MGA 1600 Road­ster

While there’s lit­tle his­tory with this repa­tri­ated left-hand drive USA MGA, it’s been re­stored and ob­vi­ously well looked af­ter

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News - Richard Gunn

What’s it like TO drive?

The MGA fires into life eas­ily enough at the press of the starter, al­though through­out our test drive, we had to keep the choke out a bit to keep the car idling prop­erly when not un­der­way. How­ever, the car will be fully ser­viced be­fore sale. Tem­per­a­ture and oil pres­sure re­mained at good lev­els (160 to 190 de­grees for the wa­ter, 60-80lb sq for the oil). The en­gine is will­ing, with just the sort of rorty and sporty ex­haust note you’d ex­pect from an MG of this cal­i­bre. The gear­box feels a lit­tle tight – per­haps through lack of use fol­low­ing restora­tion? – with re­verse elu­sive un­til you’re used to find­ing it. No over­drive is fit­ted. The steer­ing is sharp and re­spon­sive, as are the brakes. The hand­brake was a lit­tle sticky though.

Body­work check

While Dove Grey is not the most ex­cit­ing shade, it works well here, thanks to the con­trast­ing red seam pip­ing. The grey ex­tends un­der­neath the car, rather than un­der­seal­ing be­ing ap­plied. It’s nice to see orig­i­nal steel wheels rather than the more usual wires. They’re clad in Vre­destein 165 SR15 86Q Snow Plus tyres. The body­work is ex­cel­lent through­out – the only real im­per­fec­tions are slightly thin paint on the lead­ing edge of the driver’s door and some small scratches around the hood/ton­neau cover mount­ing pins. The chrome­work is also in won­der­ful or­der. A nit­picker might want to re­place the slightly bent front num­ber­plate though. And get the speedome­ter work­ing.

HOW’s the in­te­rior?

With the stan­dard huge steer­ing wheel fit­ted, it’s a lit­tle tight squeez­ing into the scar­let leather cock­pit. Which is, frankly, lovely, even down to the orig­i­nal Jaeger in­stru­ments with their slight patina. There’s no real wear any­where else though. Aside from a loose-fit­ting driver’s side car­pet and no ra­dio (ei­ther mod­ern or pe­riod), the in­te­rior is a very fine place to oc­cupy.

Un­der the Bon­net

The en­gine bay is lit­tle short of im­mac­u­late, with no cor­ro­sion (even around that usual prime sus­pect, the brake mas­ter cylin­der) and hardly a hint of grime. In fact, the only wear we could find was to the com­mis­sion­ing plate ad­ja­cent to the heater. All flu­ids were at the lev­els they should be, and looked healthy.

Our ver­dict

What his­tory there is – which isn’t much – shows that this car re­turned to the UK from San Diego in ‘dry state’ Cal­i­for­nia around 2012. Its time abroad has ob­vi­ously been kind to it, though, and it’s a very good ex­am­ple of its type, in top con­di­tion.

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