I need help choosing a car

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    Donna Leer


    Hi everyone I need some help. I have fallen in love with the Mg Td . First I found out the real ones top out around 80 then the vws I hear burn oil leak and dont go any or much faster. How about the ford engine kits? My Husband is not going to work on the car either. I want something to drive on weekends up to the mountains and at least be able to do 70 75 with out burning up the engine. I dont plan on driving that fast all the time but I would like the option. What do you think? Should I fall in love with another car? Help!!
    Thanks Donna

    Rob Baker



    I’m going to be honest.  I don’t think these cars are designed to be comfortable going 70-75.  Back roads or short highway trips are fine but an hour at 70-75 would not be comfortable.  You may want to look at a Miata.  Around town the MGTD ford based replica is my car of choice in nice weather.

    Rob Baker

    Larry Murphy


     Donna, I to am very much in love with the TD and have been for over 50 years.The classic design with the long hood and sweeping fenders is my idea of ageless beauty. However, the MGTD was built in a time of two lane curvey roads and much less traffic at a slower pace. The TD replicas are usually able to handle higher speeds then the originals,but not at a high degree of comfort or safety.In these cars you must think of yourself as if you are riding a 4 wheel motorcycle.In an accident at 70-75 ,the results could be very serious..These car do need attention from somebody with at least some mechanical ability as they all are at least 20 years old.The Ford engined cars are probably the fastest because of the larger displacement engines but any of them can be built to go fast even the VWS.iF YOU JUST WANT TO GO FAST WITH THE TOP DOWN ,YOU HAVE LOTS OF CHOICES,BUT IF YOU REALLY WANT A TD, NOTHING ELSE WILL DO!!!

    James Cochran



    I enjoy the power, speed, and availability of parts of my Ford 2.3L based replica. It most definitely is not a daily driver or a long drive vehicle. I have seen the VW based replica’s zip around without effort. I personally have not driven the VW based replicas, so I can only speak about my front engine baby. The cargo space is very limited in my car, which can come in handy when I hit yard sales with my wife  on weekend drives. She can only buy what fits in the car.

    You need to be very aware of other drivers around you, because you can be an unseen target . I find myself always on the watch out for other people not watching out. It’s a bit un-nerving to see the bumper of the truck next to you at your eye level. We tend to travel the back roads and lost roads and towns of America and the TD is totally awesome for those adventures. The Blue Ridge Parkway and Natchez Trace takes on an entirely new sensation in a topless TD gliding down the roadway. The Dogwood Festival in Knoxville or the Cherry Blossoms in DC or the autumn colors are incredible behind the wheel of a TD. I enjoy the slower speeds and a slower pace in our TD, she’s not a racer, but as Larry pointed out, made for the curvey roads and highways. When I was shopping for a TD replica, I looked for either rear or front engine based. I knew it would be for fun and leisure only. The front engine model became available first to us and the rest is history. For us, it was not just getting from point A to point B, but the road that lay between the two, that’s where the adventure is.


    edward ericson


    Spent all day Saturday a couple weeks ago in Bridget, a VW-based car with what I think is a 1500cc, and I know is a single-port, single carb, 1966-case engine. 50 horses, in other words–about the minimum you’ll be getting in a TD Replica. We did 70-75 mph easily  ’round the Baltimore Beltway and onto I-795 without incident. Drove 100 miles to South Central PA and then 100 back that night, with maybe 60-75 miles on pretty roads (including mountain and dirt) in between.

    What a blast! Vid here.

    (notice the company there is mostly Porsche replicas–another excellent choice for attention junkies but costing 5-20 times a typical TD replica. Those things are very similar to VW TDs under the skin, and those boys run them 80 mph all over the country, all the time).

    So, though I concur with all statements above I will add this: the VW car is very viable, probably just as viable, as the Chevette or Ford kit. All are (more or less) equally dangerous at high speeds (and low), and all are significantly more capable (and very much more affordable) than an original TD.

    The design is timeless, classic, etc. and very noisy. When (not if) you get caught in a downpour you’ll get wet, because it takes a lot longer to snap in side curtains than it does to roll up windows. They’re all old and will require work, sooner or later. We’ll help.

    You want convenience, (relative) quiet, reliability and a good stereo? Go for a Miata or a Solstice or a Honda del sol. For speed with modern safety, an S-2000, Corvette, Viper or something similar. But for cheap thrills and major larfs, you’ll want to join our club.

    Bill Stuck


    I have not gotten mine registered yet — but these comments are great!

    James Cochran


    AWESOME video Ed….watched it twice already.

    Bill, I thought you were going to sell your car to Donna.

    I’m going to watch Ed’s video again….

    Donna Leer


    Thank you all so much for your input!! That video was awesome!Now I really want one. So the vw or ford are about the same for the most part? So I am now on the hunt for a car!! Thank you all and for any other input I would appreciate all the advice I can get.

    Paul Mossberg



    Just for the record….

    These cars are at their best on a winding two lane country road. Btu that said….

    My TD replica and I have made several long distance highway drives. From NJ to Cincinnati. From NJ to Indianapolis. And into New England a few times.

