The A was the first modern post-war MG. As the first new MG produced after the merger of Nuffield and Austin, it was also the first to use the corporate mechanical parts: much of the drive train was derived from the Austin A50 saloon. Its pretty pinched-waist body was derived from a special TD raced at Le Mans and was based on an enormously strong box-section chassis. Some said it was too strong and unnecessarily heavy, but it was certainly rigid.
Above : The A was the first modern MG in years. It had very pretty styling and a stiff box-section chassis, the last used on an MG
There was nothing ground-breaking about the suspension, with its front wishbones and leaf-spring rear beam axle, yet the handling of the A was more than a match for its contemporary Triumph and Austin Healey rivals. Bolt-on steel wheels were the standard offering, with centre-lock wires as an option. On 1489cc and 72bhp from its B Series engine, it wasn't wildly quick, but 95mph (152kph) was respectable, as was the potential 3mpg.
It was joined by a handsome coupé version in 1956 and in 1958 by the exciting twin-cam with its Harry Weslake-designed twin overhead-camshaft 1588cc engine. With 108bhp, top speed went up to 110mph (177kph). It was a highly desirable property, but the engine - based on a modified B series block - had a poor reliability record, with a reputation for burning pistons. It was available in coupé and roadster form and could be recognised by its handsome Dunlop centre-lock lightweight steel wheels. Dunlop disc brakes on all wheels were standard. High prices and its dodgy reputation kept sales low. BMC killed this most exotic of MG's in 1960.
Above : The MGA twin-cam was an exotic development using a new double overhead camshaft version of the B Series engine.
By the time, the standard MGA had become the 1600, with 80bhp, disc front brakes and genuine 100mph (160kph) ability. The only outward difference, aside from badging, was the separate rear indicators. Optional was the DeLuxe, with the standard pushrod engine, but the disc brakes and centre-lock wheels of the slow-selling twin-cam.
The final MKII 1600 of 1961 had a slightly bigger bore 1622cc engine, pushing the power output to 86bhp. You can identify a MKII by its recessed front grille and horizontal rear lights.
Production finished in 1962, giving way to the unitary MGB, certainly a more modern MG than the A, but not such a pretty one.
NAME : MGA (1955-62)
ENGINE : In-line 4
CAPACITY : 1489/1588/12622cc
POWER : 72-108bhp
TRANSMISSION : 4-Speed
TOP SPEED : 95-110mph (152-277kph)
NO. BUILT : 101,081