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1960 MG MGA: Barn Racer

1960 MGA project

For some strange reason, British sports cars have been on my mind as of late. So, when I spotted a light blue MGA on my way home from work the other day, it really got my blood going. I had forgotten how handsome their curves are. What a departure from the T-Series it replaced! I love my B, but boy would I like to have an A to keep it company in the garage. Unfortunately, they are a little harder to find and a tad more expensive to buy. That does make this 1960 MGA project look tempting though. Find it here on eBay with no reserve. The car is located in Fort Worth, Texas and has a clear title.

MGA hips

It may have a title, but the engine has gone missing. Apparently, this little roadster belonged to the seller’s father-in-law. They inherited the car and have had it in storage for a few years. It’s obviously going to be a big project, but it doesn’t look too rusty in the photos. The transmission is still in place and an engine from a ’59 is included, but I would be tempted to drop an MGB engine and tranny in there for a little more performance. It would be an easy swap and could make this rough looking sports car into a mild sleeper. I’d probably want to upgrade the brakes while I was at it too.

MGA grill

My irrational thoughts may have reached a new height here because after making it safe, I would probably leave the exterior alone. I’d mount a mismatched hood and some period driving lights to give it a barn racer look. Some nicely worn leather seats and an old Moto Lita wheel would be fitted too. Paint and bodywork can get very expensive, but if you could hold back your perfectionist urges, my vision for this car would be much more unique and cheaper anyway. The ratty old paint, pitted bumpers, and dinged up grill provide character that could never be recreated. I like the idea, but I have a feeling that the first words out of everyone’s mouth would be, “when are you going to paint it?”. Oh well!


  1. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    I really like your vision for this car… I agree!

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  2. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    …Note to self: When selling a really ratty looking classic, spring for a couple of headlights!

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  3. Cameron Bater UK

    Hmm, I like the way you think. I just have a few minor changes, I’d run with the barn racer look but only if it were a hard top, the drop top is too beautiful to do anything other than a full restoration and perhaps a few mechanical tweaks to help bring it into 21st century roadholding, I wouldn’t use a B engine, I’d use a Rover-Buick Small Block v8 and B brakes.

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    • Shayne

      Finally parted our hard top together after about 10 years of sitting in AZ.

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  4. hhaleblian

    Check out the E type in the background.

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  5. David C

    I really do love the MGA’s mostly because I’m a good fit 6’3″/235. That said a ford 302 is a great fit for these with a brake and diff. change of course. Beefing up the frame is a fairly easy mod. (poor mans tiger!)

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  6. benjy

    I agree and when people ask when you are going to paint it you can reply that you are saving up for a case of rattle cans.

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  7. Tom S.

    Swapping in an MGB engine is straightforward, but lots easier if you just mate it to the MGA transmission rather than trying to use the B’s tranny. The two transmissions are pretty much the same, except for the rear frame mount which is completely different. The MGA frame has to be modified to accept an MGB transmission, regardless of whether it’s a early crash box or newer all-synch. Also, the MGA hood opening is tiny. On an MGB you can drop the engine and trans in as an assembly. On the MGA they go in separately (or you start by lifting the body off the frame). Squeezing a V8 down that hole would be a PITA.

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  8. gunningbar

    “Barn racer”…I like that….it wd be fun to skip the paint put in a B or Volvo engine and have a sleeper.

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  9. gunningbar

    Pt. 2…Maybe more of a napper since it wont be going all that quickly.

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  10. Woodie Man

    When i was just a lad of sixteen I had a girlfriend whose Dad had a 1960 A sitting outside in the woods, literally. He said I could have it if I could get it started……….well I didnt and I’ll bet its still sitting there in Connecticut to this day

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  11. korneel

    That is exactly what i did to my MGA.
    Original paint. 1800 engine . Hidden brake booster. New black wire wheels and tires (for safety). 3.9 crown and pinion for more relaxed highway driving.

    I am slowly restoring the mechanical parts while leaving the body and original paint.

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  12. Dolphin Member

    I had a ’59 MGA just like this (red, disc wheels) years ago when most of them you saw were on the road and in nice condition, but the parking and tail lights say this one is a ’60. Really liked it—until I could afford a used Healey 3000, then it had to go unfortunately.

    A good driver ‘A’ is now $20K+ so this one might make financial sense if the bidding doesn’t go crazy, the rust hasn’t destroyed the floors, there aren’t too many scarce parts to source, the engine doesn’t actually have a cracked block, and you work for yourself for free.

    Bid to $2600 so far with no reserve, so someone will get it. I really hope it goes to someone who will keep it together and has the love and skills to do the right thing for this car.

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  13. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Sold for $4,800 with 24 bids!

    Like 0

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