Before you read this post, it is your solemn duty
as a patriotic English Man or Woman* to be upstanding
and click on this link, then come back and read this post:
Land of Hope and Glory
*(You don't have to be patriotic, or English, or even a
man or a woman in order to click on this link by the way,
it'll work whoever you are)
My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time to raise your glasses and toast fifty years of the MGA.
The MGA was the car that really made MG. Before that, MG was a very small manufacturer producing tiny numbers of cars: pre-war, MG only built 22,500 cars, after the war and before the launch of the MGA, volumes were slightly higher but not by much.
The car that changed all that was the MGA. Launched in 1955, the MGA made MG a volume producer and the MGA became the most popular sportscar in the world. It was so successful that MG soon ended up producing the same number of cars per year that they had produced in the entirety of the pre-war years.
When the MGA was launched, it had a UK list price of £844 - £2 less than its main competitor - the Triumph TR2. The engine produced 68bhp, 0-60 took 15.6 seconds and top speed was 99mph.
The car impressed journalists, and was praised for its handling and performance.
Two years after launch, the engine was upgraded to 72bhp and a two-seat coupé became available, costing £59 more. This was the luxury version with wrap-around windscreen and wind up windows with pivoting quarter-lights, whereas the convertable had clip-on sidescreens.
A twin cam version of the car appeared in July 1958 - a1588cc B series engine with an aluminium twin-cam head. Developing 108bhp - the same as a modern day 1.6 litre K-series - costing a whopping £1265 for the convertable and £1365 for the coupé.
This engine was also supercharged and used in the mid-engined EX-181 racer which Sterling Moss used to power the car to a top speed of 245mph at the Utah salt flats in August 1957.
The last MGA was built in July 1962 when it was superceded by the infamous MGB. In total, 101,081 MGAs had been produced, although only 5815 cars were sold in the UK. America was by far the biggest market for the MGA with well over 80,000 cars sold to our American friends.
I think it is fair to say that were it not for the MGA, there would not be an MG today.
So Ladies and Gentlemen, be upstanding and raise your glasses. I give you: the MGA.
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