The MGA With An Attitude
Special Bodies on MGA Cars - VT-106I
Vantage Motorsports MGA

From KIT CAR magazine -- January 1992

modern mimic logo
roadster side view
During the post war 50's in England, much of that time's automotive technology was still being carried over from thee 30s. The MG TC, TD, and TF were perfect examples of old technology being sold 20 years too late. To counter this lag, British manufacturers began to extensively refurbish their automobiles. In the sports-car class, the big Healey 100/4 emerged and flourished, as did the Triumph TR 2/3 and the new MGA.
The MGA proved to be the most successful of the lot. It began production in 1955 and ran until 1962, with only a few minor additions and mechanical changes. Its gracious lines moved MG into the modern age, with the fenders and lights integrated into the body, and the suspension concealed inside rather than exposed as had been the style until this time. Its new 1498 cc B Series engine was also a move toward a contemporary design.
Introductory sales of the MGA were limited only by the amount of body sheet metal. It could not be pressed fast enough to meet demand. A coupe was introduced in the fall of 1956, followed by the renowned Twin Cam version in 1958.
title block

roadster rf corner

roadster interior Andy Rich of Vantage Motorsports in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been a fan of the "A" for years and knows its quirks and pitfalls. Its flowing lines and racing heritage encouraged him to develop a new MGA replica that would significantly improve the breed. The car is not just a knock off, but a sports car that is light-years ahead of the original. This red roadster is Rich's own production A.

The center body section is made of pre-preg fiberglass, Kevlar, and carbon fiber with Nomex honeycomb coring, all bonded with high temperature epoxy resin, vacuum bagged and oven cured. This combination produces an amazingly light 120 pound body shell that weighs 300 pounds less than the original steel version. Yet the doors close with a solid thunk, due to their structure of foam cores under RTN S-glass and Kevlar skins.
The high quality molding on the body work makes it virtual impossible to tell this vehicle from an original. The only difference is the windshield frame, which is done in composite material. The genuine roadster has an alloy windshield frame that is nearly flat while the Vantage Motorsports replica uses a coupe windscreen that is curved and molded.
This difference came about when Rich decided the most practical way to develop the produce was to use an MGA hardtop as the buck and then slice off the bonnet to make the roadster. This decision has worked out well, and now a hardtop version is in the works, and the windshield is a solid unibody structure instead of a separate screw-in component.
Underneath the composite shell sits an original MGA fame with a factory front and rear suspension. Rich has expanded his concept, however, and a second model with a carbon-fiber frame that mimics the original chassis is now available. The new model provides a stiffer and lighter structure and eliminates fatigue and rust problems.

Toyota twin cam engine Power is supplied by a Toyota MR2 4AG 1600cc engine. This 16- valve. twin cam, four-cylinder unit is set up with a pair of twin-choke, 40mm Mikuni carburetors (for both performance and looks), along with a matching five-speed, rear drive Toyota transmission.
The carbon fiber chassis uses Toyota Supra front and rear IRS suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. Riche's personal model has 15- inch 72-spoke MGC wire wheels for added strength. He also offers replica Twin Cam center-knockoff alloy wheels, bolt-up wire wheels, or adapted MG wire wheels as options.
MGA1600 style tail

The complete package weighs in at 1525 pounds with a 145 hp engine. This combination gives the Vantage A a power-to-weight ratio of 10.5:1, compared to 26:1 power-to-weight ratio on the original. The A's top speed is claimed to be 130 mph with a 0-60 mph time of 6.2 seconds.
source note Turn-key cars are sold as two models The MGA Special for $24,900 or the Twin Cam Deluxe for $32,000. The kit side of the Vantage package starts out at $6000 with a complete body for those who have an original MGA chassis, and then raises to $10,000 for the standard body with the carbon-fiber frame. Remember that the list of trim pieces, wheels, steering components, bumpers, a radiator, an engine and transmission, instruments, interior, and hydraulics must be added to the kit's price.
Rich's background with British sports cars is well known in the Boston area and his new MGA roadsters should make a name for him elsewhere as well. The Vantage Motorsports MGA is a finely built product that pleases not only the eye but also the soul with stirring performance. -- KC

From KIT CAR magazine -- January 1992
Thank you for your comments -- Send e-mail to <Barney Gaylord>
© 2006 Barney Gaylord -- Copyright and reprint information