1957 MGA Roadster
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale an Australian assembled 1957 MGA Roadster.
The early history of this car is not known. It was understood to have been a long term Brisbane car that was acquired by the previous to current owner in 2013. At that time the car was in poor condition and he sent it to the Healey Factory in Melbourne to be refurbished. The car required significantly more work than was first envisaged. The car was stripped and the body was removed from the chassis. It required new sills along with other panel repairs. Once all the metal work was completed the car was repainted. The interior was also retrimmed and the owner chose the unique and classy red/black upholstery combination as you will see in the photos. The car was also mechanically refreshed. The car was part of a significant collection and it was used from time before being sold to the current owner through The Healey factory in October 2020.
The current owner is very particular about his cars and decided to take the car the next level. The first thing he wanted to do after acquiring the car was to install a five-speed gearbox. He purchased a five speed MGA gearbox conversion kit from Vitesse and had The Healey Factory install it. The gearbox uses Mazda MX5 internals and clutch plate. He also had them install electronic ignition and a new starter motor.
Improving the MGA didn’t stop there! In 2021 the original generator was swapped for an alternator and the car was converted to negative earth. When the current owner acquired the car it was fitted with an after market wooden dashboard. He didn’t really like the look of it and decided to have an original metal dashboard fitted to the car. All the instruments had to be removed from the old dashboard and he decided to have the speedo and tacho serviced before installing them back into the car. A new tonneau cover was also purchased.
In June 2021 he noticed a coolant leak on the right-hand side of the engine block which turned out to be from one of the welch plugs. New ones were fitted and at the same time the bearings on the front wheels were replaced. Also, the rear hubs were disassembled and new bearings, oil seals and brake shoes were fitted.
When the current owner acquired the car it didn’t have a heater installed. Given he kept the car at his holiday house in Tasmania a heater was a must! He sourced a second hand original Smiths heater box, had it reconditioned and installed in the car.
In July 2021 the SU carburettors were reconditioned.
In June 2022 a new radiator was fitted and the front crankshaft seal was replaced. At the same time the radiator hoses were all replaced with new ones.
The most recent service on the car was completed in February 2023. At that time the engine oil was replaced and a new oil filter was installed. The car also received a general check over.
A huge amount of money has been spent on this car in the past two years or so. There are invoices on file from 2021 onwards that add up to just over $43,000!
Not surprisingly, today this MGA presents and drives exceptionally well. An MGA is a car that carries colour well, but red just seems to be perfect! The paint on the car is in very good condition and it still has a strong depth of colour and nice gloss finish. The car has been used as its makers intended and it has travelled some 3,000 miles, mostly around Tasmania, in the last few years. As a result, if you look closely there are a few stone chips on the front of the car. All the bright work on the car is in similar condition. It presents very well, but if you look closely you will notice a few minor imperfections. All the lights and lenses are all in good condition. The same can be said for the windscreen though we did notice a very small crack in the lower left hand corner. The panel gaps on MGA’s are often problematic. They are very good on this car.
Inside the car everything presents beautifully. The seats are comfortable and in good very condition. The upholstery colour scheme on the seats is not original, but it looks good and really suits the car. With all the work done on the dashboard in recent years it is no surprise that all the instruments present well and are all in good working order. The current owner also had a USB port installed so you will be able to charge your phone whilst you’re enjoying a drive in this little sports car. At some stage a Moto-Lita steering wheel has been fitted. All the carpets are in very good condition.
Unfortunately, there is no soft top with the car. It probably doesn’t matter too much; most MGA owners will tell you they rarely if at all use the soft top. That said, a new soft top can be easily purchased and installed. There is an ‘as new’ tonneau cover with the car which fits well.
The chrome wire wheels are in very good condition and are currently shod with Kumho Optima K715 195/70/15 tyres which are date stamped 0213 (week 02, 2013). They are still in good condition but probably should be replaced based on age if one would consider doing some serious driving.
With all the work done to the car we were curious to see how it drives. The starting procedure is quirky but simple. You insert the key into the ignition and turn it on, then pull the choke out (required when the engine is cold) and pull the starter button. The car starts easily and after the engine has warmed up a little bit you can turn the choke off and the engine will quickly settle into a smooth idle. First impressions are good, the engine sounds strong and responds instantaneously to the slightest touch of the throttle. This MGA has a raspy exhaust note and after driving a short distance get the vibe that the 1,500cc engine may well have been upgraded. The engine revs willingly and car pulls strongly through the gears. And yes, with five of them, this car is an absolute delight to drive! The five-speed gearbox is easy to use and the gear changes are short and precise.
