May 2015 – 1959 MGA 1600 Coupé


It was love at first sight. I assured Jan that we definitely didn’t need a tin top but I just can’t resist fluttering eyelashes with all their implied promises and so a 1959 MGA coupé became part of our household. An American import, it was shabby with dull paintwork and a tatty interior. The body wasn’t too bad with only a rusty nearside dogleg, the sills looked good. A couple of the wire wheels were wonky. The engine was seized and there were sundry bits and bobs missing.

My intention was to do whatever was necessary to get it quickly on the road so that we could use it for touring and club events. So much for my best intentions!

The engine came out and the body came off, the chassis was stripped and I spent many hours lying on a cold concrete floor scraping off years of dried mud and gunk from the chassis before priming and painting it. A right hand steering rack and dashboard were sourced and fitted, the engine was stripped and rebuilt.

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In the interest of originality, I argued that we should retain the original black colour but Jan wanted a dark green car with pigskin upholstery and what Jan wants Jan gets! The rusted dogleg was repaired with a new section and I then I spent a day and a gallon of paint stripper taking the body back to bare metal before transporting it to the paint shop. The interior was completely re-trimmed and new black carpet fitted. All wheels were repaired, sand blasted and repainted. All chrome work was either re-plated or replaced.

Once on the road the coupé exceeded all our expectations. It proved to be a comfortable touring car, it competed in various club competition events, including a few blasts up the Rob Roy Hillclimb and, much to our joy, collected a few concours trophies along the way.

Owner: Mike and Jan Gething
Make/model: MGA 1600 Coupe
Month/year of manufacture: September 1959
Colour: New Cedar Green
Engine size/type: 1598cc B Series
BHP: Adequate
Top speed: 100 mph
Gearbox type: 4-speed manual
Area: Banbury
Date purchased: June 1989
Pet name of car: “The Coupé”

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