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MG MGA - MG Owners becoming extinct?

Attached is the result of a survey conducted by the MG Car Club of Sydney, Australia.
It is rather disturbing in what is says about the future.


Mick Anderson

Not sure if Australia's demographics are indicative of the US or the UK; it would be interesting to know the exact number of club members surveyed and what the total population of the Aussie MG club is.

I think we conducted an informal survey on this BBS a while ago. Does anyone have the numbers from that? Are they similar to what Mick posted?

I'm an MG owner under 30, but I'm still not sure what the answer is as far as involving younger people in the hobby. The cars are expensive, they take time to work on. You're more likely to have extra time and money once you're over 50, I think. That may be a generalization but I think there's some truth in it. Still, I know I've influenced friends to become involved in classic cars. My friends and I have an informal "car club" here in Chicago and between the three of us we have three MGs, a Porsche, and a WV all 1974 or earlier.
Mark J Michalak

Mark makes a good point. A lot depends on the age that people come into ownership. If a majority don't acquire an MG or similar car until they reach their fifties then there is nothing to worry about. Old car ownership is a luxury and can be an expensive hobby needing a certain amount of spare money.
Malcolm Asquith


The Sydney Club is one of twelve formally constituted MG Car Clubs in various States of Australia.
This survey was for the Sydney Club only.
It has 579 "primary" members, spouses, social members etc. are not counted. The number of survey forms sent out was 579 and 374 were completed and returned.

One minor error. The owners under 30 years of age is 4% (see graph above).

Mick Anderson

Sorry, under 30 years of age is 1% and under 40 is 4%

Mick Anderson

The real qustion that study provokes is whether the demographics are changing or not.

The next worry is how many people will posses the skills for this hobby in the future. It seems that there is not the enthusiasm (or need) for the amateur mechanic these days (at least compared to when I was younger).

Cars are very much a disposable commodity today and owners do not have the enthusiasm of yesteryear.

All that said, I have just returned from my weekly shop at the supermarket in the MGA and the interest that it provokes is more than ever! However, the impression I get from most people is that they regard ownership as a specialised business!

Neil McGurk

Iím not in your club but fit straight into the 3% group 30-39.
But I imagine 50 years old is a grand thing. Your career is at its peak, the schooling expenses have finished, the kids have moved out, the mortgage is under control and you can basically do what you like with your money if you have saved well.
Now being 30-39, your career is just ramping up (no time for playing), you have finished or just finished paying for the uni degree, you have moved out of home, you have a new mortgage, you have school fees to pay for your kids and you have to save for your future till you reach 50 and you can basically do what you like with your money.
Thatís why 89% of the respondent are over 50. Oh and the others that didnít respond they may be 30-39 but too busy reaching 50 too respond.
Did you find time to get to the National Meeting in Tamworth? I didnít.
DJ Lake

Thirty years ago my first-born rode home from the hospital in our P1800S Volvo, a roadster which disappeared (like so many others) in the first flush of infant car seats. Now, with children grown and tuition paid, the old magic has returned as an MGA. Understandably, that same daughter views my present MGA fixation with some bemusement, since it appears to have no imaginable advantage over her MX5--a much more economical and, in truth, better-performing descendant. And, of course, if well down her road she's fortunate enough to realize the second coming of a roadster, it will very unlikely have been made in Abingdon. This is just how things go, so carpe diem and safety fast--and no worries, mate!

Ken Korey

Well guy's I think young people will still continue our luv for the cars. My children (15 & 16) adore the MGA after watching dad restore it. They also would never allow me to sell her. The hard part is going to be allowing them to start driving it. I also see an amazing response be young people while driving it. I am sure this curiosity will also draw some participants to this wonderful hobby! My 2 cents.
WMR Bill

It means there are going to be some deals to be had in estate sales in a few years as the baby boomer generation starts dropping, but also the market for reproduction parts is going to dry up since there will be fewer people my age interested in preserving the cars. It probably won't matter then, because at least in the US, social security taxes will be 50% or so, therefore nobody will be able to afford toys anyway.
Del Rawlins

Classic car owners are typically older. It's always been this way and always will be.
Steve Simmons

Steve is right about that. The typical classic car owner is a male around 50 and has a car that he or his father owned or wanted to own in his youth. The most popular classic cars are always around 40 years old, and there is nothing to indicate that will ever change.
Jeff Schultz

Mick, I would think that these demographics would be pretty much the same here in the US. Steve is correct, the classic car hobby is usually an interest for older persons, it's just the type of car that changes as the generations change. Most of us find ourselves attracted to the same cars that we longed for as kids, so as we age the age of our hobby cars moves up in years. I'm 60 years old and most of the members of the MGA club here in KC are all retired and well into their 70s some older. Most of the members of the KCMGCC which is mostly midgets and Bs are in their 50s and 60s. The T series group basically disbanded a few years ago becasuse most of their members were too old to continue and were selling off their cars. Most of the guys in their 40s and 50s are into muscle cars from the 60s and 70s. The street rodders are mostly a little older than that as the cars were more popular earlier.
Bill Young

From the statistics angle, I would say that the pie chart in the first post only has any meaning if it is compared to a similar survey, say 10 years ago and then again in 2018. I would put money on such repeated surveys coming up with what Steve Simmons says.

Steve Gyles

I had always liked the Volvo P1800, but couldn't recall ever seeing a roadster. I googled and couldn't find anything about a roadster version but did find some interesting info that I didn't know. The first few years of p1800's were actually built by Jensen in England.

