The MGA With An Attitude
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Modified MGA Cars - VT-107G2
MG Awan - all opinions welcome - Page 2

Special honors to Gordon Harrison in Quebec, Canada, for the best appraisal, and less than an hour after the question was posted. He said, "It looks similar to the first prototype MGA Coupe model fashion by Sid Enever. It probably is copied from that and with a touch of Ferarri style (rear end and vents) added. My best guess would be a one-off handmade custom model by some misforgotten bodyman. It seems to have been a lot of work for one ugly duckling".

AJ Mail in New Hampshire may have been physically closer to touching the car than anyone else. He said, "I have actually seen a very similar car to this with a 4-sale sign on it in the Salem, NH area - but that was a couple of years ago. The unique looking rear end is a dead ringer for the one that I stopped to look at. The car I saw was red, and kinda beat up as well."

The car is now in Ontario, Canada. Here are the additional pictures and some of my own observations. Click for larger pictures.


Front-right "#1 - Knee-Action" suspension
 

#2 - Looking forward from the firewall

#3 - Front-left firewall with steering linkage

#4 - Engine bay from front (previous owner tried to fit a Ford C-6 transmission and Ford 351 Windsor motor unsuccessfully)


From the four pictures above it is obvious that this car began life as an MGA, before the frame was hacked up and the body dramatically modified. Much of the original MGA inner body panels are retained, although the lower firewall is moved back and tunnel enlarged. There is so much modified in the roof that I can't tell if this was originally a Coupe or a roadster.
 


#5 - Outside view
 

#6 - Close up of rim (not an MGA wheel)

These two pictures along with pictures on the previous page show definite signs that the original MGA fenders and doors were retained but modified. The original bonnet is likely also retained but shortened in front. At least the front third of the top body cowling is replaced, and the chin is all new.
 


#7 - Right-rear "Knee-Action" suspension
 

#8 - Front of differential

The two pictures above and the one below show that most of the inner body shell aft of the passenger area has been replaced. The floor rear vertical panel is farther back to allow for more rearward seating position.. The "battery opening" has been moved back substantially and appears to be framed with angle iron. A similar floor opening aft of the rear axle may be a drop in nest for a fuel cell.
 


#9 - Roof from Drivers position
looking toward right-rear

Picture on the left shows large box inner fenders which appear to allow space for very wide wheels and possible a narrowed rear axle (which may have never been installed). The B-post appears to be new fabrication from floor to roof top as well as the box section above the door, The beam running fore/aft in the top corner of the roof appears to be round tubing. Structure around the rear window appears to be a "C" channel or possibly a rectangular box section. Roof, rear valence, and rear quarters appear to be of one piece of steel. no visible welds.

The roof panel is all one piece, so there is no clue here that any part of the roof was from an MGA Coupe. The C-panel and roof top panel may be recycled and transplanted from a different model car. The red arrows are pointing at rust lines on the inside of the panels which appear to be from prior presence of headliner braces, but it is not known if they were ever present in this car.

For sure this car is a one-off radical modification of both chassis and body. The body doesn't look too bad, but the chassis was not very well done. The most recognizable parts of the body are about 60% of the outer front fenders, about 40% of the outer rear fenders, about 20% of the front body cowl near the fender joint, about 50% of the inner front fenders, 10% of the original front firewall, and maybe 5% of an MGA Coupe roof just aft of the A-posts. This is not to say that there is any of an original MGA Coupe roof retained, but there are some styling ques on top just aft of the windscreen that appear to be an effort to start with an MGA Coupe roof before modifications.

The nose is extended forward in a fairly obvious manner. The windscreen posts appear to be relocated several inches to the rear. The center top and bottom of the windscreen are relocated even farther back to make the windscreen more flat with no wrap around at the sides. This allows the bonnet opening to moved quite a bit farther back. Bonnet hinges and supporting panels have been moved back some and the bonnet opening is squared off an all four corners. Space between the bonnet opening and the dash is much shortened while the dash appears to be almost in original position. Screen wipers are moved back to near the new base of the windscreen, very close to the dash. The bonnet is squared off and shortened as well as being moved back, so the radiator (with large electric fan) ends up underneath the front body cowling rather than being within the bonnet opening.

Some of this was obviously done in the interest of stuffing a large engine farther back in the chassis. The pinion shaft on the rack and pinion steering has been lengthened considerably to put the steering wheel farther back in the chassis. The seating position has been moved at least several inches farther back which would put the seat backrests well back between the door posts. In fact the door posts have also been moved back some making the doors longer than original issue and slanted at the rear edge where they were originally nearly vertical.

On the passenger side the foot well configuration has been moved back about 6 inches at the bottom as well as being extended straight up rather than angled forward. Result is to have the footwell serve as a vertical firewall terminating at the top just about where the back of the heater shelf was originally located, right in line with the original bulkhead, although that bulkhead is also moved back a few inches. I still haven't figured out where they intended to put master cylinders, but it appears that the pedals would be located well back behind the new firewall, so maybe it would have bottom hinged pedals with the master cylinder(s)s on the floor. Driver side foot well appears to be farther forward and very narrow, extending forward below the U-joint in the steering shaft, while the passenger side foot well is nigh non-existent.

If the roof was morphed from an original MGA Coupe roof, then a few inches of the front edge of the roof would have been removed to make the windscreen flatter, as well as being moved farther back. Perhaps the existing front 6 to 10 inches of the roof may follow original MGA Coupe contour before being extended into the fastback. Part of the reason for extending the roof farther back is to provide headroom for the driver who would be leaning back much closer to the rear axle. If the roof was chopped to a notch back style at that point there would be very little length left to the tail end of the car, so it appears the roof was continued to form the fastback line along with extending the tail slightly as well. Part of the MGA Coupe windscreen posts may have been re-used, just maybe. Otherwise the entire roof is newly fabricated or borrowed from some other car.

