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MG MGA - The OldLady is coming home =)


After relocating from Scotland to Milton Keynes (work) and enjoying the birth of our first child (Finley).

16 months have passed in the blink of an eye and now its finally time for my much missed and slightly neglected MGA coupe ‘The Old Lady’ to be in her new home.

The garage still need to be cleared, even then there’s little room. But is so exciting, she arrives on Wednesday morning.

All the best, Matthew.
M Elliott


Escaping from Scotland before you need a visa to get into England?!

Best of luck with the car. Photos?

Steve Gyles

Hi Matthew,

I'm just down the road in Clophill. Let me know if you need any assistance.

As Steve has indicated, Forum etiquette means you should post a picture of the car on Wednesday.
John Bray

Steve, promotion and family were the main drivers.

But can say it was a joy living in such a beautiful country for 20 years. Shall leave it there, and not make this post too political.

Thank you John, will PM should I need assistance.

Will be posting pictures later in the week. Have lots to do over the winter but just time enough to enjoy the last few weeks of summer.

Hopeing to join a few local runs and a trip to France next summer.

M Elliott

Hi Matthew

I too spent 5 years in Scotland (Fife). Enjoyed my time, other than the midges and haar. Although the haar used to give me plenty of time in the bar after flying was scrubbed.

Steve Gyles


That's TheOld Lady arrived safe and welll.

She's in need of a good wash, battery charge, air and new fluids.

Many thanks to Richard from RedStag65 for transporting her.

Finley my son has instantly a new favourite alongside : helicopters and his bicycle trailer.

Off to buy a shed to take the garage overflow junk. Then back to work to get a promotion so I can buy a house with a double garage...

A very happy MatthewE.

M Elliott

Cleaner than mine Matthew! Good colour. Another BRG in our midst.

Steve Gyles

Hi Steve

TheOld Lady is actually black.

A copy of the original registration also denotes the car as black, in 1958.

However the chassis number indicates she was delivered only in primer!


M Elliott

I like the sunroof.
John Bray

Thanks John.

A previous owner c1967 thought it would be a good addition!

Needs refurbishing somewhat, but is still the driest part of the car in the wet.

Hope to be having a few run outs before the winter and salt arrive. Do you know of any upcoming local car shows ?

Ta, Matthew.
M Elliott

Hi Matthew, I think we bumped into each other at the 1st Scottish MGA Day about 3 years ago (no, not in the cars!)

I remember discussing your sunroof and my saying to you that although it isnt an original fitting on a coupe, if it was my car I would keep it. It is part of the cars history now and also it makes the FHC so much more comfortable in hot weather.

Back in the 70s we drove the coupe we owned then on a trip to Switzerland in July-August. The car coped fine but the passengers really suffered from the extreme heat inside the car, my wife had heat exhaustion by the time we arrived in Switzerland and it took her over a day to recover.
So your car should be perfect for your planned French trip

I also recall chuckling at one of our American friends on the forums who said that your car should be called a "COUPSTER!"
c firth

Hi Steve

Yep, that me.

The refurbishment of the sunroof is now low down on the list of 'to-do things' as I've slowly gotten to know TheOldLady and her many aliments.

By the way, I have an April 2000 Practical Classic article featuring your car, was included in the workshop manual as an extra along with original adverts etc.

M Elliott


Supercar Sunday (7th September) is a good show to attend. Its held at the Sharnbrook Hotel just North of Bedford is always good.

Looking further ahead there is the New Years Day gathering in Stony Stratford.

You are quite close to Silverstone, Ferrari Racing Days is the next event.
John Bray

Thanks John.

New Years Day gathering in Stony Stratford sounds good =)

M Elliott


The Old Lady is still having a problem starting! some advice would be useful.

Battery is well charged and on turn over the lights go completely out. And a spark is visible on the starter motor!

I have cleaned terminals on the battery and tried to instal an additional temporary earthing strap on the engine (jump lead).

The switch seems fine and is taking power. So is the starter jammed or should I be looking elsewhere for a short ?

A confused and cold MatthewE
M Elliott

Sounds like either the power is finding a short at the connection to the starter or you have a bad connection to the starter. Remove the lead, clean it all up and have a good careful look. If everything is as it should be then reconnect, making sure you tighten the nut up securely.
Neil MG

Matthew I'm sure you will cherish that photo of young Finley in the MGA.

Here is a photo of my three kids at 2, 3 and 4 years old, taken in 1972, the day I got my car home. I still drive it today and now take photos of my grandchildren in the same pose! Those three are now all in their forties! Tempus fugit! Indeed!

More photos please. Barry.

BM Gannon


Is your starter just stuck in mesh with the flywheel gear?

If you put a spanner on the squared end of the starter motor shaft you should be able to turn it and if stuck it will free itself. It is often possible to free it by rocking the car backwards and forwards with the car in gear.

