History of the MGA
The first MGA appeared in 1955 at a low point in the history of the MG Car Company. The only sports car on offer from the company was the outdated MGTF and sales were being lost to the modern looking Austin Healy and Triumph TR2.
The MGA with its all enveloping body style was a radical departure from all previous MG sports designs and, although there was some initial resistance from the purists, it proved an instant success and during its seven year production life over 101,000,cars left the Abingdon factory.
Initially offered with a BMC “B” series engine of 1489cc it was uprated in 1959 with a 1588cc engine and front wheel disc brakes to become the MGA 1600. In 1961 it was given a larger, 1622ce engine with a restyled grille and tail lights and named the MGA 1600 Mk 11.
Although the MGA was a genuine 100 mph car, sports car buffs are always looking for better performance and more speed which lead to the development of the MGA 1600 twin cam.
The engine, based on a standard B series block, was given heavily domed pistons, a new design of connecting rod and a light alloy cylinder head with twin overhead camshafts and these modifications, together with four wheel disc brakes and centre lock disc wheels, resulted in a very potent package.
It was most unfortunate that the Twin Cam was released without proper development and soon acquired a reputation for unreliability and was withdrawn from sale after only 2,111 examples had been built. A number of twin cam chassis remained and these were given pushrod engines and badged as the MGA De Luxe. Today both the Twin Cam and De Luxe are rare items and much sought after by collectors.
After the MGA had been on the market for a year the open tourer was joined by the pretty MGA Coupe with a pressed steel permanently fixed roof and many saloon car refinements such as wind up windows. The Coupe remained in production throughout the life of the MGA which means that there are fixed head examples of all models, including the Twin Cam and De Luxe.
A solid chassis, and rugged mechanicals has meant that many MGA’s have survived the ravages of time and they provide an enjoyable and practical vehicle for the sports car enthusiast. With its’ firm suspension, lively engine and rack and pinion steering the MGA is indeed a delight to drive and still gives great pleasure to its owners.
MGA's had the following chassis numbers:
MGA 1500 10101 to 68850
MGA 1600 68851 to 100351
MGA 1600 MkII 100352 to 10907
MGA Twin Cam 501 to 2611