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View Full Version : Looking for MG TD with Studebacker 6 in it



Jay Laifman
05-09-2017, 01:23 PM
Hi guys,

My dad owned and raced an MG TD in So Cal when it was new. He was a rocket scientist and loved engineering. After the engine blew, he put in a 1941 Studebaker straight 6 and 3 speed OD transmission (it might have been a Ford tranny). He later sold it and got a Jaguar XK120, which he also raced.

I've been trying to find the car. I've found a couple TDs with Studebaker engines that seem to be owned in the Studebaker community. So I'm hoping this post might help track it down.

If anyone has any leads, I'd be most appreciative!!!

An interesting tid bit about the car, when my dad did this, Ken Miles was a young mechanic at a local shop. He did some wrenching with my dad on the car. Miles later went on to build the first Sunbeam Tiger at Carroll Shelby's (Shelby was hired by Sunbeam to help develop it). And decades later, my dad went on to buy a Tiger after he retired. This MG/Studebaker could have influenced both those results!

Here is a picture of it with it's unique louvers, radiator and paint color scheme.

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Jay Laifman
05-09-2017, 09:21 PM
I actually have a question for this group. My dad said that the car had a performance intake and carburetor(s). He had said it was an Edlebrock. I actually met Vic at a race and mentioned it to him. He said he never made parts for Studebaker six engines. So, assuming Vic is right and my dad's memory was fuzzy, what sorts of performance intakes and carbs were available for these engines in the 50s?

PackardV8
05-09-2017, 09:25 PM
There were Edmunds, Offenhauser and Morgan 2 x 1 bbl intakes for the Champion, among others.

I know of an MG with a 185" Champion engine. PM me with your contact info and if the owner is willing, he'll get back to you.

jack vines

Jay Laifman
05-10-2017, 01:31 PM
Will do! Also, I found two of them with the same owner in Marshall Texas. Anyone out there in Marshall who might look at them and send me some pictures?

Jay Laifman
05-10-2017, 01:54 PM
As to the header, knowing dad, it was an Offy - and I probably got it wrong in hearing him at some point. Thanks for that information.

Jay Laifman
05-10-2017, 07:11 PM
Here is another question for you guys. My dad wrote that the car had a 3 speed, OD tranny. None of his writings say what type of tranny that is. Is that a common Studebaker type of tranny? His notes also say that it had a Ford column shift that was cut to 4 " and located horizontally at the rear of the transmission. I don't know if that means it is a Ford tranny mated to the Studebaker engine. Possible?

PackardV8
05-10-2017, 08:01 PM
Here is another question for you guys. My dad wrote that the car had a 3 speed, OD tranny. None of his writings say what type of tranny that is. Is that a common Studebaker type of tranny? His notes also say that it had a Ford column shift that was cut 4 " and located horizontally at the rear of the transmission. I don't know if that means it is a Ford tranny mated to the Studebaker engine. Possible?

Most likely it was the Borg-Warner T96 which was mated to most car Champion engines.

The Ford shifter may have been a home-brew floor shifter made from junkyard parts.

Jay Laifman
05-11-2017, 01:50 PM
Thanks. FYI, I did send you an email through the message center here to give you my contact information for the guy you know who owns a TD. If you didn't get it, please let me know.

WinM1895
05-11-2017, 08:39 PM
Bill Weage, a pal of mine and a long time SDC-SOCA-SDC member bought a 1951 MG TD w/a Ford V8 60 flathead and Zephyr 3 speed.

The guy he bought it from said the engine was locked up, but the starter used in these engines was the usual problem, as the spring of the HUGE Bendix starter drive would break.

I told Bill to remove the starter, have it rebuilt, but he never did. 'Ol Bill, who also owned a '41 Commander & '55 President would buy a car, drive it till it quit, then buy another.

It wasn't long before our backyard resembled a junkyard.