Malcolm Asquith

Neil and Malcolm.

Thank you for the advice, will look at doing both over the next few nights. Shall update on progress and the next troubles / adventure.

Barry, love the picture. Can’t imagine my son being older but time is indeed flying. Are there succession plans for the ownership of the A ?

M Elliott

The saga continues !

Had some time last night and can turn the squared end of the starter motor shaft with a spanner.

The lead was removed (easily as was loose) dint clean it but reconnected making sure was tight.

Tried to start again, very sluggish, with lights going completely out. Starter motor shaft (squared end) spun but very slowly.

Will undo lead and clean up connection next week and charge battery again! is there anything else I should be doing?

Regards, Matthew.
M Elliott

Matthew, I have had a gap of 50 years but if you were writing about a B, the most likely culpret would be the earth strap - its worth checking the positive lead's connection to the chassis. After that I would test the battery output - it's getting colder and batteries will reveal their age at this time of year.
Roger W

Matthew, Assuming all possible starter and battery connections and earthing connections and engine earthing strap, starter switch and starter are good - that sounds rather like a duff battery(s) to me. We assume also you don't always try starting with the headlights on, although this could indicate a dead short at the starter.
After a charge, is it possible to bump start the car and get to your local battery supplier or remove the batteries and get them checked?
No mention of electronic ignition; if points still fitted its worth dragging a nail file through the contacts after a period of not running to remove any oxidisation to ensure when the starter does do something it has a chance of firing up. Hope the fuel is not too old too. Good luck.

Could be a duff battery if it has been standing for several months without a charge. The plates get 'sulphated' if the battery sits in a discharged state for any period of time and this partially insulates the plates so that it can't accept a charge or deliver full power.
Lindsay Sampford


Thanks for all the comments. I know the ignition circuit is rather simple (like mne) and there can only a limited number of issues.

Am going to borrow a booster pack and connect in place of the battery and see what happens.

Hoping this will show if the battery is duff or the charger for the battery.

If this produces same results. I intend to then connect boost pack direct to frame (earth) and then starter motor to eliminate any starter motor issues, indicating a wiring problem.

If you disagree with method or have any other permutations and help, they’ll all be most appreciated.

M Elliott

Hi Matthew have you got the starting handle might be worth a try with a charged battery just to get it going

G C Pugh

I had a problem with the starter motor circuit when first trying to start up after my restoration. The problem didn't seem to be a simple one and,in the end, it turned out there were two problems acting together.
Although the circuit is simple there are many connections and several components any of which could be suspect.
So I decided to measure component/contact resistances of such things as the high current cable, starter switch,starter motor, resistance across the engine,earth strap and the return resistance from the strap along the frame back to the battery.

As I didn't have a sufficiently accurate, low reading resistance meter to do this I measured instead the potential difference across various points in the circuit using the 200 millivolt range on my multimeter; I think most meters have this range.

I disconnected the battery at the positive earth end and inserted a spare 12 volt 21 watt lamp (direction indicator) in series to give a circuit current of between 1 and 2 amps (actually 1.44A). I wedged the starter pull switch to keep the current flowing and measured the voltage drops with long leads on the meter. I went round the circuit and found that not only my earth strap resistance was too high at 45 milliohms but that the starter motor resistance was too low at 7 milliohms.
It turned out that there was a partial internal short in the starter motor and also I had not completely ground away a layer of powder coating on the frame for the earth strap connection.
After I'd fixed these two problems I did the resistance measurements again for future reference and they came to:

1. Cable,battery to starter switch = 3.5 milliohms
2. Across starter switch = 0.7 milliohms
3. Cable,switch to motor = 0.4 milliohms
4. Starter motor = 25 milliohms
5. Motor bolt to earth strap = 0.2 milliohms
6. Across earth strap = 0.1 milliohms
7. Frame return (strap to battery = 1 milliohm

These were quick and easy measurements to do and I wouldn't hesitate to do them again if problems cropped up in this area. If you were to find resistances similar to those above I would suspect the battery and/or it's connections. ..............................................Mike

m.j. moore

Hi Matthew, only just seen this thread If you need any help, I am just outside Milton Keynes and am quite willing to give you any assistance. I can be contacted on 07912 072372. Dave
DM Gibson

Hi everyone.

Last night The Old Lady fired back into life. I hadn’t changed anything other than cleaning up and tightening connections and charging the battery (again!).

I honestly think problem may be connected to the battery and / or charger. As following the last charge, it was the first time ever that indicator LED on charger went green !

The problem of sluggish starting does still persists so will have try track down that issue over the winter. But at least she can have a final winter run before a service.

Many thanks for the help, Regards, Matthew.
M Elliott

This thread was discussed between 01/09/2014 and 19/11/2014

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