The structural frame has been hacked up severely around the engine bay. The entire goal post cross frame has been cut out nearly to the ends and the heater shelf removed, along with enlarging the tunnel for a larger bellhousing. This would remove a lot of tortional stiffness from the frame, so the structure would have to be augmented in some manner with additional steel to be roadworthy. This, among other things, leads me to believe that this car was never driveable after these structural mods were begun. It looks like someone did a lot of work to create this new body configuration but then never got the car finished.

Original engine mounts above the front cross member have been removed. Horizontal plates much farther back on the lower frame appear to be intended to mount a V8 engine very low in the chassis, possibly with a shallow oil pan, scavenger pump and external oil reservoir. That would be sophistaced stuff for the time in which this car was presumable built. Someone had high aspirations, but not enough talent to go with the wishful thinking.

Steering rack is rotated rearward to place the pinion shaft at a lower angle to reach farther back to the cabin without going too high. Voltage regulator mounted on the left inner fender along with alternator wiring gives the impression that the engine was likely in place and possibly running at one time. Large cross flow radiator and electric fan appear to be functional (once). Upward curved cross brace at front of bonnet opening carries original MGA bonnet latch hardware, with the addition of rubber padded stabilizer screws at the bonnet front corners. Front inner fenders have been pushed outward a bit, flattened and angled some to give more space in the engine compartment. Sheet metal openings around the front shocks have been cut back and flared to give more clearance around the shocks.

All four shock absorbers appear to be original MGA parts, as well as the entire rear axle assembly. Not visible here, but I would guess that all suspension parts are still original MGA parts. The front wheel is not an MGA wheel. With plain center and 12 staggered vent holes I might guess Volvo wheel, or perhaps Triumph.

If you were thinking this was an MGA Coupe, well, maybe once but never again. It is obviously too hacked up to ever be restored to original configuration. As is it would be only few used suspension parts and scrap sheet metal. The only way this would ever be worth anything more would be if someone were to complete the construction and have a finished driveable car. Like any restoration, this would likely cost more than the finished market value, so it is only a project for an enthusiast with a vision. It likely would not fit into any standard racing class. As a street machine it would be sort of a gearhead's street rod and at least 25 years obsolete in technology. It might be good for a straight line dragster, but any modern econo-box would likely run circles around it on an autocross course. Word is that it has studded tired on the back, so it may once have been used as an ice racer. Or maybe just some junk tires no longer allowed on the road and used for rolling around while the mods are in process.

As a simple day dream, the car might be worth something for historical value if it was ever running and might have a picture on a race track entered in any official race venue. I doubt that it would have any value by virtue of naming the constructor, as it appears to be sort an amaturish result. Hard to think who might have enough talent to assemble this outer body shell but do such a butcher job on the frame. I did say that I hoped the current owner didn't pay too much for it, thinking it might be something special (and he didn't). I would be curious to kow what happens to it next.

And the answer from the current owner is, ....
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>>"Yes, a previous owner did manage to fit a V8 into it and have it running, but "lost interest". I think it was more a case of "lost ability" to deal with the finer points of what would be required to make it road worthy again.

I paid $200 (Cdn) for it simply because I fell in love with the lines of it the moment I saw it. Until this moment, I have never had a firm answer on what this car is. No matter how ugly some people may think it to be, I see beautiful lines. My main goal in trying to identify what it is (or was) was to determine if I should be looking for something less valuable to "modify". I would hate to destroy something that could have had "collector status". Now I can carry on with my original intentions.

The Plan : (Reader's Digest version).

1) Remove body and scrap/sell entire rolling MG frame from under car.

2) Transplant body onto a lowered and shortened '92 Chevrolet S-10 pick-up frame. This is to create a more servicable suspension, braking and steering system as Chevy parts are dirt cheap here. Final motor will be a GMC 4.3 Liter V6 (possibly with a Blower or Turbo if space allows)

3) Test Drive along Lakeshore Rd. and enjoy the ride in 3-4 years. (estimated completion time)

Thanks for all your help and for giving me some piece of mind to know that I won't be destroying a "collectable" car in the process of creating my Sunday Driver."

Paul
<ptcooper@rogers.com>
<<

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The owner's name and e-mail are posted at his request, so anyone wanting to chat about the car or raz him in private are welcome to contact him directrly.

There it is in a nut shell. In the end this is a sad story about someone's grand dreams, good intentions and hard work coming up somewhat short, and the resulting carcass lies unfinished with very little value. It is possible that the attempted V8 engine and C-6 transmission installation was done by an intermediate owner, and that this special bodied car may have been fairly decent before the frame hacking was started.

There are a number of lessons here, like one-off specials not having much value unless they are something very special indeed, and the old story about an unfinished project being liquidated for a pittance. This is also a very good example of how tough it is to stuff a V8 into an MGA, and how easy it is to screw it up. Even if the body was separated from the chasses for some other use, I can't imagine that this hacked up frame would ever be restored to useful original configuration, so the only thing left would be some suspension parts.

Now after the bankruptcy sale another new owner has a chance to start again with another dream. We can wish him luck with his new project, and one day perhaps this once (or twice) abused MGA may be reincarnated in another new life as a classy Chevy-A. But if he doesn't keep a log book, no one may over know where it came from.
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