The history of the MG A


The MGA was a sports car produced by MG division of the British Motor Corporation from 1955 to 1962.
The MGA replaced the older T-type cars and represented a complete styling break from the older vehicles. The car was officially launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show of 1955. It was replaced by the MGB when production ceased in July 1962. Through that time, BMC sold 101,081 units, the vast majority of which were exported with only 5869 cars sold on the home market, the highest export percentage of any British car.
The design dates back to 1952 when MG designer Syd Enever created a streamlined body for George Philips' TD Le Mans car. The problem with this car was the high seating position of the driver because of the limitations of using the TD chassis. A new chassis was designed with the side members further apart and the floor attached to the bottom rather than the top of the frame sections. A prototype was built and shown to the BMC chairman Leonard Lord. Lord turned down the idea of producing the new car as he had just signed a deal with Donald Healey to produce Austin-Healey cars two weeks before. Falling sales of the traditional MG models caused a change of mind and the car, initially to be called the UA-series, was brought back. As it was so different from the older MG models it was called the MGA, the "first of a new line" to quote the contemporary advertising. There was also a new engine available so the car did not have the originally intended XPAG unit but was fitted with the BMC corporate B-Series type allowing a lower bonnet line.
It was a body-on-frame design and used the straight-4 "B series" engine from the MG Magnette saloon driving the rear wheels through a 4 speed gearbox. Suspension was independent with coil springs and wishbones at the front and a rigid axle with semi-elliptic springs at the rear. Steering was by rack and pinion and was not power assisted. The car was available with either wire spoked or steel disc road wheels.
MG A 1500
Production 1955-1959
58,750 made
Engine(s) 1489 cc B-Series I4
The 1489 cc engine produced 68 hp (51 kW) at first, but was soon uprated to 72 hp (54 kW). Lockheed hydraulic drum brakes were used on all wheels. A coupé version was also produced, bringing the total production of standard MGAs to 58,750.
An early open car was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1955 had a top speed of 97.8 mph (157.4 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 16.0 seconds. A fuel consumption of 26.7 miles per imperial gallon (10.6 L/100 km; 22.2 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £844 including taxes.
"MG A Twin Cam
Production 1958-1960"
2111 made
Engine(s) 1588 cc B-Series I4, double overhead cam
A high-performance Twin-Cam model was added for 1958. It used a high compression (9.9:1 later 8.3:1) DOHC aluminium cylinder head version of the B-Series engine producing 108 hp (81 kW; 109 PS) (100 bhp (75 kW; 101 PS) in the low compression version). Four wheel disc brakes by Dunlop were also fitted, along with Dunlop peg drive knock-off steel wheels akin to the wheels used on racing Jaguars (wire spoked wheels were never fitted to the Twin Cam).
The temperamental engine was notorious for warranty problems during the course of production, however, and sales were poor. Ironically, the source of the problem was only discovered after production had ended and many restored Twincam cars are running more reliably today than they ever did during production. The Twin-Cam was dropped in 1960 after 2,111 had been produced. The car can best be distinguished from the pushrod models by its centre lock steel road wheels.
An open car was tested by the British The Motor magazine in 1958 and was found to have a top speed of 113 mph (182 km/h), acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 9.1 seconds and a fuel consumption of 27.6 miles per imperial gallon (10.2 L/100 km; 23.0 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1283 including taxes of £428.
MG A 1600  MGA 1600 coupé
Production 1959-1960
31,501 made
Engine(s) 1588 cc B-Series I4
In May 1959 the standard cars also received an updated engine, now at 1588 cc producing 78 bhp (58 kW; 79 PS) . Front discs were fitted, but drums remained in the rear. 31,501 were produced in less than three years. Externally the car is very similar to the 1500 with differences including: Amber or white (depending on market) front turn indicators shared with white parking lamps, separate stop/tail and turn lamps in the rear, and 1600 badging on the boot and the cowl.
A number of 1600 De Luxe versions were produced with leftover special wheels and four wheel disc brakes of the departed Twin-Cam, or using complete modified Twincam chassis left redundant by the discontinuance of that model. Seventy roadsters and 12 coupés were built.
A 1600 open car was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1959. It had a top speed of 96.1 mph (154.7 km/h) and could accelerate from 060 mph (97 km/h) in 13.3 seconds. A fuel consumption of 29.7 miles per imperial gallon (9.51 L/100 km; 24.7 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £940 including taxes of £277.
MG A 1600 Mark II  1961 MG MGA Mk II
Production 1960-1962
8719 made
Engine(s) 1622 cc B-Series I4
The engine size was increased again to 1622 cc by increasing the bore from 75.4 mm (3.0 in) to 76.2 mm (3.0 in) for the 1961 Mark II MGA. It also had a higher ratio 4:1 rear axle which made for more relaxed high speed driving. An inset grille and Morris Mini tail lamps appearing horizontally below the deck lid were the most obvious visual changes. 8198 Mark II roadsters and 521 coupés were built.
The inset grille fitted to the 1600 Mk2.
As with the 1600 De Luxe, there were also some Mark II De Luxe versions with 290 roadsters and 23 coupés made.
The MGA's bodywork was based largely on that of a one-off MG TD specially built by the MG factory at the request of racing privateer George Phillips for the 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans. Later, a new chassis was designed so as to seat the driver lower in the car with even cleaner bodywork resulting in the EX 175 prototype.
The later MG prototype EX 182 was very close to the final production MGA and was the car actually raced at Le Mans in 1955. Three MGA prototypes were entered at Le Mans in 1955. Two of the cars finished the race placing twelfth and seventeenth overall, proving the worth of the new car. The third car crashed with serious injuries to the driver, Dick Jacobs.
Today the appeal for the MGA has not gone,with the availabilty of parts now from specialists being far easier than it ever was.

MG for sale

1959 Cambridgeshire
Trade sale Views: 2127
1959 Valencia
Private sale Views: 6854
MG A 1500
1958 Dundee
Private sale Views: 4229
MG A 1500
1958 Cambridgeshire
Private sale Views: 4399
MG A 1500
1958 Durham
Trade sale Views: 7327
MG A 1600
1962 Pennsylvania
Trade sale Views: 2473