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Evocative Custom! 1957 MGA Roadster


Under a lot of body modifications, that is an MGA! It looks like someone may have been enamored with Cobra’s or 50’s Italian sports car shapes. However, unlike many of these modified cars this one’s lines work for me, and the stripes and general exterior appearance have a vintage racing vibe going on that’s very appealing (yes, I realize it probably wasn’t raced). The little red roadster is located in Phoenix, Arizona and is up for sale here on eBay, where the buy it now price is only $4,300 and lower offers are welcomed!


While most of the cosmetic changes are concentrated here in the nose, the remaining body seams have been filled in as well, and the rear seems slightly modified to me as well. I do think even a roadster like this needs a windshield, and the stock MGA unit would work fine, but if you only planned top down motoring in the future a pair of Brooklands windscreens would work well.


The side profile hasn’t changed much from stock. I like the purposeful look of the bare steel wheels, although the Heritage Certificate states that this car originally came with wires. If you want to change it, the car comes with a wire wheel rear axle.


If you’re ok with the outside worn look, the next major worry is the rust visible where the floors mount. The floors themselves aren’t really a problem, being made from marine grade plywood, but the metal supports for them have definitely seen better times. As the seller says, hopefully you can find a welder friend!


The seller tells us that the engine runs, although not guaranteeing its condition, and includes a link to a video that I couldn’t get to load supposedly showing it running. As they say, it doesn’t smoke much! Rather than an engine swap, I’d work on the engine that’s there first! I know it’s not original, but it is evocative of an era I like a lot. I think this would be a worthwhile project–possibly eventually straightening up the customizing work and repainting the car, but for the time being just enjoying it as the slice of time it is! How about you?




  1. Dolphin Member

    I can’t see this deal working, unfortunately. The chassis is very rusty, which might be why the panel seams were filled it as a way to deal with and cover the gaps and make the car look whole again. I think the body is full of filler, which has started to crack in a few places.

    The gap between the front of the hood and the hood surround suggests it was hit on the front. The rusted out chassis is still showing lots of gaps that would need lots of metalwork probably all around the car before you could drive it. And once that’s all done you still have a modified body that’s worth less than a stock one.

    The video of the engine running loaded for me, but I wish it hadn’t. There were a lot of sparks involved in firing it up, it ran very rough on WD40, apparently with no downpipe on the exhaust, and with an open cooling system and no water. Someone painted the whole engine including parts that shouldn’t be painted instead of doing much that would actually rescue the engine and make it run well. All of that is a big (dark) red flag.

    At $4300 I don’t see it as a bargain since MGA project cars are still available in better condition for about the same cost or not much more than this car.

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    • RayT Member

      Thanks for expressing my feelings on this, Dolphin! I just can’t get my head around these “Kustoms” that cover a multitude of sins and don’t make the vehicle any more attractive or enjoyable than it was when it left the factory.

      I saw more than a few, mainly MGs and Healeys, in California back in the late ’50s and early ’60s. My guess was that most were wrecks “restored” and “redesigned” with Bondo and sheets of tin. They deteriorated quickly….

      A very few were quite nice. This isn’t one of them.

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  2. Alan

    Basket case, sorry

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  3. grant

    Looking at the front end, it’s warped in all directions. Higher and farther forward on the left side of the car as to the right, and the curve around the grille opening is a totally different shape on each side. Cool in profile but the execution is just horrible.

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  4. Thomas Garcin

    I couldn’t watch the video to the end, it was just too painful. I can’t see any part on this car that doesn’t need to be replaced. I paid 4 grand for my ’61 MGA a few years ago and it runs and looks just fine.

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  5. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Wow, I really didn’t think I’d find myself on an island for this one. Horses for courses, I guess. It’s not that I don’t like stock MGA’s either–I guess I can just see what this person was trying to do. I’m guessing there’s some body damage both in the front and the back. Personally, if I ever painted the car again I’d add a D-Type headrest and a Moss supercharger on an MGB engine to get some go to join the looks. But hey, you all made good points–I just like it anyway :-)

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    • grant

      Lol, don’t get me wrong Jamie, I like it. It’s just looking at it straight on, the lack of symmetry just sticks out at me. The profile is dead sexy.

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  6. Bob Hess

    Restored a couple of these in our shop. This one I wouldn’t have let through the door. You could buy 5 of these in good running condition for what rebuilding would cost.

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  7. Alan (Michigan)

    People do all kinds of things to cars.
    Some of it makes sense to many others, but then sometimes….
    Ya just have to wonder: Why?

    Case in point:

    I have to admire the amount of work and ingenuity shown there. I’d be even more impressed if there is less than 5 pounds of Bondo on the whole thing. The photos have me asking so many questions! In any case, if it is drive-able, for $3.5K the ability to attract attention would likely be unbeatable.

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Alan, I think I’m going to have to write that one up! Thanks for calling it to our attention!!! :-)

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  8. Chris Dalambakis

    I would love to know if somebody bought this car and resurrected it!
    Personally – as the owner of a down to the frame restoration 1960 MGA Roadster, I kinda like the nose.
    BUT that frame looks to me to be totally shot and not savable.
    Since they bondo’d the fenders to the custom body, I bet you couldn’t even lift off the body to get to the frame to cover it with some fresh steel.
    I bet this one never gets back on the road again.

    Like 0

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