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MG TD TF 1500 - Almost done with my TF - Should I restore an MGA

This is a serious question, and I suspect a number of people on this site have good thoughts on this. I am 54 and want to retire some day soon, and want a free mind where I am not up nights thinking what I have to do next on my restoration project(and how in the world will I do it). By way of background, I finished the two year restoration of a TR3 about a year ago (frame on/not too complex), and I am almost done with a TF that did not need a lot. I am thinking of doing a nut a bolt, frame off, restoration of an MGA. Should I do an MGA, or.........? Give me your thoughts about what, if anything, I should do instead. I somewhat lightly restored an MGA back in 1982 (when I had little money (and tools) but a lot of enthueseasim) and owned in college a 67 MGB GT, 66 MGB. My first car was a 57 MGA (not running) that I paid $90 for (and sold for $110 (not running)). I am thinking I need to "go big" on an old Brit car, but wonder if this is what I should do. Would be interested in hearing thoughts. Thanks!
TM Going

I did a full up 6 month on my B in the mid 90's .. Full up 3 year job on the TF starting in 2005 and a full up one year job on the TD a couple of years back. Picked up a rust bucket 59 A last year. Have decided I have run out of steam and would rather go drive the wheels off what I have. Best of luck to ya. Sell ya mine for what I paid for it.

I also burned out on an MGA and sold it.
Gene Gillam

There are lots of good MGA's around. My brother works on them and I will pass on his advice. "Buy the best car you can already restored, and drive the thing"

It is not only cheaper in the long run, but you can spend your time enjoying the drive.

My 2 cents!
C.R. Tyrell

The MGA is a fantastic car, I can't state that enough. They are fun to work on, fun to restore and run like a scared rabbit,they GO!
I restored one in 1987 and had a lot of fun doing it.
The North American MGA Register (NAMGAR) is a fantastic group.
D. Sander

I always wanted a coupe. If a restorable one came my way, I'd have a hard time walking away from it. PJ
P. Jennings

Check out craigs list in Mpls MN there is a 1960 twin cam with a 1622 push rod for sale. Restoration has been started.
S E Bryan

Personally, although I am enjoying the process of rebuilding my TD, I get really frustrated at times because I want to drive it so badly. I think if it were finished and I was able to enjoy the drive I would have much more fun rebuilding a second car. I am sure retirement is great but you have to stay busy or you will just fade away. Just a thought.

Rob Welborne

Frankly I am insanely jealous of the idea you can retire someday soon at 54...what ever you choose to restore you are a lucky man.

I always bought the best I could and worked to keep it that way. Best of both worlds as you get to drive it and work on it.

If you really want to do a nut an bolt job then do it on a second car. You can take your time, walk away for periods without feeling guilty and have the best of both worlds. If you drive a great MGA and restore a TF then you will probably get the best return ( if that matters) and have the more reliable/slightly more modern car for the increased milage.

You could buy the MGA coupe - then when the job is done you have a soft and hard top to choose from depending on the weather.

I was originally looking for an MGA - they are beautiful cars - but 'found' my TF be accident and fell in love.

Dave Moore

Thanks all for the great thoughts. First, I have to note that the term "soon" are respects when I want to retire is unfortunately a relative term. That is, it cannot come soon enough, but is probably at best 7 or 8 years off. Anyway, from this unscientific sample, it seems it just comes down to DNA. Some of us were programed mostly to drive and others mostly to fix/restore. I am very lucky (in some ways), as I like to and can spend time doing both because based on what some may say is mental illness, I have not been able to part with recent restorations and can drive them while I go ahead and restore the MGA. Best of both worlds? As noted above though, and I suspect we all know, the process of doing a restoration can be frustrating in so many way. I guess it comes down to looking at who you are and where you are in life, and then balancing the joy v. pain, especially because as also noted above, there is almost never any money to be made. Thanks again for the thoughts. Cheaper than a shrink.
TM Going

Actually, your probably at a great time to think about this. I restored my TD back in 74 and it is nearing another (this time, now that I know more about the TD, and sites like this, a correct restoration). I have about 3 to 5 years prior to retirement and feel restoring the TD again will be a great project to transition me from working to retired.

