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MG MGA - Sold My MGA of more than 30 years

It is official, after over 30 years of ownership; I have sold my 1956 MGA roadster. My wife and I decided that since the car was being used less and less, rather than let it turn to dust, we would turn it over to the next care taker. Over the last couple of years, my spare time has been spent on my Locost (a DIY Lotus Seven) project and the MGA has just been sitting there in the corner. Now that the Locost is complete and ready for the road, it is time for the MGA to go.

For those of you in a similar situation, I will share my selling experience. I wanted to sell the car but didnt NOT at a fire sale price. I started feeling out the market by posting a For Sale sign on the car at Chicagos British Car Fest in Sept of 2009. The car was listed slightly above what I thought was market price in hopes to have some negotiating room. This provided no real interest. This last Summer I had the car at the NAMGAR GT in Delavan,WI again with a for sale sign. I had a little interest by a local dealer, but nothing really came of it. This last August I listed it on eBay with a reserve price at where I thought it should be. It never came close to the reserve. I showed the car again at the Sept 2010 British Car Fest. This time I had someone who was genuinely interested but that contact dried up after that day. I ran a second eBay listing. I lowered the reserve a bit, still at an acceptable level. I had one person actually come to see the car during the listing. He ended up as the high bidder but the auction still didnt reach the reserve. We continued to negotiate after the auction but we still could not come to an agreement. Several others had contacted me privately after the auction. They did not have the opportunity to inspect the car before the auction closed. They were a different local dealer, and several individuals. Two actually came out to look at the car. I finally ended up negotiating an agreeable price with a third person before seeing the car. I granted him the right of refusal upon inspecting the car. He paid a deposit for me to keep it off the market for 2 weeks while he could arrange to come and see the car. In the mean time I had a forth interested party who also wanted to see the car. He happened to be on business in the area. This person knew I had a potential deal prior to coming over. After seeing the car, he wanted me to let him know how the deal progressed. The third guy came out last Saturday and inspected the car. We completed the deal and his check cleared last night. The car is now officially sold. This person has a long history with another British car so I know it has gone to a good home. All that is left is for the buyer to arrange for transport and have the car picked up.

I will still visit here and try to contribute when I can. I will be selling off my mga books, regalia and the few remaining spare parts I have. I want to thank the webmasters for running such a great forum for us to share our experiences and to share our expertise. This is a great group.

Safety Fast,

Chuck Schaefer

Good stuff Chuck pleased you got the price you thought reasonable.
Whilst E bay may not be the auction it would like to be it certainly does create the interest and the advertising to get your car in the public domain. I like E bay and think we are better for it.

I am quickly coming to the same situation as yourself. Having had MG sports cars since I was 14 (now 58) years old (Well a Frogeye to start with) I am certainly thinking of selling them all and buying a drop head merc of a new vintage. That way we can share the driving when touring and not worry about toolkits :) As yet I have not made that decision but it would certainly please the better half!
Bob Turbo Midget England

Chuck, can you tell us what mga books and spare parts that you might be selling.

F Camilleri

Sad to hear that you've parted ways with your MGA but glad that it's gone to someone who'll appreciate it. Best of luck with your Locost...from your next-door neighbor at the GT35 car show.
Andy Bounsall

A good article Chuck. I fear that your experience with selling your A is following in the foot steps of Pre-war Vintage Motor cycles with girder forks. Very few takers. The people who grew up with them are unable to cope. For myself , in my twenties when A's were new , it is a problem getting in and under these days. With an A costing up to $50k to restore properly, what is the market saying, $20k ? Mine can sit there, in dry storage ,till I get a buyer who appreciates the work that has gone into it.
For, for ever long it takes !
S Sherry

