Classic Brit: 1960 MG MGA 1600

This 1960 MG MGA is said to be original, and if it is, it could represent a really good project car to tackle during the upcoming Winter months. Barn Finder Jason F spotted the MGA for us, so thank you so much for that Jason. Located in Grand Marsh, Wisconsin, you will find the British classic listed for sale here on Facebook. The owner has set the price for this one at $6,800.

The owner refers to the MGA as being original, but I don’t believe that the paint is. There is some evidence that the car may have rolled off the line finished in Dove Grey, and the presence of some red interior trim would be correct if my belief is right. It has then received a repaint in what I believe to be a color called Glacier Blue, although this was a color that wasn’t available on the MGA 1600. The body of the MGA looks to be quite good, with no obvious evidence of major rust problems. Of course, we can’t see the state of the floors or frame, so the owner does leave us in the dark there. He does tell us that the soft-top comes with the car, which is a bit of good news. I’ve never been a fan of luggage racks, but somehow, the one on this car just looks right, and I would probably leave it there.

The interior of the MGA is something of a patchwork quilt of pieces, and while it is definitely serviceable as it is, it would eventually require restoration to make it more presentable. The red leather upholstery on the seats looks like it is in quite decent condition, but the door trims don’t match. The 1980s carpet looks pretty awful, and the Hurst shifter looks completely out of place. The dash is not only missing a few items, but there are extra holes that have been drilled into it at some point. So, it looks like a full restoration will be on the cards at some point.

Powering the MGA is a 1,588cc 4-cylinder engine, which produces 80hp. The transmission is a 4-speed manual, and as they became standard in 1959, the front brakes should be discs. The MGA currently doesn’t run, and the owner says that it will require some carburetor work. It isn’t clear whether that is the only thing that is preventing the car from running, but if it is, then it should potentially be a pretty easy fix. Interestingly, when the MGA 1600 was released, the factory made fairly firm claims that this was a car that was capable of achieving a top speed of 100mph. However, contemporary reports indicated that the MGA ran out of puff at around 95mph. Maybe today’s improved fuel quality, coupled with modern tires with lower rolling resistance, would see the MGA reach the factory’s claimed top speed.

If you line an MGA up next to its competitors at the time, the MGA definitely comes across with modern and aerodynamic styling. When new, the MGA was also praised for its competent handling and the feel of the standard rack-and-pinion steering. Today it is possible to find a reasonable 1960 MGA for around $17,000, but really good ones can push up closer to $35,000. Therefore, if this one really is a solid example, then it could be a pretty reasonable buy at the asking price.


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  1. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    should be gone by now……..

    Like 3
  2. Doug

    The Roadster Factory and Moss Motors carry a LOT of parts for these cars, so putting things right should be relatively simple. The Volvo B18/B20 was a popular and easy swap back in the day. With the 4spd +overdrive trans from an 1800S or E/S, it would be a fun ride. Upgrading the brakes would be a good idea if performance is increased. I don’t think the car has a Hurst shifter, just the knob.

    Like 5
  3. Gaspumpchas

    Boy that faded Turquoise and the wide whites do it for me. Not crazy about Brit-tish cars but this is a cutie. Seems like the price is right as it looks in great shape. These were rust buckets so inspect carefully. Good luck, sweet cruiser!! BTW the Hurst T handle is righteous!!!


    Like 3
  4. CJinSD

    ” Maybe today’s improved fuel quality, ”

    Do you mean if you have VB Racing Fuel delivered to your house by the barrel or something? Modern fuel may be healthier for the people who handle it, but the caustic ethanol added has a lower energy density and would eat the fuel lines of this car alive on its way to turning to soup in the carburetors the first time you let the car sit for two weeks.

    Like 7
    • HydTech

      You’re right, but he doesn’t know any better.

      Like 2
  5. Dan

    Those die switch knobs are atrocious! Other minor details need to be sorted out, too. I’d get it driving well, lose the whitewalls, paint it British Racing Green with argent wheels, redo the interior in tan, and enjoy.

  6. ken tilly Member

    If anybody has had anything to do with an MG A frame then they will know how substantial it is and weighs a “ton”. The chances of it rusting seriously are quite remote I would say.

    Like 2
    • Hoos Member

      The Frame on my MGA was pretty bad, particularly the ledges where the wood floors fit. It took a lot of cutting and welding. The dash in this car is wooden, and the original was metal.

      Like 2
  7. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nothing about the fuel lines and tanks is different than today’s cars. Steel and rubber. Engine needs hardened valve seats to run today’s fuel and every car needs something like Stabil to keep the deposits from the fuel from forming in the system. Putting more power in these engines is not difficult. Plenty of street cams and electric ignitions are available. Example… One of our 1275cc BMC race engines is required to use all stock parts, stock carbs, etc. but can put any cam available in it and raise the compression. It’s actually streetable and puts out 115 horsepower. Put a street cam in the MGA, lighten the flywheel and clutch and you could be doing 85 to 95 horsepower with lots of torque available.

