The MGA With An Attitude
Buying the WRONG "Restored" MGA - BUY-110

Never fall in love … without a cold-hearted expert on your side
From an anonymous contributor. Names and photos have been omitted for legal reasons.

About 2 years ago we fell in love head over heels with a MG A which was exposed for selling purposes with a car dealer specialized in vintage cars among others. To understand what happened next you must know that neither my husband nor I had any idea about cars not to mention the things which are in them. The offer said that the features of this MG A MK II coupé were the very quality and originality of its restoration and therefore this car would be worth its price.

So we proudly bought this car and had some months of fun with it until the day when the British Heritage Certificate of Origin ordered by us arrived. When we held this certificate in hand we could ascertain that our coupé was a roadster according to the ID Number the car had got in Abingdon and which was mentioned on the certificate. The letters standing before the numbers are the most important part to identify a roadster or coupé. Quite astonished we surfed the net to get help regarding the question what our car was – roadster, coupé, both in one? The documents of title (which we had), issued in California, showed "rdsdw". Later we knew what these letters meant!

We were so lucky and found the homepage of Barney Gaylord – the man who accompanied us by means of quite a big lot of emails during the following months. He was the one who told us what was wrong with our car and encouraged us on our way. He asked us to send him all the pictures we had of the MG by e-mail and he had a detailed look at them. Then he told us that we had the wrong universal shaft - our car had a one-piece one and should have a two-piece one. He sent us pictures of both types so we were able to verify with our own eyes. Furthermore he ascertained that our MK II had the wrong not appropriate gearbox. It was the one of a 1500 MG A. But this car needed a gearbox specially developed for the MK II engine with strengthening ribs on the bellhousing to reduce vibrations. Nobody can guarantee that this gearbox won't get damaged with this stronger engine.

The last thing Barney drew our attention to was the ID Number. He told us that we can find it on the right cross member of the chassis under the carpet. He really had to push us to remove the carpet (we always were anxious to destroy something) to find the number. But there was only black paint. Again he informed us how to reveal the number and in the end we found it - a wrong one! It didn't fit the number on the ID Plate. He also found out that the cylinder head wasn't an original one. So we had a car being built together from 3 different parts: the chassis, the ID Plate, the gearbox with its universal shaft and last but not least papers originating from California which only matched the not-original ID Plate.

During all these investigations we decided to go to court to be in a position to give this car back to the seller. An expert assigned by court confirmed all the aspects in question. But in the end the procedure lasted 1,5 years until we were able to give the car back and to get the money we had invested. Without the help and ongoing demand from Barney Gaylord we had not been in a position to find all these things which didn’t fit on the MG A.

And what was the lesson we were taught? Don’t buy such a beautiful car without the assistance of either a thousand books (e.g. A. D. Clausager) or kind of “MG doctor”!

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