CURRENT BID: £16,500
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1960 MGA 1600 Coupé

Guide Price: £16,000 - £21,000

The Background

Although it is the convertible ‘Roadster’ model MGA that tends to be the coveted one, it’s the coupé version that comes closest to designer Syd Enever’s original vision of the first ever working man’s sports car.
Inspiration for the MGA’s creation came from the 1951 Le Mans 24 hour race, plus a special streamlined body created for George Phillips’s racing car.  Enever’s evolution of this was developed for a purpose,  namely to imbue a new little sports model with the best possible aerodynamics, in an era when such things were still considered a dark art. So whilst streamlining was the essential ingredient, the fact that it looked sensational was not simply a coincidence either. 
The hardtop (coupe) model, more so than the roadster, was truly aero-inspired & this is reflected by the domed cabin & sectional rear windscreen, reminiscent of a  period 2nd world war fighter plane cockpit.  That is indeed how it feels starting & driving a coupe, even down to the dash configuration, dials & switches.
The MGA made its debut at the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show where it still looked way ahead of its time, despite  the original Le Mans car having  appeared as much as four years earlier.
The 1600 variant appeared in 1959 following criticism that the original MGA didn’t  perform as  a sports car should. Consequently the earlier 1489cc engine  was replaced with a  1,588cc, for the sole purpose of increasing the power output  to just under 90bhp; Whilst a 1,622cc Twin Cam version was also  offered to those who wanted even more. At the same time, all MGA's got front disc brakes to accommodate the increasing engine power, in order to provide better breaking capacity too.
This particular coupe is a standard 1600 dating from 1960 in excellent  condition.  It is  not  concours, but nor does it pretend to be. Importantly, it has had a back-to-metal chassis up rebuild and a recent cabin re-trim. It also comes with a highly desirable ‘Type 9 Hi-Gear’ five-speed conversion which is a must for touring & hugely  improves fuel economy  whilst largely reducing engine wear.

The History

This car is affectionately known as ‘Bluebird’ by its current owner, who since 2015 has embellished the chassis up rebuild undertaken by the previous owner with some wonderful cosmetic & practical refinements.  He recently installed pale blue leather seats whilst the  front suspension was overhauled, new wheel bearings all round, new front brake callipers and discs, a rear brake overhaul, stainless steel exhaust, new radiator, new fuel tank, new steering wheel, new battery and the twin carburettors tuned and balanced. 

Very recently a new two-ton tow bar with chrome ball and a front proprietary manufactured towing point were also  added, something not many MGAs can boast! 

The Paperwork

This is an original UK car, and the V5 shows 5 keeper changes prior to 2015 when the current owner bought the car. 
The original colour is unknown, although photographs of the previous keeper’s rebuild shown in the gallery indicate it had  been white earlier in its lifetime. 
The original chassis plate is also provided with many photographs of the chassis up rebuild this car has enjoyed.

The Interior

For a 60-year old car, the cabin is in impeccable order, thanks in no small part to the current keeper’s recent full seat re-trim.  Neither the seats or the exterior of the car  are the original colour, but a pale blue leather chosen for the upholstery in order   to match contrastingly with the darker blue exterior preferred by the previous keeper.
A brand new steering wheel also sets it off nicely. There is  some modest ‘in use’ wear to the black carpets, but these are essentially in very good condition.  
A period radio is fitted & all vehicle controls & gauges  work as they should, whilst the luggage space is also clean and tidy.  As was a common period feature, a secret switch (marked F, originally for optional fog lamps) may be deployed to immobilise the car. The owner has pointed out that although working, the speedometer may not be perfectly accurate & need recalibrating.

The Exterior

WSL680's exterior is finished in a bold mid-blue cellulose, similar to the record breaking Bluebird after which she is nick named. The paint job is not impeccable, but it’s still a very smart and presentable finish with absolutely no rust. 
Of greater importance is the car’s structural condition. For instance the integrity of body panels, boot, bonnet & doors all shutting  beautifully, & fully restored to a professional standard. The car is also superb underneath, fully under sealed with the owner happy to demonstrate the car’s condition on a ramp to any prospective buyer.

The Mechanics

Under the bonnet you’ll find BMC’s venerable B-Series engine, as found in almost every MG built between 1954 and 1981. 
The 1,588cc unit has twin SU carburettors and starts on the button, with a throaty intake note and a steady idle. The engine sounds as it should with no bangs, rattles, smoke or misfires.  It’s original dynamo charges the battery well, & all round the car is in excellent running order. 
One of the most appealing features of this car is the period five-speed conversion touched upon earlier in the text.  This conversion uses a type 9 Ford gearbox.  Hi-gear, who make the conversion kit are the longest standing & best quality conversion kit manufacturers. Unlike the alternative  Mazda MX5 conversion,   there are no transmission tunnel alterations with Hi-gears perfectly revised ratios for the modern roads.
The suspension, brakes, prop shaft & all essential running gear have been closely inspected & either replaced with new or rebuilt, adding further peace of mind for the next owner.

The Appeal

This is the perfect classic coupe for regular use, with some very useful touring modification, such as the tow bar & 5 speed gearbox.
You may also be wondering why the front towing point fitted to this car?  The scarcely known reason for this, is that should you need to be recovered by a simple tow pole (as required in Europe) or rope tug from a friend (or humanitarian saviour), without a proprietary manufactured front tow point this simplistic means of recovery is right out of the question. MG simply made no provision for it, & because these cars are so low, without the proper fitment, for those who try a tow, damage to the front valance is guaranteed.
This car is a smart little ‘savvy owners’ MGA, brimming with charm & character, yet is also begging to be used and enjoyed. Of course for  those who have a trailer or caravan, it’s ideally equipped for a UK or European  touring holiday, with practical towing &  recovery provisions already in place. However, please note, a towing lighting  plug has yet to be  been fitted. 

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sales of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.
Vehicle specification
  • Year 1960
  • Make MG
  • Model MGA 1600 Coupé
  • Colour Blue
  • Mileage 38,047
  • Engine size 1588
  • Location Essex
Bidding history
12 bids from 6 bidders
  • Jasfras•••• £16,500 29/09/20
  • Vignale•••• £16,250 29/09/20
  • Jasfras•••• £16,000 29/09/20
  • Vignale•••• £14,500 29/09/20
  • Jetsons £14,250 28/09/20
  • Vignale•••• £13,500 26/09/20
  • 1234Chr•••• £13,250 26/09/20
  • Vignale•••• £13,000 26/09/20
  • ScottyP•••• £12,000 26/09/20
  • TimTown•••• £11,000 26/09/20

The Gallery

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