Welcome to Down On The Street, where we admire old vehicles on the streets of the Island That Rust Forgot: Alameda, California. Where else would you find a 56-year-old MG at a downtown parking meter?
Fellow Jalopnik writer Ben Wojdyla was in the Bay Area to hoon some Audis, and so he dropped by Alameda to get some lunch and see a bit of the legendary ITRF for himself. I figured I'd show him the pink '60 Mercury Commuter, or maybe the '66 Lancia Fulvia Berlina GT, both of which live in my neighborhood, but then we happened upon this elderly British immigrant. I tried to play it cool: "Yeah, Ben, MG TDs are as common as Nissan Sentras around here! Move along, nothing to see here!"
Actually, I was pretty excited about this jaw-droppingly awesome DOTS find, which beats out the '60 Triumph TR3A and the '56 Morris Minor for the Oldest Street-Parked British Car In Alameda Down On The Street History. We hung around for a few minutes, hoping the owner would show up and enable us to get the full story on this car, but eventually gave up in order to grab some Caldo Tlalpeño at La Piñata.
The '53 MG TD came with a 54.4 horsepower pushrod four-cylinder engine (yes, that extra 4/10th of a horse was so important that MG included it in the power rating) and was priced at $1,945. That was about $1,500 less than The General's new sports car, the '53 Corvette, but 200 bucks cheaper (and orders of magnitude better-looking) than the Triumph Mayflower. Budget-minded car shoppers who wanted to go a little less sporty could buy the bargain-basement '53 Ford coupe- which probably outperformed the prewar-technology MG TD in just about every category save parallel parking ability- for just $1,734.