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.
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
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