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Re: MGA: Bargain or Bust?

Subject: Re: MGA: Bargain or Bust?
From: "A. B. Bonds" <>
Date: 27 Jun 1995 10:38:39 -0500
In <>, wrote:

>   I am currently looking at a 1958 MGA and was wondering if someone could 
>tell me what it's worth.  The car's body is solid (except for some 
>rust on the rocker panels and usual clogged drain holes).  Needs a new
>paint job.  All the Chrome is in excellent condition (recent restoration)
>interior is clean (newer carpets and seats)  The top is in good condition
>(looks fairly new) and the engine runs, but not great.   The guy selling 
>it is asking $4200 (I think it's a little high, but I'm no expert)

MGA's are a bit more forgiving than MGB's with respect to rot because
they have a frame which is very robust.  From that perspective, one
can start with an MGA that appears to be in rather bad condition and
still end up with a winner, so the risk associated with purchase is a
bit lower.  The downside is that some parts for MGA's are becoming
very dear or impossible to get.  The usual case is that there is rust
on the rockers and inside the fender wells; the latter can sometimes
penetrate, which can cause problems.  There are sheet metal baffles
inside the fenders which are fairly easily replaced, but penetration
into the trunk or engine compartment is a pain to fix.  The most
common site for troublesome rot is on the inside of the frame side
rails in the cockpit.  The MGA design spreads the frame around the
seats, and the floors are mounted on brackets a couple of inches above
the bottom of the frame.  Since the floors are wooden, they can soak
up water that sits in contact with the frame and eats long holes in
the inner rails.  For some unknown reason the rot is more prevalent on
the passenger side.  Such holes can be repaired, but it's a pain (been
there, done that....)

The only other warning is to insure that it is all there (instruments,
etc).  Most of the bits can be rebuilt if faulty, but are becoming
very difficult to purchase outright.  The price of $4200 is in the
middle of fair.  If there is some chassis rot on the inner rails, this
could be argued down.  Note that from what you describe, it will still
cost $3-$4000 to get the car close to right, even if you do most of
the work yourself.
                        Good luck!      A. B. Bonds

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