THE MGA VERY NEARLY HAD A FACELIFT
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.