Guide Price: £16,000 - £21,000
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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