∙Matching numbers example
∙£50,000 ground up restoration
∙Incredible history both on road, and competition
∙Owned by Roger Andreason of Chevron Racing Cars for the last five decades
∙One of only 210 UK Right-Hand drive examples
For many, the MGA is what they would consider the definitive classic car. It is woven into the fabric of the classic car world, it is a familiar sight at pretty much any classic car event. They still race them, there is a huge aftermarket still in operation to serve them, there are enthusiast clubs, forums, the list goes on. The MGA is one of the most beautiful, most exciting classics out there. And yet, it very nearly didn’t happen at all. In fact, when the notion was put in front of BMC boss, Leonard Lord, he dismissed it. He’d just done a deal with Donald Healey, so why did he need MG to have a sports car? It had the - somewhat dated - TF Midget, after all.
However, sales for the TF dropped off sharply by the late ‘50s, by which point it was more of a wheeled anachronism than a sports car. Let’s not forget, it could trace its route back to ‘36. All of a sudden, Lord was keen on the new car. It was a huge leap forward for MG, using closed wheel ‘pontoon’ styling draped over the chassis from the Magnette. The floors were lower than the saloon though, and as such, the MGA as it was known, was a low and sleek thing. It was powered by the new BMC four-cylinder. It was, as well we know today, a sales hit. Built from ‘55 to ‘62, it was an international hit. Over 100,000 were built, many of which were exported.
This incredible 1959 model has a fascinating history. First of all, there is the specification of the car itself. In 1958, MG listened to what buyers wanted, and created the car we have here - the Twin-Cam. It was fitted with the same B Series engine as before, but with an all-new double overhead cam cylinder head. It produced 100bhp, it was fitted with Dunlop disc brakes at all four corners - revolutionary for 1958, and also Dunlop knock off steel wheels.
This 1959 model, which still wears its original registration of XLE40, was first bought by Kenneth Mantovani son of the world-famous composer, Annunzio Paolo Mantovani. He owned the car until 1963 when, somewhat ironically, he sold it in favour of an Austin Healey 3000. However, during his time with the car, he did enter it into sprints and other competitions, and was impressed with the way the car handled. In an email from Kenneth in 2004, he stated to the father of the current owner that he “found the handling of the Healey to be very poor after the MGA.” He later said he sold the Healey and went back to MG, this time with a B!
Kenneth was unhappy, however, with the reliability of the car - early Twin-Cam models were known for detonation issues - and having spent a great deal of time at Abingdon rather than at home, he sold it. It was bought by a Jo Krygier in Birmingham who would run the car until around ‘65, by which point parts were hard to find. He did start a restoration of the car, but in the end sold it to the current owner’s father, Roger Andreason. About 70% complete, Andreason set about gathering as many spares as possible and soon put the car back on the road and on the track.
In its rebuilt and renewed guise, the car was actually incredibly reliable! Andreason, who pressed the MGA into motorsport, campaigned the car quite literally across the globe, as at one point it lived in Florida. There are pictures and news clippings aplenty that document the car’s career both on and off track.
Now in the hands of Roger’s son, the car has once again been restored, this time back to original condition. Today, it stands as being quite simply one of the best of its kind. The restoration, which we’ll explore below, has left no bolt unturned, and the result is a car that is quite literally better than when it was new. This is a car that has lived a most incredible life, and now, thanks to this recent restoration, it is ready to live another life with whoever is lucky enough to secure the winning bid.
There is of course a V5, and there is a full ‘from period’ workshop manual. The current owner also has a vast collection of images and newspaper cuttings that serve to document the history of the car and its various guises.
Our personal favourite is the cutting from 1968, in which the skill of Roger Andreason is lauded with some glee. The cutting reads: “On lap four they [race leaders] were joined by Roger Andreason in his twin-cam M.G.A. By completely mastering the tricky double apex of Camp Corner, Andreason managed to get a classical fast exit from the bend each time round, which brought him closer to, and then by the side of his opponents.”
Further documentation includes copies of emails between Kenneth Mantovani and Roger Andreason, along with conversations between Roger’s son, Chris, and Kenneth’s wife, Pat Mantovani.
