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Apis Mellifera
Apis Mellifera HalfDork
12/19/18 12:03 p.m.
In the world of MGA's, parts for the driver door for a coupe can be found.  They might be available as they were shared on the roadster of the same vintage, the passenger side not so lucky.  In my case, on the passenger side, the star wheel is free of any desire to stop rotating.

The roadster and coupe doors are completely different.  The outer aluminum skin, the inner steel shell, the door latch, etc - it's all different.  Yours doesn't look too bad, but you might be better off just buying another door.  Be prepared to battle the hinge screws if you go that route.

A few tidbits you may already know:  The door key should be different from the ignition key.  One is an FS and the other is an FA or something, though I think the ignition will fit in the door lock.  To lock and unlock the passenger door, the opening handle is rotated upward to lock and downward to unlock and there is a click or detent that you feel and hear.  It should be pretty easy to release the driver side lock by removing the inner door panel.  There is a bar that goes from the opening handle back to the lock.

wspohn Dork
12/20/18 4:06 p.m.

Yup - what he said. Different doors (completely) front and rear fenders, B posts and a bunch of other stuff. It was a really substantial redesign.

Take a look at the diagram at https://www.angloparts.com/en/catalogues/group/4305/mga-trim-door-fittings-coupe

I think that those guys have more coupe specific parts than anyone.

jr02518 Reader
9/5/19 9:29 p.m.

Now that things are finishing up on another project, I am ready to take on the MG.  What I am thinking of doing on this car will be a build that checks off the boxes that I am looking to fill.  That said, it's going to be a driver.  Spicificaly one that will be driven to and then take part in our local SCCA Solo2 Vintage Class, built to the HCS( Heritage Class Street ) rules.

My competiton drive Morgans, they drive them really well and they have years of development.   If anyone that has a way of testing the cylinder volume of a motor, with the head on, I would love to learn how.  Not that a Tryumph TR4/Masley Furgison motor might have liners/pistons that can be swapped to create a number off displacements.  But that's racing, right?

My car has a 3 bearing 1800 MGB motor, numbers cast into the block.  As long as I limit the revs, to 5000, I might be able to keep it going for a while.  I need a cam that produces torque, as much as can be had.

The body is "OK", very little if any rust ( other than the bottom of the driver door ). The wiring is going to be changed ( all the Lucas smoke has left the loom ).  The car will be converted to negative ground.  I will look at adding lightness to the car where I can, but I have to keep the steel fenders.  That limits how wide a rim I can run. But, having done some homework, there are spindels that lower the front end.  Shops that rebuild lever shocks. My "new" best friend might be the Moss catalog, for the part numbers, and my labor is free.  What could change the path, reality.  

But I will not paint the car.  It has earned it's patina.





wspohn Dork
9/6/19 9:13 a.m.

David - a few things regarding MGAs in compettion.

The widespread notion that the 3 main MGB is a weaker engine than the later 5 main is incorrect. In fact, if anything, the 3 main runs more freely and gives a bit more grunt than the 5 main as it has less internal friction to contend with. The crank does have more inherent 'whip' than the 5 main and thus a shorter service life, but I have run 3 main engines for many years in my race cars (MGA, TVR) and have pitted for guys with MGBs that ran 7 hour enduros successfully using that engine.  We usually limited the rpm to around 7,000 (if you had a head with sufficient flow to make that something other than a useless thrashing exercise) but the 5 main current race cars add a thousand to that using billet cranks.

On suspension, you don't need to go crazy - just talk to some of the MGB racers and see what they are currently doing.  Forget about a rear sway bar, fit a 3/4" front bar and if you are allowed to, consider a Quaife diff.

You can also get tires that will fit nicely on a 5.5" rim without rolling the fender edges. This is my street MGA coupe (Deluxe, hence the knock off Dunlop steel rims) with 5.5" widened rims and 185x70-15 tires. No rubbing.



Apis Mellifera
Apis Mellifera HalfDork
9/9/19 9:19 a.m.

