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1974 NG TF

Background

Taking its aesthetic cues from the vintage MG TF of the early 1950s, the NG TF is a kit car of altogether superior quality to, ahem, some other kit cars.

Manufactured in one form or another over many years, the base technology was borrowed at various times from the MGB, the Morris Marina or the Ford Sierra. It was also possible to equip it with Rover's V8 engine and thus produce an erstwhile rival to the Morgan Plus 8.

Usually based around an MGB donor vehicle, NG TFs have a glassfibre body and aluminium bonnet. That makes them considerably sprightlier performers than their MG TF precursors, which didn’t have the MGB 1800cc engine or tough, proven, dependable MGB mechanicals.

Rust isn’t a problem for the NG TF owner, and neither is easy access to affordable parts. Those with a need for speed will find that the engines can be tuned to achieve rather more than originally intended.

The NG TF offers the practicality of a 2+2, the pure fun of an old-fashioned sports car with more modern underpinnings and running gear, and the affordability of cheap and easy motoring.

Simple, pretty and charmingly evocative of a bygone era of RAC sentry boxes, Shell Guides, handlebar moustaches and policemen who said ‘hello’, the NG TF brings together trusted and proven technology in a vintage-look-alike vehicle that’s ultimately only ever as good as its original builder.

The Vehicle

Well, from what we have seen, read, heard and experienced for ourselves, the original buyer and builder, Mr Donaldson, was a chap of rare skill, dedication and attention to detail.

This particular TF was built in 2000 using a 1972 MGB as a donor, although it runs on a 1974 ‘L’ reg plate because this is what the DVLA, in their wisdom, decided it should have. The chassis and body are bespoke Nick Green items from NG.

This remanufactured 1.8-litre MGB engine comes from the estimable factory of Ivor Searle – a name that makes NG aficionados nod and stroke their chins in appreciation when they see it on a plate inside the engine bay.

The engine is mated to a four-speed gearbox with overdrive on 3rd and 4th gears, giving what is effectively a six-speed ‘box.

We think this is a good, solid car that has been carefully built, maintained, serviced and cared for. It runs and drives well, is in good condition inside, outside and underneath and comes with a vast wad of history that covers every imaginable item of expenditure.

It has had four owners, covered just 16,500 miles in total, and the vendor has notched up 12,000 of those in his 8 years of ownership. He tells us that it has proved its worth (and reliability) as a daily driver every summer and has on occasion dispatched a 250 mile run without so much as breaking into a sweat.

Its finest hour came 2 years ago when it was called upon to serve as the wedding car on the occasion of the vendor’s granddaughter’s nuptials. It must have made for a delightful tableau.

The vendor tells us that wherever it goes the car engenders happy feelings. It spreads joy, raises a smile and always gets a good reaction.

We’re inclined to believe him.

On the Outside

The blue paintwork is generally good and has a depth of shine and lustre that really makes the car stand out. The chromework, too, is in good condition, although the backs of the wing mirrors would benefit from a bit of a polish.

The bonnet catches work, and all lights, lenses and indicators are in good nick and functioning as they should. There is no rust because there is nothing capable of oxidization on the bodywork.

But it’s not perfect. There are a few stone chips and minor scuffs to the paintwork, particularly around the rear wheel arches and the edges of the front wings. These are testament to the fact that this is a car that’s been used, despite its very low mileage. It’s never been a show pony and the vendor has been careful rather than precious during his stewardship of it.

The panels and shut lines are tight and clean, evidencing the quality of the original build, and the bodywork is free of any warps, buckles, dents or inexplicable gaps.

The car has 4 fairly new Falken tyres and a Uniroyal spare, all with plenty of tread remaining. The wire wheels are from the original build and are in good condition aside from some minor pitting to the chrome here and there.

The hood, sides and tonneau cover are all present and correct. The vendor tells us that the hood is ‘very nearly waterproof’ which we understand translates as ‘that’s as good as they get’. There are a couple of minor marks on the hood and, while the tonneau is fine, we hear that you can’t really use it to cover the passenger area when driving as the wind tends to get under it.