Mike
05-11-2017, 09:16 PM
Here is another question for you guys. My dad wrote that the car had a 3 speed, OD tranny. None of his writings say what type of tranny that is. Is that a common Studebaker type of tranny? His notes also say that it had a Ford column shift that was cut 4 " and located horizontally at the rear of the transmission. I don't know if that means it is a Ford tranny mated to the Studebaker engine. Possible?

It sounds like the shifter conversion described in the article at: http://www.forgottenfiberglass.com/technical/converting-column-shift-floor-shift-vintage-style/ . It's pretty ingenious.
Mike M.

t walgamuth
05-12-2017, 07:49 AM
If I found one of those TD hybrids I think I'k keep it the way it was raced. Stude six or Flathead 60 Ford. Cool!

wittsend
05-12-2017, 02:42 PM
Hi Jay,
Just want to acknowledge that I saw you over here in another corner of the car world where I hide out. As Jay eluded to above he has some association with Sunbeam Tigers. His dad was the creator of the Tigers United website http://www.tigersunited.com/ that Jay still keeps active. He is also the current owner of his dad's Tiger.

Sorry to say I have have nothing to add in your search for your dad's Studebaker powered TD, but here is to hoping that you find what you are looking for. We met a few years back at the car show in Calabasas but to put a name to a face I'll include a picture. All the best in your search. Tom Witt

Jay Laifman
05-12-2017, 09:58 PM
Hi Tom! With the picture, I definitely remember meeting you.

Thanks all for the new info - especially those details on the shifter. I re-read his notes. It says the column was cut TO 4". I added the word above, and that seems like it very much matches what the article above described. His notes also say that the 3 sp OD tranny came from the same '41 Studebaker that the engine came from.

Here is an update. I have found FIVE current MG TDs with Studebaker 6 engines. So that at least suggests that the conversion does not mean the cars were more likely to be discarded.

Two of the five are actually owned by a significant car collector in Texas. He and I spoke and he provided pictures of one that he restored. It is not obviously my dad's.

One was in Alabama, sold a couple years ago. I spoke with the seller. I don't have info on the buyer. But that one was not my dad's either.

Another one is here, in So Cal, near me. It is owned by a guy who in the Studebaker parts business. I went by his shop today, but they had already closed for the day. I've known about this one for years. He built it with his brother. So not my dad's either.

The fifth one is the one mentioned by PackardV8 above. I haven't heard more about that one yet.

I have been exchanging emails with the folks at a classic car magazine about my search. They are thinking about doing an article on Studebaker transplants. More info to come.

Please keep any tips on other TDs with Studebaker engines coming!

Still trying!

wittsend
05-12-2017, 11:59 PM
Jay, that is some interesting detective work you have already accomplished. I'd be very curious to know why the swap was done by so many and the reason for the Studebaker engine of choice.

I find it interesting that this post regards an MG-TD and Studebaker power yet there are three Tiger owners in the conversation. You, me and "PackardV8" (Jack Vines). In Jack's case I'm not sure if he still has one, but over the years he having owned one comes up from time to time. Also of interest was the Boskoff built, Shelby Tiger prototype had a Studebaker Champion rear end. I guess this is the Kevin Bacon/6 degrees of the automotive world. Keep us up to date on what you find. Tom

t walgamuth
05-13-2017, 04:42 AM
The Champ six was lightweight and reliable. It also was used in midget race cars some. Apparently it compared favorably with the ford v8 60 in weight and power. Also it had two fewer cylinders than the 80 and only one head gasket to blow. Speaking of that it probably ran cooler than the ford motor which had its middle exhaust port right against the two center cylinders on each side of the v. I'd love to see one of these TDs with the champ six in them.

Jay Laifman
05-15-2017, 01:08 PM
I'm sure what you'd really like to see is a picture of the engine in there. I don't have one of those yet. Obviously, the picture above of my dad's car has the Studebaker under the hood. Here is a current picture of another one. Note that they put the Studebaker logo across the bonnet. There is another part of the name on it too. I can't read it. Was there a "Champion" badge?

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