BOSS 302 Powered: 1958 MGA Roadster

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When Carrol Shelby first put a small block Ford V-8 into the narrow confines of an AC Ace, he unwittingly created a monster.  Not only did his Cobras turn out to be beasts on the racetrack, but his revolutionary act of mating a British sports car with an American engine caused countless others to decide they could and should do the same.  From the Sunbeam Tiger to scores of home-built Anglo-American combinations, folks decided they wanted the looks and handling of a British sports car with an American V-8 under the hood.  Perhaps one of the most radical hybrids we have seen is this 1958 MG MGA.  Painted, flared, and customized to resemble a Shelby Cobra, this little MGA packs a BOSS 302 V-8 under the hood backed by a Rock Crusher 4-speed transmission.  Does this sound like a fun ride or what?

So, what do you do if you want a Shelby Cobra, but only have an MGA to work with?  Or you would like for your MGA to go a whole lot faster.  You get to work, that is what you do.  The seller of this 1958 MG MGA seems to know their way around cars, and it doesn’t seem like money is a problem.  In the background, we see numerous antique and classic cars.  Those cars are housed in what you would call a dream garage.  Of course, if you or I owned this garage it would be filled with clunkers and clutter.  But I digress…

The seller of this car isn’t a person who likes to spend long hours penning ads.  All we get in the ad is “58 mg with a boss 302 and rock crusher 4 speed.  New paint.  Car is built well and very fast!”  Going by the pictures, we see that the car uses Cobra styling cues such as the custom five-spoke wheels, flared rear end, rear bumper bar, and bluish silver paint.  The windshield and the chrome that surrounds it looks like it was pulled off a Cobra when sat atop the cowl.  However, it is surely a regular MGA assembly.

What sets it apart from both an MGA and a Cobra is the front end.  It seems like an MGA grille was used.  However, instead of being part of the front end which slopes back elegantly on an MGA, this one inexplicably leans forward.  Looking all the world like the Buc-ee’s Beaver in automotive form, it would have been better had the builder just used fiberglass to form a Cobra front end on the car.  The push bar bumpers and the look of the MGA fenders and headlight assembly do blend nicely though.

Inside, we see that the MGA dash has been replaced with a wooden one.  Why?  To accommodate the BOSS 302 engine, the steering assembly had to be raised and relocated higher on the dash.  A full set of more modern gauges fill the space in the middle of the dash down to the center console.  The center console holds a tall T-handle shifter for the Rock Crusher four-speed transmission.  Sadly, there is no information as to how and why a Rock Crusher, which is a GM transmission, was used.  The steering wheel is also a more modern aftermarket unit.  The side view mirrors have also been relocated to the top front of the doors instead of their usual spots on the tops of the fenders.

We can see that the BOSS 302 Ford V-8 was a tight fit under the hood of this MGA.  The firewall appears to have been redone in either stainless steel or polished aluminum.  We can also see where the steering mechanism comes through the cowl.  Another picture in the ad shows in greater detail how this was done.  While the large and ungainly scoop blocks much of our view, it looks like the brake assembly is under the fender far forward of the firewall.

One could look at these pictures and marvel for hours how this whole car was built up with a heady combination of ingenuity, determination, and cold, hard cash.  The statement made in the ad about it being built well and being very fast is surely an understatement.  If you want to find out for yourself, this 1958 MG MGA is for sale on Facebook Marketplace in Granbury, Texas.  The asking price for this modified road rocket is $25,000.  Thanks go to Bryan B. for the fast find!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Woofer WooferMember

    Well, Finally! ( I shoulda used all caps, but I didn’t want to get yelled at ). A
    non-FORD body with a FORD engine in it. I’m impressed. BUT, I don’t think it’s a BOSS 302. A BOSS 302 has 351 Cleveland heads. These valve covers look rounded on the corners, not squared off corners like a Cleveland. Is the engine out of a Mustang or just a built 302? And I hope he beefed up the frame somehow. I did not read the FB ad. And rack and pinion front end would be nice. The rear end must be a FORD 9″ to handle all that power. It looks like fun, but I’ll spend my $25,000 on sumpin else.

