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MG MGA - Chassis Numbering

Hi

Having trouble reactivating my original thread so I am starting afresh.

The car arrived this morning and is in the garage. I have contacted British Heritage Archive to find out what chassis number GHNL69493 is supposed to be. The car I have in the garage is definately a 1500, lights, trim, bonnet,drum brakes etc. The only later addition is the centre clip for the hood frame. I have records back to 1983 when the car had the same chassis number. I have checked on the frame and there is no number there.
The car has a near perfect chassis with original black paint every where, the body has been resprayed at some time (badly) but is in great condition. I intend to get it running after some safety checks, use it through the summer and then do a resto. job over the winter. here's a couple of pictures as promised.

Barry

B Bridgens

Hi

Sorry her's the other picture

Barry

B Bridgens

Barry

Your chassis number is for a 1600.

G = MG
H = 1400 to 1999cc
N = Open 2 seater
L= Left hand drive

The 1500 ceased at chassis number 68850.

Your number would put the car as May/June 1959.

Cheers

Steve
Steve Gyles

Hi Steve

Yes the chassis number says 1600 but everthing else is 1500, it does not look like the body has been off although after 52 years I guess it would be hard to tell. The documentation says it is 1960 which as you say fits in with the number, Interestingly while I was looking round the car I came across the chassis number stamped on the lip around the engine bay. Non of my reference books mention a number being stamped here (see photo) I don't know if antone has any more information on this. i really don't know why anyone would change the chassis number for a later car without changing the obvious body bits to match. Maybe it's been ringed in days gone by.

Barry

B Bridgens

Barry

That stamping position is a new one on me too.

Steve
Steve Gyles

Isn't that strange??

Firstly I note the number has been stamped recently and not when the body was originally made, otherwise I suspect the letter indents would have been painted. Also it looks like it was done after the respray as the stamping has caused some paint flaking.

I am wondering if the car has been fitted with a new chassis when the spray job was done and someone has misread the number and have stamped the wrong number into this new position?
Bob Turbo Midget England

Perhaps this may have been a CKD model?

I read where, in the case of the MGB, MKI models were kitted at the factory after the factory had switched to building the MGB MKII. If this was the case with the MGB, it may have been the case with the MGA too. Interesting that it has the 1600-style prefix though. The BMHT cert should identify it as a CKD if this is the case. Anybody know any details about how Holland stamped thier cars?

Will be looking forward to hearing more about this.....
Chuck Schaefer

Hi Chuck

When I get the certificate I will post the details. My initial thoughts when I first viewed the car was that like most manufacturers the changeover was never clean and a few strays got through especially as this number is only 537 into 1600 production. I would have thought though within this community there would have been at least another car in a similar situation which would be flagged. The reason I was not too worried when I bought the car was its overall condition and that I purchased for pure enjoyment and nothing else. We shall see.

Barry
B Bridgens

Have you got a body number? That would be another pointer.

Steve
Steve Gyles

Hi Steve

No body number I'm afraid just the holes where it should be.

Barry
B Bridgens

It's certainly not a Dutch car as the last batch 1500's by Molenaar were 62185 through 62188 (they came in batches of four and were assembled in March/April 1959). The next batch were 1600's, nrs 71425 to 71428 and assembled in September 1959.
Molenaar also imported MGA's and their last 1500 was a Coupe HMR33-68072 (May 1959). The next one was a red 1600 GHNL-70551 (July 1959).
As former registrar of the Dutch MGA-Type Owners I have seen hundreds of chassis numbers, but never one that was stamped like Barry's A.

Rutger
Rutger Booy

Barry

In some countries in Europe (e.g. Switzerland) it is a requirement to have the chassis number stamped into the car as the screwed-on metal plate is deemed inadequate. The easiest place to do this (you need a dolly behind the metal to get the stamps to work) is exactly where you have yours, and it's where I put mine too.

It is highly likely that the chassis number that is stamped into the car was done when the car still had the official factory plate, and that it was checked officially to make sure it was the same as the one stamped into the metal.

