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MG MGA - Chassis number query

Hi guys,

I'm nearing completion of be rebuild (hoping for August this year for it to be on the road), and I'm getting the chassis plates sorted to finish off the engine bay detailing.

As I was doing this, I thought I'd have a look at the chassis number, as there has been much discussion and loads of info on Barney's site.

However, I can't seem to find a match for my colour code.

I know that "HD" means MGA Tourer (well, 2-seater MG tourer), but my third letter is "N", for which I can find no match. The car was red and the paperwork says red, and I've resprayed it Orient red, bu the code for this is "K".

The MG company codes seem to go A-L and P,R,S,T,U missing M,N and O out, for all 1950s MG models.

Would "N" signify a special variant of red instead of the good old Orient red?

The car was built in May 1956, but not registered until 1957.

Any thoughts?


Grant :-)
G Hudson

Could the 'N' be a badly stamped 'H'?

Steve Gyles

Hi Steve,

All I've got to go on is the paperwork and heritage certifcate. The plate was trashed when I got the (bits of) car.

I suppose it could have been an originally mis-read "H", but it's a UK car, not a CKD/Oz-mobile. It has good UK prevenance (apart from the paperwork)- my dad's mate owned it for over 25 years.


Grant :-)
G Hudson

Post a picture of the plate for an opinion.
R J Brown

I don't know what "paper work" you are referring in to, but here in New York state older cars (eg MGA's)have a registration certificate, but not a title. This certificate is created when the car is first registered and has the Vehicle ID Number (VIN) that is supposed to match the plate on the car. You sign this registration over to the new owner when you sell them the car, as proof of sale. When I bought my car the previous owner had it 20+ years. When he gave me the certificate the VIN on the document didn't even have the first five alpha numeric code (HDXXX), only the chassis number (12345). I had to take a picture of the ID Plate and present it to the Motor Vehicle Department to get this corrected. But as it turns out, this code really didn't match the car. Even the chassis number, which I later uncovered by scraping the frame, was wrong. This car is actually a 1500 chassis with a 1600 body. How this number plate got on this car, or when, I have no idea. The PO said it was always that way, as far as he knows. My (long winded) point being, documents have been known to be wrong and still be accepted. With old cars, who knows for sure? Maybe Britan is different, but over time "stuff" happens.
G T Foster

The Heritage cert says "N"? What does the Heritage cert say the color was?

If so, I'd send them a letter asking further clarification about this. I have heard stories that you could have had the car built with special colors but never saw any "code" for those colors.

Chuck Schaefer

Depends on what car it is.
If it is a 1600 you will not be able to identify the colour as far as I know.

See the site;

I have GHNL 81816, which is a 1600 and currently red, but I cannot be sure this was the original colour.
Gonzalo Ramos


It will be a 1500 in 1956.

Steve Gyles

My '56 roadster (built in July/August) is HDR33/18273. (MGA, 2-seater, white, LHD, Cellulose).
Could your "N" be a "K", for red?
P. Tilbury

Gonzalo, You can order a BMHT Certificate for your 1600. The original color is part of that info. At least it was on my 1600 coupe. They typically give the days it was built, the color of the body, interior and top. It is a nice cerrtificate.

Alternatively if all you want to know is the original color, you can ask for an Archive Research for considerably less money.

Chuck Schaefer

This thread was discussed on 10/06/2010

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