2019 Shannons Melbourne Spring Classic Auction
1959 MG A Twin Cam 1600 Fixed Head Coupe
Result: PASSED IN
This lot is no longer available
Representing a complete break with tradition, MG replaced the stubbornly old-fashioned T-series with a beautifully streamlined and thoroughly modern sports car in 1955, the first new model built since the merger of the Nuffield outfit with Austin. The MGA brought a new generation of fans to the marque and was soon selling in large numbers on both sides of the Atlantic, initially in 1500 guise and later with a 1.6-litre version of the robust B-Series engine. To further enhance the performance of the model, MG developed a twin-overhead camshaft engine for the MGA and the new variant appeared in July 1958, complete with Dunlop disc brakes all round and Dunlop centre-lock disc wheels similar to those found on the Jaguar’s D-type racing car. The Twin Cam had a new Harry Weslake-designed alloy cross-flow cylinder head to improve breathing, bigger SU carburettors and developed a healthy 108bhp at 6700rpm, significantly enhancing both acceleration and top speed over the pushrod version. Top speed rose to a genuine 110mph but the high price and issues regarding reliability, (the Twin Cam earned a reputation for burning pistons, something modern specialists have all but cured) meant this most exotic MG of the 1950s found few buyers. The MGA could be found competing at every level of motor sport, from dusty tracks in far-flung colonies like Australia and Africa, to punishing international endurance races and Ted Lund and Colin Escott proved the Twin Cams’ worth by winning the 2-litre class at Le Mans in 1960. The MGA Twin Cam is something of a rarity, with the production of just 1801 open cars and only 310 coupes (as here) accounting for a tiny fraction of total MGA production, so surviving examples are highly prized, not only for their rarity but gutsy performance and stronger brakes.