So it's unlikely to be a factory or CKD thing, and more than likely done as you say after the respray. Maybe they didn't refit the original plate because of the state it was in.



dominic clancy

Barry

The body number is not riveted (no holes). It is on a vertical welded plaque behind the heater - see photo.

Excuse the dirt and grime - been driving and not polishing.

Steve

Steve Gyles

Dominic and Rutger, Thanks for the expert reply. It was just a guess on my part. I knew you guys who are closer to this sort of thing would know for sure. I defer to your knowledge and now retract my possible scenario. So.......we wait for the BMHT cert to throw some more obfuscation on the matter.
Chuck Schaefer

I have imported many MGA,S in Holland and always stamped the chassis/vin number in the body. Customs will not accept the original ID plate. When you Export the MG from the US you must have a title. To prevent stolen cars leaving the country.
Many MGA ,s are sold without a title Bill of sale only.. If you have a parts car with a title it is very easy to use it and satisfy customs on both side.
Marc van Zoest

Barry

The British Heritage certificate wont tell you much more than I have posted, other than a more precise manufacture date, colour and details of equipment where recorded.

You have more of a chance of solving this mystery by looking at the body number. There is a sort of link between chassis numbers and body numbers (not precise) but it should provide an indication of whether the body ties up with chassis or whether one or the other is a replacement.

Steve
Steve Gyles

Barry

The chassis number is also stamped into the frame of all UK assembled cars. In addition, each welding team stamped its unique serial number. Have a look at the attached document on my website - item 16.

http://www.mgaroadster.co.uk/technical_information.htm

Steve
Steve Gyles

Should there not be a serial number on the cross member just in front of the RH seat.
darnoc31

"Should there not be a serial number on the cross member just in front of the RH seat."

Unless you are very fortunate it has usually rusted away as appears to be the case here:
" I have checked on the frame and there is no number there."

I agree with Marc, if I understood his meaning correctly, that the id and probably the stamping is to give this car a title. (from another car that has been scrapped, damaged etc.)

The only pity is that the two cars were either side of the 1500/1600 changeover.

A lot of UK cars have been (and still are being) "restored" using "parts cars" from the US. Of course just swapping the ID and a few parts would be illegal...

We already had that discussion...

N McGurk

Hi Guys

Thanks for all the tips for the detective work.

Steve there is no sign of a body number welded on the firewall, it must have been expertly removed if there was one as there are no abrasive marks indicating grinding.
Marc/dominic the car was imported into Holland which could explain the stamped number, we have a similar ruling in France.
Steve/Darnoc31 unfortunately time and soggy carpets make the number illegible on the chassis crossmember, also there is no number on the lefthand crossmemeber

I have a copy of the title form Colorado which show the last owner bought the car in 1983 with that VIN and sold it in 2011 to a dealer in Holland.
I dont know how long the heritage certificate will take but it will at least show when it arrives the model that VIN was allocated to.
Just as an aside I was trying to see if the red colour was original so I looked up under the dash to see what colour was there and it is matt black. I have old Porsches as well and that would be an easy way of seeing the original colour is this normal on MGA?

Barry
B Bridgens

Barry

Inside should be the same gloss colour as the exterior, so a matt black finish would indicate a previous owner's handy work.

Steve
Steve Gyles

The dashboard panel itself was originally black on the back side, with only overspray from the colour paint process. the underside of the scuttle would have the original colour if not overpainted since. It might also appear matt as it got a pretty sparse coverage. So your car may have been black originally.
N McGurk

Barry, I recently ordered a Heritage Certificate for my car and it took about 3 weeks to receive in the USA.

George
G Goeppner

I remember a discussion from some years back that the back of the dash was painted a rust brown color, like the brown primer that is available now. I haven't searched the archives for that however....

George
G Goeppner

Barry. If you purchased this car from a dealer , you might ask him why it was not disclosed that a later 1600 title was used.

Several years ago there was a " gentleman " cloning Austin Healey 100/4 Le Mans in Los Angeles area. He optained the correct vin # of one original . Proceded to stamp 4 or 5 cars with the same numbers and sold them to Europe , Japan etc.

