Struck by the Bug: MGA Collection

The MGA Bug

We’ve notice a rather unusual event that seems to take place with British Sports car owners. It seems they are never satisfied with owning just one. A similar illness can plague other car collectors, but what seems to be special with the bug that afflicts British enthusiasts is that it causes them to want to own multiples of the exact same car. If one gets struck by the TR3 bug, for one reason or another they acquire multiple TR3s and it seems to be the same story for those afflicted with MGA (Morris Garages Acquirer?) syndrome. Obviously the owner of this collection suffered a mild case of MGA and acquired 5 rolling cars and 3 extra chassis. Jim S found this collection here on eBay and felt someone here might like to catch the bug too. Thanks for the tip Jim!

MGA collection

We aren’t sure what it is about British sports cars that makes their owners want to own more than one. Perhaps they are just that much fun to own and drive, or maybe they require constant repairs and having multiples makes things easier. These particular cars aren’t running and are all projects, so we would assume the owner intended to make one or two complete cars by combining them. We are sure if they had ever finished them they would have had a blast in them, but sadly this is another case of someone being bitten by the bug and never getting to fully enjoy the fruits of their affliction.

MGA parts

Putting just one of these together is going to be a massive undertaking, but there certainly isn’t a shortage of extra parts included in the auction to do it. Fixing all that rust is going to be a problem, but again there are plenty of spare pieces to work with. The seller claims there are enough parts to build 7 complete cars, but being more realistic we see 2 cars being completed from what’s here.

MGA Projects

We would love to catch either the MG or TR bug, but we fear if we got a taste for these British roadsters we would be hooked. We don’t want to end up with a barn full of unfinished projects, but only out of fear of what our loved ones would do to us. The resulting intervention would likely send us into a downward spiral of secret late night wrenching rendezvous and shady back alley parts purchases. For the time being, we better hold back and not fall under the spell of these beauties, but we hope one of you will be more daring than us and take the plunge. Please just let us know what it feels like to be bit by this fantastic bug!


  1. Tom Hughes

    Corvair owners become collectors (or amassers) typically within a month of purchasing their first.

    • paul

      Yeah I guess, I’m one of those but I keep my projects to 1, we do have some guys in the club that have way too many thinking they will get to restoring them one day, but when I had an Alfa Romeo sometimes 2 at a time, we also had guys in the AR club that had multiples so you could probably pick lot’s of marques that people do this. The great thing about these A’s is the nice clean dry storage. & did I see a light blue Studebaker tail light/rear quarter?

  2. Robert J

    If you live in the country, here is an idea. Materials needed: MIG or ARC welder, rattle cans or rollers, a few spare drivetrains, tires…
    Build five MGA beater race cars with homeade lexan windshields and DIY rollbars.. Rent them out by the hour at your own private dirt track. (Sign this waiver etc…) Hand some vintage race posters around the barn. Rent helmets, goggles and Polaroid cameras on the sidelines.
    Let the fun begin!
    I would be there every weekend.

    • Dolphin Member

      Great idea, but better have a really good insurance policy.

    • paul

      Polaroid?? are their any left?

      • Robert J

        Yes, check out the Fujifilm Instax 210 camera on Amazon.

  3. rancho bella

    I know what the addiction is like when it comes to certain marques. if I could afford a warehouse I would continue to buy any Lotus Europa, Elan or Elan Plus 2…………….I just can’t seem to get enough.

    Then I buy spare parts I don’t need………….I need a drink……I’m all worked up………

    • paul

      You never did reply did you buy that sweet Europa from the other week?

      • rancho bella

        Sorry Paul I didn’t get back to that, I didn’t buy that Europa. I have a TC Europa already, but thinking it would be fun to have an S1 (bread van) Europa. Just got in another Elan Plus 2 three weeks ago. Yep, I am one of those guys alright.

      • Don Andreina

        I love the Plus 2. Not as appreciated because it’s not the pure driving Elan; but I think its prettier, particularly in being longer. When I was living in Adelaide, there was a crimson one being used as a daily driver. Only one I’ve seen in the flesh.

  4. Jim-Bob

    I am fortunate that I lack the space, otherwise I would have a collection of 3 cylinder Geo Metros that looks like this. The lack of cost leads those of us who like running them to do this. It’s such a kick to have a reliable car that with insurance, maintenance and fuel costs still costs you over a hundred dollars a month less than someone pays for just the payment on a new, cheap Kia.

  5. Dolphin Member

    As much as I like MGAs—my first really good car was a ’59 MGA—and as much as I understand the addiction of collecting more than enough of the same car, I think it’s more interesting and more fun to collect various makes that give you variety. Then pick and choose the car that suits your mood today.