Jeff Schultz

Here's something I did a couple years ago based on a thread I started about owner ages:

OK, using 134 data points from both this thread and the 2003 thread the average age of an MGA owner is 52.
However, for those of you familiar with statistics, you know the answer is never that simple. For those of you who care I present the following:

Average = 52.0896
Standard deviation = 9.85265
Minimum = 26.0
Maximum = 72.0
Range = 46.0
Median = 54
Mode = 56

Because the distribution turned out to be a skewed normal, the Mode, or most frequently occurring number is certainly of interest. As is the frequency of owner ages in the distribution. It breaks out as follows:

25 to 30 = 1.5%
30 to 35 = 7.5%
35 to 40 = 6%
40 to 45 = 6%
45 to 50 = 15.5%
50 to 55 = 20%
55 to 60 = 27%
60 to 65 = 10.5%
65 to 70 = 5%
Over 70 less than 1%

Notice that the age group 45 to 65 contains 73% of MGA owners. However, there is an interesting little "bubble" in the 30 to 35 group.

G T Foster

>However, there is an interesting little "bubble" in the
>30 to 35 group.

Guilty as charged. Restoring dad's '59 1500, with the remains of another '59 1500 in various places on the property. My brother has a 1600 that our dad owned in storage, and is looking at buying a "B" or something to play with. Probably gonna end up with our uncle's TD at some point, too. Need more space for toys.
Del Rawlins

Again, reinforces my point that our children will have the bug and carry on the tradition! It would be interesting to do a survey on the group on how many children they have and the influence "Mom & Dad's" hobby has on them!

WMR Bill

The idea of MGA owners becoming extinct implies an impending loss of interest in the model and falling prices. I believe this is very unlikely (for the immediate future at least) for a number of reasons. That "interesting bubble" in the lower age group should be a big raised hand waving wildly for recognition.

If interest in the model was to fade away with the demise of the people who were under 30 when the cars were in production, then few people under 75 should be interested today. But this is obviously not the case, as the HUGE majority of all owners (nearly all of them) are under 75. In fact it appears that more than 1/3 of the current owners are younger than the cars, and about 90% of current owners were not old enough to drive when the last MGA was produced (including myself).

And yet MGA cars continue to increase in value, meaning demand exceeds supply. Many people also consider the cost of restoration still to be a reasonable option. This means the cost of a restoreable project car is relatively cheap, which means they are also relatively plentiful and still available in reasonable quantity.

That available quantity is a key factor in the viability of this model being "collectible" (and still affordable). Like all MG sports cars from the late 20's through the late 80's, they were the largest selling sports car in the history of the automotive industry (while they were in production). The MGA was built in large enough quantity that even today anyone who wants one can have one (for a reasonable price). It is also the first high production (reasonably priced) sports car that has the capability to cruise comfortably at modern expressway speeds, thereby being desirable as a drivable car in modern times.

Add to this the fact that cars built after 1980 are exceedingly complex with increasing amounts of electronics and plastics, and therefore are harder and more expensive to restore and to maintain in the long term. Also body styling of post 1980 cars (the affordable ones) may be generally uninspiring, ranging from three-box to jelly beans and many of similar appearance. The MGA is "the first of a new breed", referring to the change from pre-war to a more modern body style. It is also one of the last cars with the mid-century classic rounded and swoopy body style, and one of the last true roadsters (stripped down side curtain car).

Bottom line is, I believe the MGA model has an endearing and enduring quality that will keep it in high interest in the collector world for a long time to come. There is no need to be afraid to put the money out to buy one or restore one (or keep the one you have) as a hobby car for your enjoyment. Just keep in mind that collector cars are always speculative investments so you should never expect to make money on buy and sell or restoration (unless you can buy one for less than its real value).

Barney Gaylord

You're right that there's no conventional roadster version of the P1800, but an aftermarket cabriolet version was sold by Volvoville, on Long Island. I attach a picture of a 1968 model. Mine was not a cabriolet, though, but an ordinary 1962 coupe with a Judson blower. It was assembled in Coventry, however, with Lucas electricals, Smith instruments, Girling brakes, and so forth; only the B18B engine was distinctively Swedish.

Before we're accused of hijacking the thread, though, it might be noted that--in keeping with Barney's comment above--the lack of availability of P1800s today is enough to discourage all but the most committed restorationists. Indeed, when I parted with mine around 1979 I was unable to buy most parts specific to this model (that is, not shared with more popular models) even from Volvo, and this only a few years after manufacture ended. Of course, there was never a production run of P1800s comparable to that, say, of MGAs--one sufficient to support a small industry of parts remanufacturers to fill restorationists' needs. In this sense the MGA is like the Ford Model A: long after their last production runs, one can almost assemble new ones exclusively from remanufactured parts. (If only this applied to a Bugatti Tipo 37a!)

I truly wish that I could agree with the optimism Barney expresses for the long-term maintenance of the fleet; the thought of my MGA falling into doofus hands after I'm gone fills me with sadness. While I do agree that its effective extinction--when only a small handful of survivors are left, maintained by museums--is not imminent for all the reasons he states, on the other hand my paleontological training leads me to realize that the road to extinction is all too well travelled.


Ken Korey

At the rate that fuel prices are going up we may actually see an increase in interest. We can still afford to drive our cars while the muscle car dual quad 427 Chevy boys are looking at 10 mpg.
The wife and I are in the 50,s group having bought the three cars in our late thirties/early fourties. Two have been restored, working on the third. Our three adult children have all staked a claim on who gets which car when we move to the other side of the grass.
J Heisenfeldt

Fuel is still much cheaper in US.

If my car did 10 mpg and I were to drive to London and back it would cost over 650 dollars in fuel alone.

(That said my old Jag only does about 15-18 mpg.)

Neil McGurk

This thread was discussed between 31/03/2008 and 03/04/2008

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