Dave Plumley's 1953 TD with Corvette Engine and Rear Suspension

Dave Plumley's 1953 TD with Corvette Engine and Rear Suspension

as published in BritishV8 Magazine, Volume XIX Issue I, December 2011

Owner: Dave Plumley
BritishV8 UserID: deltadave
City: Unionville, Tennessee
Model: 1953 MG TD
Engine: Chevrolet 350 V8
Built by: owner.

Features and Specifications

Engine: 1974 Corvette 350, with only minor modifications. Holley carburetor. Delco-Remy HEI distributor.
Cooling: custom large core aluminum radiator by Brice Thomas Radiator. Electric fan. Engine oil cooler.
Exhaust: homemade headers into 2 1/2" pipes with round turbo mufflers.
Transmission: Borg Warner T5 five speed (from a 1985 Camaro.) Chevy Astro van 11" clutch. Jeep clutch pedal and master cylinder. Nissan slave cylinder.
Rear End: 1964 Corvette.
Front Susp.: 1965 Corvair suspension, narrowed. MG rack & pinion, steering column and steering wheel.
Rear Susp.: 1964 Corvette suspension, narrowed. Composite monoleaf spring.
Brakes: (master) Jeep Cherokee cylinder and pedal assembly. Stock MG pedal pads.
(front) Corvair, with Scarebird conversion to Chevy S10 disc brakes.
(rear) stock 1964 Corvette drum brakes.
Wheels/Tires: Chevy 15x7 Rally wheels, with three winged spinners added for looks. 195/60 front & 225/60 rear tires.
Instruments: TPI gauges speedometer (0-140mph), tachometer (0-8000rpm), oil pressure (0-100psi), coolant temperature (100-250F), voltmeter (10-16V), and fuel level guages.
Electrical: EZ Wire harness. 7" x 6 3/4" x 3 3/4" gel cell battery (mounted in the original tool box.)
Interior: stock seats and trim panels recovered by Capabilities Inc. of Elmira NY. Fatmat sound deadener. Lowes carpet. Steering wheel redone by owner. MG pads on brake and clutch pedals. Vintage aircraft seat-belts.
Exterior: final cosmetic body work and custom blue PPG paint by Fenders & Flames of Corning NY. New bumpers. New headlights, with integral turn signals. Brooklands racing wind-screens. (Original windshield, top, and side curtains came with the car, but need new covers.)
Completed: May 2011. The rebuild has about 500 miles on it, as of the end of June.


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Engine Installation

1974 Corvette 350, with only minor modifications.
1974 Corvette 350, with only minor modifications.

Compact gel cell battery mounted in the original tool box.
7" x 6 3/4" x 3 3/4" gel cell battery, mounted in the original tool box.

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How It Was Done

Thom Gingher of Buffalo, New York transplanted a Chevy V8, a Corvair front suspension and a Corvette IRS into this MG TD.
In 1968, Thom Gingher of Buffalo, New York transplanted a small block Chevy engine, a Corvair
front suspension and a Corvette rear suspension into this MG TD. Thom drove the car around the
Buffalo area and reportedly occassionally raced the car in an SCCA modified class from about
1968 through sometime in 1971 when the engine blew up. It sat derelict in a garage for ~35 years.

Rich Almeter
In 2006, Rich Almeter found and purchased the TD as it looked in the previous photo. The engine
was toast and the passenger door and seat bottom were missing. There were a lot of parts in boxes,
but most were junk. In July 2009, Dave Plumley purchased the MG TD in the slightly cleaned up
condition shown here. The MG was trailered to his home in south central New York, near Watkins Glen.


Dave started taking the car apart and he test-fit a 350 Chevy from a 1974 Corvette to the frame many
times before it and a T5 transmission were bolted down.


Trying out spoke wheels. They leaked at the spokes, and were discarded becaue they're too expensive to repair.

Scarebird conversion kit was used to upgrade the Corvair drum brakes to Chevy S10 calipers.
A Scarebird conversion kit was used to upgrade the Corvair drum brakes to Chevy S10 calipers and
vented rotors. New shocks and a steering shaft with a rubber isolation joint were installed.

