1959 MGA Twin Cam Coupe
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 also mechanically sharing the same 1250 cc engine but with a slightly higher compression ratio. Whilst 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 1489cc 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 models 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 Twin Cam was built in limited numbers and only 2,111 examples left the Abingdon factory before production ceased in mid-1959. The breakdown of the 2,111 cars is 1,788 were roadsters (1,331 left hand drive & 457 right hand drive) and only 323 were coupes (125 left hand drive & 198 right hand drive).
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a very rare factory right hand drive ‘home market’ MGA Twin Cam Coupe. The British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate on file confirms this car was built 27-31 August 1959 with a date of despatch of 31 August 1959. The car was originally Dove Grey with a red interior and was equipped with a heater and competition (De-Luxe) seats.
This car was originally built as an export model for a personal export delivery order. At the very last moment that order was cancelled and the car was subsequently re-allocated to ‘Home Sales’. The car was subsequently sold through MG dealers, Performance Cars Limited in Bentford, Middlesex in the UK and it was first registered in Middlesex, London on the 25th January 1960 as 208 XMG.
Little is known about the car’s subsequent history in the UK. At some stage the car found its way to North America where it passed through two owners. The second American owner purchased the car in late 1999 and at that time it was already partially disassembled, but largely complete. When he acquired the car, the engine had just been rebuilt by the first American owner and there were photos to confirm this. He engaged Vintage Restorations Limited in Union Bridge, Maryland, a well known restoration business in the US, to repair the body, remove some rust and properly align all the panels. Over the next 8 years slow progress was made but the car was never finished and it was put up for sale in 2007.
The car was advertised on eBay and the advert caught the attention of a British classic car enthusiast from Northern New South Wales. He purchased the car and immediately imported it into Australia. There is an import approval on file dated 19 December 2007. He then went on the journey to completely restore the car. Parts were sourced from all over the world. Whilst the engine had been previously rebuilt, he wanted to be sure everything was ‘spot on’ so the engine was rebuilt by Yager Performance in Alstonville, NSW. A stainless steel exhaust system was purchased from Engel Imports in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA and a new wiring harness was acquired from Vintage Wiring Harness in Ringwood, Victoria. In 2008 the car was stripped back to bare metal and repainted by OW Higgens & Son in Lismore, NSW in a shade of ‘iris blue’, which is an original MGA Twin Cam colour. The interior was also retrimmed and recarpeted in contrasting light grey and black respectively.
All the work was completed and the car was first registered in NSW in August 2016. The car was used sporadically over the next few years until its then owner passed away. It than sat for a year or so before being sold by Oldtimer Australia in 2020 to the current owner. At that time the car presented well, but it never had any of its post restoration bugs ironed out. The current owner spent considerable time and money doing just that and took a very good car up to the next level. It is now a beautifully presented and sorted car that is ready to be shown, used and enjoyed.
Today this MGA Twin Cam Coupe presents exceptionally well. The paint work, whilst now 13 years old, is still in very good condition. A picture says a thousand words and you can be the judge, but we think that ‘iris blue’ (or ‘baby blue’!) is the most perfect colour for this car! If you look hard there are a few very minor blemishes evident in the paint. There are a few small cracks in the paint on the top of each door and a small scrape on the bottom of the front right guard. The chrome work, and there is plenty on this car, is all in very good condition. The badges are a feature on an MGA Twin Cam and they are all present and in very good condition. The front windscreen and the side windows are all clean with no chips or scratches. The rear windscreen has been replaced at some stage with a perspex one. This is common, as replacement glass rear screens are notoriously hard to find. All the rubbers around the screens are in excellent condition. This car is fitted with spot lights which give the car a more aggressive look. The Dunlop knock off alloy wheels and spinners are a unique feature on an MGA Twin Cam and they are unmarked and present like new on this car. The wheels are shod with Continental Contact 185/80R15 tyres all round.
The interior on any MGA is simple, yet very functional and on this car it is beautifully presented. This car is fitted with competition seats that are trimmed in grey leather which complements the light blue exterior perfectly. Like the seats, the door cards, dash and the carpets also present like new.
All the instruments are in excellent condition and they all work as they should. The chrome bezel around the loudspeaker is a nice detail and specific to the Twin Cam and the DeLuxe models. The devil is in the detail and we love the original delivery dealer, Performance Cars Ltd, St. Christopher badge on the passenger’s side of the dash. The current owner has replaced the original steering wheel to aid driver comfort. He has chosen a slightly smaller, 15 inch, Moto-Lita steering wheel in the style of the original MGA works mahogany wood rim steering wheel. This looks fabulous and suits the car perfectly. The original steering wheel will accompany the car.
After admiring the car and familiarising ourselves with all the instruments and controls it is time to take it out for a drive. Insert the key into the ignition, turn the ignition on, pull the choke all the way out and pull the starter button. MGA Twin Cams can be somewhat temperamental, however, this car starts easily at the first pull of the button. That’s a positive first impression! The second one is that the engine sounds great! It has a raspy exhaust note that makes a statement from the get-go. The car really only needs the choke to start so you can back it of fairly quickly and the engine will settle into a smooth idle. It’s immediately obvious that this car wants to be driven. Make a mental note that as with all MGA’s there is no synchro on first gear. The Twin Cam engine has plenty of torque, so first gear is only needed to get the car moving and you can almost immediately shift up into second gear. That said, the car urges you to extend its legs and use all of the rev range before changing gear! The gear changes are smooth & precise, the engine revs freely & pulls strongly, encouraging the driver to use it as it makers intended . . . and that is to drive it!
For a car built in 1959 you tend to overlook and perhaps take for granted how well it drives. The car handles well, the steering feels direct & precise and surprisingly there are no rattle, squeaks or knocks! The car lives on the Sunshine Coast and its owner reported it did not miss a beat on its 150km trip down to our showroom.
This car retains its original ID plate, body number tag and engine number tag. Unlike many MGA Twin Cams this car retains its original ‘matching numbers’ engine. MG never kept records of engine numbers associated with chassis numbers, so it is difficult to confirm whether a car is ‘matching numbers’. It is generally accepted in the MG world that if an MGA Twin Cam has an engine number that is within ‘350’ of the chassis number than a car is considered to be ‘matching numbers’ On this car the difference between the chassis and engine numbers is 306. Additionally, when the car was advertised for sale on eBay in 2007 it had its original British registration log book, which probably would have noted the chassis and engine numbers, and the car was advertised as ‘matching numbers’.
Accompanying the car is a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate, good history file, owner’s hand book and workshop manual. Unfortunately, there is no jack, wheeler hammer or tool kit.
This rare and very desirable MGA Twin Cam Coupe is a stunning car. It is fully sorted and ready for its next owner to show, use and enjoy.
- Rare factory right hand drive MGA Twin Cam Coupe (1 of only 198 examples built).
- Freshly restored and sorted car.
- Stunning colour scheme.
- Good history file, owner’s hand book and workshop manual.
- MGA Twin Cam
- 96,788 miles