Mid-Restoration Garage Find: 1958 MGA

1958 MGA

It looks like this MGA project stalled a long time ago, but that may mean an opportunity for you. Thanks to reader Frank C. for this find! It’s located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is offered here on craigslist for $3,400, which includes “tons of extra parts.”

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The seller has included several pictures of pictures of the car prior to the start of the restoration project. If you’re wondering how the area surrounding the hood can be rusty but the hood itself looks unscathed, it’s because MGA hoods, trunk lids and doors are all aluminum surfaces. The car looks very complete in the “before” pictures, with decent white upholstery and red dash. Given that the before shots are non-digital pictures, it’s a safe bet to assume that the car was taken apart a long time ago.

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The seller tells us that the fenders have been loosely re-attached, presumably for transport, but you can see the missing sill on the passenger side, and presumably a similar condition exists on the driver’s side. While it may look like a simple panel from the outside, you may find this detailed description of MGA sill replacement somewhat daunting. I’d want to closely look over the work the seller has done before pulling the trigger.

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The seller includes this beautiful walnut dashboard with an extra gauge installed. To be honest, though, I don’t like this any better than the original red dash pictured in one of the “before” pictures. I think I’d go back to the original, assuming it still exists. The seller also is including a cut-down windshield that I’d also sell to contribute to the restoration fund.

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A close look at some of the pictures lends credence to the length of time this car has sat mid-restoration. On the left, we have shiny, freshly refurbished red brake calipers (yes, I’d paint them the original color, but I digress). On the right, we have what is presumably a recent picture of parts on the shelf covered in  a thick layer of dust. It’s quite possible that some work will have to be re-done because it was done so long ago. But that’s a risk you take purchasing someone else’s project. We also don’t know anything about the mechanical condition of the car, although presumably a phone call to the seller would resolve that. With retail price guides for 1958 MGA’s showing $13k to over $40k, it’s certainly possible that a home restorer could come out OK financially on this car, but you’d have to look it over carefully to avoid becoming the next person to pass along an unfinished project. Tell us what you think!

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Comments

  1. randy

    I’d have to defer to an MG car club. Someone like me that wants to drive one of these will have to buy one that “all you have to add is water”!

  2. Woodie Man

    Among my worst nightmares….a disassembled unfinished project, which is why I haven’t disassembled a car since I parted out a 67 Westphalia over 30 years ago….and put the camper into a ’67 21 window bus. Btw….as a young pup with a newly minted drivers license the father of my then girlfriend gave me a ’58 MGA that then….. 1970…:was stuck in some woods. I hauled it out got it running….and gave it back to him!

  3. Mark S Member

    Ever try to do a jig saw puzzle with out the aid of the picture from the box, this car would be like that. Its not impossible but you’d probably hate it by the Time you reached the end.

  4. brakeservo

    Before embarking on this, one should be sure of what they’ll have when done – have you ever driven one of these before?? Fifty, sixty years ago perceptions of performance were sure different as today, this will seem ungodly slow with terrible handling, steering and brakes . . . yet compared to the bloated American cars of the time it was so superior it was like it was from another planet. Today, a teenage girl in a basic Kia Rio with an automatic, talking on a cell phone in one hand, eating a hamburger with the other will run rings around this car without even trying!

  5. randy

    I’ve run into that girl!!

    • brakeservo

      I think it more likely she will run into someone else!

  6. randy

    I was “busy” too!

  7. Hoos Member

    This car is listed as a ’58, which would make it a first series car, being a 1500. Disk brakes started in ’59 on the 1600. This conversion has been done by others, but has it been done on this car, or was the owner intending to do it with this restoration? This could be like doing a puzzle with a few pieces exchanged with another. $3400 seems a little high to me. In this condition, it needs everything, a $1500 car at best. I also didn’t see any evidence of an engine……..

  8. Paul

    I have seen the car and like any restoration project it needs work.
    There is an engine, it’s complete. The car needs floors, sills, lower quarter panels, completion of rails (they were started) . The trunk are is rust free. And it has lots of extra parts.
    It is a good project car for someone looking for a MGA.

  9. randy

    Thanks Paul, that is very helpful, and what we had in mind a month or so ago wanting folks nearby to look at cars. How much do we owe you? ;>)

  10. Simon B

    look forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks.

    Simon.

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