1960 MGA 1600 Roadster
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 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.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale an Australian assembled and delivered, factory right hand drive 1960 MGA 1600 Roadster.
This particular example was one of a batch of 20 CKD MGA kits which were dispatched from the CKD Department in Cowley, UK on the 15th of July 1960. In October 1960 this MGA was assembled by the Pressed Metal Corporation in Enfield, Sydney on behalf of BMC Australia. The car still caries its Australian build number which confirms that it was the 445th MGA assembled in Australia. The ID plate looks to be original and states the car was delivered new in ‘carnation red’.
Little is known of this car’s very early history, however, it has an excellent history file with lots of receipts and documentation. The earliest documentation dates back to 1976 and at that time the car was owned by a gentleman from Greenacre (Sydney), NSW. He may well have owned the car prior to 1976. The car remained in his ownership for the next 28 years through until July 2004. The MGA then found its way to Nora Head, on the NSW central coast.
At that time the car was unregistered and in need of some TLC. The new owner went on a journey to bring the car back to a presentable but not concours condition. The car had some rust repairs undertaken and it was resprayed. In 2009 the engine was replaced with a correct type MGA 1600cc engine.
After almost 10 years of ownership, this MGA was sold in 2013 to its next owner and back to Sydney. This owner continued the journey of further upgrading and improving the car. Amongst other things he purchased a set of new 15-inch Dayton 72 spoke chrome wire wheels, purchased and installed new chrome headlight covers, installed a new exhaust and he had a tonneau cover made for the car. In November 2013 he stripped the inside of the car and treated it with rust protector. He subsequently painted all the metal & timber with black paint and then installed dynamat with dynaliner on top of it. Both seats were reupholstered and the carpet was also replaced.
In 2016 the car found its way to the Gold Coast in south east Queensland where it joined a collection of similar cars. After enjoying his MGA for 2 years the owner then decided to upgrade the car with a 5 speed gearbox. The Classic Car Clinic on the Gold Coast was tasked with this project. A conversion kit and Ford Sierra Type 9 gearbox were purchased from Hi-Gear Engineering Ltd in the UK and subsequently installed in the car.
In 2021 the car was sold to the current owner who also lives in south east Queensland. He bought the car as a kind of bucket list item. Having grown up in the UK, he’d always wanted one. He has used the car sparingly and unfortunately a change in circumstances has resulted in this MGA being reluctantly offering for sale again.
Today this MGA is best described as a ‘well presented, nice driver’. The car presents well from say a meter away but when you get closer, you’ll notice a few defects in the paint. The car has always been enjoyed the way it was intended by the previous owners and as a result there are some stone chips and blemishes here and there. Most noticeably, there is a small crack in the paint on the lower section of the rear right panel, just in front of the rear wheel arch. The right rear wheel arch has a small, star shaped crack in the paint.
The external trim is generally in very good condition. The chrome work on the car presents particularly well and looks fresh. The same can be said for the lights and lenses. The windscreen is in good condition but there is small spot on the lower left corner where there seems to be some evidence of delamination. Importantly, the panel gaps are very good on this car. The car is fitted with 72 spoke Dayton wire wheels which are fitted with Pirelli Cinturato P1 195/60/15 tyres, which are date stamped 2012.
This MGA is fitted with a black soft top which is in good condition, it appears to have hardly been used. The windows in it are clear and show no signs of discoloration. The two side screens are also with the car.
The interior presents really well and the red upholstery with the white piping on the seats and black carpets is all quite fresh. The colour combination works really well with the dark red exterior of the car. The seats are firm and provide plenty of support. Unfortunately, both seats have some small marks on the back. This is not uncommon on an MGA as the frame work of the hood, when it’s folded down, can press against the back of the seats and that results in some marks. All the instruments and controls are in good working order and present well. The chrome speaker surround, whilst not original to this particular model, is certainly a feature, as is the beautiful Moto-Lita steering wheel.
After having admired the smooth lines of the exterior and the simplicity of the interior it’s time to go for a drive. On a cold Brisbane morning the choke is definitely required . . . Insert the key in the ignition and turn the ignition on, wait a few seconds for the fuel pump to do its work and then pull the starter button to start the car. This MGA starts easily and it quickly settles into a smooth idle. It will require the choke to remain on for the first kilometre or so, but then you can slowly back it off. ‘DRIVING’ is what an MGA is all about! They are a quintessential example of what a sportscar should be. They are nimble, easy to drive and fun. This one is tight on the road, the engine is strong with plenty of power on tap and the 5 speed gearbox is smooth. In fact, the upgraded gearbox is a pleasant surprise and makes the car a nice cruiser. Whilst an MGA is not a fast car, it easily keeps up with modern day traffic. On our test drive the car performed exceptionally well and did everything one would expect. The oil pressure was very good and the temperature gauge never deviated from the 160 – 190 range on the gauge.
The MGA’s current owner lives in the Gold Coast hinterland and the car was driven around 100 km on its journey to our showroom where it did not miss a beat.
Whilst MG built just over 100,000 MGA’s, only around 10% were factory right hand drive cars and CKD kits.
An MGA is a fun and affordable classic, they are great to drive and this one is no exception. We are sure the next owner will enjoy driving it as much as we do. Driving an MGA just puts a smile on your face!
- Australian assembled CKD car
- 1 of 1,212 RHD CKD MGA 1600’s
- Desirable later model MGA with 1,588cc engine
- Upgraded with 5 speed gearbox.
- Comprehensive history file going back to 1976.
- Well presented, nice driver ready to use and enjoy.
- MGA 1600 Roadster
- 58,130 miles