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Buyers Guide to:


Useful Info


1955 to 1962

Fuel Type


Engine Sizes

1500cc, 1600cc

Engine Type


Drive Con guration


MG Car Club

MG Owners’ Club

Just Kampers

01256 862288,


After the vintage look of the T-Series MGs, the ‘A’ ushered in a more modern style although it still retained a separate chassis (the last MG to do so). Launched in 1955, it was also the first appearance of the B-Series engine which would go on to feature in numerous MG and Morris models. Early cars were fitted with a 1489cc unit, and this was followed in 1958 by a 108bhp Twin Cam which would prove slightly troublesome. A year later saw the introduction of an 80bhp 1600 engine along with disc brakes at the front, and in 1961 the Mk II MGA appeared with numerous detail changes. The vast majority of the cars were sold in the US, and it was ultimately replaced by the MGB in 1962.

  1. Bonnet
  2. Front wings
  3. A-pillars
  4. Sills, inner and outer
  5. Door bottoms
  6. Boot lid

The Checklist

  • The condition of the bonnet and boot panels – they contain a plywood panel that rots from the inside, so look for rust bubbles. Both of those panels and the doors are steel skins over aluminium frames, so there’s the risk of galvanic corrosion, too
  • For signs of bodged repair work as a complete restoration can exceed £30,000. If the seller claims it’s been restored, it’s vital to know how well
  • The shut lines and panel alignment for anything awry – the latter isn’t easy to get right. Don’t assume US cars are rust free, either, and a specialist inspection is advisable; the chassis number starts with a 1 on genuine UK cars, and a 4 on US models
  • The chassis very carefully. It could have been distorted in an accident, and serious corrosion can affect the front and rear cross-members, the chassis rails by the sills, the base of the A-pillar, the rear spring hangers, and the battery box
  • Inside the boot as the floor rots away, and corrosion can affect the area around the fuel tank
  • For ripples in front and rear wing seams which could indicate previous accident damage. The correct jig is needed to align things properly, and a badly repaired car will never be right
  • The overall health of the engine, looking for oil leaks (often from the rear crankshaft oil seal – oil will drip from the bell-housing), and exhaust smoke that could signify wear in piston rings or cylinder bores. Oil pressure should be around 50psi when warm
  • For signs of overheating as coolant leaks are common and could have led to head gasket failure. Cracked cylinder heads aren’t unknown, either, and if you’re considering a Twin Cam bear in mind that re-builds are tricky and expensive
  • Which engine is fitted. Conversions to other units, or modi cations, are popular so be sure you know what’s been done, and how well
  • The four-speed gearbox as it suffers from worn second gear synchromesh, and worn layshaft bearings; a chattering noise in first or reverse is evidence of the latter. A swap to a 5-speed Ford Sierra transmission is a popular modi cation and improves cruising ability
  • That the differential isn’t whining, or suffering from oil leaks which can contaminate the rear brakes
  • That the drum brakes are working effectively. They are fone if properly maintained, but may have been converted to disc brakes
  • The steering for stiffness as the kingpins and trunnions need regular lubrication
  • For leaking lever arm dampers, and sagging rear leaf springs. Replacement parts are relatively inexpensive
  • The condition of wire wheels if fitted. Wear occurs in the spokes and hub splines, and a professional overhaul will be needed
  • That the interior isn’t too scruffy, or suffering from damage to trim. Just about every part is available, but restoration costs can soon mount up; and parts from different MGs may have been fitted in the past which will matter if you value originality
  • The electrics are functioning okay, although the Lucas parts are easy to replace

Everything Check Out?

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