Dilapidated 1960 MGA Roadster Project

The MGA stood out for its swoopy looks when it hit the market in 1955. Its design was a chasm away from the MG T-Series cars, with their clamshell bonnets, upright radiators, and running boards. The MGA was faster, too. Its popularity was borne out in its production figures: over 100,000 MGAs of various types were sold from 1955 to 1962 when it gave way to the MGB. Here on craigslist is a 1960 MGA 1600 Roadster project car. The price is $7,500, but the ad has been posted for a month, and the seller is open to offers. This car is located in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The seller indicates that the car has been sitting in a single-car garage since it last ran in 1982 and that it is “complete”. Thanks to Gunter K. for this tip!

The seller has not attempted to start the car. In fact, actual details about the car itself are scarce as about a third of the ad is taken up with the seller’s remonstrations towards potential callers about the behavior he will accept should you wish to pick up the phone on this one. But his point that the car will need a total restoration and a complete mechanical rebuild can probably be taken at face value. The engine bay reveals the 1588 cc motor that MGAs from 1958 through 1960 received, with its dual SU carburetors – good for about 80 bhp. The transmission is a four-speed manual, with no synchro on first. Someone has worked on these carbs, as the dashpot dampers have been replaced with the awful plastic versions that never came from the factory. The hose from the heater running forward is missing; so are the air cleaners. But the grille is nice.

We are told that this car comes with a hard top which is supposed to be shown in the photos but is nowhere in evidence. A hard top is a desirable feature. Most likely, if there is one, it will need new seals and windows at the least. There are no direct photos of the interior, but this one shows a glimpse: there’s a radio installed and the gauge set is complete. The interior is likely black vinyl, a common pairing with the Old English White exterior. The car is equipped with wire wheels. You might know someone who will true those up, and if so, that’s a lucky thing because the skills for that work are fading from the marketplace. Instead, restorers usually go to Dayton Wheel for a new set. Note that chrome was not a factory finish; original wheels would have been painted like these.

The undercarriage shows heavy surface rust. The factory wooden floorboards are clearly visible in this shot. These are screwed onto the frame at intervals which will seem incredibly frequent when you attempt to drill them out to install new boards. In fact, this car promises a hearty dish of frustration for the potential restorer: are you up for the task?

Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    If the price stays low it’s worth buying and restoring but only if the buyer can do the majority of the work. Note: the plastic damper tops for the SUs came on the units starting in the ’50s.

    Like 3
  2. JACKinNWPA JACKinNWPA Member

    Listing has expired, I wanted to see if it had a title.

    Like 1
  3. Cdice

    The MGA didn’t get the larger 1600 engine until part way through the 1959 model year.

    • tiger66

      Yes, this car looks like a ’59 or earlier (or ’59 titled as a ’60), which would have had the 1489cc engine not the 1588. The giveaway is the small glass parking lights in front. The ’60 would have larger plastic parking lights. The ’60 would also have “1600” badges on the hood which do not appear to be present on this car and disc brakes in front (also apparently not on this car).

      Given that you can find nice ready to use MGAs for $20-$30k all day long this one makes no sense at the asking price. Maybe if it were $700 instead of $7.5k. Even then I would pass and hold out for a better example.

      Like 1
      • Richard Martin

        It’s very hard to tell from the supplied photos but to my eyes there appears to be disc brakes up front. These of course were never fitted to the 1500s and those turn indicators are definitely 1500 ones – all as you suggest.
        If it does have disc brakes it would seem they were fitted as an upgrade but I sort of doubt that. I don’t believe this is 1960 car or even a 1959 one for that matter.

  4. matt

    No MGA that I ever had came with black vinyl.

    • Michelle Rand Staff

      They were part vinyl part leather from the factory.

  5. Steve Ross Member

    Well guys mine was bought straight from the dealer and came with a black vinyl top, mind you I live in Australia. You paid extra if you wanted a hard top. Also the twin SUs were a pain to get right on the 60 model as the air filters went nearly hard up against the side wall so that the airflow was greatly reduced and like some of my fellow owners we did away with them and used cut panty hose or stockings and secured then with clips around the bolt on areas. Worked a treat also did the same thing on my Morgan+4 wich had the same problem even the bonnet was fluted. The Super Sport version had a scoop in the side of the bonnet.

    Like 1

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