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MG TF

MG TF Published: 5th Apr 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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● Last of the T line up ● Best developed T ● Excellent club and specialist support ● Acclaimed modern Naylor replica

The TF was the final brew of the T strain and provided the basis of the forthcoming MGA replacement but featuring an enlarged 1.5-litre XPAG engine on later models. The TF was massively popular in its day, despite only having a two year run, preferred by many over the earlier models for a less vintage look and feel.

Driving

Based upon the TD chassis the TF was the fastest MG of its time, good for 90mph with its later 1446cc engine, and yet it was also the ‘softest’ in character with a touch more refinement and certainly some welcome added cockpit space. Autocar, who in a Talking of Sports Cars series reappraised an early TF 25 years after its demise and was impressed. “One quickly understands the demands for a 1500cc engine… Although the engine obviously doesn’t seem to resent its work and revved happily up to 5000rpm through the gears. A cruising speed of 60mph seems about right.”

As for the handling, the tester noted that the MG “is not found wanting and is safe and predictable and really feels a lot more modern than the engine while the brakes are adequate for the available performance.” The Naylor replica goes very nicely with a 1.7-litre Morris Marina/Ital engine better still if a Ford five-speed gearbox has been fitted (a popular add on to many classic MGs), while the up-to-date suspension makes the handling the best of them all.

Best models

Of the two, the later bigger-engined TF is the best but it’s not unknown on both models to find superior MGA or MGB hardware. The popularity of TF gave rise to a handful of replicas, the best being the Naylor TF 1700. It was constructed along the lines of the TF but with an ash wood body frame, front hinged doors (to satisfy E-regulations) and McPherson strut front suspension.

Being only £40 cheaper than a Morgan Plus 8 back in 1985, around 100 were made before the company folded, re-emerging as the Hutson TF where another 61 cars were produced, some in kit car form. Yet far from being a kit car, the Naylor remains highly regarded with owners and MG specialists, where some regard it the best T Type of them all. Another replica came from Harper Roscoe Motors of Cheshire who became makers of the American TF1800 albeit with a British built chassis and MGB mechanicals.

Prices

As with earlier T derivatives, values vary and are more dependent on originality and desirability but all things being equal, a TF can command 25 per cent more than a earlier TD, especially 1.5-litre versions, which is about the going rate for a Naylor or Hutson replica, when they eventually turn up.

Buying advice

The TF shared the same chassis as Y Type saloon but while stiffer is said to have had more rot traps plus is harder to repair. Later cars used thinner as well. Biggest rot spots are around the suspension points, the rear floor and the windscreen scuttle. The timber outer frame will rot of course, particularly under the running boards and dash. The door posts are also timber and are known to be weak – rather like a Morgan. Look to NTG, Andy King, Barry Walker (cars) MG Automobile Company (parts) and Barrie Carter can all help.

Oil pressure should be 40lbft (minimum) if still healthy although these units are known leakers at the crank seals, side plates and the rocker cover plus can suffer from a weak valve train which is compounded if stronger valve springs have been fitted. TFs used more conventional cast iron brake drums than earlier cars, cheaper if more prone to seizing. Harder linings can be obtained and their performance quite suitable for today’s roads. The front suspension served right up to the MGB. Check for usual king pin and trunnion wear as well as spring pan condition.



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