Out on the open road this MGA feels really solid and the car easily absorbs any bumps in the road. The steering is light, direct and it has a great feel to it. The car just goes where it is pointed. An MGA 1500 has drum brakes all around and some people can be a bit sceptical about their performance but on this car they work well and the car pulls up quickly and in a straight line when needed. They are more than adequate.
Accompanying the car is a recent history file, tonneau cover,spare wheel, jack and hard to find tool kit.
The current owner of this car has decided to go in a different direction with his collection and as a result this quintessential British sports car is now looking for a new home. This MGA looks great, it is well sorted and an absolute delight to drive.
The MGA has a great following in Australia and there are many different ways to enjoy them. There are MG car clubs all over the country that offer regular drive days, other events and a great social network. If that is not your scene then an MGA is a fantastic weekend cruiser that will always be admired wherever it goes!
- Australian assembled factory RHD example.
- Recently had a considerable amount of money spent to bring it up to its current condition.
- Lovely example of a quintessential British sports car.
- Ready to use and enjoy.
MG is one of the world’s most iconic motoring brands. Founded in 1924 by Cecil Kimber, MG (which are the initials for Morris Garages) produced some fabulous cars pre-war and enjoyed much success in motoring racing. A milestone for the company occurred in 1933 when an MG Magnette K3 became the first non-Italian car to win its class at the Mile Miglia.
Today when someone mentions MG you immediately think of ‘the affordable, everyman’s sports car’, and particularly the MGB. It was, however, post-World War II that MG really brought the sports car to the people with the MG TC. The MG TA (built from 1936 – 1939) and MG TB (built from 1939 – 1940) were well regarded sports cars, but sold only in relatively small numbers. Introduced in 1945 the MG TC was in fact a very similar car to the MG TB, both visually and mechanically sharing the same 1,250 cc engine but with a slightly higher compression ratio. Although only built as right hand drive, America fell in love with the MG TC and many cars were sold to American serviceman serving in the UK and Europe at the end of the war. In fact, everyone loved the TC and cars were sold to all points of the globe! Over six years of production MG sold 10,000 MG TC’s.
The MG TC was succeeded by the MG TD in 1950 and circa 30,000 cars were built before being replaced by the MG TF in 1953. Just under 10,000 TF’s were built of which one third had the 1500 cc engine. The T Series MG’s were replaced by the MGA in 1955.
The MGA was introduced to compete with the new and very fresh Austin-Healey. This model was a completely new design which proved to be another great success story for BMC. In total just over 100,000 MGA’s were built from 1955 through until 1962. When introduced the MGA was powered by a 1,489cc four cylinder engine and the first MGA’s were often referred to as MGA 1500. The MGA power plant went through a number of improvements through the model’s life, including an increase to 1588cc in 1959 (MGA 1600) and then to 1622cc in 1961 (MGA Mark II). MG also introduced a high-performance version of the MGA, the MGA Twin Cam in 1958.
The MGA was built in Australia from CKD (complete knocked down) kits imported from England. This was done to avoid the duties and tariffs on imports imposed by the Australian Government to protect the domestic car industry. MGA’s were assembled at the Pressed Metal Corporation assembly plant in Cosgrove Road, Enfield, NSW. The plant was 60% owned by Larke Consolidated Industries and 40% by the Rover Car Company UK. Besides MGA’s they produced 3 tonne trucks and ½ tonne vans. Only MGA 1500’s, 1600’s and 1600 MK II’s were assembled in Australia. The Twin Cams and Coupes were imported as fully built up cars. The first Australian assembled MGA rolled of the production line in October 1957.
The exact number of MGA’s assembled in Australia is not known. The bulk of the production data appears to have been lost. What is known is that 1,324 RHD CKD MGA 1500’s, 1,212 RHD CKD MGA 1600’s and 176 RHD CKD MGA 1600 MK II’s left the factory in the UK. Research conducted in Australia tells us at least 65% (and probably a lot more) of the RHD CKD kits were assembled in Australia.
- MGA Roadster
- 21,841 Miles