British Coach Works Model 52
|TD, or Not TD? That is the Question
MG TD replicas are all over. Most have a vaguely TD-like shape, cluttered up with VW lights, fat tires, and rusty wire wheel covers. The average fit and finish would make a Yugo owner cringe. So why did I buy one off of eBay?
My car is a 1952 TD replica by British Coach Works, Ltd., of Arnold, Pennsylvania. Built from 1980 until 1985, it was available in kit form for $5995, or as a turn-key factory-built car for $10,995. At the time, a fully-restored 1952 MG TD cost less than $10,000.
BCW went to great lengths to make the car as authentic as possible, using an actual 1952 MG TD as for reference and using many actual TD parts. Most chrome and trim (bumpers, lights, grille, etc.) can still be ordered from Moss Motors, and TD accessories fit perfectly. You also had your choice of different layouts - a rear-engine VW Bug-based model like mine, or a Chevette-powered front-engine model using a specially-made subframe.
Still, why drive a replica that costs more than the real thing? The appearance is so exact that I have had owners of real MG TDs compliment me on the 'restoration.' The fiberglass body won't rot or rust, and after 20 years mine remains tight and rattle-free. Even the original white gel-coat still looks like good paint.
The chassis and drive train is pure VW Bug - simple and cheap to work on. And being considerably lighter than the steel-bodied Bug, the BCW outperforms a real TD in every way - it handles and stops better, has surprisingly good acceleration, and cruises at 70 mph without any trouble. Try THAT in a real TD!
good a copy is it? Compare the photos on either side. Can you spot the differences?
The replica is on the right. In this photo, the obvious giveaway are the cowl-mounted windshield wipers (real TDs have wipers on the top of the windshield.). In back, twin VW exhaust tips are the tattletales.
1600 cc dual port 4-cylinder, 4-speed, 4-wheel drum brakes, canvas top & side curtains. 13,600 miles.
So, do I recommend buying a replica/kit car? Depends on the kit car. The BCW 52 TD is the only MG TD replica I would consider. All others I have seen can be spotted as fakes from 100 yards. Mine offers all of the advantages of the real car's appearance and fun with the reliability and drivability of a much more modern car.
Do You Have a BCW?
I'd like to start up a club of sorts - very informal - maybe post pictures of other people's cars here, and post sources for parts and information. I have most of the original BCW literature, and have replaced the engine and done other work to my car. Email me at email@example.com if you have questions or comments, or would like to chat about cars in general.
|Sam Johnson -
I own a VW-based BCW that I built in 1985. Serial number 191. I have driven 211,000 miles during the 19 years I've had it. I switched it over to right hand drive in 1995 and changed the color from red to black at that time. The reason for the change was due to a girl ignoring a stop light and slammed into the back of the car.
I have driven the car from our home in South Carolina to Little Rock Arkansas, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky and Georgia. In 1997 & '98 the car took first in class at the NOPI Nationals in Atlanta.
I drive it every day to and from work. Last winter I fabricated an oak frame/metal covered removable top with oak frame/metal covered removable doors. The doors feature sliding windows.
BCW Parts Sources
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