Rough But Ready: 1958 MG MGA

The owner of this 1958 MG MGA Roadster acknowledges that it looks pretty rough and ready. However, under the skin, it is a solid car that he drives on a regular basis. The next owner might decide to continue this trend, or they could easily choose to treat the car to some form of restoration. It has certainly generated some interest since being listed for sale here on eBay. With that said, the bidding is still within an affordable range, meaning that someone has the potential to score themselves a classic British sports car at an affordable price. It is located in Los Angeles, California, and with bidding at $8,300, the reserve has been met.

The MGA was available throughout its production life in a number of unique colors, but some like the Black that this car wears were common BMC shades. The paint has plenty of marks, chips, and scratches, but it still also holds a fairly respectable shine. There is no doubt that it would benefit from a repaint, but it appears that the buyer is not going to be faced with the task of attending to any significant dings or dents. The photos that the owner supplies are a bit limiting, but not only is there no visible rust in the prone dogleg region of the body, but the owner makes no mention of any problems with the frame. If the car has spent the majority of its life in California, then there is a good chance that it has managed to remain solid. The external trim and chrome also present quite well, and its condition means that it would look fine on a car that is of driver quality. I like the fact that the MG is fitted with wire wheels. For me, that is part of what defines a stereotypical British sports car. Steel wheels with hubcaps were also available at this stage in the vehicle’s production life, but the wires just look better. It is also reassuring to see that these wheels seem to be in good condition. The owner makes specific mention of driving the car in fine weather, and this makes me wonder whether he has a top or side curtains for the vehicle. However, because of the ongoing popularity of this particular model, both items are readily available.

The “rough and ready” theme continues when we look around inside the MG because while the owner does drive the car as it currently stands, it would certainly benefit from an interior restoration. Most of the upholstery has seen better days, but apart from the aftermarket radio, the dash looks to be both original, and in reasonably good condition. The wheel has a couple of cracks, but I believe that a resourceful owner should be able to restore this for very little money. The simple fact is that with so much of the interior requiring new upholstery, the next owner will be facing the prospect of potentially sourcing a trim kit as the most economically viable way of returning it to its former glory. If the new owner is looking at predominantly vinyl, then a kit will set them back around $1,300. Alternatively, leather would add a touch of class, and would only add approximately $200 to the bill. A new carpet set can be found for around the $400 mark, so for an outlay of under $2,000, the interior would look pristine once again. There are no engine photos, but under the hood should be a 1,489cc BMC “B-Series” 4-cylinder engine, producing 72hp. Shifting duties fall to a 4-speed manual transmission, while 4-wheel drum brakes will bring proceedings to a halt. The owner states that the brakes have come in for some recent attention and that the MG is regularly and properly maintained. As a consequence, it is said to run and drive extremely well. One of the advantages of the MGA is the fact that the drivetrain is relatively bulletproof, and even if major work is required, then a simple design and an ample parts supply means that many tasks can be undertaken by a competent person in a home workshop.

There is no doubt that if treated to a full restoration, this Black 1958 MGA would be a striking car. I have said in the past how these are well-suited to home workshop restoration because every aspect of the vehicle is elegantly simple in both design and build. If the next owner can undertake the restoration work themselves, they could also potentially be on the path of a financial winner. It is hard to find a good MGA in the market today for under $25,000, while pristine examples can fetch $40,000 or more. If the bidding remains in or around its current range, then that leaves plenty of room to move on restoration. That makes this car a potentially interesting project car.


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Not enough information to get me excited about this one. Hope it’s good because these are neat cars.

    Like 4
  2. Johnny

    The more I see these MG,S . The more I like them. I thought they were all two seaters . Till last night. I saw a 4 door one. It was called MG-YA and it was in New York and looked brand new. I think it was a 58 model and the front looked the same as the little two seater one.

    Like 1
    • Garry

      The Y series MGs were from about 1947 to 1953 (approximately). I owned and drove an early example for three years. Great cars to drive. They were followed by the Magnette, pretty cars. There were pre-war four door models as well.

  3. tompdx Member

    A high school friend’s dad had a twin to this car, black on red. It was pristine. I’ll never forget walking up the driveway and seeing his dad laying on his back in the driver’s footwell, with a large, segmented bin on his chest with every manner of Lucas connector in it – he was rewiring the car and making his own loom. I was so impressed. He was the coolest dad ever.

    I bought a blue over black ’59 MGA two years later.

    Like 2
  4. Maestro1 Member

    Go to the car, put your hands on it, look at its bones (underneath) and if is as good as it looks, submit the winning bid. You won’t be disappointed.

    Like 1
  5. Steve

    MG made a model known as the Magnette. It pre-dated the MGA slightly and is a four door with lots of room. It also had the B-series engine. Many of them were two tone and are beautiful. One cool thing about them is that the instrument panels were octagonal shaped, part of the MG logo design.

    Like 1

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