1959 MG A 1600

1959 MG A 1600

1959 MG A 1600

By 1955, the British Motor Corporation (BMC) had swallowed up Austin, bringing Austin, Morris, MG, Riley and Wolseley under common ownership. This meant that new cars had to apply to a more broad corporate policy, thus common components were established between the marques. So when the TF replacement was drawn up, it was powered by the BMC 1498cc B-series engine housed in a new modern chassis and structurally rigid body.

BMC gave the green light for the new MGA in 1955. With a new chassis, and all enveloping bodywork it contrasted with MG’s traditional style. As introduced, the A reunited MG back to motor sport. Its first public appearance was witnessed as a team of three aluminum body prototypes at the 1955 Le Mans 24 Hour event. Marked by tragedy, the 1955 Le Mans is remembered for the appalling accident which sent a Mercedes SLR into the stands, and not the fifth and sixth place achieved by the MGAs at their first race.

Fortunately, the production MGA became BMC’s biggest success story, as more than 100,000 MGAs were made until 1962. These included just over 2,000 of the advanced Twin Cam models, having twin overhead camshafts and four wheel disc brakes. Most of the MGAs ended up in America and, along with the TC that came before, provided a backbone for the American entry level sports market.

A host of MGA record cars and race efforts publicized the car. At the 1956 12-hour race at Sebring, MGAs made their production racing debut, finishing 19th, 20th and 22nd overall. A new MG record car, the EX179 of 1954 built for George Eyston had been based on a prototype MGA chassis. The last and most impressive MG record car was EX181 of 1957, with a supercharged Twin Cam engine behind the driver in a teardrop shaped body. This was driven by Stirling Moss and later Phil Hill, and set 1500cc and 2000cc class records at speeds over 250mph.

By 1956 a coupe version was offered, and in 1959 the MGA got a complete overhaul. This included a larger 1588cc engine and Lockheed 11-inch front disc brakes. However, the definitive version remained the Twin Cam, which used the B-Series bottom end and features a valve train and cylinder head modified for twin camshafts. Combined with a new exhaust manifold, and dual 1.75 in. SU carburetors, the Twin Cam produced 108 bhp @ 6,700 rpm.

The MGA was replaced in 1962 by the less shapely MGB that would become the longest-running and best-selling MG.

In Detail

tags mga
submitted by Richard Owen
type Series Production Car
released at 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show
built at Abingdon, England
price £/td> £940
engine Inline-4
position Front, Longtudinal
aspiration Natural
ignition Lucas Distributor
block material Cast Iron
valvetrain Pushrod OHV, 2 Valves per Cyl
fuel feed Twin SU Carburetors
displacement 1588 cc / 96.91 in³
compression 8.30:1
power 58.2 kw / 78 bhp @ 5500 rpm
specific output 49.12 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 85.15 bhp per tonne
torque 104.9 nm / 77.4 ft lbs @ 3500 rpm
body / frame Steel body over Steel Frame
driven wheels RWD
front tires 5.60-15
rear tires 5.60-15
front brakes Discs
rear brakes Drums
f suspension Wishbones w/Hydraulic Shock Absorbers
r suspension Solid Axle w/Hydraulic Shock Absorbers, Leaf Springs
curb weight 916 kg / 2020 lbs
wheelbase 2388 mm / 94.0 in
front track 1204 mm / 47.4 in
rear track 1240 mm / 48.8 in
transmission 4-Speed Manual
final drive 4.3:1


Auction Sales History


1960 MGA 1600 GHN-L 84466 – sold for $77,000
Discovered after more than 35 years in dry storage. Driven less than 19,000 documented miles since it was delivered new to its first owner, Mr. Robert W. Durham by Consolidated Motors in Long Beach, California. Offered with its original drive train, paint, and interior. etains its five original Dunlop Gold Seal bias-ply white-wall tires, its original folding top, original side curtains, complete tool set and bag, knock-on hammer, King Dick jack, air pump, and spare wheel with its original fabric spare wheel cover (a rarely-seen item), an original and unused spare John Bull fan belt, even its original starting crank.
Auction Source: 2015 Quail Lodge Auction by Bonhams


1960 MGA 1600 Mk I Roadster GHNL/69562 – sold for $34,100 Handsome Color Scheme and Leather Upholstery. Quality Restoration by Barry Briskman. Thoughtfully Upgraded for More Powerful Performance. Beautiful Postwar Design. Beloved British Sports Car.
Auction Source: The Scottsdale Auctions 2015 by Gooding & Company


1959 MG MGA 1600 Roadster HDT43/46435 – sold for $27,500 Fresh and complete frame-off restoration; complete mechanical rebuild. Stunning original factory color combination of Ash Green over a grey interior. Accompanied by receipts and a CD of photos documenting the restoration.
Auction Source: Arizona 2015 by RM Auctions


1960 MG A Coupe GHDL88773 – sold for $20,000 Complete restoration. 1 of 826, 1960 left hand drive coupes. Ice cold air conditioning. Period BMC unit with Sankin compressor. Tan leather interior. Chrome wire wheels. Michelin XZX tires.
Auction Source: 2012 Daytime Auction by Mecum


1961 MGA Mk I 89089 – sold for $37,400 Expertly Upgraded Street Car. Body-Off Restoration. Very Well-Sorted and Prepared MGA. Many Significant Mechanical Upgrades to Race Standard.
Auction Source: 2012 Pebble Beach Auctions by Gooding & Company