1964 Chevy Corvette differential housing.
1964 Chevy Corvette differential housing.


Interior

POR 15 chassis paint. POR stands for paint over rust.
The whole chassis was painted with POR 15 chassis paint. POR stands for paint over rust.
It's a tenacious and durable water-cured urethane paint.

Mating the 1974 Chevrolet 350cid V8 engine to the MG TD frame.
Mating the 1974 Chevrolet 350cid V8 engine to the MG TD frame.

Custom large core aluminum radiator by Brice Thomas Radiator. Electric fan.
Custom large core aluminum radiator by Brice Thomas Radiator. Electric fan.

Installing the MG TD's body onto its chassis.
Installing the MG TD's body onto its chassis.

Next to install: MG TD wings and butterfly hood.
Next to install: MG TD wings and butterfly hood.

MG TD fuel tank and spare tire carrier.
MG TD fuel tank and spare tire carrier.

Starting the wiring job...
Starting the wiring job...

The original steering wheel was a mess, with very little plastic left after fifty seven years.
The original steering wheel was a mess, with very little plastic left after fifty seven years.
Dave decided to restore it, bwith PC7 paste epoxy.

Foam fingernail boards proved to the most useful sanding and shaping tools.
Dave removed all the broken plastic and built-up many layers of epoxy. It's a slow
process because each layer has to cure before the next can go on. Foam fingernail boards
proved to the most useful sanding and shaping tools.

Dave did some woodgrain-style airbrush work, then clear-coated the steering wheel.
Dave did some woodgrain-style airbrush work, then clear-coated the steering wheel.

TPI gauges (left to right) five inch speedometer (0-140mph), tachometer (0-8000rpm)...
TPI gauges (left to right) five inch speedometer (0-140mph), tachometer (0-8000rpm), oil
pressure (0-100psi), coolant temperature (100-250F), voltmeter (10-16V), and fuel level guages.

Wiring-up the new gauges.
Wiring-up the new gauges.

Hyper Fiber is resin impregnated fiberglass cloth with wire embedded in it.
HyperFiber is resin impregnated fiberglass cloth with wire embedded in it so it can be
formed easily to shape without a mold. The resin cures when exposed to UV lightwaves;
simply expose it to sunlight. Dave first covered his transmission with bubble wrap to give
about 3/4" clearance, then formed HyperFiber over and down to the plywood floorboards.

Dave put the frame out in the sun, and ten minutes later the cover was done.
Dave rolled the molded cover out into the sun, and ten minutes later the resin was cured.
Hyper Fiber is a little pricey, but it's clean to work with and wastage is low.

Dave had to shorten the clutch throw-out lever to suit the MG TD's narrow frame.
Dave had to shorten the clutch throw-out lever to suit the MG TD's narrow frame.
He used a Nissan truck slave cylinder because they are small, have two mounting bosses
perpendicular to the bore for easy mounting, and they're readily available for $15.
He made a bracket from heavy angle iron to use two bellhousing bolts for installation.

Installation of the EZ Wire wiring harness.
Installation of the EZ Wire wiring harness.

Fatmat sound deadener.
Fatmat sound deadener.

composite leafspring
The old Corvette multileaf spring pack was a rusty mess, so Dave replaced it
with an aftermarket composite leafspring. He trimmed the spring's ends to
suit the MG TD's narrowed rear suspension.

Narrowed 1964 Corvette suspension, updated with a composite leafspring.
Narrowed 1964 Corvette suspension, updated with a composite leafspring.

Interior

Stock seats and trim panels were recovered by Capabilities Inc. of Elmira NY.
Stock seats and trim panels were recovered by Capabilities Inc. of Elmira NY.

The dashboard covering is, however, original. A set of new TPI gauges has been installed.
The dashboard covering is, however, original. A set of new TPI gauges has been installed.


Exterior

Final cosmetic body work and custom blue PPG paint by Fenders & Flames of Corning NY.
Final cosmetic body work and custom blue PPG paint by Fenders & Flames of Corning NY.

New headlights, with integral turn signals.
New headlights, with integral turn signals.

Chevy 15x7 Rally wheels, with three winged spinners added for looks.
Chevy 15x7 Rally wheels, with three winged spinners added for looks.


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