We stay with the last scene in Tintin book, “The Red Sea Sharks”. The gardens of Marlinspike have been converted into a huge parking lot by Joylon Wagg’s Vagabond Car Club who were conducting a rally, apparently to cheer up Captain Haddock. This parking is full of the most popular and exotic cars of their time and the most sought after classics of today. In the left hand top corner is car number 1, a red roadster. This car is none other than the MG, MGA.
The MGA was a two sear sports car in the typical British sports car mould. It was produced by the British company MG from 1955 to 1962. This car was a complete break from the normal MG styling, which was a reminiscent of the 1930s. The car was launched at the 1955 Frankfurt Motor Show. Over 101,000 cars were manufactured in UK and Australia, but sold mostly outside UK. These cars were available as two seat sports car in two versions:-
- Roadster (Convertible)
The MGA was designed by Syd Enevar, with the process starting in 1951. The car was so different from other MG models that it was named as the MGA, to denote the first cars in a new series of cars from MG. It had a body on frame design, however the floor was fitted to the bottom of the frame and not top as was the convention. This car had independent suspension with coil springs and wishbones at the front and a rigid axle supported on leaf springs at the rear. Four versions of the car were built over its life, the 1500, the 1500 Twin Cam, the 1600 and the Mark II.
The 1500 was powered by 1489 cc (90.9 Cu-in) inline four cylinder petrol engine. Breathing through two valves per cylinder and sipping petrol through two carburetors, this engine produced 68 HP at 5,500 rpm and 104 N-m (77 ft-lb) of torque at 3,500 rpm. The power and torque was transferred to the rear wheel through a four speed manual gear box. This engine could push the 3,962 mm (156″) long, 1,454 mm (57.25″) wide and 1,270 mm (50″) tall MGA weighing 920 Kg (2,030 lb) to a top speed of 147 km/h (91 mph). It could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 16 seconds and from 0 to 60 mph in 14.9 seconds. The quarter mile was covered in 19.9 seconds at a terminal speed of 110km/h (68 mph). Stopping power on these cars were provided by hydraulically operated 254 mm (10″) drum brakes on all four wheels.
The 1500 Twin cam was introduced in 1958. This car displaced 1,588 cc (97 Cu-in) and produced 107 BHP at 6,500 rpm. It also generated 142 N-m (105 ft-lb) of torque at 4,500 rpm. The weight of the car went up to 990 Kg (2,183lb). This upgraded engine increased the max speed to 182 Km/h (113 mph). Acceleration time from 0 to 100 km/h reduced to 11.2 seconds and 0 to 60 mph reduced to 10.5 seconds. Quarter mile was dispatched off by this car in 17.7 seconds attaining a speed of 127km/h (79 mph) at the end of the drag strip. Stopping power for these cars came from hydraulically operated 279mm (11″) disc brakes front and rear.
1959 saw the introduction of the 1600. This car was powered by a four cylinder inline petrol engine displacing 1,588 cc (97 cu-in). Though the engine was same as the Twin Cam, it was de-tuned to produce 79.5 BHP at 5,600 rpm and 118 N-m (87 ft-lb) at 3,800 rpm. This engine pushed the 940 Kg (2,070 lb) MGA to a top speed of 152 km/h (94 mph). Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h took 14.9 seconds while 0 to 60mph was achieved in 13.9 seconds). Quatrer mile was covered in 19.4 seconds reaching a speed of 113 km/h (70 mph). Stopping power on these cars was provided by hydraulically operated 273 mm (10.8″) disc brakes at front and 254 mm (10″) drum brakes at rear.
1961 saw the introduction of the MGA Mark II which had a further upgraded engine displacing 1,622 cc (99 cu-in). This engine generated 90 BHP at 5,500 rpm. It produced a twisting moment of 132 N-m (97 ft-lb) at 4,000 rpm. The Mark II had the same dimensions as the earlier cars and weighed 920 Kg (2,030 lbs). The upgraded Mark II engine could help the MGA achieve a top speed of 159km/h (99 mph). It accelerated from 0 to 100 Km/h in 13.1 seconds while 0 to 60 mph was achieved in 12.3 seconds. The quarter mile was covered in 18.6 seconds achieving a speed of 118 km/h (73 mph).Stopping power on these cars was provided by hydraulically operated 273 mm (10.8″) disc brakes at front and 254 mm (10″) drum brakes at rear.
These cars were developed as an offspin of MG’s efforts to participate in the Le Mans. In fact these cars came 12th and 17th in 1955. They have been raced extensively in the USA since 1955. Now a days they are frequently used for racing in classic car races.