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British Coach Works Model 52
(1952 MG TD Replica)

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! 

How 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.

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