    This particular addiction…er, collection, might be a tough sell. In Eastern MA = lots of salt, lots of rust….been there, suffered that. You would also need to live close and have a big garage (expensive in Eastern MA), or have the logistics available to move the whole collection. This would suit a Brit car restorer best, one with a 3-car hauler and a big diesel pickup, or would be best sold piecemeal.

    If I were closer, after the auction fails to meet the reserve I might go and see if there was one car with minimal rust….money in pocket and hope in my heart…because I wish I had that beautiful red ‘A’ back, with it’s side curtains and little runabout boat cockpit. Loved that car.

  6. Dave Wright

    The reason for the British illness is it takes several cars just so you can have one to drive…..they are fun cars but anyone that owns one has to have a Chevrolet or German car to get you reliably down the road…………….

  7. Matt L

    I had a VW bus habit like this. I’d be rich if i had kept all the stuff I literally gave away. Now it’s later model water cooled stuff but still, all VW.

  8. Glenn

    The explanation for the bug is easy….these cars (MGAs) are so simple by design that you can actually have fun tinkering with them as well as driving them. My father got the bug in the 70s during the gas crunch and bought 5 plus various other parts. My bro has one, Ive got a coupe and the rest are still in the barn.

  9. Gearheadengineer


    Seller is in MA, cars are in IL. (See note buried way at the bottom of the listing). Still a rust concern though.

    At least this is one ad where they took the time to include photos. And lots of them.

    Looks like an interesting trove, but lots of work just to bring them home.

    – John

  10. Horse Radish

    I tend to agree with Dave Wright
    the notion that the cars are temperamental and moody at best gives one the uneasy feeling of having to own a second and more.
    On the flip side of things, those people with the one car philosophy tend to let loose of their unreliable car rather quickly and inexpensively, hence the circle closes.
    Offer and demand meet happily….

    • Don Andreina

      The twin cams had the most difficult reputation.

      • Trickie Dickie Member

        Oh, thanks a LOT for the reminder, Don! A friend bought a new twin cam and we spent more time trying to get it to run than we did actually driving it. I even stopped running round with him while he had the twin cam. It was just too traumatic!

    • Dolphin Member

      I may be seeing things through a rose colored rear view mirror, but the ’59 MGA (regular, not Twin Cam) that I had back in the day was very reliable. You did need to tune the SU carbs a few times a year to keep it in top tune, but I can’t remember it ever failing to run or letting me down on the road even though I used it in gymkhanas a few times and drove it there and back. I never compared them directly, but I even had the feeling that with their lighter weight and rack and pinion steering the ‘A’ handled better than the Big Healey.

      By now most ‘A’s have probably been through a lot of miles, salt and bad weather, neglect, disuse, abuse and who knows what else. I guess the key is to own one back when they were only a few years old and had only about 40K miles on them and only cost about $800.

  11. jim s

    i have done this with midgets/sprites and bikes in the past. could easily do it againi with miatas, a few cars from the past or bikes. it is had to keep it from getting out of hand real fast!

  12. Carl W. French

    Wheeeewww. Thankfully they turned out to be in IL as N Andover is a hair over an hour from me, For up here, this is a great collection. Lots of fenders (even if they all need bottom repair), and other panels. Nice score for someone to keep or ebay off. (depending on Reserve)

  13. Tom Greenacres

    I raced an MGA in SCCA regional/national events in the early 1970s. And had a spare parts car, bought for $175, that actually trophied in a Solo event at IRP. Bought one for my son in 1990. These cars are bog simple thanks to primitive engineering. They are strong, have predictable handling, and barely adequate brakes. But they look great and are ideal for backroads touring with the top down.

  14. Bernie H

    I have been in this guy’s position about 10 years ago with a barn full of MGA’s. There isnt enough parts shown to build one complete vehicle. These look like salvage yard sellers, prettywell stripped of good(expensive) parts. No chrome/interiors/instruments,,,,BIG$$$$ to buy aftermarket. I literally gave away 2 cars free just to clean up the shop!! I sincerely wish him luck in finding new homes for these. Still have two finished MGS’s left that are great summer cruisers.

  15. Dolphin Member

    Bid to $12,500 but didn’t meet the reserve.

  16. Rick

    I have owned 3 MGA’s in my life the first a 57 1500 in 1965 when I was a senior in high school and I admit to being a MG fanatic. Then a 59 1600 and the last a 1961 twin cam. Save the normal British electrics when it rained they where all very reliable cars if a bit cold in the Iowa winters.

  17. Alon

    I have this dream for the last 2-3 years now, it took me a while to get the money. Meanwhile prices have gone up dramatically, I can hardly find one at a reasonable price. A project car is good for me, I can do mechanic and body works by myself.
    Searching eBay, Kijiji, Craigslist every day for 2 months now, hesitated with one 1600 (sold at Daly, CA) few hours after it was published.
    Can anyone help me with my search? maybe an “mouth-to-ear” sell? Recent barn find?

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