MGA Sports Car
The MGA only had a seven year life from 1955-1962 (it replaced the MG T-Series) with just over 100,000 being built. Unlike the later MGB the MGA still used a separate chassis and body, but still had the B-series engine installed.
An early MGA 1500 (1489cc) had 68 bhp but was soon upgraded to 72 bhp which gave a top speed around 98 mph with 0-60 mph in 16 seconds. Under 60,000 of this model in convertible and coupe were built between 1955 and 1959.
In 1958 a high-performance version was released with a new twin-cam engine giving an impressive 108 bhp, pretty stunning for its day in such a cheap car. The aluminium twin cam head was fitted to a 1588cc block but unfortunately soon developed a reputation for being tempremental. This led to only 2,111 being built in a two year life before it was dropped. The problems have all being solved these days and the twin-cam is much sought after on the classic car market, pushing up prices.
Top speed and 0-60 mph
The Motor, a UK car magazine, got 113 mph top speed and 0-60 mph in 9.1 seconds in 1958 with just under 28 (imperial) mpg fuel consumption. The car cost £1,283. To put that in perspective, two years later another of the big-name motoring magazines in Britain, Autocar, got 150 mph from the new Jaguar 3.8 E-type (Jaguar XKE in America) with 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds at a cost of £2,160. (Jaguar also later confessed that this car wasn't a standard model but had a lightened body and extra tuning - 140 mph and 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds was closer for a standard car.)
In 1959 the standard MGA engine was increased to 1588cc but with a normal cast iron ohv cylinder-head. Power was up to 78 bhp and The Motor got a 96 mph top speed with 0-60 mph in 13.3 seconds. There were over 31,000 of this model made in 1959 and 1960 before the Mkll MGA was released with the engine now taken out to 1622cc.
Less than 9,000 of the MGA Mkll were built before production ended in 1962 but many see it as the optimum model. With 90 bhp it was the quickest 'normal' model without the lack of reliability of the twin-cam.
Some other MG hubs
- Classic Cars: MGC
The MGC was supposed to be an extension to the MGB range, but it only lasted for two years, from 1967-1969. It was fitted withe Austin-Healey straight-6 of 2912cc capacity which needed a distinct bonnet bulge...
- Classic Cars: MG T-series
The MG T-series are some of my favourite classics. I love the look of that classic pre-war sports car and MG nailed it to perfection with the T-series. Pretty slow and a terribly harsh ride by today's...
- Classic Cars: MGB, MGB GT and MGB GT V8
The 1962 London Motor Show was to see the launch of an all new MG, the MGB. Designed to replace the aging MGA the MGB was not only five inches shorter than its predecessor but had more interior space in to the bargain. The old B-series 4-cylinder fro
- Classic Cars: MG Midget
The MG Midget was launched to the public in 1961 at just under 670. But it wasn't a completely new model, it was just new to the MG badge. A couple of years earlier Austin-Healey had released the 'Frogeye'...
Elvis Presley's MGA
Even Elvis Presley owned a red MGA 1600 Mkl roadster, the one that appeared in Blue Hawaii. And in 1957 a 27 year-old Stirling Moss drove an MG EX181 specifically built for record-breaking and fitted with a 1489cc B-series block with a twin-cam head and Shorrock supercharger to give almost 300 bhp broke five international records:
- the flying kilometre, at 245.64 mph
- the mile, at 245.11 mph
- the five kilometre, at 243.08
- the five mile, at 235.69 mph
- the ten kilometre, at 224.70 mph
the speed was calculated using an average from two runs in opposite directions.
More by this Author
It was in a 1071cc Cooper S that Paddy Hopkirk won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally. But it was the 1275cc Cooper S which always received most attention from the Competition Department as it was the car with the most chance...
The original Jaguar 2.4 saloon was released on the Jaguar stand at the 1955 British Motor Show at Earls Court in London in October of that year. Prices in the UK started at £1,343 but Jaguar had little trouble in...