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Parked 32 Years: 1958 MGA Coupe

I have always had an appreciation for the MGA (’55-’62). I think it’s two reasons, firstly, as a child my initial Matchbox car, one of my all-time favorites, was a white MGA. And then in later years, one of my best friends, and a consummate car guy had a beautiful 1959 roadster. It was finished in white with a red interior and black piping – a perfect specimen. Unfortunately, he passed last year and I believe the car was sold to a member of his MG club. I never got a ride in that one but regardless, I always think of him when I see a presentable example such as this 1958 coupe. And speaking of this one possessing a coupe body style, that was another reason to select it for review. The vast majority of MGAs that we cover here on BF are roadsters, so this find breaks up the continuity a bit. Located in Star, Idaho, this jet black example is available, here on eBay for a current, no reserve bid of $12,100 with nine bids tendered as of this writing.

This find has all the markings of a flip. Heck, many of the cars we cover are exactly that and I get it, but there’s still something about it that I find unseemly. The listing states, “The car was purchased brand new in southern California and has remained in the family until now. It was just brought to Idaho from California last month“. It has a California black tag and I suppose the California provenance is considered beneficial. I also suppose that the “remained in the family” comment is to evoke one family’s life-long ownership. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t. Anyway, this one is clean, that’s a definite quality and the seller claims it to be rust-free. There’s no indication of existing body damage – just a reference to a since-replaced, damaged passenger-side door. There’s one included listing image of the underside and all appears to be sound.

The red upholstered vinyl and cloth interior is magnificent – very clean with little indication of use or wear. The entire environment is almost too nice to imagine that it’s original but nothing is said about its current or prior condition – assuming that there was a prior condition. The switchgear and gauges are spot-on and it appears that a modern radio has been installed.

Under the bonnet is a 72 HP, 1500 CC, in-line four-cylinder engine driving a four-speed manual transmission. As for operational capability, the seller states, “The only work that has been done to the car is I removed the spark plugs, poured some oil in the cylinders, and rotated it by hand. No attempt has been made at starting the car since it has been sitting idle for so long“. This statement reinforces my “flipping” thought and seems contrary to what one should do to properly market a car. If the engine will turn over by hand, and it’s getting oil, why not try to start it? It’s going to be worth more as a known runner as opposed to a known whatever.

This one is a beautiful find, especially considering its coupe body style (only 8% of ’58 production or 1,300 copies) and its fine condition. I’d like to know more about its mechanicals, however, wouldn’t you too?


  1. RayT Member

    I’m not sure it’s a bad thing that the seller hasn’t tried to start it. Seems to me at the very least you’d have to clean out fuel tanks and lines, rebuild the SUs (not terribly difficult, but it puts some people off) and see to a host of finicky details before firing it up. And that doesn’t even get to doing the brakes, clutch hydraulics, tires, hoses, fan belt, etc., etc., etc. All jobs I’d tackle happily, but I know they’re not for everyone.

    The interior is almost certainly a redo with one of the upholstery kits that are — or were when I was looking — readily available. Should hold up for a good long time.

    It does look solid, though, and I’m much more interested in wrenching than doing body work, interior trimming, and all the things you’d see before heading out for a drive.

    Seems a fair price. Even though I’m not particularly a fan of MGAs or ‘Bs of any derivation, this would make someone very happy, I think.

    Like 7
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      Moss Motors has every part necessary to handle the mechanical and physical aspects of bringing this car back to as new. Nice platform to do that with here.

      Like 2
  2. gippy

    Coolest door handles ever.

    Like 4
  3. Yblocker

    My dad bought a new 58 roadster, whenever he pulled into a service station, he would tell the attendant to “check the gas, and fill it with oil”. He didn’t have it long.

    Like 1
  4. Steveo

    Part of the fun, part of the ‘making it yours’ is the whole getting it to run bit.
    Yeah, you can buy a turn-key runner, but it’s less yours because you didn’t put any work into it other than writing a check. Who wants to be like the guy with a fat wallet who buys a show car with a trunk full of trophies and just trailers it about so he can pose with it and collect trophies that ought to go to the guys who do actual work.

    Like 8
  5. Mrtinwoodie

    The pleating and stitching on the reupholstered seats are incorrect. Not even close.

    Like 0
  6. Slomoogee

    What we know is the engine is not locked up that’s it. You could solve the interior problem by sourcing some used seats and recovering in the correct leather. I always liked the coupes because you hardly see them over here. A nice car with a few unknowns. I say why not?

    Like 3
  7. mike

    Nice project for somebody.I like the coupes better than the roadsters.

    Like 1
  8. Joseph Meccia Member

    As long as the engine turns, it’s not hard to get this going again. The coupes are very rare and especially with LHD. They also have the lines of the XK 120’s and 130’s which I like. This looks like a nice period car and doing all the sorting is the fun (for me) to getting back to being a driver. Yeah, the seats are not correct but so what! If you are a purist then that would be a reason to get another set and install the correct leather. There is a certain class to the hardtop British coupes that the roadster don’t have. I have a 60’s BGT driver project that I am excited to finish yet I have no interest in (anymore) in an MGB roadster (unless it is a pre 70’s project). At my age (70) one project at a time is enough. It’s good to see these cars on a site where everything doesn’t have to be perfect (Like BAT). I like playing in a smaller ‘sandbox’! Just another comment from the ‘peanut gallery’! Please don’t take my comments personally or seriously! Have fun!!

    Like 7
  9. DA

    Not running, so engine, transmission, and clutch conditions are unknown. Documentation, records? The pictures are from two different points in time, and the underside shot is incomplete. Likely a low ball purchase for a quick buck. Caveat emptor.

    Like 2
  10. terry

    One of the best looking Brit cars from the 50’s to me. That rear 3/4 shot says it all.

    Like 2
  11. Michelle Rand Staff

    My favorite tin can! Beautiful, simple to work on, fun to drive.

    Like 0

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