Sitting Since ’84: 1960 MGA Roadster

Introduced in 1955, the MGA was the replacement for the MG TF. Because its styling and engineering followed distinctly different paths to its predecessors, the car was given the model designation of MGA, signifying a new start for the MG line. This MGA is listed for sale here on eBay. It is located in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, and is being offered with a Colorado Bill of Sale. At the time of writing, spirited bidding had pushed the price to $1,025.

This MGA is quite a solid car. The body and frame exhibit no obvious signs of rust, although the car has been the subject of a pretty ordinary repaint at some stage in its life. Still, that’s nothing that a trip to the soda blaster won’t fix. There’s some work to be done on the exterior trim, and I think that the grille may be beyond restoring. One interesting point of difference between the MGA Convertible and the Coupe revolves around door handles. The Coupe receives external door handles, but the Convertible doesn’t. The thinking at the time being that it is easy to reach inside the Convertible to access the internal door handles.

While the dash is complete, the entire interior is going to require restoration, as it’s all pretty battered and bruised from years of use. It’s interesting to note that new replacement parts for every interior component of the MGA can be purchased, right down to a complete replacement dash. While it may not be the cheapest option, an entire interior can be sourced for around $3,000. The beauty of this is that everything is new, and should be reliable.

Under the hood is the 1489cc BMC Corporation B-Series engine, which is backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. This produced 72hp and propelled the car to a top speed of 98mph. Thankfully this isn’t the twin cam version. Production numbers of those were very limited as the early versions of the twin cam suffered from major reliability issues, and even though the company addressed these, the reputation of the engine had been fatally damaged, and only around 2,200 were sold. This engine doesn’t run, but it does turn freely. It may be possible to get the car running without major work, but even a rebuild for these engines is both cheap and easy.

This MGA has been sitting since 1984, and it will require some work before it returns to active duty. It is largely complete, and thanks to a strong aftermarket support network, virtually every replacement part that the new owner may require can be purchased brand new. The viability of this car as a restoration project will be very dependant on its final eBay sale price. Reasonable examples can sell for as little as $12,000, but then the prices rise rather dramatically. I have seen really immaculately restored ones fetch over $50,000. That gives a fair scope for a restoration project.

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  1. Tom Bell

    Minor comment on British sports car nomenclature: A “convertible” refers to an open car with roll-up side windows, also known as a “drophead”, referring to the soft folding top. A car without roll-up windows, fitted with removable side curtains is a true “roadster”.

    • crazyhawk

      That’s right, Tom. I still have a copy of the title from the ’58 MGA I had when I was a teenager. It says, “Body Type: roadster”. I thought that was so cool.

      • Alan Northcott

        But in 1946 Triumph introduced an open top touring car and called it the Triumph Roadster. It had roll-up side windows (and a dickey seat).

    • schooner

      The door sills on my Z3 read “Roadster”. A bit embarrassing when getting in as I’m old enough to recognise the difference. Others think it’s appropriate.

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        I agree schooner, I have a 2000 Z3 that says the same. Cabriolet? Regardless, they are super fun rigs! Take care, Mike.

  2. Bernie H

    This should be a 1600 engine if its a 59′. Inner rockers and ‘A’ pillar rust at the base are things to check for carefully. The interior can be done for a grand or so, the side curtains and top for another $900.00. Someone who does the labor could have a nice 95 point roadster for less than 10 Grand. I’ve done 13 of these A’s from 1956 thru 62, and still have parts on my shelves

  3. Mountainwoodie

    Arguendo it’s a ’60, when I was a wee lad of sixteen trying to get up on some young lady who caught my fancy and was stringing me along one summer, her father was so enamored of my derring do and dashing teenage persona ( I was driving a 1950 Packard lol) that he took me out back and pointed to a 1960 MGA sitting in some trees……..” Boy”, he said in his best Buford Pusser imitation, “you think you can get that old girl running?”
    Whats a kid to do but say yes and spend the rest of the summer houndogging his daughter….and occasionally throwing a wrench at the car.

  4. pat gill

    1588cc as it has separate rear indicators and front disc brakes, well it has the larger brake fluid reservoir for disc brakes, I bought mine for ¬£100.00…………………
    in 1973, still got it.

  5. Skippy

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a paint job on an MGA that tries to make it look like an Austin Healey. The lines on MGAs are so nice……why?

  6. Chinga-Trailer

    Yes Adam, I like your write up and observation that , “an entire interior can be sourced for around $3,000. The beauty of this is that everything is new, and should be reliable.” Why yes a RELIABLE new interior is just what I want – l hate it when they break down or overheat and leave one stranded on the side of the road!!

  7. Wrong way

    This would be a fun project! I like these cars alot! However if I had a choice it would be a MGBGT for sure! I hope that someone will bring this one back!

  8. Doug

    IF the engine will require a rebuild, I’d be VERY tempted to see if there’s room to swap in a Rover/Buick V8 , which probably doesn’t weigh more than the MG 4 banger at 320 lbs…..there are many performance parts originally designed for the Buick version that bolt right up to the Rover versions. A sturdier rear axle might be required……

    As light as these cars are, even a stock 3.5 would be a hoot !

    If the Rover/ Buick is too big, the 93-95 Camaro 3.4 V6, or the earlier 2.8 – 3.1 will definitely fit. See for details under the MG gallery.
    If I wasn’t in the middle of a build and could swing it, this baby might be coming my way !

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