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MG MGA - Engine Identification

I am helping a new MGA owner with his car and am trying to verify info about the car. It is a roadster listed as a 58 with a vin of HDK43/50841 which is about right. The engine has a number tag on it with BP15GB1634 which does not sound correct. Can someone shed some light on this engine. Thanks and have a good day!

John Progess


That engine number is a bit low for that chassis number. Mine is 55600 and has an engine number 45856.

The engine numbers started at 101 so that would probably be a 1956 engine.

Steve Gyles

That's very interesting John. I have a 1959 coupe HMK43/61479 which also has a BP15GB engine (don't have the engine number right now). These are early engines as Steve points out. Mine would pre-date my car by at least 2 years. Someone recently pointed out (on this board?) that MG would just pull an engine out of inventory and install it, so I suppose its not impossible for a BP15GB engine in a randomly organized bunch to have been installed in a 1958 or 1959 chassis.

G Goeppner

1500's in range Chassis No. 61504-68850, Jan '59 to May '59, should have 15GD type engine in range 101-7816. This is the 1500 engine mated to the gearbox with high starter and flanged output.

Chassis 61479 is 25 cars before change to GD engine type. This should have 15GB engine close to 51742 (+25/-150).

Chassis 50841 should have 15GB engine very close to 41000.
Barney Gaylord

My car has a similar discrepancy. Chassis plate says it's a 1958 car, HDK13-52407, but the engine number, 15GB 9871 is somewhere between August and October 1956. Your engine was manufactured somewhere between December 1954 and February 1955 according to Clausager's book. As George says, maybe they fitted the engines as they came to hand, although that seems to me to be a bit sloppy as there were extensive modifications and improvements made to the 1500 engine through its production. If you bought a brand new MGA in 1958, wouldn't you expect it to be "up to date" with regard to those improvements? It's probably more likely that in 50+ years, things have got swapped about. My Orient Red car has patches of Tyrolite Green in various out-of-the-way places, so I imagine, if it could speak, it would tell a story!
Lindsay Sampford

John, my car is a 1958 roadster with a 1500cc engine. The engine number is BP15GB 14935. It was dispatched to the US in October 58.

F Camilleri

Sounds like John's car might just be missing a "5" at the start of the number!
Neil McGurk


my car is a 1500 Roadster. The VIN is HDK43-50308, so very near to your car. Mine was built 25-26 March 1958. The engine number is 15GB-U-H-40513. It seems to be the original engine.

There is a very interesting article about numbering of chassis and engines in the may/june issue of the NAMGAR MGA! magazine.

Robert Mueller

This thread was discussed between 17/06/2010 and 19/06/2010

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