This 1952 MGTD’s first affair allegedly began with a disc jockey from South Bend, Indiana. Next in line was a young woman owner in 1966; she left the car with her parents who took it with them when they moved to Lake James,
Indiana. Dale and Judy Zinn fell in love with the car when they first saw it in the 1980s; it was stored in their neighbor’s garage, neglected and covered with dirt and dust.
The Zinns had a 1958 MGA at the time and weren’t interested in taking on another classic, yet the TD haunted them for years. The owners moved away, taking the TD with them, and the Zinns figured they’d never see it again.
But the family moved back to the area in 2004, and remarkably, they still had the TD in tow. After 35 years of storage and one aborted restoration attempt, the classic was in pieces. Finally, ownership passed to the Zinns, who hauled it and five boxes of cruddy old parts home on a trailer owned by a friend (the car was pushed onto the trailer by the guys).
Restoration consisted of parts, parts and more parts. The UPS man made Moss Motors deliveries on a regular basis until June 2009 when the car was beautiful and the Zinns declared it finished.
During the five-year restoration process, there were the usual unexpected and unappreciated surprises. Newspaper had been wadded up and used for filler in the bottom main rail, packed in with wood putty. The gas tank end caps no longer fit after they were re-chromed; the Zinns later discovered they belonged on a TC. The wiring sets fizzled instantly when they were installed incorrectly (Dale’s fault).
Not everything went poorly though. The Zinns took a trip to the Gathering of the Faithful (GOF) in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in 2006 to survey paint colors. There were 1,200 MGs present at the show, but when the Zinns found their dream hue, the owner shared the paint formula. The biggest and best surprise came later—it was a perfect match for the Moss Motors piping.
Even though there were discouraging times, each step along the way held rewards. When the car was finally road worthy, the Zinns had fun driving the “Queen” around the Notre Dame Campus in South Bend, back where its journey began. They also took pride when the TD earned a first place trophy in July at the Mad Dogs and Englishmen car show at the Gilmore Museum near Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Now that the project is complete, the Zinns have plenty of time to enjoy it and show it off, and they love it.
The Zinns thank their pit crew:
Engine: John Stanford
Body/Paint: Dennis Listenberger
Neighbors (trailer, tools, help, ideas, etc.): Jim, Bill and Tom
Wiring Assistant: Steve
Answers: John Twist
Good Company: Mick the Cat