approx 0.250” thick – you will need to calculate this exact measurement with the screen in place and fastened to the flap base section because the rear screen and the front screen have to follow in profile to each other along their top edges. The ferrule has to be a good fit in the door but is held in place by a tube washer that fits over the shank, which is drilled and threaded at the bottom ¼ dia whit so the whole lot is held in place using socket head allen screw and washer.

Both brackets for the rear and front sidescreen are positioned using the original fixings i.e. the two chrome domed wing nuts; these were modified to have two legs instead of the one, which are more convenient, particularly for the rear frame. The brass castings for these can be supplied if need be and threaded 3/8 dia whit.

Now, one of the most important points; you can now attach to the front nearside sidescreen a round adjustable door mirror (available for around £20) using the metal front door bracket which has already been drilled to hold the plastic screen; check the thread – it is usually metric. This mirror is very handy when driving in Europe.

Finally, I find that with this sidescreen arrangement you can keep them in place all the time; you have a full clear view of traffic, less side wind and less chance of rain hitting you and they are easy clean! Also, when at shows and rallies you have more security if your doors are locked with the hood and sidescreens in position.

The author’s TD with poly-carbonate plastic sidescreens in place

Well, this has worked for me and is a good winter project to undertake at a cost of around £100, depending on how much of the work you can do yourself.

If any reader requires further information then I am quite willing to help with photographs, template drawings etc.

Alan Atkins

Ed’s Note: Ideally, we should have had a photo of Alan’s car with the sidescreens in position and the hood raised, but the weather has been so appalling that it has not been possible to do this. Hopefully we can include a photo in the April issue.

Alan has sent in a number of tips for TD owners and some of these are published on this page; others will be published in future editions.

First is a thermostat bypass made from gunmetal which he is offering for £25 plus postage.

Alan reminds us that the centre instrument panel on the TD is not easy to get at and remove in the event of instrument or bulb failure, the main obstruction being the small hexagon nuts which hold the panel in place. His suggestion is to replace these nuts with wing nuts – he adds that he had to make longer domed headed screws that went through the complete wooden sections of the dash (size was 2BA). The result is that you can withdraw the centre panel in minutes, not lose any small nuts and can perform this operation without a hand lamp.

A difficult item to replace on the TD in situ is the top radiator hose. Alan suggests using a silicone hose, which is very flexible and can be cut to one’s requirements (that is the slight angle that makes a better fit to the header tank). Silicone hoses are available from Dave Gee of Classic Silicone Hoses or Tel: 01530 230971. Your Editor has confirmed with Mr Gee that the hoses are only available in sets (pre-VAT increase prices £40 per set TB/TC/TD and £36 TF) but he is willing to supply me with a small batch of six top hoses (TB/TC/TD) which I should have available at Stoneleigh and will sell for £20 each on a non-profit making basis.

If using silicone hoses make sure you use a standard antifreeze; those with organic acid anti-corrosives can damage any silicone in your engine, including your hoses. See the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs for further information.

In this day and age it is probably wise to fit amber direction indicators to your car, front and rear, especially if you are travelling abroad. These can be wired into the existing wiring loom or you can use the more modern Lucas small round aluminium 42 watt unit bypassing the large earlier expensive unit, but you may wish to get an auto-electrician to carry out this modification. The front side light conversion is easy with the S-V-C kit:

S-V-C also supply a rear pedestal unit, which is in line with the existing rear lighting and fitted to the rear splash apron.

The S-V-C Front Side Light Conversion Kit

2 thoughts on “MG TD “All Clear”

    • JOHN JAMES says:


      Alan has just sent me (received this morning)some detailed photos of the sidescreens, including one with the hood in position. I’ll publish them in the April issue of TTT 2 which should be available on or before 15th March.


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