In 1955, MG threw away its traditional sportscar mould and began producing an all new sleek little roadster, the MGA. The MGA was a breath of fresh air compared to the previous post-war MG cars that had really been restyled pre-war designs. The new car featured a modern, low-slung open roadster,
although this was still mounted on a separate chassis and used detachable side screens on passenger doors, common practice on all open MG cars.
MG enthusiasts were given a hint of what was to come in 1951 when George Phillips drove a re-bodied TD Midget in the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race. The car, built for him by MG following his successes with his own TC, had been fitted with a lightweight two-seat racecar style body. It was a road-going version of the Phillips car, proposed to BMC in 1952 as a replacement for the TD Midget, but which had been turned down because of the corporation's decision to build the Austin-Healey 100. MG had gone as far as building a full prototype of the MGA by using TD running gear, the 1250 XPAG engine, a re-designed chassis, and the MGA bodywork.
When it eventually became clear that the TF Midget was a bit of a lame duck, and that it would have to be replaced, the new MG sports car was finally given the chance it deserved. The delay in production had one advantage in that it allowed MG to refine the design and install the much newer 1489cc four cylinder B-series engine and its transmission from the Magnette saloon.
Traditional MG fans were surprised by the car's modern looks to start with, but the MGA soon found plenty of eager buyers all around the world, particularly in the all-important US market. The MGA used the new BMC B-Series engine, in twin carb, 1489cc format that produced excellent performance (95mph) and plenty of scope for developing as a competition car.
The MGA sold well in this, its original "1500" form until 1959 when it received a more powerful 1600cc engine, bringing even more performance.
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