    As far as the weather, some of the worst rain I have ever driven in was in my TD. Had a couple drips through sewn seams on the roof. But other than that, dry as a bone.

    And the old NJ Replicar Club had two members who’s TD replicas had been driven to and through all 48 continental states.

    Bottom line is that it’s all up to the driver’s endurance.

    Paul Mossberg
    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 https://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

    Steve Crites



    I got a Duchess Ford cause I love the style and didn’t want the problems of a real one. Much easier to keep running. If the car was assembled right it will handle like a go-kart on back roads and run like stink when wound up. However, the fenders, (wings) can actually act like wings at too high a speed.  Is 75mph too high?  It is for me!

    Mine runs great at 65mph, (feels a little light if there’s any extra wind) but I usually find myself on back roads where 50 to 60 gives me all the seat of the pants thrills I need.

    Thinking of them as a 4-wheel motorcycle is the best way to have fun.  You gotta keep your head on a swivel and believe that everyone is out to get you!

    I’d be hard pressed to think of a car that’s more fun. (The thumbs up along the way don’t hurt either.)

    The cost for such fun is one of the best bargains I’ve come upon in a long, long time.

    In other words, Isn’t Miata the name of the teacher in the Karate Kid?


    Will Burge


    Ringo, that’s funny.
    I have to agree with all of the posts so far I have driven my VW based kit all over. It will certainly do 70 but i really don’t feel safe going much over 65. They are a very light car and weigh some where around 1500 pounds far lighter than the original bug who gave its life to live again as a local celebrity. I drive it all over and can’t go anywhere without people waving, yelling “cool car” or at the minimum giving me an ear to ear smile. I have gotten praise from all ages from grandmas to babies. its sort of like driving in the parade where ever you go. I also stay pretty much to the two lane freeways and side roads and don’t drive it on the interstate much. I completely rebuilt mine so i’m not sure what others have experienced but I would plan on having to do some work on it they are just not the same as buying a new car off the lot. I know everyone is different but I think rebuilding it was half the fun.


    Montie Henderson



    I agree with all the rest too, back roads, lower speeds and lots of looks.  Mine is a Ford powered with automatic, and love it.  She sat for most of her life in a warehouse, less than 2,000 miles on her when I bought her last year for 3,500.   I’ve did some upgrades in the suspension, belts, and hoses etc.  Did custom stuff to personalize also, header, lots of chrome on the engine.   Next will be the upgraded stereo system.   Right at 5,000 invested now but love every dollar of it.  Shown her at a few cruse ins and car shows and got “best of fearured class” this summer.  Mostly though people just say cool car.   I even had a guy want to trade his real TD for her at British Days car show (did’nt go into details with him, not sure what he really had in mind) but I really dont want the hassels of the real thing.   She’s dependable enough for a daily driver but not really practicable.   Just my 2 cents worth.  Montie   

    Dan Rosa


     Donna ,, what you need is 2 cars a TD just for a cruising with no place to go and all the time in the world to get there . with 3 soft top cars to drive a Camaro RS, a PT . the TD takes center stage on a summer evening we tend to take the TD more ,we have taken more ice cream trips …….as for reliability she will be as good as you make it,, the joy of this type of car is tinkering I don’t think i have had mine over 50 mph. which feels like 100 in the other cars, it is chevette powered . An over nite stay is ok but that is about all you can fit in them, i Best of luck and watch EBay     Dan 

    Mark Hendrickson


    Donna, Larry Murphy posted a link to a British Coach Works Chevette based TD Replica in Mullica Hill, NJ (Just east of Philadelphia, PA).

    These are A-1 replicas and this one was a turn-key factory car according to the Craig’s List Ad. They were asking $5,500…a great price if it’s a nice as they claimed.

    Where are you located? This was in the South Jersey section of Craig’s List.

    Pink MG40484.4655671296

    James Cochran



    I have you in the registry update with a car. You must have gotten one?



    Donna did you get the picture i sent you?



    Hi Donna,

    Even under the best conditions , these cars are not designed for speed. Yes, they can be driven fast, but with the wide fenders that act like wings , they are less safe, harder to control, & harder to stop at higher speeds. I actually get more attention at slower safe speeds, feel more comfortable, therefore enjoy the ride even more.



    I used mine as a daily driver for a number of years. You’d be surprised how good it is in the snow. Over the years it has been modified to go faster and faster. Posts in this thread are correct. Your testicles want to hide at speeds over 100mph. She’ll cruise all day at 75 but the wind noise and wind buffeting get tiresome. Her basic chore these days is sliding around at autocross events.



    Local charity event from 2010.


    Bill Ascheman
    Fiberfab Ford
    Modified 5.0, 5sp., 4:11
    Autocross & Hillclimb
    "Drive Happy"



    Hey all.
    I rebuilt my 74 VW Karmann Ghia and drove her on the “The Dragon’s Tail” in southern Tennessee. When I finish the TD that’s my first road trip. TD’s love the curves better than the Ghia. I can hardly wait!

    Allen Caron
    VW based 53MGTD - "MoneyPenny"
    "If one thing matters, everything matters" - from the book The Shack

    edward ericson


    Bill! That autocross thing is awesomeness! I am bowing down right now.

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