As charming as they were, old MGs were plagued by mechanical issues that could potentially kill you.
Anyone who has ever owned an old MG knows their car needs to be regularly forgiven for its seemingly endless number of mechanical issues. Everything from constant oil leaks to faulty electronics is part and parcel of the MG experience. But still, MGs remain some of the coolest and most fun to drive British roadsters of all time. Those factors alone totally make up for the ever-present oil stain on your garage floor and the risk of electrocuting yourself when turning on the radio.
While most people are familiar with the MGB, its predecessor, the MGA, managed to create a devout following of its own. First launched in 1955, the MGA’s design originated from an old Le Mans racer whose body design was refined for production. It also received a new chassis that made it a much better road car. Power first came from a 1.5-liter inline-four that produced just 68 horsepower but was later upgraded to 72 hp. It reached 60 mph in 16 seconds and had a top speed of almost 98 mph. In 1958 the MGA Twin-Cam high-performance version was launched that saw output increased to 108 hp.
Despite the power boost, this engine quickly became known for its unreliability and production was ended in 1960 as a result. Still, this so-called improved engine allowed the small roadster to achieve a top speed of 113 mph and even came with Jaguar racing style steel wheels. The MGA continued on through 1962 receiving regular upgrades along the way. 1961 saw the introduction of the Mark II MGA that attempted to correct many of the mechanical mishaps of its predecessors. By this time, however, the MGA was getting to be out of date compared to other British-made roadsters of the time, which included the latest version of Triumph’s TR series.
Its direct replacement was the MGB, which was in production from 1962 until 1980. All told, over 100,000 MGAs were built in just seven years. There are plenty of MGBs still on the road today but there are even fewer MGAs, which is why we found this particular one up for sale on eBay quite tempting. Built in 1960, this MGA has just 48,133 miles on the clock with a red on red color combination. The seller claims the car has been restored and it’s spent most of its life out west in a dry climate. Judging by its front grille design and racing style steel wheels, we think this is one of those troublesome Twin-Cam performance models.
Fortunately, the mechanical problems that once plagued it have been sorted out and Twin Cams are much more reliable today. It has an asking price of $27,900 which we think is a bit high. Apparently others feel the same because as of writing, there has yet to be a single bid.