The MGA With An Attitude

On 03 December 2005 at 05:25:03 UK time , Steve in Solvang, CA wrote:
"I had to laugh at the comment about how many MGAs are now red. Mine was originally black but along the way somebody painted it red. I have also noticed other MGAs on Ebay that had numbers indicating black and they were red.
What is the obsession with red?"

It's not so much an obsession with Red as it is a put off from other stock colors of the day. Start with the fact that nearly 60% of all MGA are 1500 models. In any given production year there were 5 or 6 colors, and the colors may have been produced in approximately equal numbers.

Early on you could have Black, Old English White, MG Red (dark red), Glacier Blue (quite light), or Tyrolite Green (light pea green), soon to be followed by Orient Red (a little lighter red). When the Coupe came out that might also be Island Green or Mineral Blue, but never Glacier blue.

After Car Number 48980 (2/3 through 1500 production) you could have Ash Green (a little darker) but no longer Tyrolite Green, or your Coupe could be Island Green (just to be different I suppose). The bit to remember is that these green colors veritably screen 1950's (just a few years before everything turned earth tones in the 1960's).

When the 1600 model came out your MGA could be Black, Old English White, Chariot Red, Dove Gary, Iris Blue (Robin's Egg?), or Alamo Beige (think Desert Sand with a slight sun tan), but no green at all (not that it was missed much).

Now maybe you don't like the odd light green colors, the funny light blues seem to be lady's preference, and Alamo Beige is an acquired taste (for a select few). That leaves your repaint options with Black, White, or Red, unless you may like Dove Gray on your 1600 just to be different).

My Red 1500 started life in Tyrolite Green (but probably never again). By the time I bought it in 1977 with 150,000 miles it had already been pranged and bondoed and repainted twice, first Old English White, and then Medium Metallic Blue. I think I goofed and painted it Orient Red when I really wanted MG Red (darker). Similarly lots of original Alamo Beige or "other" green cars will now be Red. The light blues seem to be making a slight come back in recent years, but maybe only because some people are getting tired of seeing so many Red cars.

So it is understandable that a lot of MGA have been repainted in non-factory colors, like occasionally yellow. British Racing Green (in one dark shade or another) is currently one of the most popular repaint colors. They also look good in other dark colors, like Burgandy or Black Cherry. But if you back up about 30 years one of the favorite repaint colors was Medium Metallic Blue (ala 1969 Dodge Charger). I still rather like that color, except that anything metalic looks out of place on an MGA. Luckilly Candy Apple Red or Grabber Blue never quite caught on for the MGs.

My first MGA in 1968 had been repainted in mouse gray (almost silver but non-metalic). My second one in 1969 had been repainted medium blue (but the Dodge Charger bright blue metallic flavor hadn't been seen much yet at that time). My third MGA in late 1969 had been repainted original MG Red (surprise!).

I hated to give up my MGA when I got married, which is why my current MGA (acquired several years later) was ultimately painted Red as a replacement. But that was before I knew that more than 1/3 of all MGA at its first NAMGAR show at Marietta, Ohio, in 1988 would be Red. I still have that panoramic picture on my wall, and it still looks strange, almost like red is the required school uniform of the day. It doesn't help that half the people in the picture are also wearing a red shirt.

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