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MG MGA - 101 Cars You Must Drive

I saw a thread fairly recently about this TV show that was going to air on The Speed Channel in the US. I was interested to watch it and I happened to catch the MGA segment over the weekend. I guess I should be happy that the MGA made the list. Other than that, the segment was maddening. Full of references to oil leaks, electrical problams and nothing working properly; it suggested that the MGA was a great looking piece of crap. Did anyone else see this? Am I being overly sensitive?

'57 Coupe
M. D.

It sucked...
D Sjostrom

Here's the link:
N Kopernik

Dare I say a typical piece of US sound-bite journalism from someone who seems to have done absolutely no research - did he pick it all at random from Wikipedia? And if so, why only the negative bits?

dominic clancy

I had at least five variations of the same conversation with strangers at gas pumps during my GT trip. The gist of it was they or someone they knew had or used to have an MG in the garage, it hadn't run in years, or it always had problems, does yours have the same problems, I can't belive you're driving it such a long distance. My replies were along the lines of "if you know how to work on them and properly maintain them, you shouldn't have any problems with reliability."

That article seems to confuse the Twin Cam limited production with the standard line of cars.
Mark J Michalak

Would not agree more ,after 50 years in the service side of the motor trade I am frequently amazed how well my '57 A roadster is made. A pain to work on at times, ditto the Lincon Continentals [in a 5 year stint in '60s New York] but all is forgiven once out on the road.
S Sherry

I agree with Mark. If the cars are properly maintained with decent quality parts you should have few problems. The Lucas bashing really is not justified, they were no worse than other electrical systems manufacturers of their era. I recall standing in line at our local auto parts store in the '70s and '80s and it was always starters, alternators, carburetors etc. for Chevys, Fords etc. Heck, our cars are still running with their original carbs etc. in many cases. I too was at GT-33 and I recall saying to someone how great it was to see about 200 cars there and probably 95% of them were driven there and many over great distances.
True, MGs will leak some oil, but take a look at the pavement in any parking lot at the oil, trans fluid and coolant. That's not from MGs. Obviously running with 50+ year old technology and many parts that old, the chances of having a problem on the road would have to be greater than a modern car, but knock on wood I have not experienced that. Being among the original affordable sports cars, back in the day MGs suffered from owners who could barely afford them and many "shortcuts, home repairs and domestic mechanics who oddly couldn't understand their simple systems, taking 2 or 3 or more tries to make a repair. All this led to a perception of a lack of durability. All we can do is try to set the record straight as we drive our "unreliable" cars across North America getting fuel mileage that rivals some of the more fuel efficient modern cars, and smiling all the way.

As a young man in the 1950/60s I was a commercial traveller in London and drove some 300000 miles using Austin Cambridges -A55s-A60s Austin 1800s and Marinas.all cars using the BMC B series engine these cars were reliable and the engines unburstable as long as routine servicing was carried out.We also used them for long distance continental holidays without problems. My recollection was that the tappetts were always noisy and the bodies started to rust after a couple of years.I have always had an affection for these engines being so easy and simple to maintain Hence I have been delighted with my MGB owned these last thirty years which has likewise been reliable and easy to maintain- regular servicing to manufactures specs.has been the secret and regular waxoyling has kept the body OK .I am hoping my recently purchased MGA will perform the same.
P D Camp

I think you might be missing some of the more complementary points. First, its included in the series and book, "101 Cars You Must Drive." Not too shabby and some nice company, frankly. Second, although the picture is a push-rod MGA, the "Must Drive" car is a Twin Cam--and there were problems. Its a plug fouling, piston burning, oil dripping tempermental beast, but well sorted, its a monster amount of fun! Glad to see it included. (And I was given the book as a gift.)

Paul Hanley

I still am waiting to see the episode. I've tried to record it twice according to the listing, but each time a different episode was actually aired. Still trying.
Bill Young

I just wrote to them via a link on their web site and asked them to please verify there information before publishing. I also asked them to not sink to the level of bad jokes that are problably based upon wrong information in the first place.

And besides we all know that the only thing realy wrong with the MGA, are the American mechanics that try to work on them with out understanding what they are working on.
JP Jim

I hadn't seen the article until Mr. Kopernik posted the link, and I haven't seen the book. My only exposure was to the TV show, and the TV show did not make any reference to the Twin-cam that I recall. I assumed they were just trash-talking the push-rod MGA.

'57 coupe
M. D.

This thread was discussed between 30/07/2008 and 31/07/2008

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