My Restoration Project—1953 MGTD
Have you ever experienced the joy of what is commonly referred to as a “barn find?” I have! I met Jacqueline for the first time in September 2013. Jacqueline is my 1953 MGTD. Why cars, boats and even hurricanes are named after women are a mystery; one that I shall not try to solve. Jacqueline, like Sleeping Beauty, had been asleep for fifty years. Alone, on blocks, in a basement (not a garage) collecting close to an inch of dust and forgotten; she had not been driven since 1963. The green license plates were still on her. As you can see from the pictures, it was difficult to even determine her original color.
The story is, the original owner (I am the second) purchased her new and drove it for ten years off and on. She only had 26,000 original miles on her. Unfortunately the original owner ended up working so much overtime to support his family, Jacqueline was left alone most of the time until one winter when she was put on blocks and not driven again. It is my understanding that she was turned over periodically by hand as she does have a hand crank; additionally, with the car being in a basement, it on a concrete floor. Clearly, the original owner was mechanically inclined because he knew enough to place piles of straw on the floor under the car to protect it from moisture. The frame and wooden floor boards are intact with no rust or rot. The original tires with honeycomb rims and hubcaps were all there. When it was time to move her, remarkably the tubes in the tires after fifty years still held air.
Jacqueline being a roadster had all her side curtains on. This kept the vast majority of the dust out of the interior. The narrow leather bench seat was and still is in great shape. Not a tear or a hole anywhere. All that was needed was some TLC to bring back the qualities of the leather. The original key was still in the ignition. Too bad it didn’t start right up. I know, I was pushing my luck. The body was in great shape and intact with only few nicks and dings from her first and only ten years of driving. The one sad part for Jacqueline was mice. Apparently, because Jacqueline lived in the country mice were prevalent. They ate through all the rubber hoses and cloth around the electrical wiring. There were remnants of nests in different areas under the hood. No wonder she wouldn’t start…
After removing the sliding glass door frame from the house, as well as building a ramp to get Jacqueline out from under the house, it only took four of us to move her into a position to tow her up a long hill. After a good four hours, she was sitting on a flatbed truck to bring her to her new home: my garage. She then got her first bath in fifty years. Unbelievable! With just some soap, water and a soft sponge, she sparkled. She was definitively the color maroon. Her original and still original color off the assembly line. I believe, all of the dust protected the paint and may have absorbed any moisture in the basement.