A fantastic 1957 MGA Roadster, SOLD by Californiaclassix.com!

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1957 MG "A" Roadster!

The MG "A" debuted late in 1955. Based on EX182, the famous Le Mans racer prototype, its steel-and-aluminum envelope body -- along with the Austin-Healey, Aston Martin DB2, and Jaguar C-Type -- is one of the handful of really superb designs to emerge from Her Majesty's England in the Fifties.

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Today, excellent surviving examples of the breed are among the most sought-after post-war collector cars. The MGA not only charms with its fabulous good looks, it also is oodles of fun to drive. Inexpensive spare parts are readily available and club support is exemplary.

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The amazing example for auction here, Chassis #HDR43/22698, was built for export and sold new in the USA. A fine, rust free, original car, a few years ago it underwent a very thorough, $30,000.00 restoration.
Let's now inspect this exceptional Roadster in more detail, starting with the engine compartment.

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This MGA is powered by its original, numbers matching engine #BP15GB/12955, a one-and-a-half liter pushrod motor that has earned its reputation of being unbreakable.
It may come as a revelation to many, but all you ever need to keep this strong 4-banger going is a screwdriver, a hammer, a set of pliers, and maybe a little bit of baling wire. For anybody paying his (or her) own bills, it surely provides peace of mind to know there are no black boxes, injectors, electronics, and fancy stuff like that. Similar to Porsche Speedster and Lotus Super Seven, the MGA is a minimalist car designed to deliver maximum fun!

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How clean is this show-detailed MG, really? Find out by inspecting the engine bay up close or with a magnifying glass.

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Befitting a body-off restoration, the car's undercarriage has received lots of attention. Frame rails are rust free and straight. New wooden floorboards were fitted. A correct, cloth-covered wiring loom was installed. Everything that needed repair or replacement was repaired or replaced. The car has been driven just a few thousand miles since the work was completed.

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Almost Italianate looking, the hunched-down two-seater features a very long hood and a 2-seater cockpit just ahead of the rear axle; it is devoid of any superfluous chrome trim, quite contrary to the prevailing style of the decade. MG's coachwork presents absolutely stunningly, with not a single bubble, ding, dent, or scrape of note.

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Above, left to right:

  • Although a British Roadster should only be caught with the top up in the most severe weather conditions, such as tennis ball-size hail, you surely will appreciate the brand new black convertible top (complete with concours-ready, tan top frame).
  • A set of superb, $1,000.00 side curtains, correct for the 1500, featuring flip up windows, completes the picture.
  • Side curtain stowage bag, installed behind seats.
  • Factory zippered tonneau cover provides protection when parking the car; kids of all ages like to hide underneath. Amazingly comfortable cruising is possible during periods of inclement, even rainy, weather with the heater on and the tonneau covering the passenger area.

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Immaculate, 60-spoke chrome wire wheels with center knock-offs are shod with new FIRESTONE F560 radials of the correct size, 165-15.

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Orient Red is perhaps the most iconic color for an early MGA. Carefully color-sanded and buffed, the finish displays a mirror-like luster and is virtually free of blemishes. The surface feels soft as skin to the touch; it's been hand-waxed with ZYMÍL, the World's most expensive Carnauba wax.
All brightwork, weatherstripping, and glass presents immaculately.

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Inside the cockpit, we find the classic Roadster dash of the Fifties: painted metal, featuring a full array of black-faced JAEGER instruments with graceful chrome bezels, black Bakelite knobs, and a fine Banjo-style steering wheel.

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All gauges, switches, and lights look mint and work perfectly.

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Compared to the minimalist seating provisions sometimes found in Fifties' Roadsters, the MGA is luxuriously appointed with its correct 1957 seats, newly upholstered with horsehair pads and black, vat-dyed CONNOLLY leather of superb quality, accented with attractive red piping. Leather-covered cockpit rails, new door panels, a new side curtain stowage bag, all new windlacing, a full, black carpet kit, and black ribbed rubber floor mats complete this interior; it's truly as new as it can be. Thousands of Dollars worth of restoration supplies were purchased from MOSS Motors, a company that prides itself in delivering concours-correct parts.

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Bird's eye view of the pristine seats. Note matching center arm rest.

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Naturally, a lovingly restored, fresh car should drive like a new car drove back then, 55 years ago, perhaps better. Let's find out what it's like to drive an almost new 1957 MGA in the year 2012!
However, before we lave, let's have a good look at the MG's trunk (note chrome trunk rack to accommodate extra luggage for those long trips).

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Trunk looks every bit as clean as the remainder of this MG. Tire changing tools are included.

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Above: rust free trunk floor and original spare with ancient 6.00-15 bias ply whitewall tire.

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Monday, October 29, turned out to be another nice autumn day here in San Buenaventura. While the folks on the Right Coast were preparing for hurricane Sandy, we Left-Coasters could indulge in open top motoring.

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The MG runs strong, so strong, indeed, that it feels a bit like driving a big Austin Healey.
Turn on the ignition, set the choke, pull out the starter knob, and the motor comes to life instantly. A sporty exhaust note alerts the senses. Put the floor-mounted 5-speed shifter into first, release the clutch, and off you go.
Yep, you read it right, this "A" features a 5-speed transmission, a $3,795.50 conversion (plus cost of labor to have it installed professionally), sourced from MOSS Motors in nearby Goleta. A 5-speed transmission amounts to what is perhaps the greatest possible improvement for an old MG. Unlike Austins and Jaguars of the period, MGs were not available with overdrive boxs from the factory. If you ever tried to drive an MGA on the freeway at a sustained speed of 75mph for any length of time, you probably wished for an overdrive with better gearing to bring the RPM down to a healthier level. The Ford T-9 based MOSS overdrive enables MGA owners to finally enjoy relaxed long-distance motoring, but, as stated above, it ain't exactly cheap. To find an MGA featuring this important upgrade is a godsend!

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Check out the flawlessly working gauges; they indicate this MGA to be perfectly healthy, without overheating and with great oil pressure, cold or hot.

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Though 55 years old, this MGA still manoeuvers comfortably in today's bustling traffic. In 5th gear, its top speed exceeds 100mph -- thusly, freeway driving is not a daunting task at all. Even in car-crazed Southern California, the "A" attracts plenty of attention wherever you go. In a world of tank-like trucks disguised as SUVs, a fire-engine-red MG Roadster spells FUN in capital letters and reminds everybody that size does matter: smaller means quicker, more agile. It's a proven formula: "The smaller the car, the more fun it provides!"

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Beautiful from every imaginable angle, this fine Roadster convinces by the sum of its details: body, paint, interior, chrome, accessories . . . everything is fresh and thus belies the MG's age to the fullest.

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Isn't this what it's all about? To escape from the rigors of work, the boundaries of having to fit in, the ennui of a quasi-virtual life. You owe it to yourself to get away from it all, once in a while. Well, this show-and-go MGA is the E-ticket ride to automobile happiness.

Addendum:
We sold this fantastic MGA in 2012 to an enthusiast in Southern California.


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