We are starting to plan for where we will retire to and I am already laying out what I need (large shop for one, car lift for another).

With the economy as it is, you should be able to find a car in reasonable shape for restoration. Even if you store it for a bit before you have to start on it.

Your comment on "Cheaper than a shrink" is right on. Yes, some frustration, but you keep your mind sharp in thinking through things and how to fix them, have the time to do it to your level of perfection, and still get that great feeling of accomplishment (and if you post pictures, praise from us).

I think an A is an excellent project in that it comes apart pretty well. Easy to put on a rotisserie,and light enough to move around if needed and a really neat looking car when you are done.
Bruce Cunha

Nut and bolt projects will test your patience and fortitude. Be sure the car you undertake is a model that you are very fond of - maintaining enthusiasm is key to seeing the project thru to the end. Try to drive an A and make sure it is still comfortable and useable. Buy the best you can afford is great advice - basket cases will wear you out. The A has good resale if needed and can be made quite fast with the interchangeability of B components. I found that having a "driver" during the process helped immensely - I bought a B and a GT6 during the 5 years spent on my basket case TD. Made minor repairs and drove em daily to keep the spirit alive. Good info and support from the MGA groups is a big deal - put a computer in your build area. Be prepared to hear comments of "obsessed" and "picky" as you progress ever further into the esoteric world of the nut and bolt resto. My 4 cents worth.

Paul; Have a customer with a 57 A coupe for sale - located in Springfield Dan
Dan Craig

I retired very early but I actually relish having something to think about instead of sleeping. That's how your mind works too I'll bet. Retirement is really a bore for some of us. The mind stagnates without a task I think. I finished my TD last summer and if I had room I would do an A in a heartbeat. LaVerne, wanna trade houses for a year or so? (He has lots of room and a lift!)

efh Haskell

TM, I agree with all the thoughts and advice the other members have provided but the bottom line is that ONLY YOU can make that decision. At your age, some of us were looking to put our feet up and take it easy while others were ready to Go Like Gangbusters as we old geezers use to say. I sort of fit into the latter category although with the passing years, I take longer for a given task but stil willnig to do it. Hmmm, an afterthought is that that attitude seems to apply to many things.
Best of luck in your decision.
Jim Merz

Okay, thought about it all and went ahead and bought a rough 58 MGA that for now, I intend to do a pretty extensive restoration. Seems pretty much like the first A I bought in 1976 for $90. Hopefully, Ill be able to finish this one. When it arrives from the mid-west, Ill post pictures. Wish me luck!
TM Going

S E Bryan, Minnesota, USA

Check out craigs list in Mpls MN there is a 1960 twin cam with a 1622 push rod for sale. Restoration has been started.
The mga twin cam in Mn has no T cam engine and the transmission hangers on the chassis has been modified. Be a good start for someone with access to a T cam engine though, if the price is right. No price listed.

P. Jennings

TM, Congradulations! Looking forward to pix.
efh Haskell

TM, Im glad you made the righ decision.
Best regards.
Jim Merz

definitely go for it-----I did a complete nuts/bolts/ you name ground up, too much money, too much time restoration on a '58 MGA-----its really pretty and runs well------but it was the fun of seeing a piece of junk turned into a beautiful object that inspired me. My advice would be to avaoid the rusty stuff--a blown engine or other mechanical issues are relatively ok to get into--lots of body work is a drag unless you are good at it--I'm not--------never made a cent on a car redo but what the hell----its fun to sort out stuff and see the transformation--one mans opinion----good luck!!!!!!!!

Well, here it is.

TM Going

This thread was discussed between 28/01/2012 and 30/01/2012

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