Perfect Presentation: 1958 MG MGA 1500 Roadster – Sold?

by | Aug 2023 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Sports Car Saturday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

September 29, 2023, Update – We confirmed the listing for this “ClassiFIND” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

August 28, 2023 Update – Two weeks after first posting their Craigslist ad, the seller lowered the asking price from the original ask of $28,950 to $27,500 currently.

In my humble opinion, of all the sports cars produced by Morris Garages, better known simply as “MG,” the MGA roadster is the most beautiful of all.  The MGA marked a huge departure from MG’s pre-World War II designs with a smooth, curvy body that conveys motion even when standing still.  Even better is how affordable MGAs in pristine condition remain, with nicely restored examples still trading below $30,000.

One example is this red 97K 1958 MGA 1500 Roadster for sale, first spotted in August 2023 on Craigslist in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire.  Not only is this MGA a stunning example, but the seller’s Craigslist ad is a textbook example of a properly written Craigslist ad filled with excellent photography and a detailed description that even includes a shot of each cylinder’s compression test.  The only thing we would add to this listing is a quick video showing a cold start and the car idling, but otherwise, the seller nailed it.

Last offered for $27,500 (the original ask was $28,950), Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is right in line with this guide’s six-month rolling results trend for similar MGA examples of all body types between 1956 and 1962.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of $27,000 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $40,200.

When MG designer Syd Enever created a streamlined body for George Philips’ TD LeMans car in 1951, little did he know his creation would become the genesis for the new MGA launched for the 1956 model year. The new bodywork traded the MG TF’s articulated fenders and running boards for ponton styling, with a single styled envelope fully enclosing the car’s width and uninterrupted length.

The MGA’s predecessor, the TF, featured a high driver seating position with a dated tractor-like ride and handling that was quickly falling out of favor with enthusiasts. As a result, sales began to decline.  Consequently, this new design was so different from the older MG models it was called the MGA, the “first of a new line,” to quote MG’s advertising from the period. There was also a new engine available. Therefore, the car did not have the originally intended XPAG unit but was fitted with the BMC B-series engine allowing a lower hood line. From a styling standpoint, it’s worth noting the MGA convertible, such as the example featured here, had no exterior door handles, while coupe versions did.

MGA’s relied on a body-on-frame design and used the inline four-cylinder “B series” engine from MG’s Magnette sedan, driving the rear wheels through a four-speed gearbox. The MGA features an independent front suspension utilizing coil springs and wishbones, while a rigid axle with semi-elliptic springs supports the rear of the car. Steering was by rack and pinion. Buyers had their choice of either steel-disc road wheels of the car available with either wire-spoked “knock-offs” such as the example here features.

MGAs remain ideal first collector cars. They’re affordable, simple to work on, rugged, and attractive. Parts are readily available and moderately priced.  The September 2008 Hemmings Motor New’s Buyer’s Guide for the 1956-1962 MGA remains a great resource to help familiarize yourself with these cars and what to look for.

The Limit 55 YouTube Channel features this modern-day review of the MGA while driving on California roads:

In addition to a great color combination, this restored 1948 Willys-Overland Jeepster comes with a lot of extras including a spare engine.

If you are serious about buying this Willy-Overland Jeepster, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Criagslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their Jeepster featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s excellent description:

“1958 MG MGA 1500 Roadster Convertible

VIN #: HDR43/46537
ENGINE #: 15GB-U-H-36076
BODY #: 57306
Exterior Color: Red
Interior Color: Black
Body Type: Roadster/Convertible
Transmission: 4 Speed Manual
Engine: 1500cc 4-Cylinder
Odometer: 97,270

Vehicle Description

Up for sale is this 1958 MG MGA 1500 roadster. The MGA model is an open-top sportscar that is great to drive on the back roads of New Hampshire. They are very easy to maintain – for anyone that is car-oriented and mechanically inclined.

