Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 15:21:44 -0500
From: "Pleczko, Rick" <Rick.Pleczko@MissionCritical.com>
Subject: RE: Buying a "B" - or an A
BTW The 60-61 MGA's (1600 MK1) are identical, the 62 has a bit larger motor
and different (recessed)grill and different tail lamps . They all have front
disc brakes, starting in "60. All of the mechanical cautions apply: oil
pressure, maintenance, cooling systems, etc, that would apply to the MGB. But
the A is built with a seperate body/frame, so there's other stuff to look for.
First, of course, RUST. Sill rust, especially behind the doors, is more
destructive than on the B and often goes all the way up inside the body to
the door latch area. ("castle section" ) This is Tough to fix right. If the
car has had an accident, the frame may be crinkled.. even a tweak behind a
rear wheel can make a door not line up or close right.
The doors, hood, and trunk are all alloy, if they are ripply or dented they
require special care to fix or they never do look right. Rust also gets into
fenders etc along the beading front and rear. The floors occasionally suffer
from dry rot. Electrics are too simple to worry about, and most of the
mechanicals, like the B, come cheap and easy (relatively in both cases...)
Bondo is often the biggest problem, hiding horribly bent pieces of body...
the front shroud above the grill is a frequent target and can have pounds of
the stuff encased there. Look for telltale signs of front end collision by
inspection of the panel between the radiator and grill. Missing rivet lines
or uneven welds are give-aways.
If the car has been repainted, a good indication of the care taken by the
dpo/painter can be seen in the overspray department... the schlocks just tape
over the fender beading and shoot, the pros remove the panels and paint
seperately. The overspray on the beading will tell the story.
The A is rated even by the British magazines as being one of the harder
britcars to properly restore, right up there with the E Type and Big Healey.
So look carefully, and buy the very best car you can. Be prepared to spend
towards 5 figures to get a nice reasonable car, and avoid those $ 4500 "runs,
needs work" specials, they'll cost you $20k to put right.
Of course, IF you insist on a basket case/big project, look hard for one that
is as complete as possible, and as un-thrashed as possible.
Again, mechanicals you can fix easily enough on the A, but it's tough to get
the inner structure and body panel stuff to be right once it's been rusted
away or screwed into a light pole at a high rate of speed, so if you make
that choice, go for the straight body with junk for mechanicals every time.
Also, if you're not a purist, MGB powered A's take quite a hit in value, and
of course there's more power there. Of course, if you resell it later the
(been there the hard way...)
>Rick Pleczko writes:
I> am looking for an MGA 1600 circa 1961 - can anbody provide me with tips,
>watchouts, experiences, whatever.
>Any info greatly appreciated.