- The Washington Times - Friday, September 4, 2009

“I have been a car nut all my life,” Jeff Brown confesses. The son of a physician, he probably inherited the car nut condition from his father.

“My dad was an old fashioned doctor who drove a 1952 MG TD as his daily driver,” Brown says. He recalls that his father rarely drove in excess of 25 mph, so if you were at the end of a long line of cars it was a safe bet that it “Doc.”

When the MG was 18 years old in 1970, Brown’s father offered to sell him the car for $600. Brown turned down the offer, which he later regretted.

Soon thereafter Brown became interested in the Vintage Sports Car Club of America and spent many memorable weekends not far from his Merchantville, N.J., home at the Watkins Glen racing facility in New York.

In 1970, Brown became a member of the group that races sports cars built before 1960. As he became more active in the club he met fellow club member, Roy Jacobson, who raced his 1953 MG TD MKII that he had bought at age 16 and restored.

Brown says Jacobson raced the sturdy little MG in the United States, Canada and in 1990 it placed third at the Prescott Hill Climb event in England.

In 1995, Jacobson was preparing to move from his New England home. “He called me and said he was moving to Virginia and he wanted to sell the car,” says Brown, who had seen the car race and was familiar with it so the decision was easily - and quickly - made.

In no time at all, Brown had purchased the restored MG and took it to his home about 5 miles east of Philadelphia.

His 1953 MG acquisition was painted maroon with black fenders and the grille was painted in the checkerboard fashion of the famous Monkey Stable Racing Team of England. Once the car was at his home, Brown was pleased to verify that the previous restoration was proper and complete.

During the restoration the four-cylinder overhead valve 1.25-liter engine was rebuilt to produce the horsepower output it was rated at in 1952.

The one-piece windshield is hinged at the bottom so it can be lowered onto the engine hood for racing, a position avoided by Brown who explains, “I don’t like bugs in my mouth.””

The twin S.U. Carburetors, with the assistance of dual fuel pumps, drink fuel from a 15-gallon gasoline tank. Under the engine hood is a centrally located metal tray on the firewall, which supports a six-volt battery.

A 94-inch wheelbase gives the sports car a nimble feel that is the endearing quality that made the early 1950s MG cars so desirable. It can be turned inside a 31-foot, 3-inch circle without getting any protest from the 5.50x15-inch tires.

Surprisingly the 4-foot, 5-inch-high MG has a ground clearance of 6 inches. Bumper-to-bumper the MG stretches an inch longer than 12 feet. The 1953 MG is a cozy two-seater with deeply notched doors hinged at the rear.

As far as comfort is concerned, the MG is somewhat lacking. The car has no heater and no radio, but it is equipped with non-canceling turn signals.

The cockpit of the MG is covered in maroon vinyl upholstery, complementary to the color of the body. The carpeting is black, as is the convertible top.

A plastic window is stitched into the convertible top. Side curtains take the place of windows in the MG. When in place on the side openings of the car they more or less keep the outside weather outside.

When Brown bought the MG the odometer had registered 17,960 miles. The odometer had been reset to zero when the engine was rebuilt. It now has recorded about 21,000 miles. A total of 14.4 pints of coolant keep the temperature under control while 10.8 pints of oil keep all the moving parts well lubricated.

In the past Brown actually raced his MG but more recently he has relegated his sports car to parade use. “Being involved in old cars is neat,” Brown says.

If you would like your Out of the Past review to be considered for an upcoming article, e-mail us your car’s jpeg image, plus brief details and phone number. Type “Out of the Past” in subject box to info@ motormatters.biz.

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