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MGA

MGA Published: 10th May 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

MGA
MGA
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Surely one of the prettiest sports cars ever, the MGA is MG’s link between pre-war and contemporary designs meaning that it gives lucky owners the best of both worlds yet the car is as easy to maintain as an MGB.

Driving

MGAs aren’t especially quick but on paper performance figures doesn’t even start to give an accurate picture of how much fun the A genuinely is. Some reckon it’s a far sportier if less refined car than the MGB. Based upon the TF chassis albeit with a lower centre of gravity, the MGA was the first true 100mph MG even though the acceleration (apart from Twin Cam) is only brisk at best. Given all that, the lugging nature of the B-Series engine greatly compensates in real world conditions, plus naturally, it is easy to unleash more power. The MGAs continued popularity on today’s tracks proves the handling satisfies, especially once known mods are incorporated.

MGA’s are not half as refined as they look but are better than a comparable TR2/3 or Morgan.

 

Values

The handsome MGA handsomely outstrips all other MGs in terms of values and over £30K isn’t uncommon for concours roadsters and let’s talk 50 grand or more for top Twin Cams. The good news is that you buy a good regular MGA fixedhead for £20,000 or a shabby but sound coupé, for just over 12K – best to add 50 per cent for the roadsters.

Projects, which can easily sell for nearly five figures, need careful thought as restoration costs are extremely high, too. Is the car a US repat? Out of the 101,081 produced between 1955 and ’62 only 5815 were UK registered (less than six per cent). So long as the conversion has been done properly then don’t worry too much about it and prices are not affected much either way.

 

Timeline

1955 Launched, broadly TF-based, in 1500 B-Series Roadster form; super stylish but there are drum brakes all round

1956 Coupé offered to supplement optional fibreglass hard top

1958 Twin Cam debuts in roadster and coupé forms. Power comes from an aluminium twin-cam head. Great to drive, but reliability problems meant it was killed off after just two years, with just 2111 examples sold

1959 1600 MkI announced, there are now front disc brakes and a 1588cc powerplant

1960 De Luxe arrives, using the Twin Cam’s chassis, with disc brakes all round. Only around 50 of these are made

1961 Final edition the MkII. Offered standard or De Luxe specifications, 1622cc engine gives 86bhp while a raised back axle ratio gives more relaxed cruising

 

Top five faults

 

Restos

The A isn’t an easy car to restore, so if you are tempted to buy a project, make sure you’re going into it with your eyes open. Experts can spot a DIY job a mile off

Body

Sills and A-posts are the prime areas panels are available, but repairs are involved. Although the chassis is impressively stiff, a hard knock will distort it and it’s tricky (if not impossible) to put things right. The key areas to check are the front and rear chassis legs

Engine

The signs of a tired B-Series are classic; blue oil smoke while accelerating (worn piston rings and/or cylinder bores). There should be 50-60psi on the oil pressure gauge at 3000rpm. Leaks and undue noise are common. Heads also crack

Twin cam

Different altogether and can cost as much as an Aston DB ‘six’ engine to properly rebuild

 

Running gear

Gearboxes are weak, diff casings get damaged, leading to a £350 repair bill. It’s caused by the hub nuts being left loose; most likely suspension issue is worn or tight trunnions, shot dampers/springs

 

Best models

 

MGA

Good choice, later the car the better and MG offered Twin Cam brakes and wheels as an option on 1600 for 1960. Many have been modified

 

Deluxe & 1600 MK2

Half MGA, half Twin Cam sans engine. Only around 50 were made meaning, it’s the ultimate MGA apart from the TC with Mk2 a close runner up

 

Twin cam

Now the Weslake-designed 110bhp engine has been finally sorted, this XK-eater can sell for Healey-like money. Has its own club Register



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