MG TD

Bentley T-Series
1972 Bentley T-Series
Original Price: $19,550 - $31,400
Average Auction Sale: $34,722
Chassis Profiles
Bentley T1
1968 Bentley T1
Original Price: $19,550 - $31,400
Average Auction Sale: $44,778
Chassis Profiles
Bentley T Series
1966 Bentley T Series
Original Price: $19,550 - $31,400
Average Auction Sale: $22,876
Chassis Profiles

Total Production: 1,852
It's refreshing to see Rolls-Royce and Bentley traveling in their own, independent directions once again. The two carmakers had distinctly different personalities prior to Rolls-Royce's acquisition of Bentley in 1931, but it took the guidance of two German companies (Volkswagen for Bentley and BMW for Rolls-Royce) to knock Bentley and Rolls-Royce back into their proper pre-1931 orbits after the two brands had been intertwined for so many years.

From the early 1930s through the late 1990s, Rolls-Royce and Bentley served up the world's most opulent examples of a disdained practice: badge engineering. The same practice that arguably spelled the end of American companies like Oldsmobile, Mercury, and Pontiac was alive and well for decades at one of Britain's most prestigious car companies. For many years, the Rolls-Royce and Bentley line-ups essentially mirrored each other, with Rolls-Royce and Bentley each producing cars that were all but identical aside from different grilles and badges. Rolls-Royce supposedly built a more luxurious car, while Bentley claimed to produce a sportier conveyance. In reality, though, the cars were extremely similar: the Bentley vs. Rolls-Royce debate was little more than an extravagant marketing gimmick aimed at satisfying customers' brand loyalties.

It was this mindset that led to the creation of the Bentley T1 for 1965. Introduced at the same time as the nearly identical Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, the T1 was the Bentley alternative of an all-new platform.

While the Bentley's badge-engineered position was traditional and even archaic, the car itself was not. The car that came before the T1 and Silver Shadow—called the Silver Cloud in Rolls-Royce guise and named S1, S2, or S3 as a Bentley—was outdated even upon its introduction in 1955. The ten-years-newer T1 and Silver Shadow represented perhaps 30 years worth of advancement over the outgoing model, and they proved the ability of Rolls-Royce/Bentley to produce a modern luxury car.

The Bentley T1 used the all-alloy Rolls-Royce V8, displacing either 6,230cc or 6,750cc. Its body featured monocoque construction, a great technological advancement over the outgoing models that enabled more modern driving characteristics and limited weight savings, at the cost of making it difficult for coachbuilders to fit new bodies. Additionally, four-wheel disc brakes and a self-leveling suspension system were fitted.

The shape of the car, too, was modern and pleasant, a blessing given the difficulty of fitting new coachwork. Only James Young (with 15 coupes) and Pininfarina (with a single coupe whose styling would influence the Rolls-Royce Camargue) ventured to construct new bodies for the T1.

Though the T1 and Silver Shadow were essentially identical, the Silver Shadow was far and away the better seller of the two. The Silver Shadow outsold its Bentley counterpart about 10 to 1, making the T1 a relatively rare find today. Bentley produced 1,703 T1 sedans, along with limited runs of two-door coupes and convertibles by H.J. Mulliner Park Ward and the 16 aforementioned specials, for a total of 1,852 cars. The T1 was produced for well over a decade, from 1965 to 1977, and was succeeded by the T2, an update of the same basic design that continued until 1980.

The Bentley T1, along with the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, represented an important era in the history of Bentley and Rolls-Royce. Though the T1 was a shameless act of badge engineering, it was at least an automobile founded on modern principles and capable of competing head-on with contemporary luxury cars instead of simply using prestige as an excuse to avoid direct competition as the Bentley S-cars and Rolls-Royce Silver Clouds had done. It was a car that, while rooted in the past and steeped in tradition, was ready to face the future of automobile design.

Sources:

'Bentley T1.' Motorbase n. pag. Web. 6 Jul 2010. http://www.motorbase.com/vehicle/by-id/105/.

