Alex Riley’s jaunt in an MGA in this week’s show should concentrate our minds, because this 50s MG is a real buying opportunity. From 1955 to 1962 the Abingdon factory churned out 100,000 MGA coupes and roadsters but only 5,000 were sold in the UK. Not many people know this, and if you can find a decent British supplied right-hand drive example, it’s a rare thing indeed – and worthy of a price premium. Go for a 1600 version and you’ll get front disc brakes, 100 mph and 27 mpg. Plus the MGA’s pert lines look better every day, and they make a really simple and uncomplicated old car that’s easy to to own and mend. All the classic credentials are there too – MGAs finished 12th and 17th in Le Mans in 1955, there’s a huge vintage steering wheel, optional wire wheels, white on black instruments and a snug period cabin. Best of all, you can still buy a decent coupé for £13k and a rag-top roadster for less than £20,000. On the road, the handling is tidy, the gearbox is slick and the steering nicely weighted. Values have been held back by the MGA’s image of tweedy flat caps and flying jackets, but it’s time to see this charming British sports car in a different light. The most successful British car export of its era, the MGA epitomises picture-postcard Britain in the 50s and 60s with its pastel colours, streamlined body and snorty performance. And that’s why we believe values will start to move up significantly soon. Avoid US imports (there are lots for sale) and look instead for a genuine home market supplied car because those are the ones collectors will always want.
This week I watched a tidy Chariot Red 1957 coupé go through a classic car auction for just £11,500. Use and improve that one over the next couple of years and you’ll easily get your money back and maybe even a tidy profit. With Austin Healeys, Daimler Darts and Frog-Eye sprites all moving up in price, the MGA is set to follow. Don’t leave it too long though, because the MGA is a wallflower that’s bound to blossom.