MG TD Top Installation

Now that Bruce’s ’52 TD is back from the paint shop (the tub, doors, and fuel tank) and safely ensconced in the shed, we’ve started the upholstery and reassembly. I’ll cover the upholstery highlights in another post but, for now, here’s how the top installation went.

Like most things that are ‘simple’, it doesn’t necessarily make them easy or without the need for skills. The two things that have the most impact on installing a TD or TF top are getting the rear bow set correctly and making sure your work is centered (both front and back). Once you know you have those two things nailed down, it’s just (beware of that word) a matter of working from the centers out, back-to-front or font-to-back if you prefer.


Centering and stapling the eyebrow

The first task is to cover the header. Of all the things to be done on a T-series install this is the most tedious because there are a number of obstacles to work around, the stanchions for the top hold downs, the eyebrows to get correctly positioned, the top side arms, and the ends to hide—all just to cover the header. I started by locating the eyebrow correctly over where the wipers will go, then working from center out keeping the seam tight to the bow. Next came wrapping the material under the bow, cutting it where it needed to go around the top mount stanchions and top side frames, then neatly folding and stapling it. Finishing the ends was last.

Header wrap complete

Header wrap complete

Top straps intalled

Top straps installed

With the header covered and placed, I moved onto the top straps. The straps have two purposes, one is to maintain the position of the bows one to another and the second is to provide support for the top. A good top fit is critical upon making sure these are installed at the correct centers and taut enough to provide support but not so much that they stretch. After screwing them through the first and second bows, I measured the distance between the fastening points on the first bow, then transferred these to the header so the straps would be the same distances apart. Then I pulled them just taut and stapled them to the header. Same process for the back. I measured the distance between mounting points on the second bow (not the same as the first), transferred them to the rear cockpit surround, centered and stapled the straps. With those in place, the top installation could proceed.

First thing to do is mark the centers of the front and back of the top as well as the header rail and the rear cockpit surround. I start at the back of the car, especially on T-series cars, because the tacking strip skirt gives the perfect line up vehicle. I start at the center and staple to just before each corner. You can use the the side seams as a guide for how far to go.

Install complete

Install complete

I then move to the front of the car and repeat the center-out process. Again stopping at the the side seams. Once I’m satisfied with the fit, I return to the back and staple the corners, being careful not to pull too much, just enough to keep the material tight and the wrinkles out. Repeat at the front. The last thing to go on is the supplied Hide ‘Em trim.

Here’s a complete gallery of the installation.




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