Roßfeldt, K.-J. 'Bentley T1.' rrab.com: n. pag. Web. 6 Jul 2010. http://rrab.com/bt1.htm#top .

By Evan Acuña

Bentley TD

MG TF 1500
1955 MG TF 1500
Original Price: $1,995
Average Auction Sale: $30,484
Chassis Profiles
MG TF
1954 MG TF
Original Price: $2,200
Average Auction Sale: $27,905
Chassis Profiles

MG TD

MG TD
1953 MG TD
Original Price: $1,945
Average Auction Sale: $22,485
Chassis Profiles
MG TD
1952 MG TD
Original Price: $1,950
Average Auction Sale: $19,578
Chassis Profiles
MG TD
1951 MG TD
Original Price: $1,950
Average Auction Sale: $22,287
Chassis Profiles
MG TD
1950 MG TD
Original Price: $1,855
Average Auction Sale: $20,271
Chassis Profiles

Related Articles and History

TD History

The MG TA Midget appeared in the spring of 1936 as a replacement for the MG PB. It featured many components borrowed from Morris. Channel sections replaced the tubular cross-members making the vehicles ride more comfortable. The suspension was provided by leaf springs and beam-axle in the front and rear. The brakes were hydraulically operated drums, a first for MG. The body shell was assembled around the MG traditional way of using a wooden frame. All this added up to a total weight of 1,765 pounds.
A 1292 cc, overhead-valve, pushrod, four-cylinder engine was placed in the front and powered the rear wheels. Outfitted with dual horizontal SU carburetors, the engine produced 50 horsepower. The four-speed manual gearbox was synchromesh, another first for MG.

When first introduced, the two-seater vehicle could be purchased in open and closed configuration. Later, the open coupe, referred to as an Airline Coupe, was replaced with a Drophead style. The Drophead used a soft-top that could open and close depending on the driver and the weather conditions.

In 1939 World War II was beginning. MG was introducing its latest vehicle, the TB Midget. It was basically the same as the TA, but was equipped with a larger, 1250cc, engine. The four-cylinder over-head valve, XPAG power plant was borrowed from the new Morris 10. It produced 45 horsepower and was much more reliable than its predecessor. When the war began, production ceased. MG shifted its focus to creating equipment for military purposes.

At the end of the War, MG introduced the TC Midget. This was essentially a TB with very few modifications. The chassis was modified with rubber bush shackles in place of the sliding trunnion spring mountings. The transmission was the single-plate dry clutch and four-speed synchromesh unit. The engine was the XPAG 1250 cc pushrod engine. It was essential a TB offered in one body style, an open two-seater.

Even though the TC was a rebirth of an old model and used outdated mechanical equipments but modern interior, the TC Midget was very successful. During its four year production run, lasting from 1945 through 1949, more than 10,000 TC's were created.

In 1949, the TC was replaced by the TD Midget. It visually appeared like the previous Midgets, but was very different in mechanical ways. With a new chassis, it was sturdier and provided a comfortable ride. An independent suspension with double wishbones and coil springs were placed in the front. The vehicle was left-hand drive. The engine and transmission were identical to the TC. To comply with newly developed safety concerns and regulations, bumpers were placed on the front and in the rear.

A Mark II version used a more powerful version of the XPAG engine. With larger carburetors and higher compression ratio, the vehicle produced 57 horsepower. The suspension was modified and the interior received bucket seats.

During its four-year production run, the TD experienced even more success than its predecessor. Just like the TC, many of the TD Midgets were exported to the United States.

In 1953, the TD was updated and dubbed the TF. It was given a 1466 cc engine. Production continued through 1955 when it was replaced by the MGA.

Prior to World War I, the future of the company was unknown. Thanks to the success of the TA, the road was paved for MG to continue their prosperous status after the War. The models that followed brought modifications both visually and mechanically. The T-Series, lasting from 1936 through 1955, was a simple and reliable two-seater sports car that was fun to drive.


By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
MG Models

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Vehicle information, history, and specifications from concept to production.

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