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The vendor commissioned the restoration over three years to exacting
standards, then only ran it to log a few break-in miles. Why?



1962 mga 1600 mk ii roadster


With the arrival of the MGA roadster in 1955, many MG aficionados were taken aback by the fact that the pre-war look of the company's sports cars had been tampered with. The new MGA had a streamlined, aerodynamic body right up-to-the-minute in terms of styling and design. In addition, management at MG decided that the old XPAG power plant had seen better days and replaced it with a much more modern B-series engine, which had made its debut in the Magnette saloon.

The MGA Mk II was the last of the MGA series; assembly started in April 1961 and ceased in June 1962 with a total production of 8,719 units in both roadster and fixed head coupe configuration. Visually, the Mk II was distinguishable from previous MGA models by various body detail changes. The vertical bars in the front grille assembly were recessed at the bottom, adding much depth to the grille, and a new taillight cluster, borrowed from the Mini, was fitted to comply with new lighting regulations. The most noteworthy change was the installation of BMC's 1,622-cc inline 4-cylinder engine. This cast iron-block engine offered an increase in horsepower of 13% over previous MGA models, as well as a 12% gain in torque. All this was achieved by a displacement increase of only 34 cc.

The beautiful Iris Blue MGA Mk II roadster presented here, with blue interior and white piping, was the recipient of a three-year, frame-off, fully documented restoration performed by a marque specialist to exacting standards. The frame and all suspension components were powder coated and reassembled with grade-8 N.O.S. hardware. The engine and transmission have been professional rebuilt to new standards, while virtually every mechanical system on the car was replaced with new. The MGA's restoration was completed only a short time ago, and accordingly, it has logged only break-in miles. We understand the owner has tested the roadster thoroughly and relates that the Mk II runs as expected and needs nothing.

This 1962 MGA MK II represents one of the most desired and sought after MGA models, as it was one of the last cars made in 1962. This car is ready for street use, collection display, and all-around enjoyment.


{analysis}{auto}868{/auto} This 1962 MGA 1600 MK II Roadster sold for $36,300 at the RM auction in Monterey on August 18-19, 2006.

This is a great price for what should be considered to be a mass-production sports car, so the first thing to establish is where the MGA 1600 Mk II fits into the scheme of MGA collecting.

There are essentially five models to consider in the production MGA range: the 1500, the Twin-Cam, the 1600, the 1600 Mk II, and the 1600 Mk II DeLuxe, with both open and closed variants included.

In 1961, our subject model, the MGA 1600 Mk II, appeared. This had a 1,622-cc version of the standard B-series engine, along with other minor changes, which included new rear lights and a redesigned grille with inset vertical slats. The engine now developed 93 hp, which was an increase of some 25 hp over the original MGA. In this form, the car was capable of well in excess of 100 mph, offering similar performance to the troublesome Twin-Cam, but without the temperamental nature of that car.

313 remaining Twin-Cam chassis were also given the 1,622-cc B-series engine, but retained the four-wheel disc brakes and center-lock steel disc wheels. In this guise they were known as the MGA 1600 Mk II DeLuxe, and some consider these to be the most desirable of all MGAs.

By now, despite the fact that it had been a very good sports car when introduced, the MGA was entering its twilight years and did not offer the level of interior comfort or the performance of the new TR4. So the MGA Mk II was really just a stop-gap model.

In 1962, after 101,476 As of all types had been produced, the MGA was dropped. Its replacement was already waiting in the wings, and would prove to be the longest-running and best-selling MG of them all, the MGB.

RM estimated this car aggressively, by my pre-auction opinion, at $35,000 to $45,000, and it was proven right by the hammer. In fact, these roadsters rarely cross the $25,000 barrier, let alone $30,000. So why, when the hammer fell, had this car reached RM's expectations and exceeded mine?

We have established that the model was a stop-gap produced in reasonable numbers, so rarity wasn't a factor. And as it was offered without reserve, there had to be more than one buyer chasing it, which would illustrate a healthy market.

Perhaps the upper reaches of the market are having a strong knock-on effect at all the lower levels, but I don't think so.

And here's another question. The vendor commissioned the car to be restored over three years to exacting standards, then only ran it enough to log a few break-in miles. Why?

One conclusion might be that the vendor was the restorer himself. But when restorers spend three years on an MGA to turn a profit, they are living dangerously. Generally, cars are restored to this standard only for paying customers, so we can discount this reasoning.

Pictured in the catalog with hubcaps missing and no trim visible, there seemed to be a feeling of urgency about this sale. A kind of "Don't waste another minute, get it consigned" feeling.

Despite the quality of the restoration, the most plausible conclusion is that for whatever reason, the vendor simply got tired of the restoration process and wanted the car gone. I've seen this happen many times. The dream begins when the project car is purchased, and gradually diminishes as restoration costs mount and time goes by. Even the best dream has a hard time surviving 36 months of invoices.

But why did the buyer shell out $36,300? Again, if you always hankered after an MGA Mk II 1600 roadster, like the one you remembered from way back, the bid price was almost certainly within the figure a restorer would charge to do the job. This way you didn't have to source a car and wait three years for the outcome. So was this a smart move?

In the end, yes. Even though the vendor appeared to rush to sell the car, and the buyer allowed himself to get caught up in the red mist that is the historic weekend in Monterey, this was not a fiscally imprudent acquisition.

In the abstract, I can say it's not what I would have done, that I would be thoughtful, take plenty of time to research it, hit the seller with a low-ball offer in the mid-twenties and go from there.
On the other hand, if I really had the hots for an Iris Blue MGA Mk II, had the money burning a hole in my pocket, and was surrounded by other fanatics who were spending money on cars like there was no tomorrow, I'm not sure that my own reasoned approach wouldn't have fallen to the floor as my bidding paddle shot to the ceiling.

For the new owner, if the reality of this car lives up to his dream, and provides instant gratification as well, everyone should be happy.{/analysis}

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