This car is in outstanding condition both cosmetically and mechanically, as can be seen in the listing photos. I acquired the car last year from an individual in Cape Cod, Massachusetts that owned and drove it for 10+ years. He acquired it from a another long-term owner (20+ years) that lived in Rhode Island. The paint and interior were in excellent condition when I purchased the car, but the car was in need of a mechanical refresh which has now been completed. Details are provided below.

I obtained an official British Heritage Certificate for vehicle that states this car left the MG factory for the North America market on January 20, 1958. The exterior was originally painted “Old English White” by the factory, with a red interior and black convertible top. It originally came with a variety of factory options including factory disc wheels, heater, sliding side screens, adjustable steering column and tubeless tires.

A prior owner restored the car over 10 years ago and changed the exterior color to red (which was another factory color available at that time). The prior owner also converted the car from standard steel wheels to chrome wire wheels which is an expensive, but very worthwhile, upgrade in my opinion. Note: a set of four (4) new chrome wire wheels from Moss is around $2,000 plus another $1,000+ in hardware (splined hubs, knockoffs, brake drums, hammer, etc.) required to convert the car to wire wheels. The prior owner installed new tires which are in great shape.

Other than the exterior color change and wire wheel conversion, the car mechanically has remained very original over the past 65 years. Before buying this car, I fully researched the engine code (15GB-U-H-36076), VIN code (46537) and body code (57306). Using the research data provided by NAMGAR, I confirmed that these numbers are the correct sequence for this car. The generator, starter, SU carbs and radiator are also all correct for 1958.

During my ownership, I completed a wide variety of maintenance and mechanical refurbishment. This is the fourth MGA I have worked on, and I am a long-term car restoration hobbyist. Feel free to ask any questions you may have. I have a complete set of records/receipts of all the work I completed, including photographs for the buyer. The car will be sold with a clean New Hampshire Title.

The major items recently completed include:

1. Refurbished original convertible top frame and installed a new convertible soft top.
2. Cleaned and repainted the entire engine compartment and trunk.
3. Removed, refurbished, and/or repainted all engine components (generator, starter, fan, fan pulley, valve cover, etc.)
4. Cleaned/rebuilt the SU carbs and intake manifold.
5. Replaced the front shock dampers (professionally restored by Worldwide Auto Parts for $324)
6. Replaced the steering rack rubber boot gaiters.
7. Removed, flushed and repainted the radiator, installed all new hoses and period correct clamps.
8. Removed, flushed and repainted the heater box, heater core, installed new heater valve, hoses and clamps.
9. Inspected and refurbished front and rear brakes, flushed all brake lines with new fluid and adjusted all brakes, including the brake/clutch pedal free-play.
10. Changed engine oil and installed new filter (original canister style).
11. Obtained/installed new VIN plate (also have the original).
12. Installed new plugs and performed a complete tune-up.
13. Added new starter switch and cable.
14. Added the correct 4” air hoses for heater and cold air intake.
15. Added correct sill finisher strips and sill protector plates.
16. Installed new fuel filter and new rubber gas hoses/clamps.
17. Refurbished the original turn signal assembly.
18. Buffed/polished entire exterior paint.
19. Recent compression test with excellent results (see photo showing gauge readings).

From what the prior owner told me, the car has always been garaged, and the exterior paint remains in excellent condition. It does have a few minor imperfections, which you would expect for an approximate 10-year-old paint job. The chrome bumpers are in excellent condition also. The prior owner replaced the seat interiors and installed a new fuel tank and new front coil springs. The car will be sold with correct window “side screens,” a painted wire wheel spare, and a factory correct engine hand crank. This is a car you will be proud to take to club meets or car shows as it looks great and has factory-correct mechanicals. When you compare this car to other MGA’s currently for sale, consider the value of excellent paint, new tires, wire wheel conversion, new convertible soft top, side screens, new interior, new front shock dampers and coil springs, refurbished engine compartment, etc.

The car is available for inspection and/or test drive in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, about 45 minutes North of Boston. I have many photographs of the mechanical restoration I completed, and videos of the car starting up and driving.

I’m happy to answer any questions. The car is available for immediate sale.

Show or go: What would you do with this 1958 MG MGA 1500 Roadster for sale? Please comment below and let us know!

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