Tag Archives: MGA

NASCAR Contender ? – MG MGA 1600 Mk II

Launched in 1960 the MGA 1600 MK II was the last of the MG A series cars to enter production. From the front the 1600 MkII wasdistinguishable from the original MGA 1600 by the bottom of the radiator grill with the bars either side of the central grill bar dropping away more radically on the later model.

MG A 1600 MK II, Goodwood Revival

There were many changes under the bonnet / hood that included a larger 1622 cc / 98.9 cui 90 hp 4 cylinder motor up from 1588cc / 96.9 cui which combined with larger valves and reworked combustion chambers in the cylinder brought the power up from 78 hp to 90 hp.

The new motor combined with new rear axle ratio’s improved the cars top speed to 102 mph, thought the acceleration from rest to 60 mph was slightly slower than than the model it replaced at 13.7 secs, as was the fuel consumption which dropped to 22.3 mpg imperial.

The is no truth in the internet rumour that Spencer Tracey backed his Dodge into an MGA at the Drive In in the film ‘Guess who is coming to dinner’, it was a hopped up hi boy. Among the films the MGA did have bit parts in was “Fast Lady”, blink and you might miss it in the linked trailer.

There is also speculation on the internet that Smokey Cook may have driven an MGA at Bowman-Gray Stadium in 1963 to record the last start by a foreign manufacturer in a NASCAR race until the arrival of Toyota in the 21st Century. No pictorial evidence has been found of what type of MG Smokey drove that day, though at least one photo has been found of Fred Harb driving a TD at Bowman fitted with a small block Chevy V8 allegedly picked up with a transmission for just $150 from a junk yard. It seems most likely that this is the type of “hobby stock class” grid filler from the tracks regular series rather than a specially prepared for NASCAR MGA. If you know different and have either documents or photographs to prove what kind of MG Smokey Cook drove at Bowman in 1963 please chime in below.

Like the MGA Twin Cam and 1600 De Luxe the 1600 MkII and MkII De Luxe had disc brakes all round with competition center lock wheels an optional extra. Between 1960 and 1962 MGA production tailed off with just 8,719 of these Mk II vehicles being built. Total MGA production between 1955 and 1962 reached 101,081 making it the all time best selling sports car of the day. Amazingly all but 5000 of the total MGA production run remained in the country of origin.

Thanks for joining me on this “NASCAR Contender ?” edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’. I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

16 09 12 Errata :- it has come to my attention that the original set of photo’s posted with this blog were of the earlier MG 1600 not the MkII with the distinctive grill now seen above at the 2012 Goodwood Revival. Apologies for any confusion.


Almost Always True – MG MGA 1600

The story of the MGA sarts with an MG TD special chassis #EX172 registration UMG400 which despite it’s works experimental chassis number was built for privateer George Philips to race at Le Mans in 1951, the car featured a low slung body desgined by Syd Evener, the body was so low that a special wide chassis had to be built to accommodate the driver between the chassis rails rather than above them as had been the case with all of the MG T series cars.

MG MGA, Silverstone

#EX172 was a public relations success, though it only lasted three hours of the 24 hour race for which it was designed. Due to the rationalisation going on in the British Motor Corporation, a conglomerate which MG became a part of in 1952, MGA production was stalled for two years while resources were put into launching the Austin Healey 100/4.

MG MGA, Silverstone

The MGA finally came to market in 1955 fitted with a 58 hp motor, in 1958 a 108 hp twin cam version became available which had to be detuned to 100hp after problems manifested themselves with the high compression motor.

MG MGA, Silverstone

The 1600 MGA was launched in 1959 with a 78 hp version of the BMC ‘B’ motor, disc brakes on the front. One of these £940 models was tested with a rest to 60 mph time of 13.3 seconds, top speed of 96 mph and 29.7 mpg (imperial).

MG MGA, Silverstone

This 1960 model is one of 31,501 manufactured between 1959 and 1960. Elvis Presley fans may recognise this car as similar to the one used in the film Blue Hawaii in which he sings the Weisman and Wise number ‘Almost Always True‘.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Almost Always True’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again, tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Nothing can extinguish the Olympic Flame – Rochdale Olympic Phase I

This comes under the category of cars I had not heard of before I took the picture.

Rochdale Motor Panels and Engineering were beased in Rochdale, Greater Manchester between 1948 and 1973, best known for making fibre glass bodied kit cars .

In 1959 they designed the glass fibre monocoque for the Olympic the only other such monocoque at the time was the Lotus Elite. After a factory fire the car went into production in 1960.

The Olympic was designed by Richard Parker to take a variety of engines including the twin cam 1.5 litre 91.5 cui Riley, Morris Minor, MGA and Ford 109E, unusually for kit cars of the time it featured wind down door windows.

With the Riley engine the car was capable of 0-60 mph in 11.9 secs and could reach 102 mph.

It is estimated that 250 of these vehicles were built of which 100 survive.

Remarkably the Olympic flame is still kept alive by a group of enthusiasts who own the original moulds making it technically possible to build a new Rochdale Olympic.

Hope you enjoyed this Mancunian edition of Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres, don’t ferget to come back now !