1959 MGA: A Carb Clean Away

1959 MGA

I wish that sellers were right just 75% of the time about all it will take to get a car running. If it’s so simple, why don’t they do it? Or even pay a specialist to, since it won’t likely require much time or money? Well, because it’s rarely that simple! Still, the listing for this parked 1959 MGA here on New York’s craigslist for $4,750 seems optimistic that a simple carb cleaning will get it running. For a car that has been parked for 25 years, that seems awfully simple – but then again, running is different from driving. The ’59 model year saw a slight bump in power and the addition of front disc brakes, so while it’s no Twin-Cam, it could still be a fun summer project. Would any of you take a chance on this seller’s claim for just under $5K? Let us know in the comments below.


WANTED 1961 Chevrolet Biscayne Looking for a 1961 Biscayne in decent shape for an everyday driver. Will also consider Bel-Air Contact

WANTED 1969 Ford Mustang Wanted 1969 Big block mustang, any condition considered Contact

WANTED 1966 Pontiac GTO Must be Maroon, BLK seats, 4 sp, exl con. every thing else is a plus, Money in hand. Contact

WANTED 1979 Chevrolet Monza Looking for the Town Coupe version, brown, ideally California but willing to buy from anywhere. Contact

WANTED 1964 Pontiac Grand Prix Looking for reasonable shape rust free car in the Midwest $14,000 to $16,000 Contact

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  1. Mark E

    You are right, running is different from driving, especially on those rotty looking tires. And you’re also not going far without a seat to sit in, at least I’m not… ^_^

  2. Craig B

    That’s a ’59 1500- early model ’59. Still the small engine, still front drums.

  3. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    I’d rather have the MGA coupe in the background :-)

    • Tim H

      Just curious, why would you prefer the coupe?

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Tim, Graham stated it well below :-)

  4. Graham Line

    Coupe has locking doors and better weather protection. And they look so good. Rally preppers used to add the roof vent from Morris vans to keep the bubble top from cooking the occupants, though.

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      I understand the interest in the coupes, especially now. So many of the couples were used as parts cars to restore the open ones.
      Same reason I’d rather have a couple than a roadster in a Jaguar. The XK120 is rarely seen in coupe form anymore. The other good thing is rollup windows and wood interior trim which is lacking in roadsters/OTS cars. Plus the cars being closed seem to suffer less from the elements.

  5. Don Sicura

    “a simple carb cleaning will get it running” So long as it’s attached to a rebuilt motor & new wiring harness maybe……..lol

  6. Dolphin Member

    This is the kind of seller that you hope you never have to deal with—-bad photos and poor information that doesn’t tell you much of value about the car. That, and what Jeff said about sellers like this.

    Trouble is, this looks like an OK car with OK body metal if you’re willing to replace the floors. Too bad about those bad photos because you don’t really know the extent of the problems underneath, and that means a trip to NYC. Bring a good battery and jumper cables, plus a hand crank just in case the wiring and starter motor aren’t up to it. That way you can find out what the seller didn’t say in the listing—-whether it turns over after sitting for 25 years.

    These are on the upswing and SCM values them at $26-$40K in excellent condition, so it might make sense to try to deal with this car, but as for myself I’d pass on it and pay up for a good one near the low end of that value range and be driving sooner rather than later. And I wouldn’t need to drive into/out of NYC.

  7. rik brandt

    An added note…1959 was a transition year for the MGA…early cars were still 4 wheel drum, with the 72 HP 1500 engine…judging by the tail lights, this is an early model.

  8. seth

    had a 56 mga in college in 1971. Actually started it with the hand crank once. Built most of the wiring harness myself with rolls of wire and a soldering iron. Reused the bullet ends from the old harness

  9. gobird

    Clearly a 1500, tail lights and coil location on generator are most obvious. Restoration on this car would probably cost more than restored value would be.

  10. Tirefriar

    I wonder how the real panels would look like after all the bondo is shaved away. or if there’s anything left to salvage, especially the right fender…

  11. Dale

    I had a 59 when I was stationed at Travis AFB by Frisco in the 70s. Loved that car drove it from Travis to Glendora Ca. Should have not done it in the winter. Had a mishap on the grape vine. But recovery from the side of the hill after crossing all the traffic an spinning an losing the muffler. But still got home an back. Now I have a 71 an 73 Karman gihas that I’d love to trade. Both run one stock the other racer but stock body.

  12. jim s

    the volvo p1800 in the background might be interesting also. be worth a trip if all 3 were for sale. looks like someones stalled projects to me. interesting finds.

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