|The MGA With An Attitude
MGA "DELUXE" - General Information - TC-103
The MGA "Deluxe" models may be thought of as a Twin Cam chassis carrying a pushrod engine. In outward appearance, both the Twin Cam and the "Deluxe" cars prominently display their knock off steel wheels, and four wheel disk brakes on closer inspection. Otherwise only three small badges are different (two on the font cowling and one on the boot lid), and the rest of the outer car body appears to be identical. Again there are significant variations in the internal body design, and the term "Deluxe" used as a model name may be a long term traditional misnomer. Some of these cars were built during the production period of the MGA Twin Cam cars. In the beginning the "feature" of the Twin Cam chassis parts as applied to a pushrod engine car was simply called the "Competition Suspension" option, and maybe it only included the four wheel disk brakes and knock off steel wheels.
Later on other parts thought of as moderately expensive luxury options were commonly included with these cars as a package deal, possibly in an attempt to boost flagging sales of this model (as well as the Twin Cam cars), and possibly to liquidate some inventory of other expensive parts (especially after the Twin Cam was out of production). The pushrod engine cars with "competition suspension" were often fitted with the "Competition Deluxe Seats", close ratio gear sets, and/or an aluminum hardtop (even when normal 1600 roadsters were generally fitted with a fiberglass hardtop). The supply of aluminum hardtops would have been largely depleted (except for some dealer inventory) by the time the MGA 1600 MK II model was produced, but factory records don't seem to differentiate between aluminum and fiberglass tops, and the other expensive options continued to be regularly installed. As such, these cars have been commonly referred to as "Deluxe" models, even though this name may not have been applied by the factory. These cars were apparently being marketed as competition cars along with the Twin Cam model, and ultimately superseding the Twin Cam in this role.
While the Twin Cam model was in production, a car produced with the competition suspension and a pushrod engine actually had all of the frame and suspension variations common to the Twin Cam model (but only some of the body changes). For a while after the Twin Cam model went out of production these "Deluxe" cars continued to be produced with most of the Twin Cam chassis parts. As time wore on it seems that some of the Twin Cam parts inventory may have been depleted, particularly the special frame and steering rack. Near the end of "Deluxe" production the cars seemed to be getting more like a standard pushrod car with the option of four wheel disk brakes and knock off steel wheels, and not much else in common with the Twin Cam model.
As a special point of interest, continued construction and sales of the "Deluxe" cars after Twin Cam production ceased was not done to use up left over Twin Cam chassis parts, as there were never that many spares in factory inventory. The factory did however have a contract with Dunlop to supply a fixed number of the pin drive steel wheels, so production of cars with the competition suspension option was continued until this contract was completed.
Building of the "Deluxe" model always used a pushrod engine with the carburetors on the left, so these cars always had a heater (when fitted) with the air inlet on the right, and all of the normal body configuration in the heater shelf and firewall area to match (except for master cylinders). The steering rack was pressed forward (like the Twin Cam car, so it is presumed that all "Deluxe" cars used the same steering rack as the Twin Cam model with the long input shaft and the grease fittings on the bottom. The radiator used was the same as other pushrod cars, not the Twin Cam radiator. It had the filler neck and pressure cap on the radiator and no remote coolant tank, so the radiator and the associated mounting diaphragm on the body would be in the more rearward position common to other pushrod engine cars.
There were some "Deluxe" Coupes built, but not very many. Think of the Coupes being about 15% of total production, while they were being produced. Also think of Twin Cams being about 15% of production for the short time they were produced. Mix these in about equal proportion, and Twin Cam Coupes may have been slightly more than 2% of total production (while the Twin Cams were being produced). During that time I believe the "Deluxe" models were more rare than the Twin Cam cars. After the Twin Cam was discontinued the "Deluxe" model production picked up for a while, similar to the Twin Cam production level, but only until the associated competition suspension chassis parts were used up (including the obligation to complete the contract for Dunlop pin drive wheels). In the end, the rarest model of all would be the "Deluxe" Coupe. There are only 12 MGA 1600 "Deluxe" Coupe on record, and 38 MGA 1600 Mk II "Deluxe" Coupe.
Just to pique your curiosity, there is a rumor that as many as perhaps three MGA 1500 "Deluxe" cars may have been built during the period of early production of the Twin Cam model. There appear to be no factory records of this, and as far as I know no one has yet claimed to be in possession of an original example. If anyone should happen to know of the existence of an original MGA 1500 "Deluxe" (not an aftermarket conversion), I would certainly like to hear about it.