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Master of the British B-Road – 1959 MG MGA Roadster

Sold – $24,600 (Plus Fees)

Morris Garages (MG) began drafting a replacement for their TF 1500 Midget only in the 1950s. We note “only” because of nearly an entire three decades including a World War that took place throughout the MG T-generations that ultimately resulted in the TF. However, the MGA was worth the wait because it was a brilliant, worthy successor that effectively ushered MG into the modern, aerodynamic era. Along with the advancements in more effective airflow around the body, it came with a new body-on-frame chassis design that dramatically improved handling. Plus, it was – as verified by Car and Driver in 1957 –  a 100 mph plus car.

At a ten mph faster than the outgoing TF 1500, despite nearly the exact same engine output in 1955, it is blatantly obvious where the increased speed comes from – the slick bodywork. Along with the smooth and sleek body, the MGA was also much lower to the ground thanks to the revised chassis design that built the floor pan on the bottom of the frame rails. Our roadster, from 1959, is nearly identical to that of the original cars launched in 1955, besides some minor updates provided by MG in 1959. These changes include lighting changes (white turn signals) and 1600cc badging on the trunk and hood. Our vehicle was repainted in a vibrant red during the middle of the nineties, and the paintwork has some chips around the car, particularly the lower edges, wide fenders, and door and hood edges.

The seller informs us that the trunk lid does not remain entirely flush with the rest of the body due to a rubber seal to keep water out. The chrome brightwork surrounding the windshield and on the grille and bumpers remains in excellent condition. An override bumper with a tubular badge bar sports four unique automotive medallions fitted to the front. Initially available with either steel disc wheels or wire spokes, this particular example received 15” mesh chrome wire wheels and is now wearing 155/80 tires. Later model-year MGA fender mounted mirrors have also been attached. A tan fabric cover with three-piece plastic rear windows, a tonneau cover, and side curtains are all provided for inclement weather use.

Inside, tan leather covers the manually adjustable seats, door panels, footwell side walls, and tops the perimeter of the cabin. Meanwhile, black carpeting overlays the floorboards and transmission tunnel. A set of black rubber MG-branded floor mats sits atop the carpeting in each footwell. The dashboard face has been color matched to the exterior and is fitted with an aftermarket DIN single-CD player stereo connected to speakers mounted under the dashboard, although these are currently inoperable. A factory-standard stereo blanking plate is provided with the sale.

Standard instrumentation by Jaeger resides inside the dashboard. Gauges include a 7k tachometer with two-zone color redlines, a 120 mph speedometer with odometer, a fuel level dial, and oil pressure with coolant temperature gauge. The speedometer was replaced at one time due to the original unit malfunctioning and indicated 33k miles when installed. Currently, 57k sits on the clock. The nearly 25,000 miles being added by our seller who has remained the proprietor of the MGA since the 1980s. A light-wood rimmed steering wheel complete with metal spokes and an MG emblem completes the simple, yet classically elegant interior arrangement.

With nearly 50/50 weight distribution, a stiff independent front suspension, and uprated 79.5 horsepower for 1959, the MGA is a sprightly performer in the right circumstances. The power augmentation was provided due to a 100cc displacement increase in the straight-four motor, and our example is fitted with dual SU carburetors. An aftermarket electric fuel pump was installed at one point. The original heating box and factory supplied vehicle information stickers can still be found underhood.

Underneath the body, the current owner describes metal oxidation on much of the exposed metal including the rear leaf spring suspension. A four-speed manual transmission with synchromesh provides power to the rear wheels via a hydraulically-assisted clutch. The rack and pinion steering system is direct, light, and quick, despite the suggestively large steering wheel.

Accompanying the sale is the factory-supplied spare wheel fitted with a tire and with it is an additional fabric cover. The wooden tool used to “knock-off” the wheel’s center screw lock will also be handed over after purchase. Having split its time between Pennsylvania and Beverly Hills for the past twenty years, the MG has been kept in good mechanical condition and driven regularly by the owner or their assistant. In preparation for this sale, an oil change was performed. Tan leather tote bags for the tonneau cover and side curtains are included in the trunk. Partial records and a clean California title are guaranteed.

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