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Homepage. This page: A period shot of an MGA roadster with its driver and a pair of young luvvlies sat on the rear shelf.

1. MGA Roadster.

The words "bird" and "puller" sprung to mind when this old photo of an MGA Roadster turned up a while back. A cool-looking chap, with shades, is seen behind the wheel of his - or maybe his father's?? - sporty MG, with a couple of young ladies perched on the rear deck panel, basking in the sun. The presence of sun, and the style of the car's registration plate, both suggest an overseas setting for the location of this RHD MGA photo. Hopefully a numberplate guru will drop me a line and confirm the source of this car's registration plate (Z 2431). Another British favourite can just be seen over the brunette's right shoulder, in the shape of a Morris 1100/1300.
Update. Peter got in contact from Canada, describing the MG's (Cypriot) registration plate. From his experience, the plate is likely to be red, with white lettering which, combined with the "Z" prefix, indicates a hire, or rental, car. This colour scheme is still used today in Cyprus. Thanks Peter!
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
MG MGA sports car
The low-slung MGA broke away from the traditional MG sportscar "look" when it made its debut in 1955, replacing the outdated MG TF (a toy version of the TF can be seen here, and the MGA Roadster here). The MGAs built from 1955 to 1959 had the 1489cc ("1500") version of BMC's dependable B-Series engine, albeit tweaked somewhat in the spirit of the swoopy sporting bodywork that it was now tasked to propel. In 1958 a "hot" version of the two seater MG was launched, the MGA Twin-Cam, but poor reliability would be its undoing and it only sold in small numbers before being shown the door in 1960. By that time, the B-Series cars had been uprated to 1588cc ("1600"), and both basic and De Luxe versions of the Roadster and Coupe were offered.
The Mark II MGA 1600 was introduced in 1961, still fitted with the B-Series OHV engine but stretched to 1622cc (contemporary Austin/Morris etc Farina saloons also underwent a switch from 1489cc to 1622cc at a similar time). The grille of the latest MGA had undergone a subtle re-design, the vertical bars now being recessed. Production continued until 1962, when the fresh-looking MGB took over from the MGA in BMC showrooms.

2. MGA Roadster racer.

This next photo shows an MGA 1600 Roadster converted for motor-racing. The registration isn't totally visible - it looks like KAS 284 - but despite appearances it isn't a British registration. Evidently this Avon Turbospeed-shod racer had enjoyed some success in its owner's hands, judging by the trophies and cups displayed on the car's bonnet. A handwritten note on the rear of this original photo reads as follows:
M.G."A" 1600. Won GT race Nakuru on 'Avon' tyres, put up fastest lap by MGA 74.1 seconds. [signed] P.G. Sargeantson.
Nakuru Park was a 1.3 mile long circuit, approximately 97 miles from Nairobi, Kenya.
Racing MGA roadster

3. MGA 1500.

Ian kindly permitted me to share the following two photographs of his father's MGA 1500 roadster on the site. The first shows a young Ian perched upon the MG, on a hot sunny day. He thinks the car dates to 1956 or thereabouts, which ties in with it being a 1500. He'd like to try and establish if the car survives or not, it was purchased new from Mile End Garage. Hampering the search is the fact that only part of the registration is known - it ends in TW, as can be seen in the first photograph. He thinks the three letters may have been CTW, which would put its Essex registration at late 1955. Does anyone recognise the car? It's not all that common to see a roadster on pressed steel wheels nowadays, most seemingly have been fitted with wires.
MGA 1500 on pressed steel wheels
The second of Ian's photos sees his father, Henry Vernon, with the sporting MG. Thanks for sending them over Ian.
Side view of the MG
Return to Page 11 in the vintage car motoring gallery.

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