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Another MGA: Complete But Rusty

MGA front three view

Buried MGA treasure seems to be everywhere – Robert recently found us a rough 1959 MGA from Texas, which looked a lot like the twin to this much rustier, but possibly more complete MGA from Bennington, Vermont. The Texas MGA had an eight word owner description, for this ’59 MGA I count 17, but those 17 words tell a pretty complete story of the car.

MGA Side view

“Untouched since 1975. Needs full restoration. Includes rare factory hardtop. Engine turns. Original red car with black interior.” The critical missing words the pictures show us: this car is rusty!

MGA rear view

But what would you expect from a car that was a daily driver in the northeast? Check out those old snow tires on the back wheels of this car – this was a driver, and the owner was not afraid to run it in the Vermont snows, it would seem. That experience, plus 40 years of unsupervised storage, and you have a car that likely has structural rust and lots of it.

MGA Rust view

So is this car better than our Texas example? Both have hardtops, the Texas car may be missing parts, the Vermont car looks like the mechanicals are decent, but doesn’t the rust scare you?

MGA engine 1

The seller is asking $4,500 here on craigslist for this particular MGA. While it’s complete and original, it’s going to be expensive to repair not only the visible rust but all the hidden damage we have to presume is beneath what we can see. No pictures of the undercarriage makes me very nervous. You can one of our two barn finds and invest big bucks to make it a driver, or really big bucks to make it a show piece.

MGA interior

On the other hand, there are some really beautiful MGAs out there that might be less expensive than building from one of these dicey examples. Hemmings is right there in Bennington too and lists some really nice MGAs for sale at all times. If you’re interested in these cars, the MGA registry has a great website too with lots of pictures of MGAs throughout the years.


  1. Mark S

    The MGA’s have grown on me as result of this site, as for this example I would not be scared away by the rust. I know that there are preformed sheet metal parts but I prefer to make my own, one of the reasons is most car bodies are made of 22 gauge mild steel sheets. What I would do is buy a 4’x 8′ piece of 18 gauge mild steel sheet. I’d cut and form my own patches.there are at least 3 benefits to this, first price a 4′ x 8′ sheet can be bought for about $120.00. Second because 18 gauge is thicker it acts like a heat dam when welding to the original body metal, and third your common rust areas that you’ve patched are not going to rust out in your’s or your children’s lifetime. I also have to say that i find the 18 gauge easier to form into patches.

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  2. Bernie H

    If this is a Texas car, how come its wearing a Vermont tag?. Probably one in the same vehicle, the background in the photos look more like the Northeast than Texas. I’ve done 6 of these, this might be OK if pricing is right and you’re not afraid of sheet metal fabrication and welding. I have bought salvage yard bodies from the Dallas Metroplex area that were MUCH better than this one.

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  3. Ronniecarlo

    Get it running and fix any safety items and drive it like it looks.Noone has cared that POS for all those years,why would anybody care about that POS now…

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  4. Joe Btfsplk

    Old MGA’s are great cars to hone your mig welding skills on. There is no lack of places to practice and you’ll be a decent welder when you’re done.

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