When chassis/vin numbers are altered this should always be disclosed
Marc van Zoest

Barry, you dont make any mention of engine size or engine
number. Any details ? Might shed some more light on the mystery.
David
D C Grahame

Hi
David
It is not the correct engine for the car so that doesn't help. I have found on the Dutch registry another GHNL69XXX car that is a 1500, it might just be a misprint but it is interesting that another one is around. Also searching this BBS archive I found another owner of a GHNL69XXX car that wanted to change to disc brakes from drum (all GHNL car should have disc brakes) one of the answers suggested that it might be a "transition car"?????

Marc
I don't think with the price I paid for the car that it will be a clone.

Steve

The matt black looks too good to have been done by the PO unless he stripped all the wiring etc from behind the dash before doing the deed, there is no visible overspray on any components.

On a brighter note, I cleaned the carbs and plugs, checked the tappets, drained and refilled the oil and disconnected the petrol tank feed and fed it into a fresh can of petrol. I expected to be under the bonnet for a while so I connected a booster battery and turned on the ignition. Under the bonnet I gave it full choke and touched the starter solenoid. It started instantly much to my surprise, so much so I banged my head on the bonnet lid in shock. After a few minutes with the choke off it was purring. A bit different to trying to start a 911 engine after several months of storage.
More when I get the certificate as you have probably had enough of me by now.

Barry
B Bridgens

Barry , I have it in my head from somewhere that the 1600 engine was actually fitted into some of the very last 1500's before they went onto the full 1600 version.Is this what you refer to as a "Transition " car?
I was offered one such car for sale some years ago. 1600 engine ( the 1600 being cast onto the engine block) with everything else as per the 1500. I just thought that yours might be such a car and that these odd cars might have been given a 1600 chassis number. Does yours have a 1600 engine or a 1500 engine.?
David
D C Grahame

To the best of my knowledge, except for a couple of prototype test vehicles, all 1500 cars had 1500 engine with "15" head. In January 1959 they changed to the 15GD engine with high starter and flanged output on the gearbox (1600 style gearbox). From about February 1959 the 1500's had the later style steel disc wheels (1600 style wheels) but still had drum brakes.

All Twin Cam cars were 1600cc twin cam engine and all wheel disc brakes with either 1500 or 1600 body style.

All 1600 cars had 1600 engine with "15" head (same head as the 1500 engine) and front disc brakes. Some "Deluxe" cars had all wheel disk brakes.

All 1600-MK-II cars had 1622 engines with "16" head (with a few exceptions). The first two or three hundred 1622 engines were produced with "15" head that was machined out to "16" specification with larger combustion chamber, larger valves, and maybe better porting (before the "16" heads were available). All MK-II cars had front disc brakes, except some "Deluxe" cars with all wheel disc brakes.

The model cut-overs were sharp and definite. There was never a 1500 car with 1600 engine or disc brakes. There was never a 1600 car with 1500 engine or 1622 engine or all drum brakes. There was never a MK-II car with 1500 or 1600 engine or all drum brakes.

There were some 1600 cars and 1600 MK-II cars mixed in with regular production having the "competition suspension option", essentially a Twin Cam chassis with pushrod engine, which is how they got all wheel disc brakes and knock-off pub drive steel wheels.

Best guess is that Barry's car has been the subject of a "creative restoration, where in the process of restoration all of the parts of a 1500 model were transplanted into the 1600 car, and the chassis number for the 1600 car was stamped into the body. That's a nice way of saying someone used number plates and title from a 1600 car to register an 1500 car (which likely had previously lost its title). The Heritage certificate related to the designated chassis number will ultimately show all of the characteristics of the 1600 car to which the title originally belonged.

Without being able to find the original chassis number stamped on the frame, there is no way to know the original heritage of the real 1500 car. You can't even get a corrected title without knowing the original chassis number. So from here to fore Barry is the proud owner of a 1959 MGA 1600 (likely perfectly legal) that happens to have a LOT of 1500 parts installed.
Barney Gaylord

This thread was discussed between 30/03/2012 and 03/04/2012

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