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Lot 396: MG VA Drophead Coupé Project

The Beaulieu Sale, Bonhams (7 September 2013)

Launched at the 1936 Motor Show, the VA was the second all-new MG model to be introduced following the company's acquisition by Morris Motors and its subsequent reorganisation. It was a scaled-down version of the SA, first seen the previous year, which had caused a certain amount of consternation amongst enthusiasts who feared an abandonment of virtues embodied by the marque's nimble sports cars. They need not have worried, for although based on the Wolseley Super Six and aimed at the luxury car market, the SA received sufficient input from MG founder and designer Cecil Kimber to transform it into a car worthy of the famous octagon badge. Likewise the VA, or 1½-Litre, which shared its 1,548cc four-cylinder overhead valve engine with the Morris 12/4 and Wolseley 12/48. As installed in the VA, this unit featured twin SU carburettors and produced 54bhp, but as the car weighed over a ton, acceleration was necessarily leisurely. Nevertheless, the VA could cruise comfortably at 60mph and had a genuine top speed of over 75mph with more to come from the tourer with the windscreen folded flat. Synchromesh made its appearance on 3rd and top gears - the first time that this innovation had been seen in an MG saloon. A Tickford-bodied drophead coupé and Charlesworth-bodied open tourer completed the range. By the time production ceased in 1939, 2,407 VAs of all types had left the factory. This particular VA, chassis number '0672', was purchased by the vendor's father in June 1970 from Harlaxton Motors near Grantham, Lincolnshire and has always been kept garaged. Some work was carried out and the car put back on the road, then later in the 1970s some bodywork restoration was undertaken. However, with funds limited the MG was taken off the road, its owner's aim being to fully restore it progressively, as and when money became available. In 1983/4, the body was extensively refurbished and the engine totally rebuilt, together with (it is believed) the clutch, carburettors, starter motor and dynamo. The car was driven back by the vendor from the garage where the work was done - a distance of approximately 10 miles - before it went back into his father's garage. With its owner's health failing, completion of the rebuild was slow, and he passed away in 1996 half way through restoring the braking system. The vendor inherited the car and always intended to complete the restoration but has never had enough time, hence the decision to sell. Finished in British Racing Green with matching leather interior, this rare MG soft-top is offered requiring completion and is sold strictly was viewed. Accompanying documentation consists of sundry restoration invoices, old-style logbook and Swansea V5. The provision of trafficators is the only notified deviation from factory specification.

Lot Details
Auction The Beaulieu Sale
Bonhams, Hampshire, UK
Lot Number396
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£13500
Condition rating2
Registration numberEAU 77
Chassis numberVA 0672
Engine numberA16127D
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors