The 1959 MG / MGA Convertible shown in this article is a car that began being produced in 1956. This model was brought out specifically to replace the T cars. The T models were in production all the way from 1936 to 1955. The last was the MG TF model which was then replaced by the 1956 MGA. A year after the convertible was introduced, a hard top model, the MGA Coupe came out. The MGA's were produced until 1962 at which time it was replaced by the MGB.
When the MGA came out, MG was a part of the British Motor Corporation. The company was a merger between Morris Motors and the Austin Motor Company. During the 1950's the company was the largest British automaker.
A True Sports Car
A collector looking to restore this type of MG will find it affordable and parts needed are not hard to find. New tops are also easy to find. They are readily available making a restoring project that much more enjoyable.
The MG Convertibles have some features which may appear a bit strange in 2013 but for the period of the late 1950's they were considered quite sporty. In fact, when MG introduced the car in late 1955 it was considered a fine low and sleek sports car. The MGA was a two seater with a prominent speedometer and tachometer on the dash. If someone wanted to add a radio, which back during this time was probably an AM, you'd simply mount the radio and a speaker on the little dashboard.
Another great aspect of this car was that you didn't need to be wealthy to drive one. Over 100,000 of the MGA's were produced during the years in production. The 1959 production figure was around 17,600 cars. The average new car price back in the late 1950's for the MGA was in the range of $2,500 to $3,000.. Compared to the Austin Healy of it's time, the MGA 1500 Convertible is as popular as the Austin-Healey 100 but at a much lower price.
Today you may be looking for power windows. Not to be found in the MGA's. Rather they have sliding thermoplastic windows referred to as side curtains. These small sport cars were also built with no way really to lock the doors and trunk. To open a door you'll pull a cord. This may sound a bit primitive but the car is representative a relatively low cost sports car of the late 1950's. While this may all sound simple, the big advantage was that it was equally simple to maintain and repair.
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1959 MG / MGA Convertible Specifications
The 1959 MGA came out with a Morris inline four cylinder, 68 horsepower, 1.5 liter, 1,489cc overhead valve engine and a four speed manual transmission. This combination gave the MGA a lot of pep.
The car's weight came in at about 2,000 lbs and could achieve a top speed at just under 100 MPH. Acceleration from 0 to 60 MPH was about 15.0 seconds. The fuel tank holds 12 gallons.
The MGA had independent coil springs and a wishbone front suspension system. The car had drum brakes. It's interesting to note that competitor Triumph came out in 1959 with disc braking.
The MGA wheelbase was 94.0 inches and had a steel welded chassis. Total vehicle length was 156.0 inches, width 58.0 inches, height 50.0 inches and ground clearance 6.0 inches.
1959 MGA buyers had the option of having either standard steel disc wheels or center lock wire wheels.
Collector Car Prices
As mentioned above, the MG was never considered a high priced luxury sports car. That's why they can make very affordable and fun restoration projects. If you have the opportunity the locate one you'll have little trouble locating parts.
As always, collector car prices will vary a lot. Depending on the condition and the level of restoration, the MG MGA models can sell in a range from about $10,000 into the $50,000 range. That's obviously a wide range. Some of the higher prices came from 2011 and 2012 for the 1957 MGA's. Auction prices reached nearly $57,000 for both those years for the 1957 models.
A good book on the subject of the MG is Classic British Sports Cars by author Jon Pressnell.
(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)