At a cocktail party at Nuffield House, Piccadilly, on January 17th, the new TD M.G. Midget was released. We were confronted by a travel-stained red two-seater with skis strapped across its hood, one of two cars which had been driven from Vald’isere to London the day before. Of the two TD M.G.s which essayed this journey, one was driven by Ian Appleyard and Louis Klemantaski, the other by Gordon Wilkins. They met fog, ice, snow and torrential rain on the 631 mile run, but Wilkins managed the 108½ miles from Arnay via Le Due to Sens in 105 min., an average speed of 62 m.p.h. He confirmed that the new car, by reason of the 1¼-litre-type i.f.s., not only corners faster than the cart-sprung TC, but gives an infinitely more comfortable ride, enabling higher speeds to be maintained over bad roads.
The new car, which supersedes the TC, has coil-spring i.f.s., rack-and-pinion steering, and a chassis with electrically-welded boxed side-members and tubular cross-members like that of the 1¼-litre M.G. The 1,250-c.c. o.h.v. engine is virtually unaltered except for a slightly lower compression-ratio, and the same power of 54.4 b.h.p. is claimed for it—not 4.4 b.h.p. inadvertently stated in a contemporary! The gearbox is now that of the 1¼-litre car, with a lower third gear ratio, 7.1 to 1 instead of 6.9 to 1. The delightful remote gear-lever is retained. The wheelbase remains at 7 ft. 10 in., but the body width has again been increased. The appearance of the car has been altered by the use of smaller, fatter tyres (5.50-15 E.L.P. Dunlops) on five-stud disc wheels with large “dishplates.” One can also see the tubular framework over the slab-pattern rear fuel tank, which holds 2½ gallons less fuel than that of the TC. The brakes are 2 L.S. 9 in. Lockheed. Detail layout has been revised and piston-type shock-absorbers are fitted. The price has increased by £32 10s., making the total, with p.t. £569 7s. 3d. The car is somewhat heavier than the TC and we shall be most interested to see how the performance compares.
The M.G. Car Company is to be congratulated on its remarkable M.G. Midget, which has, as it were, redeemed the sports-car in modern times, for 6,600 of these cars have sold overseas since the war. Its sponsors deserve congratulations for offering 6.00-15 tyres, fog lamp, double hydraulic shock-absorbers, an extra petrol pump, radiator thermometer, a 4.55-to-1 back axle and special tuning to their “hot-rod” schedule for competition-minded buyers, besides radio, chromium-plated luggage rack and badge bar for promenaders.
The new TD looks a thoroughly likeable little car, but we regret particularly the passing of centre-lock wheels from what is, after all, essentially a sports-car. Bolt-on wheels are cheaper, may be lighter, and you change a tyre only once in two years these days if you are lucky, but when you do effect a wheel-change, the centre-lock hub gives a large slice of satisfaction. It is another argument in favour of buying a vintage car, for off-hand we can think only of certain Frazer-Nash models, the H.R.G., and the Aston-Martin as Modern British cars retaining this desirable, race-bred method of fixing on the road-wheels.—W. B.