I think it is unfortunate that many may have an over-expectation on the value of their cars. Based on my 35 years buying and selling MGA & MGB cars, wat is asked for is a lot more than what it usually sells for. I also suspect that what some claim to have gotten is an inflated price to justify their expenses and ward off any negative comments. Unfortunately most young guys these days are only intrested in rice-racer WRX ans such limiting the market for classics.In the end its only worth what someone is prepared tp pay!!
Mark Mathiesen

I think ebay is the best place to get exposure. I also think with the economy the way it is prices are down, A lot of people are holding on to what money they have at this time. I have sold four A's on ebay in the last year. None of them as nice as yours. Two of them were running and two not. You do get some screwballs on ebay. One guy said he sent the money two months ago and it never showed up but he keeps calling and says he is coming to pick up the car with cash in hand. I will believe it when he get here. Three of the sales went great. Two of the cars were shipped and one the person came from Wisconsin to pick up the car. Good luck with your new car.
GK George

GK, I haven't noticed that the ebay mga's achieve very good prices and this contrasts with the prices in many specialist garages/showrooms. In the well known Beaulieu garage in Hampshire there's a nice (but not highly original) 1600 mga with an asking price of 26,000. Its not difficult to find mga's around the 20,000 mark from such places. I think there's a big gap between the cost of an 'average' mga and one in excellent condition with few defects. Also a garage seems to be able to command a higher price than individuals can.
J H Cole

Having bought my MGA on eBay, I'd be very wary of doing it again. There was a significant gap between what was represented and what was received. Of course, I didn't pay nearly so much as I would have in a direct purchase from a dealer or a private seller, nor would have I. The risk of buying junk is far greater on eBay, and needs to be factored into any bid. Here in the US, consumer protection laws hold auto dealers liable for any deliberate misrepresentations, so that garages doing restoration work can often command better prices than could an owner selling from home. Whether this confidence in specialty dealerships is warranted is another matter, of course, but brick-and-mortar dealerships probably have more at stake in a successful sale than does your neighbor.
Ken Korey

Chuck, best of luck with your Locost, I hope to see you, and the car, at future BCU events! Is the new owner of your MGA in the Chicago area?
G Goeppner

Chuck - sorry to hear you have parted with your A after 30 years = but you had a good run for your money and I am sure you will always have fond memories of it. Have fun with your new "toy".
Cam Cunningham

Interesting and usefull comments. 20k UK Pounds equates to $40000 down under ! A's are about half that here in the dry continant. What is the boat fare to the Uk and is VAT levied by the robber barrons at the Port of entry ? Little wonder cars leave these shores. Sean
S Sherry

Bob, for me it is more a question of it not being driven rather than the comfort and reliability. I understand the 44 years of sports cars. Going back before the "A", I had a Spit and a AH Sprite MKII with a Frogeye front end. I guess I just like the minimalistic designs of the 50's & 60's Brit cars. Maybe that is why I am working with the Lotus 7 clone.

EBay does provide good exposure. I follow that more than the individual sales boards. At least on eBay, you can see what a car actually sold for. Other places, you never know if a car sold for the listing price or whether the seller really dropped his/her price to get rid if the car. As I had posted a while back, eBay is a great place to sell a car valued below, say 15k (USD). Above that, few actually sell. Those that do, I hae to believe that some buyers are very surprised when they actually see what they have bought. It is scary sometimes to see some "restored" cars sell. The interest in a particulare car varies. Nobod from my first auction bid on the 2nd auction. And the first one never got the interest in Messages, that the 2nd one did. It is a crapshoot.

Sean, for me it was more of letting it go. It was just time. I doubt whether I would enjoy having the car sit without any use; it just isn't right. Every owner, sooner or later, has to ask himself that question and the answer is as individual as the cars.

Andy, George, Cam and others, thanks for the support.

Frank, I am putting a list together. Right now, I am working in the books and determining a price. I will let everybody know when I get done. I may end up listing things as I get to them.


Oh, here is a photo of the other woman:

Chuck Schaefer

This thread was discussed between 23/11/2010 and 24/11/2010

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