    Like 3
    • ken tilly Member

      @bobhess. I went to a talk where a petrol company technician explained to us that as long as your car was not under load and running at high speed and generating high temperatures for long periods at a time, that the valves or seats would never burn. As for proof, my brother ran his Lincoln Mk 3 on unleaded petrol for 14 years all over Vancouver Island and it never burned a valve or seat. It rusted out long before that could happen. I ran my ’59 Borgward Isabella TS, ’82 Alfa Alfetta, ’51 Buick Super and ’59 Merccedes 220b for several years without problems. As for rubber pipes and diaphragms etc. well that’s a different story.

      Like 2
      • Kevin Harper

        Not sure of the others but the Alfa came with harden seats. I don’t know if any cars with aluminum heads that ran without them. MG and Lincoln are cast iron.
        Also I wonder if the MG would not be more susceptible due to generally running higher RPM’s than what I guess was a big lazy v8 in the lincoln

      • Gaspumpchas

        Hi Ken–When I worked at the garage, we had an Amoco station in town that did only light repairs, and sent the more complicated stuff over to us. Their customers always used the Amoco “white” or unleaded gas, and they sent their valve jobs up to me. Seems the small ford 6 like the 200 was the worst, but IIRC they were prone to burned valves. My $.02 worth.

  8. bobhess bobhess Member

    P.S. I’m open to be corrected but the dash boards on these cars are steel. Looks like a wood dash over the steel. Note the radio hole where you can see the steel underneath the wood. In either case, these are really good looking cars.

    Like 5
  9. ken tilly Member

    @Kevin Harper. The technician gave the talk to us at the Veteran Car Club of South Africa clubhouse in Durban where just about all of the club members cars had cast iron cylinder heads. Everybody was very concerned about the damage that could be done by using lead free gas but he assured us that there would be no valve/seat problems as long as the vehicle was used as explained in my previous comment. Up until I left the country in 2015 I never heard of a members car suffering from valve seat damage.

    Like 2
  10. Bruce

    I come from a background of putting well over 250K on various MGA’s over the years. The comment about the frame is totally accurate they are tremendously strong and if the sills are not rusted then there is little chance the frame will be rusted. These are well balanced cars to drive and are wonderful grocery getters if you are alone. You would be shocked at how much you can put in them.

    In winter they are also useful for delivering Christmas trees, again in the passenger seat, but keep the side curtains in place and the toneau cover over the passenger seat when the tree is gone. Unless it is snowing you will not get cold. Heat from the heater, engine, and transmission is just enough.

    The floors are simple marine quality plywood that has had moisture protection and is easy to replace, as is the interior. BOB HESS is totally correct the dash is metal and painted the body color in early versions. In the 1600 and 1600MKII the dash was covered in textured vinyl. Only the MKII had a similar vinyl from the dash to the window frame.

    As for gas modern carb rebuild kits are a good idea especially if it has sat for a long time. As much as I hate the white wall tires that was common in the day. The wheels should be a hammered silver and NOT the body color. These are great fun, somewhat tiring on long trips but get into the mountains or forrest areas of the U.S. or on almost any back road and the true value of these cars comes to light. This is a very fair price. I would however suggest you add the oil cooler of the MKII if you live in a hot area or intend to drive there in the summer time.

    Like 3
    • Jerry van Kalleveen

      The 1600 roadster had a painted dash, just like the 1500. Only the Twin-Cam and 1600 Mk II had a covered textured dash. As already stated the Mk II also had the area between the top of the dash and the bottom of the windscreen covered the same way, probably to avoid reflections from the sun hitting the eye.
      As for the luggage rack, this is the original factory offered one. It looks the best of all and is obviously also well designed as it transfers the load of the cargo onto a wide area of the trunklid reducing the risk of distortion as it is aluminum.

  11. Robert Thomas

    Sid Enever was the MG engineer responsible for a great deal of the MGA and the MGA was the last non-unit body car. Makes for a much easier restoration.

    Like 1
  12. KKW

    My dad bought one of these new, everytime he pulled into a service station he’d tell the attendant to “fill it with oil, and check the gas”. A real gem. Lol

    Like 2
  13. Andrew Franks

    They are wonderful cars, I’ve had two, restoration parts are not an issue, get it back to the way it was or close to it and enjoy.

  14. Del

    $680.00 is my last offer.

    Never seem Mud flaps on one of these.

    Are the OEM ?

  15. Dr J P Peterson

    Not a 60 – a 61, per the tail lights

    • tiger66

      I had a ’60 with those taillights. Correct for a 1600 (’60, ’61).

  16. Britcarguy

    Looks like a poster child for a period J.C. Whitney catalog.

    Like 1

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