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MG TF, MGA, MGB: 3 roadsters in the driving report with purchase advice

Hardy Mutschler
Open MG - the TF and its descendants MG A and B
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Pre-war technology in a modern guise

M G TF, MGA and also MGB are classics during their lifetime - because their simple technology basically dates back to the pre-war period. Even the youngest of this roadster trio, the MGB presented in 1962, bravely applied its baroque power source, apart from a few modifications, until its end of production in 1980. But twist him out of it? Of course not, on the contrary: A B-Roadster like this is more exciting today than ever. Precisely because it comes across as wonderfully archaic, making its appearance all the more honest and personable.

Of course, the same could be said about its predecessor MGA, and especially about the even older MG TF: All three met today on the grounds of the England specialist and Morgan contract partner Michael Schmidt from Classic Line from the Swabian Kirchheim /Neckar for a trip - to show how much roadster feeling is in each of them. To make the choice a little easier for you, dear reader, if you happen to be looking for an open-top sports car from the MG brand.

One facelift had to be enough

The first kilometers - of course, they belong to the oldest of the trio, the MG TF, in this case a 1500, born in 1954, whose engine has 63 hp. Today we would speak of a facelift in his case, because strictly speaking it is not a new model, but an externally modified MG TD. The most noticeable differences to the direct predecessor: The bonnet now drops slightly forwards, the radiator is a little more inclined in the airstream, and the rear now looks more elongated due to a flatter angle of the tank and spare wheel.

But you notice a little an MG TF that he had to keep an already outdated concept alive for a while. In the wheelhouses, where 19-inch wheels were located before it was released, the new 15-inch models look almost lost. And while the engine and passenger cell have been taken over from the predecessor unchanged, the headlights integrated into the fenders only manage half-heartedly to bridge the wide gap to the hood in a somewhat harmonious way.

Company takeovers and the BMC

However, plans for a much more modern successor were long in the drawer at MG in 1951, and the new car with them the code EX 175 - visually very similar to an MGA - could have gone into series production a year later. In 1952, however, the Nuffield Group, which in addition to MG and Morris also included the Wolseley and Riley brands, was swallowed up by Austin. The result was the British Motor Corporation (BMC), the third largest automobile company in the world at the time - and it was there that the former Austin boss Leonard Lord decided which car will be launched.

The owner preferred a different sports car, namely the Austin-Healey 100 designed by Donald Healey and, moreover, formally very successful. Lord decided that there was no room in his new large concern for two sporty roadsters - the EX 175 project had to disappear back into the drawer. MG engineers were only allowed to revise the TD.

MG TF is a transitional model

Yes The MG TF plays the role of the transitional model surprisingly well, even if many MG enthusiasts ultimately longed for a sportier and probably more modern roadster. During its only three-year production period from 1953 to 1955, almost 10,000 copies were made - initially with a 57 hp 1250 engine, from 1954 with 1,466 cm3 and 63 hp.

As soon as you take a seat in the MG TF , the centrally installed instruments and an open storage compartment to the right and left of them are noticeable. Obvious advantage: this unit could easily be used in both right and left-hand drive versions. The three octagonal instrument housings contain round Jaeger clocks, one each for engine speed and speed as well as the displays for water temperature, oil pressure and amperage combined in a combined instrument.

Playful handling of the MG TF - with one exception

The four-cylinder engine starts its work in a completely unspectacular manner, and with a little feeling the first, unsynchronized gear can be engaged without any problems. The further handling of the MG TF - almost playful, only the brake pedal requires a little more emphasis.

With its 63 hp, this roadster swims surprisingly easily through the rush hour traffic and does not turn out to be a traffic obstacle even on a wide main road. Sure, this wonderfully humming long-stroke only has to do with 875 kilos. But at the latest from 70 km /h in the MG TF you hardly hear anything from the engine, because the wind has long been sweeping like a hurricane over the low, even foldable window and the even lower doors through the red cockpit. That’s how it has to be if you’re from a BritishRoadster talks.

Of course there is also a roof, explains owner Georg Rahm, but MG fans can hardly remember when they last pulled it out from under the tarpaulin. A car like the MG TF can of course only be driven openly, says Rahm.