I raced my Coupe with the 1500 for a few years and I think I had the rev limiter set to 5500.  It was actually out of steam by 5000 anyway.  It has a 5-main MGB engine now with the MGA transmission.   I used a 72-74 "big" valve MGB head and a Crane Cams cam in this engine and it works pretty well, makes reasonable power, stays cool, and hasn't broken.  I also have a Roadster project with an MGB engine in it, but it is a 3-main.  I haven't driven it enough to notice a difference between the two 'B engines, but I'll tell you the MGA flywheel/clutch is quite heavy and there was a noticeable improvement when I went to the equivalent MGB parts in the Coupe.  If your Coupe is slow to rev, the old flywheel/clutch may still be in there.

I used TR6 wheels on my Coupe.  They look odd on an MGA because of the offset, but they are wider.  They look similar to the maroon Coupe above.  I later switched to Saab wheels, which were just as wide, but the front wheel drive Saab offset looks good on an MGA.  I think I ran 205 tires without trouble.

I used either an MGB or Aadco front antiroll bar with nothing in the rear for a while, but found the car worked better with MGB V8 bushings and MGB GT front coil springs and the front bar removed.  I also traded the front shocks for MGB units.

Though underpowered compared to modern cars or their modified peers, a fairly stock MGA is still a fun and reliable car to drive quickly.  I'd imagine the MG suspension has got to work better than that from a Morgan.  Don't they have an even more antiquated suspension?  Sliding pillar or something?

jr02518 HalfDork
3/19/20 10:22 a.m.

The search for parts, new and used,  continues.  Moss will sell just about everything for a price.  They do have a fix for the potential gear box issue, turns out to to be a Miata transmission.  Go figure.

I might have found a source for the door issues, locally.  In So Cal speak that means the west side, from the IE in less that two hours. One way. To go 60 miles.  On the 91, driving past Corona.

The quest, continues.

spitfirebill MegaDork
3/20/20 7:13 a.m.

In reply to jr02518 :

Make sure you have your windows rolled up as you drive past Corona. 

Apexcarver UltimaDork
3/20/20 7:23 a.m.

Just to be sure, you do know to get Moss stuff from a reseller and not directly, right?


I use LBcarco   https://www.lbcarco.com/  and save a good percentage over Moss. 



jr02518 HalfDork
3/20/20 1:47 p.m.

I do now,  Thank you!.

jr02518 HalfDork
8/5/21 2:08 p.m.

Reality, is settling in on this project.  Now, I have not washed it, the dust that the vacuuming did not dislodge is still stuck to the car.  But it has been at rest under the car cover, stored inside and not moved for over a year.  Other the flourish of parts purchased when it first arrived, nothing has happened with the car.  Having learned form my own personal history with these projects, nothing has been removed or taken apart. Other than a fresh set of tires it is "as found".

My 1970 Datsun roadster is in many ways satisfying the rebuilding bug that this Coupe would offer.  So, I will be collecting the odds and ends I have purchased and moving this on.  It is with the knowledge that I will not find another one of these, in this state of unmolested and no rust , again.  Yes it would need body work, it has some surface rust on the front valance and the doors have the slightest amount of "tin worm", but compared to what I see for sale this car is profoundly clean.

The tipping point for me is the car should be taken on by someone that is in love with the shape of this car and can update the drive train.  This car screams for some one to ditch the four banger and the worlds worst gear box.  I'm not alone on this, the shifting of these 4 speeds is awful.

I am not sure they are still taking on the challenge, but e-Classics by Retro-EV  looks like an answer.  If I had the funds, they would be my solution.  Does any one know them?  Is it me or do you see a Miata rear end on there updated chassis?


wspohn SuperDork
8/8/21 11:18 a.m.

Actually, the 3 synchro box (in good shape, which yours probably is not) is one of my favourite transmissions - I have one (with close ratio gears) in my MGA race car.  Yours no doubt needs new synchros and layshaft bearings.

Did you find a dash for it?  Here is mine:

And this is what they are supposed to look like under the bonnet


They are just fine with the 1800 engine in there. Restore the chassis properly and add a front sway bar and they will keep up with much ore modern cars on a winding road.

I have the Mk. 2 version but I rather like the taillights on the 1600 like you have.


There weren't a lot of 1600 coupes made - 2771 cars, and yours looks basically sound and deserves a decent refurbishment (with respect, as of course it is your car to do with as you please, that wouldn't include chopping it about for a hot rodding engine transplant). Worth much more if restored to original spec.

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