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MGA Car Club Rally

Broadcast dates : 11th September 2005
17th September 2005

There are those who say that the MGA is the prettiest MG of all. Recently 50 MGAs gathered in various parts of the country to converge on the Garden Route for a special celebration and a charity run.

The Johannesburg branch members set off from Kyalami in chilly weather. Groups from other centres would join the tour at various points, such as Golden Gate in the Eastern Free State.

The "A" was the first modern MG to be produced after World War Two. With its waste-line pinch before the rear wheel-arch it was an extraordinarily handsome machine.

The steel body was affixed to a separate steel chassis that was very strong. Suspension was via wishbones at the front, leaf springs at the rear for the conventional solid axle, and trademark MG lever-arm dampers.

The engine used was the first of the British Motor Corporation’s B-Series, displacing one-thousand four-hundred and eighty-nine cc’s. This engine became progressively more powerful through the MGA’s life-cycle.

The most powerful of all was the famous Twin Cam. This car is recognised by its Dunlop centre-lock lightweight wheels, and twin-cam bonnet, and the nose and boot. 
The Twin Cam was notoriously fond of burning pistons, but modern-day enthusiasts like Nick have sorted that out. Standard Twin Cams were capable of a 170 km/h, thanks to the Harry Weslake-designed cylinder head.

MGAs came standard with bolt-on steel wheels and hubcaps, with knock-off wire wheels as an option. While the Twin Cam had four-wheel disc brakes, it was only in 1960 that the standard model gained front discs for the first time.

The base engine grew to 1600 cc in 1960, and eventually it measured 1622 ccs, before the A was phased out to make way for the MGB in 1962.

Top speeds rose from a 142 km/h in 1955, to over 160 on the final standard model. The Twin Cam was capable of close to a 180 km/h, very quick for the narrow bumpy roads of 1958!

Most MG owners are skilled mechanics, personally involved with the restoration of their cars. But with fifty-year-old machinery in mind, the Automobile Association decided to offer back-up roadside assistance for the tour, as a good-will gesture to the club.

A long drive for these old-timers… and I’m not talking about the cars! There must be something special about MGA’s that persuades these folk to swap the comforts of their soft-seated Mercs and Beemers for a long, bumpy ride in an unprotected cockpit.

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