The MGA - a successful new beginning

The gaze wanders over to the MGA, which debuted in England in June 1955 . No more trace of the angularity of its predecessor, no angles and no corners despite an almost identical technical basis: With its elegant and aerodynamically favorable body, this car marks the departure from the classic MG Schnauferl look and stands - as with the letter A behind the brand name - for a new start for the group. And it really looks like a slightly slimmer version of the Austin Healey.

First there is the new roadster with a comparatively mild 68 hp from 1,489 cc. Just one year later, displacement and performance were increased to 1,588 cm3 and almost 80 hp, while in 1961, the Mk II, an 86 hp variant with 1622 cm3, came onto the market.

The machine, which is identical in all MGAs, is considered to be indestructible - something that cannot exactly be said of the 1.6-liter twin-cam unit with two overhead camshafts and 108 hp that was also offered from 1958. In terms of numbers, this model, which has suffered numerous engine damage, plays only a minor role with only 2,111 units built - with a total of 101,081 MGAs produced.

MGA fits like a well-worn-in sneaker

on the photo model Stefan Knirsch owns a 1500, but as confident as this engine already sounds when idling, any pilot would expect more power than the 68 hp offered. In the cockpit of the MG TF, two large round instruments for engine speed and speed have replaced the octagonal displays, and they are back where you would expect them in a sports car: directly in front of the driver.

The seating position - lower and sportier than in the red MG TF. The view from the narrow cockpit reaches just over the slim, slightly oval bonnet, which, like the doors and the trunk lid, is made of aluminum. The MGA fits like a well-worn-in sneaker.

Better to ride open all the time

Of course this only marches around 900 Car that weighs pounds from a standing start is also quite unproblematic due to the traffic, supported by a smooth and direct steering. The comfort area in the MGA extends up to a speed of 120 km /h, anything above that can be safely booked as an imposition - for the ancient technology as well as for the long wind-ruffled crew, who enjoy this trip without any comfort and from this British oneRoadster-Urviech basically didn't expect any mildness either.

Incidentally, the convertible top of an MGA is just as laborious to assemble as that of an MG TF, which is why this car is always open and its drivers are usually seen with thick, lambskin-lined leather jackets.

As hard in the wind as ever

In 1962, the group again breaks with the design line that had prevailed until then - the new MGB still carries the tried and tested technology of its predecessors under the sheet metal, but its now self-supporting body is drawn much more straightforward and may again show edge. Unlike its direct predecessor, it doesn't care about aerodynamics, but rather places its flat radiator grille cheekily in the wind, which, in combination with the round lamps and the two bumper horns, creates a slightly grim facial expression.

The 1, The 8-liter four-cylinder MGB with the camshaft still below it produces a hefty 95 hp, the crankshaft, which was initially triple-supported, received two more bearings from October 1964, and in 1967 the first gear was finally synchronized and, if desired, with an overdrive - no , MG could not ignore the modern forever.

MGB is a real roadster

So is the MGB a softie? Definitely not. His power plant sounds rough, snotty, intrusive, and as a pilot you are still sitting as hard in the wind as ever because of the low belt line and the flat windshield. In the time it takes to set up the folding top, you could also pitch a house tent, and at that time Abingdon did not really give much thought to a useful heating or somewhat effective ventilation. Yes, this model is still a real roadster.

The driving pleasure really sets in just above idle. As a driver, you look at a beautiful instrument panel coated with black ruffled varnish, while your right hand rests on this ultra-short gear lever so that you can, if necessary - and with a wonderful 'click!' - to engage the next gear. The 95 hp, in conjunction with a stable chassis and good brakes, are easily enough to keep the MGB from being dependent on even stronger competitors on winding terrain. Not bad for such an old guy.

'Anyone looking for an open classic with high everyday qualities as a beginner will not get around an MGB', enthuses owner Ulrich Körner at the end of the day - this is for him Model has long been the ideal type of roadster.

Hardy Mutschler
The MG TF is an ideal automobile for connoisseurs - its long-stroke four-cylinder requires little maintenance, lasts forever and provides respectable driving performance.
Hardy Mutschler
The MGA was well received and achieved high sales. Its technology is only rudimentarily changed compared to its predecessor, but the elegant body hit the nerve of the time.
Hardy Mutschler
The BMC celebrated its biggest hit with the MGB: 512,243 copies of the roadster were built.


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