Bruce Cunha 1950 MG TD

Back in 1974, I was a private in the US Army stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco. On our local bulletin board was an ad for a MGTD for sale. I had been looking for a British sports car for a bit, so I went to see the car. The TD was in pretty poor shape. Body was all there, but the dash had black gauges (triumph?), no center metal plate and no interior other than the seats. The car had been painted a few times with the last being a dark green. The owner had tried sanding the paint off, but did it with very rough sandpaper. Scratches were noted in the metal.

The car ran, but the generator was not working, so it only ran a little prior to the battery going dead. The owner wanted $800. I went to our post bank to see if I could take out a loan for the $800. I was happy to find out that I could. So the next day, I was the proud owner of an MGTD.

I was raised in the northern part of California, so I arranged with my brother to bring the car up and start work on it. With a fully charged battery, I started out for the 200 mile trip to my home. Made it about 3/4 of the way prior to the battery going dead. Had to leave the car at a roadside restaurant while my brother picked me and the battery up. Came back the next day totally expecting the car to be gone, but to my surprise, it was still there. (in the condition it was in, I guess no one considered it something worth anything to steel).

My brother and I had worked on cars before, but neither of us had ever worked on a 1950 MG. A couple of parts catalogs were acquired along with a tattered shop manual. We found that along with being able to look up the various parts, the exploded pictures that the catalogs had were very helpful in figuring out how to put things together.

Today, the internet serves as a great resource for information and assistance, but in 1974, living in a small northern CA town, information on an MGTD was pretty limited.

The car was disassembled; body work and engine work were done. Parts were painted and put back together. We painted the body in my father’s garage with plastic on the walls and in the garage door. Not the most ideal paint booth, but it was functional.

It is now 41 years later. The TD has traveled from California to Wisconsin and back to California and is just about to get another restoration to bring the car back to a near new condition. The TD is not my only MG, and is not used probably as much as it should, but it still is my favorite car and still gets a lot of comments and looks when we go out for a nice country road drive.