The MGA With An Attitude
SUN ROOF for the MGA Coupe - AT-207

On 1/27/2010, David Waterworth in South Africa wrote:
"Has anyone considered installing a sun roof, not for the sun but to try to get rid of some of the heat inside the car".

The MGA Coupe sun roof sounds like a capital idea to me. I would guess that somewhere in this world there is at least one MGA Coupe that has had a sun roof installed (but I have never seen one). Ever since the days of popular hot rods (post WW-II) there have been multiple companies in the business of manufacturing after market sun roof kits for almost any car with a hard roof. It might be a good bet that J.C.Whitney (part of Warshawski and Co. then) was selling the things in the late 50's and through the 60's. MG Mitten and AMCO would be another possible sources in those days.

Once you're in the business of manufacturing sun roofs it's almost like cutting flat glass to any specified size, the only trick being to match the roughly spherical curvature of the roof panel. MGA roadster was large enough in production to support at least a dozen aftermarket manufactures of removable hardtops. The MGA Coupe was large enough in production to support at least a few simple sun roof sources, back in the day.

Resale value of the MGA hit rock bottom about five years after production ceased. The cars originally sold for $2100-$2600, but in 1968-1969 Blue Book value was only $400 when new MGB were selling for $3200 (about the same price as a full size Chevy). Since there were so many MGA produced, there was for a while thereafter still some demand for reasonably priced accessories. It was hard to sell a hardtop for more than half the book value of the car, but a simple sun roof kit could be almost as cheap as a new rag top canopy ($39-$59 back then).

In today's market the demand would be so small that very likely no one in their right mind would manufacture these parts and store them long term in inventory waiting and hoping that someone might buy one. With enough grousing around on the internet you might get lucky and find a New Old Stock aftermarket part in original box never installed, or maybe a parts car with a used sun roof in salvageable condition.

Otherwise with enough money you can always hire a custom shop to make and install one for you on special order. Matching the curvature is easy with a plastic panel. Lay a heat resistant sheet on the car roof, heat the plastic panel in an oven until it is pliable, and lay it on the roof to assume the desired shape until it cools. Forming a glass sheet to such a shape is a little more tricky, but the pros can certainly do it.

Aside from the requirement to match the curvature of the roof panel, installing a generic pop-up sun roof is similar to installing a kitchen sink. Cut a hole the right size, apply some sealant, drop in the assembly, and install some fasteners. Follow up work would be installing interior trim to cover edges of the headliner.

For the MGA Coupe you must consider the location of three cross bows that normally support the headliner. See article CP-104, Headliner Installation.
Coupe headliner with trim and visors
Since the bows are so close together, you would likely cut out a section of the middle bow to allow sun roof front to back to be nearly as large as the space between #1 & #3 bows. Then the inboard ends of the cut bow would need to be attached to the sun roof frame. This is not any structural problem, as the bows do not support much load, and the sun roof frame will serve to stiffen the roof panel where the hole would be cut.

For anyone who likes this idea, if you do install one, please take lots of pictures so I could post it on this web site.

Here is a very period looking fabric sun roof for the MGA Coupe.

Two pictures below are not MGA, but they do show what it looks like from inside.

HomeBackTopExtension Bar
Thank you for your comments -- Send e-mail to <Barney Gaylord>
© 2010 Barney Gaylord -- Copyright and reprint information