All Curves And Rust: 1958 MGA

1958 MGA Project

As mentioned in a recent Barn Finds MG TD post, the designers and engineers at MG had ideas for a successor to the T-Series long before they were actually able to introduce the MGA. The long gestation period led to many detail changes, but the general shape developed for the 1952 prototypes was still present when the “A” was introduced in 1955. I think it’s one of the most beautiful sports car shapes ever, combining both graceful curves and simplicity. This particular MGA roadster is advertised in Allentown, Pennsylvania here on craigslist for $2,999 and was spotted by Bob G.

Rusty 1958 MGA

While described as “pretty complete,” (kudos to the seller for avoiding the 99% rule), it’s obvious that there will be a lot of rust repair and bodywork necessary. The seller specifically mentions the area under the passenger door as a problem spot, and it would certainly be a challenge to refurbish that area based on the pictures in the ad. But one of the great things about MGA’s is parts availability; there’s almost no parts one can’t get.

1958 MGA Rusty Fender

The amount of surface rust on the driver’s side fender and front shroud has me concerned whether the panels should be replaced, especially the fender. After being acid-dipped or media blasted, the pitted surface that remains may require a lot of high-build primer to ultimately be smooth enough for quality paintwork.

Extra MGA Parts

Said to come with plenty of spares, including an extra radiator, grille, transmission and a set of steel wheels, the car has been largely disassembled for restoration. I hope the owner has taken plenty of pictures and marked parts as to what they are and where they go! If the extra spares are in good condition, perhaps they can be sold to help with restoration costs?

1958 MGA Cockpit

If you aren’t familiar with MGA’s, this picture may alarm you and have you humming the theme from the Flintstones! MGA’s were fitted with 3/8” plywood floorboards from the factory, which I’m sure in this case were largely rotted away. DIY replacement is straightforward, and patterns are available on the internet to cut your own.

1958 MGA Engine

This 1958 car was originally equipped with a 1489 cc version of the B-Series engine used in so many BMC cars. Many MGA’s now sport 1798 cc MGB engines which deliver a little more punch. I hope this powerplant can be refurbished, but at least there are plenty of alternatives out there. It would be nice if the seller gave us an idea of the engine’s condition, but they have not.

1958 MGA Rear Fender

Anytime a car is disassembled to this extent I’m a little wary, and the level of rust scares me somewhat, so I would recommend a careful inspection before making a purchase. But those curves! It would be a shame to allow them to rust completely away, wouldn’t it?

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Comments

  1. MikeH

    3K–you gotta be kidden.

  2. Dolphin Member

    The plywood flooring makes that part easy, but how bad is the structural rot and how thin is the metal on the body? MGAs continue to appreciate, which helps to make them worth restoring, but I think with this one you will be facing thin, pitted metal from start to finish.

    They made almost 100K of these not counting the Twin Cam cars, and I’ll bet there’s a much better one out there for not much more money with your name on it.

    • Dave Wright

      I agree totally

  3. julian

    It looks depressingly rusty.
    If it were something scarce, it might be worth restoration, but as there’s lots of them about this must be a “parts car” for abot 800 u.s.

  4. Chris A.

    Not a Twin Cam. Maybe 4 good wheels plus a little more. Crush the rest or sell for spares. $800 max, more like $500 as a parts car.

  5. sir mike

    another eastern PA rust bucket…so sad….i like the coupes better though

  6. jimmy

    speaking of mgas check out this mga coupe cafe racer amazing video it is done by a broker company in europe and they do short videos on all the cars its not just the same old lame boring tour of the car and bad camera skills these are just amazing videos they’re pretty cool and it makes you wonder do the owners know that they’re doing that to their cars

    http://vimeo.com/107415708 mga coupe cafe racer

    coolnvintage.com broker company’s website they got some cool stuff

  7. jimmy

    buy it cheap and store it in a dry place inside then sell it 20 years later

    • St. Ramone de V8

      I think you’re right. There’s a chance cars like these could be worth much more, eventually. MGA’s are cool. Didn’t they have some aluminum body parts? Doors? My neighbor had one. Really basic British sports car. Loads of fun, and even in the seventies it was interesting in spite of the brush on paint! Weren’t the twin cam cars a problem? Are they worth more? I think if someone had the place to store this, it might be worthwhile? Maybe the price would have to be better to justify, but if you have the room…?

      • jimmy

        It does seem to look like they had aluminum doors and trunk lid and hood since there are no surface rust or rust holes in them

  8. jim s

    looks like just parts to me. show up in person with cash in hand and make an offer. it has a vin plate but no title! nice find

  9. ORacer

    It is so sad to see these cars from the Northeast, unless they live a blessed life they are doomed to look much like this one.

    In 1967 I bought a 1958 TR3 for $75. it was not worth any more, it was more than rusted, it was rotten. It was transportation for a few years but no one could say it was good looking

  10. Bernie H

    I used to rebuild these models but at age 72 have since retired. He’s got a MGA 1600 right front fender(looks original) and a 1500 left front fender(probably not original), the parking lights tell the difference. This project will take a real motivated mechanic!!, the frame will have rust issues upon the body removal. The finished market value does’nt justify sinking approx $10,000-15000 into a $12,000 car, and you get to do the labor for free. I still have two finished cars here just gathering dust and really need new homes. The aluminum doors/hood and trunk have no real spare parts value. every surviving MGA has these parts still in usable condition, its the rest of the rust to worry about.

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