While the documentation and paperwork included with this car isn’t - with the exception of bills and invoices for the most recent restoration - conventional, it is far more thrilling than your traditional book of stamps. It’s an exciting, enthralling look through time.
The restoration work cost Roger Andreason's son £50,000 for which invoices can be found in the cars history file, and was completed not for retail purposes, but to honour the memory of his father and the car's special history. Now complete, the car is ready to start its next chapter and create further amazing memories.
Better than new, frankly. The interior of the MGA is a small affair, so there’s not a lot to worry about. The seats have been re-trimmed and are in perfect condition, completely with fetching blue piping. The carpets are all new, and as such, in excellent condition. The dashboard has been re-trimmed and looks resplendent, while all the chrome attached has been polished to perfection. The Smiths gauges are bright and clear, with no cracking or hazing. The ‘banjo’ steering wheel is excellent, too.
The door cards have been replaced, and the door pull cables are new, too. Everything functions with a pleasing solidity, It’s simple, with no windows, no buttons, no faff basically. Just door pockets and pull cords. It works. The doors, while small, do a good job of making the cabin feel like a snug, secure place to be.
The windscreen and surround are in excellent condition, with no damage wear to be observed. The rubbers are all new, too. As for the roof that sits atop it, this is of course new fabric on an original frame. The frame has been repainted and is in excellent order, and while the period dictates it’s a bit of a handful to operate, it does indeed fold away behind the seats as it should. Furthermore, the floor and sides of that area (which can be used for storage when the roof is up) are trimmed in new carpet. Back to the doors, new door tops/windows are with the car should the weather turn. Though it’s worth mentioning that since being restored, this MGA has not been outside in anything more adverse than a slight breeze.
The most astonishing thing about this MGA is the fit and finish. They simply weren’t built this well when they were new! The paintwork is exceptional and is utterly, utterly perfect across the car. As we mentioned previously, this car has covered no miles since being restored other than for a bit of cursory testing. As such, there simply hasn’t been an opportunity to collect any defects. It’s just a rich, deep gloss that has been expertly applied.
Then there are the details; the chrome vents, the body piping between the panels, the overall fit of said panels. This is an exemplary demonstration of how good a restoration can be. Details like the original, repainted Dunlop steel wheels on new rubber set the car off a treat. The chromework keeps things honest though, as it is largely the original equipment. There’s a bit of patination here and there, like on the rear lights. But no corrosion, no wear. Just a gentle kiss of age.
It’s simply a thing of absolute beauty. Arguably one of the best of its kind. It’s clear from one glance that this car has been restored by virtue of honest care, expertise and attention.
Having been completely rebuilt, the driveline of this MGA is in excellent health. Open that long bonnet and you’re greeted with the sight of that wrinkle-painted twin-cam cylinder head with a pair of twin carbs bolted to the offside. There’s a stainless expansion tank fitted, but other than that, it’s largely original. Everything is clean, tidy and very well presented.
As we touched on, this MGA has only covered a few miles since being restored. It’s awaiting its next owner before the miles can rack up. It starts on the button though, and the 1,588cc engine barks and snarls through those vocal carbs. It’s laden with character. It gets to temperature with no issue, and holds it. All the hoses are new, along with all the clips. It’s not going to leak a drop of fluid.
The transmission, we’re assured, is direct and sharp with a light clutch and keen engagement. The brakes are new all-round, and do a superb job of keeping the MGA on the straight and narrow. The suspension is free from any bumps, creaks or groans, thanks in no small part to the fact everything on the underside is still wearing fresh grease.
In fact, looking under the car, we’re greeted by a sea of fresh gloss black paint and a seemingly unending display of new bolts, clips, fixing, fuel and brake lines. It’s as new under here, if not better.
This has to be one of the best of its kind, which is reason enough to want to bid. The MGA is a car that will always have a receptive, keen market just waiting to snap it up. But this one, with the twin-cam engine and that rich, and fascinating history? This is not like the others. This is better. It’s lived a life of speed, of adventure of pure petrolhead bliss. And now, restored, refreshed and better than ever, it’s ready to live that way for many, many years to come. Truly, a car not to be missed.
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