WHAT TO LOOK FOR
ALUMINIUM AND STEEL
Check for rot in the F-sections (combined door pillars and body sills), inner and outer sills, front wings (particularly behind the wheels), boot floor, front and rear shrouds and – on Coupés – the area where the roof meets the rear shroud and wings. The doors, bonnet and bootlid aluminum panels over steel frames and should meet the other panels evenly.
BLACK STUFF, BAD NEWS
Minor oil leaks – most commonly from the rear of the crankshaft – are not uncommon, but major oil leaks or evidence of the engine struggling to maintain oil pressure of around 20psi at idle and 50psi at speed are bad news.
COMMON GEARBOX ISSUES
Gearboxes get noisier with age and nonsynchromesh first and reverse gears suffer the most, with lay gear clusters and layshaft needle roller bearings often damaged as a result. Second and third gear synchro baulk ring wears out causing wear to the gear dog teeth. Worn gearboxes often jump out of third gear on the overrun. Rear axles also get noisier with age but rarely give any trouble, but failure to adhere to regular greasing accelerates wear to the front suspension swivel pins – they can seize onto the trunnions.
Many MGAs have been fitted with cheaper components to keep restoration costs down, so watch for nylon carpets in place of the Wilton wool or trim transplanted from the later MGB. Many cars have had their electrical systems converted from positive to negative earth to allow for modern radios to be fitted.