T Type chassis and engine identification
The chassis number is the key data for identifying your car. On all ‘T’-types it is stamped on the near-side dumb-iron or chassis extension. This number should agree with the chassis number (or car number) stamped on the plate(s) riveted to the battery/tool box or bulkhead under the bonnet of the car. For models TA/TB/TC there is no problem because these are the no prefixes used; the chassis numbers run from TA 0253-3255, TB 0252-0630 & TC 0252-10251. Some historians might dispute this, but it seems that the prototype TA were numbered 0251 and 0252, TB & TC were numbered 0251 and were not counted as production cars.
For the TD there were two types; plain TD and TD/C, the “competition” version with bigger valves and carbs and stiffer front suspension. This latter is also called the Mark II and hence often confused with the code TD2, which formed part of the engine codes of cars produced after about chassis number 10000, and signifying a larger clutch. The TD chassis numbers are from 0251 to 29915. TDs also had extra codes for export cars, EXR and EXL for RHD and LHD respectively. To this was added either “U” or, for later TDs, “LNA” for cars destined for North America.
In the case of the TF, after two prototypes, Abingdon had to use a BMC imposed numbering system starting at 0501. After 6200 TF 1250s and 3400 TF 1500s, the last TF was numbered 10100. The TF prefixes that make up the Car Number on the identification plate are easily decoded thus:
HD stands for M.G. 2-seater in the BMC scheme of things. A = Black, B = Light Grey, C = Dark Red, E = Mid Green, P = Ivory.
1 = U.K. RHD, 2 = Export RHD, 3 = Export LHD., 4 = North America LHD.
3 = Cellulose, 5 = Primer, 6 = Cellulose Body, Synthetic Wings.
The chassis stamping was TF plus chassis number (the ‘TF number’) whereas on the identification plate the car number was used. Thus, for example, HDE 23/10081 is a R.H.D. export model (it went to S. Africa) painted in green cellulose (it still is) and almost the last TF made (in May 1955).
The engine should have a circular or octagonal plate riveted to either the left-hand side of the bell-housing (TA/TB/TC & some TDs), or just forward of the exhaust manifold on later TDs and TFs, on which the engine number will be stamped. The original engine number will also appear on the above mentioned car i.d. plate on the bulkhead, on TD’s often with a prefix or suffix LHX if the engine was destined for a LHD export vehicle.
The engine number prefix varied according to the car type:
• TA were coded MPJG and were unique to that model
• TB, TC, TD, TF 1250 were coded XPAG
• TF 1500 had an XPEG prefix
Specific identity of the model to which the engine was fitted is given by further numbers and letters as follows:
• TB and TC engines, oval water holes, had a 7¼” clutch, and were coded XPAG/…..
• TD and TD/C (Mk II) engines, oval water holes, with a 7¼” clutch were coded XPAG/TD/…..
(Y and YT engines coded XPAG/SC/…..)
• TD and TD/C (Mk II) engines, oval water holes, with an 8″ clutch were coded XPAG/TD2/…..
(Y and YB engines coded XPAG/SC2/…..)
• TD/C (Mk II) engines, round water holes, and an 8″ clutch were coded XPAG/TD3/…..
• TD engines, round water holes and an 8″ clutch, retained the code XPAG/TD2/…..
(YB engines retained the code XPAG/SC2/…..)
• TF 1250cc engines, round water holes and an 8″ clutch, were coded XPAG/TF/…..
• TF 1500cc engines, round water holes and an 8″ clutch, were coded XPEG…..
Many thanks to Roger Wilson for the above information. Roger has also written a researched and more extensive explanation of changes made which denote to the head and block casting numbers.
A large number of cars with XPAG engines have had BMC replacement engines (Gold Seal) fitted. These usually had no XPAG on the octagonal plate, but instead a letter prefix (A to E have been seen) probably denoting the over-bore sizes, followed by a larger than usual number (E99794 has been seen). With replacement engines, the original number of that engine can sometimes be deciphered just above the octagonal plate, stamped on the block. Be prepared to find, however, that your engine might have started life on a Y-type!