Featured Classic

1959 MGA

Debuting in 1955, the MGA was a clear departure from MG’s past.  Nowhere was that more clear than in its styling.  The outgoing model was the last (and arguably the best looking) variation of MG’s traditional, T series.  The TF’s graceful, final facelift was highlighted by a trimmer radiator and flowing fenders with faired-in headlights.  The MGA that followed was all rounded lines and smooth edges – a major shove forward, stylistically, out of the post-war period, and into the 50’s (albeit, a decade already half over).  Modern and sleek, the “A” looked particularly handsome in its fixed roof form.

Under the new skin were fresh mechanicals, featuring the “B” series four cylinder engine, 4-speed gearbox, and hypoid-bevel rear axle.  In 1500 trim, the motor displaced 1489 cc’s and produced 68 horsepower (quickly upped to 72) – enough to top out at 100 m.p.h.    


The widely set rails of the car’s new chassis allowed a desirably low seating position in the leather clad buckets.  The dash display dispensed with the former, octagon shaped gauges in favor of rounded readouts.  Turn indicators were standard equipment.  While the roadster lacked roll-up windows (settling for side curtains), the cabin was otherwise plumbed for fitting with many updated features, like fresh air ventilation and a radio.


The 1959 model year marked a transitional period for the MGA.  Late in the model year, the 1500 series was supplanted by the 1600.  The most notable changes for the rolling upgrade were a larger displacement engine (1588 cc and 80 h.p.), along with standard, front wheel disc brakes.  The fine, ’59 pictured here boasts an interesting option – the competition windscreen.  Rarely seen, the dramatically lower lines of the racing style windshield gave the $2,462 MGA roadster a suitably sporty profile.