THE MGA VERY NEARLY HAD A FACELIFT

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - 7 Brilliant Stories -

Blame the Amer­i­cans. You’d think af­ter nearly two decades of run­ning around in T-types that didn’t have a boot at all that they’d be grate­ful to get one on 1955’s MGA.

Yet pe­riod road testers bemoaned the lack of room in the new ar­rival’s cur­va­ceous rump, a prob­lem com­pounded by most of it be­ing used as the spare wheel’s hall of res­i­dence.

US mo­tor­ing mag­a­zine Car Life loved the MGA be­ing – at just $2200 – the cheap­est sports car on of­fer in the States at the time. But it said the boot space was ‘dis­ap­point­ing for those who hoped for in­creased lug­gage space’ over the old TF. Ri­val mag­a­zine Mo­tor Trend was equally crit­i­cal, de­scrib­ing it as ‘lim­ited and re­quir­ing in­ge­nu­ity to stow lug­gage’.

But rather than telling the Amer­i­cans to stop moan­ing and start or­der­ing their MGAs with the op­tional lug­gage rack, the chaps at Abing­don lis­tened po­litely – and started work­ing on a solution.

As early as 1957 Abing­don was ex­per­i­ment­ing with a much larger rear end that not only of­fered sub­stan­tially in­creased lug­gage space, but also in­cor­po­rated a

re­designed rear light clus­ter in an­tic­i­pa­tion of Fed­eral safety leg­is­la­tion. While work was un­der­way, MG also looked at facelift­ing the A’s front end too. It ex­per­i­mented with a grille that wasn’t as steeply raked as the pro­duc­tion model’s – in fact, it had a marked re­sem­blance to the one that later ap­peared on the BMC Fa­rina-based Mag­nette mod­els.

The project was dropped in the late 1950s when BMC pressed ahead with the MGB in­stead. Many of the el­e­ments of the restyled MGA made it into the car’s 1962 suc­ces­sor.

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