As you can see from the photographs, there is an additional, shallow cover that goes around the frame of the hood and makes it look neat and tidy. This, too, is in good condition.

On the Inside

The good news continues on the inside, where the cream vinyl upholstery and trim complement the blue carpets and bodywork.

The wood veneer fascia is solid and unfaded, and carries a pleasant patina of time. Rather quirkily, the tachometer is rotated 90º in order to make the important bit of the dial (i.e., the part near the red line) visible through the steering wheel. Even more quirkily, a 1920’s clock has been fitted to the glove box door and, while it looks to be of more or less the right period, it’s clearly not an original item. The fuel gauge has been described as ‘optimistic’.

The seats, front and rear, have good upholstery and there appears to be no fading or cracking to the vinyl. The blue carpet is generally good but does have some fraying on the transmission tunnel.

The short shift gear lever, which was fitted later and helps this car snap along on a day out, has a couple of holes in the gaiter.

The boot is in fine fettle and shows finished (as opposed to rough) fibreglass and good carpets. The boot contains the hood, sides and tonneau, a jack, and a mallet for knocking off the wheel spinners.

Underneath

The undersides of the car are a testament to the quality of the original NG frames and show only surface rust on a couple of struts. The floors and trays appear to show no signs of rust and, overall, the car’s underpinnings speak far more to its mileage than its age.

The exhaust system also appears to be in good condition, as do the springs, braking system and suspension. The heat shield was renewed fairly recently.

The engine has been regularly serviced and is, in any case, a fairly bulletproof powerplant when given the care and attention it merits. In a nod to modernity, the car has had an electronic ignition system fitted. There is also a battery isolator switch, which is situated behind the front passenger seat.

A well-maintained, strong example – and we believe this is one – should have plenty of years in it yet. That said, this is a 2000 or 1974 car, depending on how you look at it, so there are no guarantees.

History Highlights

This NG TF has all the service history and documentation you could ever hope to shake a stick at. Everything that’s ever been done to it has been annotated and recorded by previous owners and is backed up by a brick-like sheaf of bills, invoices, receipts, old MOTs and certificates of authenticity.

You can see when the deposit was paid for the chassis and body in 1998, and you can then see every purchase from NG and MGB Hive over the course of the next two years while it was being built. And we do mean every purchase – cables, nuts and bolts, bits of trim, etc, right down to two rolls of black tape and a 35 amp fuse. No, really.

If that’s not enough there is the original build manual and handbook, a photo album documenting every stage of the build, a magazine with photographs of the finished car for sale in 2007, a record of fuels and lubricants used and a mile-by-mile cost analysis of running costs.

All of this history can be seen in the photographs.

The car was last serviced just a few days ago and is MOT’d until 12.8.21 with no advisories. Everything that needed replacing or checking has been dealt with recently, including an inspection and overhaul of the carbs, brakes and suspension, and new fluids, filters and plugs.

It comes with two sets of keys, a battery isolator key, the correct engine oil and Evans’ waterless coolant. 

What We Think

We think this is a pretty, solid, well built, always garaged, good condition example of a car that offers lots of fun for not much money and low running costs.

It’s not perfect, but we think that’s part of its charm. It is, however, a very low mileage example and one that has more history than the Parthenon.

It has been lucky enough to live its life in the hands of careful owners and luckier still to have been built by someone who knew what he was doing.

It even sounds good, with a rich, throaty burble running from the SU carbs to the chromed tailpipe. You can hear this for yourself in the accompanying video.

We’re confident to offer this authentic 1974 NG TF without a reserve in the belief that it will attract bids somewhere in the region of £6 to £9K.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and an array of regional providers for transporting it.

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

Video Review

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Seller

peter39c

  • Location: Abingdon
  • Odometer Reading: 16,500
  • Chassis Number: NGSTSL9810FB02198
  • Engine: 1798
  • Gearbox: Manual 4 speed + overdrive
  • Color: Blue
  • Interior: Cream

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