October 5, 2016 at 11:44 am #301990
I just signed on and hope to become a useful member in time. First I have a little story.
While on a country drive a week ago I spotted a 1952 MG TD replica sitting quietly in a private yard filled with older cars, some trailers and some junk. It was just outside a small town in the Eastern Townships of Quebec about an hour from my home. I stopped and contacted the owner – it’s a bit of a rare car to see. The owner’s daughter called me back. The owner is recovering from a serious (life changing) motorcycle accident. He and his family have decided to sell off his business and car collection. Unfortunately she is not “up to speed” on the details of the vehicles.
It seems it has not been driven since 2014 and likely was purchased in Vermont. The official QC government registration says that the car is a MG TD 1952, but does not mention that it is a replica. It is clearly fiberglass construction with a VW motor in the rear, but I could not tell the kit type or the VW type. I’m not at all an expert in either category.
I was wondering if anyone could give me tricks or tips on identifying the kit manufacturer and too VW chassis and motor? She told me it was a 1600 cc motor. There must be identification numbers / model numbers / serial numbers / identification plaque located on the car, but I don’t know where to look. I put a small deposit on the car to purchase it. When I return in a few days to hopefully close the purchase deal, I would really like not to be quite so “blind”. Does anyone have any suggestions to help me identify this car?
I have photos but not sure how to include them here.
Thanks in advance for any advice offered!
boltonboyOctober 5, 2016 at 12:48 pm #301991
No tricks to determining age of chassis or engines provided VIN and engine serial numbers are available
VINs on a TDR can be found near cover/inspection plate that covers the gear shaft coupler between the seats in front of the TDR shelf. The engine serial number is located on engine casing above the pulley and below the generator/alternator
You can look up the numbers here to find out respective dates of manufacture
David B Dixon
Port Perry ON CA
SabineOctober 5, 2016 at 2:13 pm #301992
Thanks! I check it out next visit to the car! – boltonboy (steve)October 5, 2016 at 3:59 pm #301993
Thanks David! Your comments are spot on with regard to identifying a VW donor chassis and the engine info.
Boltonboy also asked about identifying the kit manufacturer.
Most manufacturers provided some sort of serial number plate, normally riveted to either a door jam, or on the front “firewall.” Of course, for home built kits, the owner may never have affixed that plate. Or teh plate mayhave been lost over the years.
For an excellent discussion of the features and visual clues that will help you identify the kit manufacturer, check out this thread:
Former Owner of a 1981 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
2005 Intermeccanica Roadster
If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to http://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)October 5, 2016 at 7:01 pm #301995
- I want to clarify what Toller said: “VINs on a TDR can be found near cover/inspection plate that covers the gear shaft coupler between the seats in front of the TDR shelf.” That might be true for some VW-based TDRs, but my car came with a “Utah-assigned VIN plate.” It’s a good thing it did, because I would have had to remove both the seat AND the carpet in order to access the number on the inspection plate that Toller describes.
- Make the owner show YOU where the VIN is on the car and prove that the VIN matches the title and registration. If you can’t find a permanently-attached VIN plate somewhere that matches the title and registration, don’t buy the car — the best you could hope for would be to spend a lot of time hassling with DMV.
- FiberFab is a common manufacturer. My TDR is a FiberFab and there is no identifying plate; however, the cowl inside the “hood” has an “FF” logo molded into the fiberglass.
- You said it’s been sitting since 2014. Well, maybe there is a reason it’s just sitting there. Does it run? Does it need thousands of dollars of mechanical work? Are you satisfied with the current condition of the body and interior? These cars are full of hidden problems, such as shifter bushings, transmissions, electrical gremlins, gummed up carbs, brakes, etc. etc. My own car was running and **apparently** in great condition when I bought it, and I’ve STILL been chasing these things for two years now. Even if you aren’t ripped off by some jackoff like I was, the cost of a real honest mechanic can be a financial drain many times the purchase price to fix, and you will NOT see a return on your investment.
- I’m not against getting the car, I’m just preaching caution. If you aren’t paying much, if you are a mechanic, and if you aren’t a perfectionist, this may be a great deal. OTOH, there are lots of caveats. If you are a perfectionist and if you aren’t an expert mechanic, you’d be way better off to buy a TDR or even a real TD that’s already built, running, and ready to use. There are a lot of these for sale these days — buyers can afford to be choosy.
October 5, 2016 at 7:42 pm #301998
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by johnsimion.
John raises a good point about VINs. My TDR was imported to Quebec from NY in 2003 and the MTME (Dept of Transport for those in the US) assigned a VIN NY19168 ignoring the VIN used by VW when the chassis was manufactured. When car was imported from Quebec to Ontario in 2010 the MTO retained the Quebec assigned VIN.
Nevertheless looking back at Steve’s post he wanted to know about chassis VIN assigned by VW at the time of manufacture which can be used to determine age of chassis. Based on what I have read only place where VW VIN on a donor car could be found was in area described in my first post
David B Dixon
Port Perry ON CA
SabineOctober 5, 2016 at 7:49 pm #302000
Look for the same problems you would look for in a VW Bug of the same vintage. Rusty floors are a typical problem, and fixable. sloppy shifting (bad bushing, a $3 part, several hours of fiddling to get to it). Electrical gremlins, which are usually loose or missing grounds. Steering bits. Gauges. Top fitment and condition (you’ll use it, eventually). Tires (most often old but with good tread. they need to be replaced after 6 years regardless).
You don’t want to pay a mechanic to work on one of these. You want to have a garage, or at least a car port, where you can store it out of the weather and do the repairs and maintenance an old car requires. That’s what this hobby is. The work is simple and fun to learn, if sometimes a bit messy. It’s not very time-consuming once you get your elbows in.October 5, 2016 at 9:23 pm #302006
Thanks for all the generous input everyone! Really fantastic information, advice, cautions, links and winks.
I understand that a car such as this is a big hobby – a labor of love I think. I could use a hobby, and I don’t want a motorcycle. I have not run the car. It was under a tarp. Mostly it looks clean, floor boards seem good – solid. Motor has new plug wires and tubes and rubber covers have no cracks. Tires are in good shape. All in all I think it is in good shape, a bit dirty from sitting. Battery is dead. Of course there will be work. All the links and advice contributed will help a lot.
The asking price is not steep. If there is nothing major to fix, it is a very good price from what I have seen.
I put a small deposit on it so that I could have a bit of time to do this research. Discovering all of you is really great. I will keep you up dated about the purchase (and register).
As a final thought, I am wondering if the motor and drive train should be started or not after sitting for a year or 2. I checked the oil, it’s not new oil but it was full and there was no water on the dip stick. However a mechanic friend suggested that if any water has entered the crank case over time, starting the motor at this point could cause serious damage. Rather the oil should be changed and the motor slowly cranked and re-lubed, then started. My understanding is that VW motors are aluminum blocks (no rust). So I really don’t know. Part of me really wants to try and start her.
steveOctober 5, 2016 at 9:28 pm #302007
Oh I forgot to add that a photo I took of the steering wheel has an FF in the center of it. So perhaps it is a FiberFab. Ill check the inside cowl too when I check for serial numbers!
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