The MGA With An Attitude
AIR INLET Front Body Modification -- CO-209

This seems like a rather radical solution to the somewhat "obstructive" grille on the MGA. This restoration work included cutting a section out of the front body air pan ahead of the radiator and pushing it down to form an underbody air scoop.
Air inlet mod
Ian Cowan in Queensland, Australia claims it works so well that he has removed the carburetor heat shield and the air block pad between bonnet and top of radiator, as well as running an air conditioning condenser radiator in front of the original water radiator, and running an MGA 1800 engine. The front license tag is now mounted in front of the bumper, since this mod precludes use of the starting handle. I wonder if he is ever going to reinstall the front valance panel.

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On 3 Jan 2013, Ian Cowen wrote:
"Now that some very hot running has been experienced, the runs are on the board, it "Works", and the performance is proven. The gale passing through the front of the car, has enabled some changes. I do not have a seal pad under the hood and a-top of the radiator. The manifold heat shield used to vibrate; I took it off. Neither the SU pumps, or the Solid State pump have ever vaporized, the carbs have never been affected by heat (hard starting, running rough in slow traffic on extreme hot days, etc). The fan has 6 blades. At idle in stop start traffic, once the gauge reached 80dC, the usual running temps remain at 76dC.

"When I had the body work done on the car, I forgot to include the under bumper panel for repair. I had intended to store it after its repair. I was a bit loath to make a space in the center to match the under air intake, not knowing how successful my air intake scheme was to be in practice. So I commenced to make a fiber-glass panel, including the air intake space. The project is sitting on a rafter in the garage, only partly made, fiber-glassing being a learning curve. The purists do not like my air scoop, and they would be critical of the missing panel, too. but I do have it".

Addendum June 10, 2013:
Ian Cowen wrote:
"It works very well, indeed. Use an angle grinder to cut a 19" slot 2' inside the 3 grill mount holes, on the flat panel in front of the radiator. This will not weaken the car's structure. Make 2 return cuts toward the radiator, at right angles for a distance of four and a half inches. Bend the panel down-ward. Then make up 2 triangle side supports. This is hardly noticeable under the front bumper bar.

Resultant Air Flow and dimensions:
The frontal core surface of the original radiator measures 11.5" X 18.5" = 212.75sq". The grill opening in the body measures 20" X 7.5" = 150sq". Fitting the anti aerodynamic grill to the aperture with slats, reduces the 150sq" to less than half, but say a generous 75 sq". The air flow is further impeded by the poor shape of the grill slats, so in effect the radiator core surface of 212.75 sq" receives a restricted air flow through the inefficient grill opening, of something less than 75 sq". It is no wonder these engines have "run too hot!" The air scoop under, measures 19" X 4.5", so providing an additional volume of cool air, through the 90.25 sq" opening. It could be made larger, but these sizes do the job nicely. The two air intakes together then provide a combined air opening of 165.75 sq" to service the radiator core area of 212.75 sq" It is a huge improvement in dissipating the heat.

We live in the sub-tropics with day temps are round 30dC plus humidity. The addition of the Air-Conditioning unit was thought necessary during the re-build, to reduce internal heat. It makes touring most pleasant indeed. The condenser is from a Honda Sedan--it is mounted up inside the front apron & receives plenty of air. Being an old "T" Typer, I mounted the old SU pump onto the top of the fire-wall--this old pump was unreliable, so I re-mounted a new solid state pump back at the battery box. The engine bay does not hold excessive heat. No vaporization, ever.

Some how I missed having the front under-bumper panel repaired at the time that the rust was cut out of the rest of the body work. It remains up in the rafters!! A new guy on the local MGA scene has had experience with fiber-glass on boats, so we plan to make up a replica panel with an opening for the air intake, and preserve the steel panel. The front mod. is not all that obvious. Probably only purists would dwell over it. I would rather have a very serviceable car, than have its use restricted by poor design".
-- Ian Cowen, Gold Coast, Australia

On Nov 28, 2016, Dan Craig in Ozark, Missouri, USA wrote:
"I did some reading before beginning the build on my roadster. No AC on mine but the supercharged 1800 has stayed cool in all driving situations".
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