Real Roadster: 1959 MGA

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The MGA was the link in the MG timeline between the post-war look of the MG TF and the modern look of the MGB. The layouts and drivetrains of all three models were very similar but on the outside they were as different as could be, with the A representing the rounded, streamlined approach of 1950’s sports car design. Find this 1959 MGA roadster here on eBay in Seattle, Washington with a realistic Buy-it-now price of $13,995.

This car is described as a barn find that runs well and that has had some brake work done. The carbs appear to have been cleaned and perhaps tuned, which would fit with the car’s description as a driver. It is said to be solid and all original, including the paintwork. A photo of the underside from the rear appears to show a solid car with minimal surface rust in some places. It also shows a steel plate attached to the rear bumper, which probably had a ball for trailer towing mounted on it, so you will want to confirm that the frame and drivetrain were in good shape before buying.

Except for a modest run of fixed-head coupes, MGAs were genuine roadsters. They had removable soft tops and side curtains instead of wind-up windows. The cockpit was completely surround by a trim strip that was covered in leather and gave these cars a wonderful vintage feel. The interior of this car looks original and complete, with an original banjo steering wheel, all of the proper gauges, the black horn button in the center of the dash, and even a radio blank-out plate that carries the famous MG logo. The black carpets and shift knob also appear to be original.

The engine bay looks fairly tidy for a 50+ year old barn find car. This, plus the mechanical work that has been done recently suggest that it might not require a lot of effort to make this car into a reliable driver. It appears that, barring unseen mechanical problems, the main areas of concern are the scattered surface rust and possible rocker panel cancer.

The MGA has been in the shadow of its big brother in the BMC stable, the Austin Healey, for many years, but with the recent rise in MGA prices it is becoming more feasible to refurbish or restore them without being under too much water. Compared to some MGAs that have come on the market lately, this one might require little or no metalwork, making it a good find for someone who wants a real British roadster.

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  1. Craig Bolton

    Could be a fair deal, but as a person who has restored several of these over the past 25 years, a few things give me pause. One is visible in the interior shot taken from the right side- that is a frame rail you see peeking above the shift knob and that appears to be a hole. Not good, if true- I’d check that out. Another thing- sill replacement on an MGA is a very involved process, rarely accomplished properly by even a skilled amateur. I’d say the car is priced at full market value.

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  2. Craig Bolton

    One more comment- the odds of that being an “original” acetate-rimmed MGA steering wheel are mighty slim.

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  3. DolphinAuthor

    Craig, RE: Your steering wheel comment, I owned a stock low mileage ’59 MGA back in the early 1960s and it had a banjo wheel with metal spokes identical to the one on this car. It even had the very beginnings of the cracks that this one has between the ends of the spokes and the rim. So many of the surviving ‘A’s have racing style replacement wheels that to me don’t look as attractive as the originals. It’s good to see that the banjo wheel is still on this car, although I don’t know if there is a good fix for those big cracks on this one. Anyway, here are a few more pics:

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  4. Dan

    My brother’s and uncle’s A’s have banjo wheels. I never liked them; too “springy” for me. I put a solid wheel with wood trim on mine when I restored.
    Seems like they’re asking far too much. Fixing the cancer is a lot of work too. I went through several spools of MIG wire to repair mine.

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  5. Cwmuse

    This may be a bit optimistic for what may be needed to get this car road worthy.

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  6. Steve

    What an adorable car! Such great lines! First time I have ever seen one of these!

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  7. Mitch

    Unless the market in these has gone totally nuts!!!!
    These are not rare enough to bring that kind of money in that condition

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  8. DolphinAuthor

    The value of this MG depends a lot on what things are like underneath. In recent times MGA prices have stayed pretty low compared to other sports cars from the same era, like Alfas, Healeys and Porsches, but In the last couple of years MGA values have started to advance. The Sports Car Market price guide for cars in #2 condition has 1500 Roadsters at $23K to $33K, which is actually slightly higher than 1600 Roadsters at $21K to $31K.

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  9. TVC15

    If that old poster in the back ground of the first photo is real it could be worth more than the car

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  10. Scheese

    The rust scares me on this car. I was lucky on my MGA. I felt I was screwed after I brought this driver home and it took me a year to get drivable. It was expensive when I bought it as a driver but it actually had little rust when I pulled it apart. This one does look worse on the rust. These cars are a blast and they are very comfortable to drive. My 59 is a 11 yr old resto now and just now starting to get a great patina. My banjo wheel was toast. I switched out to a Motolita which just looks and feels right and it gets lots of love. Cheers

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  11. Emil

    Looks just like one I had just before I entered the service in 1969. Painted it just a bit darker blue then that. Loved the banjo wheel BTW. The A was in storage in my dad’s garage until I came home. Kept it a while then stepped up to a 56 Chrysler with a Hemi and dual quads.

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  12. Alan

    I agree with Craig, giant hole in the inside frame rail left of the clutch pedal. Floorboard rails, inner rockers A and B pillers probably rusty too. Car most likely will have to come apart. Too much money if that’s the case. Been there done that. I love an A though.

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Barn Finds