    Like 11
    • Steve R

      Look at the front of the drivers side valve cover just behind and below the breather, you’ll see a bump, that’s the earmark of a Cleveland valve cover not a Windsor VC.

      The ad, especially the pictures leave a lot to be desired. The ad is 10 weeks old, that shows there isn’t much interest in the car at that price.

      Steve R

      Like 3
      • stillrunners stillrunnersMember

        Yep….Barn Finds had the T-Bird on here I’m sure a while back and his late 50’s Ford factory 4 wheel drive truck fer sure. His weekend IG post shows him and the 39 going down the road that his dad had a big hand in building….nice guy…..Barn It Up !

        Like 0
  2. Joe MecMember

    It’s an MGA in mostly spirit and a starting point. After that it morphs into a Cobra hybrid. I like the builder’s creativity and it looks like it was done right. It’s a hotrod and whoever wants it will have those $ justing lying around waiting to buy something unique. I give it a thumbs up for vision and creativity however, I am not sure of the buyers market….

    Like 8
  3. Mark RuggieroMember

    Kinda ugly really, but autos, like all art forms, are what you want to make of them.

    Like 5
  4. TommyT-Tops

    Not a Ford guy and not an MG guy but this sure does look like fun. I bet 20 large in a shoebox would take it lol glwta

    Like 2
  5. Mercury Man

    It is NOT a Boss 302 engine. ( I have owned one since 1972) It seems like everyone with a basic taxi cab 302 Windsor and chrome calve covers thinks they have a Boss, the Boss engine was unique and only shared its cubic inches with the basic 302. You should fact check before posting.

    Like 6
  6. Chinga-Trailer

    I don’t think it’s accurate to say ol’ Shel “unwittingly” created a monster. I’m sure he did it deliberately and with great forethought. Perhaps Jack Griffith, who’s eponymous 200 was not only 500 pounds lighter but correspondingly quicker than the Cobra, well that car’s savage performance and dynamic treachery – now that MIGHT have been done unwittingly.

    Nor was Shelby the first – Reid Railton built Hudson powered sports cars in the 1930’s as did Brough, and Sydney Allard came close to perfecting the formula long before Shelby’s effort, then there were the various cars by the brothers Jensen . . . oh, let’s not forget Bristol too, or the Gordon Keeble.

    Like 0
    • CarbuzzardMember

      I interviewed Jack Griffith. He knew what he was doing, and he was not happy about those who were casting aspersions on his creations, almost all of whom had never driven. I have, although I didn’t push it very hard in corners out of deference to the owners. But certainly the TVR chassis was much more advanced than the ancient AC concoction.

      And then there’s the Cad-Allard—I’d tell you where to read up on it but I’m prohibited—which Shelby raced during his driving days. THAT was Ol’ Shel’s inspiration.

      Like 0
    • CarbuzzardMember

      And Nash-Healey

      Like 0
  7. John R

    Looks like Cleveland valve covers to me. I would love to have this thing, my knees are still good.

    Like 0
  8. Marshall

    Nice going mercury man. Glad you posted this as to some a person reads these comments an may take what is being said. Thanks for standing up.

    Like 1
  9. DavidH

    Loose the hood scoop or at least redesign it.

    Like 4
    • jwaltb

      if you loose it it might fall off.

      Like 1
  10. PeterfromOz

    If anyone who reads this site buys this car, please fit some sort of permanently affixed rounded strip around the mouth of the bonnet air inlet scoop. In the way it is at present, if a pedestrian is ever hit and slides up over the bonnet, the scoop will just peel a large strip off them.

    Like 2
  11. pwtiger

    I see two bolt holes on the top of the valve cover and one on each corner, Windsors only have one bolt on the top, six altogether, Clevelands have eight bolts holding down the cover.

    Like 0
  12. CarbuzzardMember

    If you knew your automotive historyyou’d know that Shelby didn’t invent the American engine in a European chassis.

    Like 0

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