Fresh From The Barn: 1960 MGA Roadster

When I first saw pictures of this just discovered 1960 MGA 1600 barn find on my phone, I thought the light coloring on the driver’s door was from an old racing career. As it turns out, it’s paint peeling off the factory aluminum (most if not all MGAs received aluminum doors, hood (bonnet) and trunk (boot) lids). However, the car does look fairly solid and complete. It’s located in Bellingham, Massachusetts and is listed for sale here on eBay — but you’d better hurry! With a little over 10 hours to go in the auction the classic British roadster was still below $5,500!

This picture illustrates the typical MGA rust on the rocker panels and the lower part of the fenders. But the great thing about an MGA is that the floorboards are treated plywood, so they are pretty easy to replace if necessary. By checking out this neat production chart from mg-cars.org.uk you can see that this is one of 12,253 1600 roadsters that were exported to North America in 1960.

The license plate on the back of the MGA baffled me for a while, but it turns out Michigan used these plates from 1959-1961 and the yellow validation decal signifies a 1960 plate. I’m sure there’s some interesting history there; as the car has a clear title hopefully there’s some past ownership information available to give the little car some placement in time.

For those of you that love patina, the seats sure have it. I’ve seen some remarkable leather restoring/re-dying efforts as well, or if you insist on perfection complete interior kits are available from many suppliers. I’ve enjoyed observing at British car shows how MG considered the in-car entertainment system (i.e. AM radio) so unimportant to the driver as to make it nearly unreachable from the driver’s seat!

It would be nice to know if the B-series engine were seized or not, but even if it is, some application of your concoction of choice will probably free it up in time. I’d eventually replace the velocity stacks with some real air filters, but I think the first thing I would do is get this gem running and driving safely–easy enough to do with suppliers like Moss Motors and others. Can you act quickly and save this barn find?

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Comments

  1. JOHN Member

    You can easily reach the radio from the driver’s seat, the whole car is like 58 inches wide! I’ve always sort of liked these, like a poor-man’s Austin Healy! I had no idea of the use of that many aluminum panels, I had a 70 MGB and the hood (bonnet for the Brit’s) was aluminum. Not a bad looking car.

    Like 3
  2. Doug

    If the engine is no good, I’d probably opt for the Volvo B18 / B20 swap, with the o/d trans from the 1800. Easy swap, no weight gain, nearly double the horsepower and an engine that can easily last 200K or more with routine maintenance.

    Like 6
    • Bruce

      Doug the 1800cc unit from an MGB is a direct bolt in replacement and gives the car as much power as you might need. The tires are just not that wide and you an only use so much power. There are also some super charger kits available both current and from the day.
      As a car to restore these are almost perfect as almost everything bolts on and there are replacement parts for everything that are in many cases better than the originals. Given the engine heat and transmission heat the cockpit is warm enough in the winter time and notice there are no door handles. To open there is a wire on the upper side of the cut out in the interior door panel. LOL. It works and is very simple.
      I can assure you on warm spring or summer night on country road this is almost a perfect car. Moon light drives around local lake even better.
      As for poor man’s Austin Healy these are totally different cars. The Healey is wonderful I have owned a few of them but they are much heavier cars and they do not handle as well. The MG is light, and nimble to drive. I like both but just know they are very different cars that just have a similar look.
      I am doing a Lotus Europa now but if not I would be on this one as the price is good.

      Like 3
  3. Scott Marquis

    Gone.

    Like 2
  4. Unobtanium Matt

    My neighbor has an MGA in almost this exact condition. He pulls it out every spring and drives all over the place during the summer months. It looks terrible to a lot pf people. He and I just love it. He’s in his 80s and still does the Clermonte Road Rally in NY every year in it.

    Like 3

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