Parked in 1993: 1961 MG MGA Roadster

Here at Barn Finds, we always appreciate it when our readers manage to unearth interesting classic cars for us to feature. Nothing gives us more pleasure than to be handed a dusty vehicle that is crying out for someone to grab it and return it to its former glory. That is why I have to say a huge thank you to Barn Finder Gunter K for spotting this fantastic 1961 MGA Roadster for us. It has occupied this spot since 1993, and it is begging for someone to provide the TLC that it richly deserves. Located in Monmouth, Illinois, you will find it listed for sale here on Craigslist. The big question is with an asking price of $7,000 OBO, will the right person come along to rescue this classic?

When I look at the photos supplied by the owner, I admit that my fingers start to itch. I would love nothing more than to get into this shed and give the MGA a good clean. That way I could gain a clearer understanding of what is on offer. The first point that is worth noting is that the Roadster has undergone a color change at some point. It currently wears a shade that looks close to British Racing Green, but this wasn’t offered on the 1961 model. In fact, the company only offered Ash Green or Island Green during the MGA’s entire production run, so that makes this one a bit of a ring-in. When you look beyond that fact, the MG shows some promise. The panels have accumulated a few minor dings and marks, but these appear to be repairable without the buyer needing to resort to replacement. There is no visible rust, but in an MGA, that is hardly conclusive. Potential buyers would be advised to perform an in-person inspection, although areas like the rust-prone rear doglegs look okay. However, floors and other items below decks could hide some nasty surprises. On the positive side of the ledger, replacement steel is readily available and affordable, so anyone with reasonable welding skills should be able to address most of the potential problems. If there is anything structural, this should be tackled by a qualified professional. The last thing that an owner needs is to discover that their welding skills aren’t as good as they first thought in the middle of an accident! I can’t see a frame for the soft-top, and some trim and chrome pieces appear to be missing. Once again, replacements for these pieces are available, so they shouldn’t prevent the completion of this project.

The owner supplies no engine photos, but we know that the MGA features a 1,622cc 4-cylinder engine and a 4-speed manual transmission. This would have produced 93hp in its prime, which was enough to send the Roadster through the ¼ mile in 18.6 seconds. The news here is pretty mixed. This is one of those classic “ran when parked” scenarios that we are all so fond of. Unfortunately, the MG was parked in 1993, and it hasn’t moved an inch since. It doesn’t currently run, and the owner doesn’t indicate whether he has checked to see if the motor turns freely. That is another item that would need to be checked during an in-person inspection. The MG’s interior is also going to require attention and plenty of it! It appears that most of the trim is missing, including the original seats. Reproduction seat frames are available, as are complete trim kits in both vinyl and leather. The cost will depend on the buyer’s preference, but around $1,800 should secure a kit that includes leather on the seats. That is surprisingly affordable and is an option that is well worth considering.

This 1961 MGA Roadster shows some promise, and if the vehicle is as rust-free as the photos tend to indicate, it is the sort of project that someone could potentially tackle in a home workshop. That could be an important point to consider if we’re going to look at this car purely from a financial perspective. If you went out into today’s market with $30,000 lining your pocket, you could be driving home in a very tidy 1961 MGA, and you might even have a bit of change left over to fill the tank. The sale price on this one has been set at $7,000, although a canny buyer might be able to knock a few dollars off that figure. The interior is going to consume a couple of thousand by the time the trim and dash are restored, and the buyer will need to dig into their bank account for chrome, other exterior trim, and glass. That has already taken the tally beyond $10,000 before we even consider potential rust repairs, a repaint, and any mechanical work. If the buyer is going to have to pay someone to undertake this work, that places a huge question mark over its viability. However, if that person can perform most of the tasks themselves, this could be a project car that is worthy of a closer look.


  1. DanaPointJohn

    Asking price is $5K, OBO. Go for the OBO, as this car will take money and time to being back to top shape.

    Like 2
  2. Paul

    This is not worth $7,000 in this condition. Just sitting will cause the gears in the differential and gearbox to pit that is not submerged in oil. The same with the engine. The only thing that will need the least work will be the body. Who knows the condition of the chassis. A fair price for this would be between $2500-$3500, depending upon inspection.

  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    For that kind of money you’d think the seller would at least air up the tires, roll it out of the building, and give buyers a decent look at the car. These cars came into the country already rusty and I can’t believe Illinois did any good for it.

    Like 4
  4. Rodney - GSM

    If you look up the word “optimism” in the dictionary I am pretty sure you will see a picture of this car. I think you would be “upside down” like a sleeping bat on this before you even drag it out of its hole…

    Like 3
  5. Bill

    Beautifully restored MGA’s typically sell for $50K, maybe a tad more. So if you buy this for $7K and spend $50K restoring it …….yep, you’re under water.
    But for the right person it might be a good buy if you can do the work yourself, or even a large portion of the work. Then you can can come out on top the water.

    I’ve had my A for 53 years. A lot of cars have come and gone. The A is a keeper.

    Like 3
    • tiger66

      $50k restored A’s are hardly typical. A $50k A even in today’s overheated market most likely would be a rare Twin Cam or Mk II Deluxe model, as nice regular A’s can still be had for $20-$30k. The cost of restoring this one would be so high that it would be easier on the wallet to just buy one already done and enjoy it. At $7500 this car makes no economic sense at all.

      Like 2
    • Pat Gill

      I bought my 1960 1600cc mk1 in 1973 for £100.00, this car is also a 1960 1600cc mk1, 1588cc to be precise, a 1061 would be a Mk2 with mini van rear lamps ans a 1622cc engine,

  6. Arthur Brown

    I watched a fellow student redo one of these in the Magnolia Dormitory parking lot at Auburn University (hey, engineer school) from dirty runner through flintstones mobile (when he replaced the plywood floorboards) to shockingly beautiful restored (in pearl tone white with a light blue interior) and conversion to 12v with complete rewiring with new fuse blocks. Don’t know how much he spent but it wasn’t as much in 1978 as it would be now. The car sat outside the entire school year in South Alabama, but it did get cold, and did snow one night. However, when they called classes for the next day (a Monday) the girls were riding around in convertibles with the top down in swimsuits the next afternoon. This would have been THE car to get several of them to ride in.

    Like 2
  7. tiger66

    “The owner supplies no engine photos, but we know that the MGA features a 1,622cc 4-cylinder engine…”

    No, you’re thinking of the 1600 Mk II. This car is an MGA 1600 and would have the 1588cc engine with around 80hp. Only the 1600 Mk II MGAs had the 1622 and this car clearly is not a Mk II (Mk II had horizontal taillights mounted on the rear deck, not the fenders). The quarter-mile time for a 1588 car is 19.0 secs (per R&T road test) so they are a little slower than the 1622 cars.

    Like 3
    • Derek

      This is the A55/A60 B-series engine difference, isn’t it?

      They were quite plentiful, so I suspect that there’s a lot of old stock out there.

  8. Paul

    Uh, where is my comment I left earlier?

  9. Bob

    What in the world is going on? I have bought several MGAs in much better condition than this parts car for hundreds of dollars, not thousands… the informed buyer would never pay a 10th of the asking price. If you look at the ads a nice MGA rarely brings $20,000.

    Like 2
    • CJinSD

      This MGA looks like it has already served as a parts car. Ad says it hasn’t been touched since it was parked in running condition, but it must have looked pretty silly running around without headlights, taillights, a grill, a windshield, assorted other M.I.A. bits and pieces, or its repurposed MG Midget seats mounted to the floor.

      Like 1
  10. Stephen Coe

    Someone is stuck in a mecum bad dream 🤪🤪🤪

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