Dusty But Solid: 1961 MG MGA 1600 Roadster

Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

For some of us the sight of finding a forgotten and dusty old car is something that our dreams are made of. I can only imagine the excitement felt by the seller upon finding this ’61 MGA 1600 Roadster. Parked in a Connecticut Barn since the 1980’s this MG looks like a promising project. This iconic British sports car and all of its accumulated dust is offered for $7,900. Check it out here on craigslist out of Canton, Connecticut.

Dust and dirt has gotten everywhere, but what lurks under that many layers of grit remains what looks to be a rather solid sports car. Once the interior is vacuumed, washed, and detailed, you would be left with a nice enough driver quality interior. There is some surface rust on and around the radio blanking plate, as well as on the floor around the dead pedal, and transmission tunnel. All of this rust appears to be surface with no rot visible. Also a later model steering wheel has been fitted from stock.

Difficult to make out from the photos, but the body appears to be in nice shape. There is no evidence of rot in the rockers, and the body seems straight. The paint is starting the crack and lift exposing raw metal on a few body panels.

Mostly complete, with what appears to be minimal rust this MGA could turn out to be a solid driver once again. Although not currently running, the seller mentions that the car will roll, and that the engine turns over. Both very encouraging and overall the car seems like a grand project to start with as MGA’s can so often be riddled with rot. What type of dusty cars have you found on your Barn Find adventures?

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Comments

  1. Joe Nose

    Sorry but this isn’t the kind of ‘classic’ a buyer would want to keep all that dust on for ever. Wash the frigging thing. Maybe Wayne C will then take a look without wondering what else is in the barn…

    11+
  2. Paul

    Agree with Joe. Some soap and water would give this MGA a much better shot at finding a buyer!

    9+
  3. Fred W.

    Dusty pictures are great, but geez, pull it out of the barn, spend 10 minutes scrubbing it down and show us what is underneath. Sellers can be very stupid.

    11+
    • Adam Wright

      I love comments like this from people who don’t understand the market. The car world is fascinated with barn finds right now, you’re on a site called BARN FINDS! The dustier the better. Some guys are even staging the barn find look by spraying a car down with water and then reversing a wet dry vac to show years of barn find dust and dirt. This is what the market is paying for, so leaving a car in it’s barn find dirt will usually guarantee 20-30% more, so sellers are not being stupid, they are understanding the market far better than you arm chair quarterbacks.

      7+
  4. Dave at OldSchool Restorations Dave at OldSchool Restorations Member

    I think you have down played the rust…
    Rust is evident on every piece you can see…when the grill is that rusty from STORAGE MOISTURE , you can expect to find it everywhere… and if you look closely, you can see that a “wash” will not be much improvement.

    Don’t forget, Connecticut was one of the heaviest users of ROCK SALT …. the kind that sticks to metal and absorbs moisture from the air for years

    …………. 8 K is a bit much … at this price this car is for dreamers who think it can be restored cheaply….
    .

    13+
    • Joe Nose

      That’s my point. The dust is like a band aid hiding a compound fracture.

      10+
  5. MG-Bakka

    Hi there,

    “There is some surface rust on and around the radio blanking plate, as well as on the floor …”

    the floor is made from plywood on an MGA! Wood rarely rust!

    1+
  6. Rodney

    Calling this “surface rust” is like saying leprosy is a “sunburn”. Let’s all get real about this car.

    3+
  7. Eric Z

    My first thought: Hey, that’s my car!

    Same Car, same color, same rust like my current project.

    But I only have one thought about this car:

    OVERPRICED!

    2+
  8. King Al

    Always liked the MGA styling. But this calls for a restomod with a unique twist. Find a totalled Volt, and add the MGA body panels. Use Volt dash and seats. Create the worlds first eco-friendly MG. Take the original frame, suspension, and the lawn tractor powertrain to the scrap yard.

    2+
  9. Steve

    One great thing about MGs is that the engines are rock solid. If it turns over it will run.

    0
  10. PAPERBKWRITER

    Can’t believe the interior was never covered.

    0
  11. Bruce Best

    Having restored more than a few of these I would not worry about the rust except on the frame. The floors on these are marine plywood that does not seem to adsorb water and will not rust but the seat frames will, as will the seat belt anchor points.

    These are largely dead simple to restore. This is especially true if they have not been wrecked. The hood, rear trunk and doors are aluminum skinned and there was no mention of side curtains.

    Assume that you will remove all the fenders, doors, trunk and hood. That you will remove the top. The engine as noted is dead simple to rebuild and has enough power to be practical even in todays traffic.

    Paint it what every color you wish because when these were made MG did not stir the color tanks and there were thousand of different shades of green, red, yellow and sky blue. This depended upon the level of the paint in the tank and how long it had set.

    I have owned personally 4 and restored three of them. Sold them to relatives who have put over 150K on them and they still look and drive like new. When cared for properly these seem to last almost forever for some of the cars had over 150k when I restored them. The SU carbs will throw most people but find somebody from an MG club to help you put them right and then LEAVE THEM ALONE.

    Additions I would put in the oil cooler that the later MK II had and the 12 Volt battery system as well. Make certain that the metal panel behind the seats over the battery compartment and below the top when it is stored is there. Without that this car will suck up snow during the winter time. I know from experience and a date from hell.

    To use find perfect fall morning clear or cloudy. Put in side curtains and close them Install tonneau cover over passenger seat. Light jacket and do not go anywhere before it warms up. Turn the heater on high and enjoy. Country lanes are perfect. Pleasure comes just from the simple pleasures of this car.

    This is well worth restoring and I believe it will be far simpler than you might expect as long as the frame is in good condition.

    Good luck I am still restoring my Lotus Europa or I would be looking at this one closely.

    12+
  12. Mountainwoodie

    In 1970 in my youthful attempt to date a hot girl I impressed her father with my teenage knowledge of cars. He gave me a ’61 just like this sitting out in the woods by their house in…Connecticut. I wonder if its the same one……probably not but you never know.

    0
    • Britcarguy

      Speaking of teenage knowledge of cars, years back I was in the driveway working on a TR3 or 4 and the neighbor’s son came over. Dad wasn’t home and the kid was tackling an oil change on his Rabbit. Deadly serious he asks me “Do I put in enough oil until I can see it in the fill hole?” Then we broke for an oil change school.

      1+
  13. TBAU

    What happened to the MGA some of the Barnfinds staff were restoring? Any updates?

    1+
  14. MGmike

    I inspected this MGA this morning and found it to be an excellent candidate for restoration or if you’re into the patina driver thing, it could be just restored mechanically, tires, etc and driven. The body is very solid and straight with no evidence of accident repair. There is some ancient rust repair to the doglegs and a very small amount of rust perforating the right rocker panel and lower front fender. Other than the dogleg repair and a few areas of touch up, the paint is factory original, (though in poor condition) proof being the fender welting never having been painted over. The chassis looks very good also and being quite oily has served as rust proofing. I think given the savings on rust repair, the price is fair. There’s a lot of work to do here but as projects go it’s a diamond in the rough !

    3+

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