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Ready to Rally? – 1959 MG MGA Coupe Rally Car Now Live at Auction

Bid to – $18,750

Before MG began production of the MGA in 1955, their old sports car, the TF 1500 was the final successor in a lineage that first started in the 1930s finally concluding in the 1950s. To say it was outdated scarcely even covers the reality of how uncompetitive it was against contemporary rivals. However, the new MGA changed all of that with a new box-section frame and considerably revised aerodynamics. Although the MGA originally shared nearly the same motor output as its predecessor and the new chassis structure countered any weight savings, Car and Driver in 1957 drove one to 101.1 mph, which is 10 mph faster than the TF. In 1959, a 1600cc engine was released that offered an 11 horsepower improvement over the original 1500cc unit, and that is what we have on sale today, although fully rally prepped for the utmost enjoyment.

As stated above, the most significant improvement to the MGA was the revised body styling that dramatically smoothed airflow compared to its predecessor. Additionally, the box-section frame construction allowed for the floor pan to be mounted on the bottom of the rails. This change significantly lowered the drivers seating position and roofline, which improved handling and aerodynamics. Previously grey, the coachwork is now covered in silver paint that was applied when first imported to America in the mid-2000s. Accompanying the coating is a simple livery of white roundels filled with red numbers that adorn the hood, trunk, and fenders. Plus various stickers including a Union Jack plate below the rear bodywork. Collectively, the paint is in fine condition besides a quarter panel chip, crack in the rear bumper, and some other smaller chips. The current owner also describes a dent within the front mesh grille.

The bodywork has been slightly modified for the easy replacement of panels. Mainly the rear fenders, which are fastened by bolts instead of welds. On the decklid, a luggage rack has been screwed in place and the taillights have been relocated under the trunk lid. Other alterations include a secondary mirror attached to the fender, yellow driving lights, and leather straps to secure the hood. Stamped steel wheels that have been painted silver are fitted with Nanking Toursport 611 tires. The owner informs us that the passenger floorboard has a hole in it caused by an exhaust clamp.

Inside, most of the accouterments have been removed in the name of weight savings, such as the carpeting. Nevertheless, the original dashboard including the factory Jaeger speedometer has been kept in place. An aftermarket 8k tachometer (6k redline) and aftermarket ancillary gauges have been fitted next to a Terratrip rally computer. Initial controls and switches designed by MG have been supplanted by cap-protected toggle switches, and a fire suppression system pull handle resides in front of the passenger seat.

Other alterations to the interior include a MOMO removable steering wheel and drilled aluminum racing pedals with an aluminum board in the passenger footwell. The factory-supplied seating has been displaced by fixed-back, aluminum chairs with lightweight vinyl covers with 5-point racing harness keeping occupants planted. Supplying some extra stiffness to the chassis is a black-painted roll cage. Currently, 74,000 miles are shown on the five-digit odometer, although this has likely rolled over.

Performance wise, the MGA rivaled that of Porsche’s 356 and Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta Sprint. From the factory, the carbureted 1600cc four-cylinder had 79 horsepower. However, previous ownership has rebuilt this motor and inside are ported and polished heads, new pistons, an engine oil cooler, and a high torque starter. Keeping those internal components cool is an aluminum radiator fed by an electric fan. Plus, an aftermarket exhaust system enhances the sound while reducing backpressure.

A four-speed manual transmission with synchromesh from a later model MG sends power to the rear wheels. This transmission was rebuilt in June of 2018, and the clutch was replaced during that job along with the bearings, slave cylinder, clutch fork, oil pan, and fluids. A transmission bracket was also repaired at this time. The current owner has performed an oil change, carburetor adjustment, and several electrical connections were corrected. Inside of the trunk is a fuel cell and newer battery that helps maintain the original 50/50 weight distribution.

Constructed in 1959, any history of its past life until it was imported from Holland by a previous owner to the U.S. in 2004 has been lost. The first race on U.S. soil came in 2004 at Watkins Glen and since that time has exclusively been used for rallies across the country including the Targa Baja California. Included with the sale are a spare cylinder head and an extra set of wheels. The MGA is currently on our auction block guaranteed with a clean California title.

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