A Week’s Work? 1959 MG MGA

I sometimes wonder why an owner would part with a restoration project with the finish line in sight. Poor health or a pending divorce could be two reasons, but the story behind this 1959 MGA is unclear. What makes it extraordinary is that most of the back-breaking work is complete, with the seller believing that the buyer could return it to its rightful place on our roads in a week. If this proves accurate, it is a tempting proposition worthy of a closer look. Located around Garden Grove in Southern California, the seller has listed the MG for sale here on Craigslist. You could take this classic and a collection of parts home for $14,950. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder T.J. for spotting this British classic for us.

The previous owner purchased this MG forty years ago and clocked some miles behind the wheel before commencing the restoration process. It has been a labor of love performed in their garage over the past thirty-five years, and no element of this car escaped their attention. The panels look perfectly straight, with no dents or rust. They applied beautiful Orient Red paint that shines magnificently. I believe they followed a frame-off process because that aspect of the vehicle looks excellent in the supplied underside photos. They also replaced the floors while the car was dismantled. Combining that work with a life spent garaged in California makes its rust-free status no surprise. The wire wheels are immaculate, suggesting they have received attention, while the chrome and items like light lenses are in as-new condition.

The restorer turned their attention to the MG’s drivetrain while the car was apart. The engine bay should house a 1,489cc four-cylinder motor producing 72hp. Those ponies would have found their way to the rear wheels via a manual transmission. However, we’ve reached a point where this classic becomes a mystery machine. The restorer swapped the original engine for an 1,800cc unit that they rebuilt before slotting it into its rightful place. The new motor should deliver a welcome power increase, allowing the MG to slash a significant amount of time from its original 19.8-second ¼ mile ET. The seller indicates that the motor starts and runs, but this is where we can discuss the work required to return the car to active duty. The wiring requires finishing, although the harness is complete. The hydraulics need bleeding, and the shifter requires fitting. None of these jobs are significant, indicating why the seller feels it could be back on our roads in a week.

While the panels and paint look immaculate, the same is true of the interior. The previous owner lavished plenty of TLC on this aspect, and there are no faults worthy of mention. The upholstered surfaces are immaculate, the restorer fitted new carpet, and the walnut veneer dash is a thing of beauty. The interior needs nothing and should satisfy most enthusiasts.

Have you ever harbored a desire to own a classic British sports car? If so, this 1959 MGA could be the car of your dreams. The previous owner spent thirty-five years bringing the vehicle to its current state, and completing the process appears straightforward. Considering its overall condition and the work performed, the price seems highly competitive. It has only been on the market a few days, and I won’t be surprised if someone snaps it up quickly. Would you?



    Bargain of the month, won’t be for sale very long.

    Like 4
  2. Euromoto Member

    The seller is some sort of dealer/collector. Go to the ad, click “other items for sale by this seller” at the very bottom and you will find that he has a number of cars/projects for sale including a rotary-powered Alpine that was here on BF in March. This doesn’t mean much, only an interesting detail. The car is nice and, as said, will probably be snatched up soon.

    Like 4
  3. MattR Member

    I saw this on CL yesterday. It sure appears to be a nice deal and a fun project.
    If the color scheme was inverted, I’d be there today checking it out.

    • Euromoto Member

      BF just posted your car. Odd coincidence, yes?

      Like 1
      • MattR Member

        Indeed it is, EuroMoto. A bit crushing that it’s 3000 miles away from me.

        Like 1
  4. Mikefromthehammer

    Seller’s YouTube video. (slide show of the pictures to start and then the good stuff).


    Like 2
  5. Chinga-Trailer

    Photos look “enhanced” – this can hide a multitude of small blemishes. Just sayin’ . . .

    Like 1
  6. GlennH

    Had a 58 that I swapped the later 1800 in, along with the full synchromesh 4 spd. Required cutting out the transmission tunnel making a new bigger one. Really nice performance upgrade.

    Like 3
  7. princeofprussia

    My, my…a bargain beauty! I can just imagine driving this down the Pacific Coast Highway!

    Like 1
  8. Scott Baker

    I owned a ’59 MGA 1600 when I was a young man in the ’70s. The car looks nice, but he dashboard is all wrong in terms of originality. There was never a walnut dash in ’59, or any year that I can recall, and this one while it may look nice to some is wrong on all accounts, but if you don’t know, you may not care. Gear shift pattern dash plaque is certainly concerning since it is not correct for an MGA. Perhaps this should be considered a rest-o-mod, and the price reflects that. Well, to each his own!

    Like 2
  9. hubrick Member

    Not sure what you mean about the shift pattern. Yes, it’s not original to have the shift pattern on the dash, but the pattern on that plaque is correct. Many times when people put the 1800 MGB engine in MGAs, they also include an overdrive 4 synchro MGB transmission, but that shift pattern is the same.

  10. Scott Baker

    There was never a shift pattern dash plaque fitted by the factory on any MGA as far as I know. I take no issue with the shift pattern which was the same on MGs I believe from at least the TC on.

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