The MGA With An Attitude

Okay, six years since the last time I did this, so must be time to do the next revision.

I have been casually observing steadily rising prices of MGAs for the past 40 years. They are not "skyrocketing", but have been moving upward slightly faster than the general inflation rate. While MGBs were still in production, MGAs were orphans, so a restored MGA was worth less than a new MGB (and not many people were putting restoration money into either one).

Around 1975, about the time MGB got rubber bumpers, MGAs began to rise (slightly) in value as possible collectibles. This was particularly notable in light of double digit inflation in the late 70's. Shortly after the factory closed in 1980, used MGB began to recover in value as collectibles. But since then MGA have been rising faster than MGB, so today MGA are worth at least double (nearly triple) the value of similar condition MGB. Possible restoration candidates for MGA are going for much higher prices. A few years ago I was saying that any mostly complete MGA that would run well enough to be driven once around the block would be worth about $6,000-USD. Today that may be more like $9,000-USD for a decent restoration candidate. We are also now restoring cars starting from very bad (rusty) condition, the kind of cars that would have been parted out and crushed 20 years ago.

In short, project cars now seem to be rising in price faster than restored cars, top quality restored car are doing well, often in the $40K-$45K range. A well done "Deluxe" might be $50K-$55K. Well restored Twin Cams with a proper Twin Cam engine can be $70K-$75K, and a spare Twin Cam engine might be worth $20K. MGA Coupe are finally coming into their own, now worth about the same as a roadster. Older restorations, properly done with not too many miles, body-on painted about $20K, body-off painted $25K-$30K (one of the best purchase values). It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to think my restored and well used half million mile well maintained daily driver car may be worth $20K.

You still cannot sell a restored MGA for more than the cost of restoration. But for a few customers with the desire and more money than time, a restoration shop can operate and survive on the customers' checkbooks. With current popularity, MGA continue to be restored, so there are more of them back in operation as time passes (except that a lot of them are now seldom driven show cars after restoration). Missing parts and/or non-running engine devalue the car considerably. If you have a restoration candidate MGA that is not running, I would advise you to try to make it run before selling it, as running can easily add $1,000 to the resale value.

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