MGA Information Request from David Knowles

Renowned writer of all things MG, David Knowles, has recently issued a request for information in regards to MGA.  His request is as follows:

I am writing a book about the MGA of 1955 to 1962, the sports car that marked perhaps the most remarkable change of policy for the famous Abingdon company.

It finally saw the abandonment of the old ‘square rigger’ MG styling that had seen service since the beginning of the 1930s, replacing the blunt upright shapes of old with a modern sleek shape.

The MGB of 1962 to 1980 is, of course, the MG sports car most people now remember, and is rightly revered as a great sports car – more than half a million versions were sold.

But it was the MGA (which had sales of more than 100,000) that broke the traditionalist mould.The MGA had its roots in a one-off MG sports car, called EX172, based on an MG TD Midget, built for the 1951 Le Mans race. The following year, Syd Enever and his team created a stunning prototype called EX175, which, in styling terms, was the genesis of the MGA.

About the same time, however, Austin merged with Morris to form the British Motor Corporation and as the new chairman, Austin’s Sir Leonard Lord, had just decided to support the first ‘Austin-Healey’ venture, MG lost out in 1952.

Two years later, however, MG’s John Thornley, with support from influential people like George Eyston, managed to bend Sir Leonard’s ear and the new MGA of 1955 was the happy outcome, with a stirring debut in prototype form (EX182) at that year’s Le Mans.

It was thanks to the engineers, designers, draughtsmen and workforce of BMC factories at Abingdon, Cowley, Birmingham and Coventry that the MGA was such a success, earning Britain millions of valuable dollars in sales at a time when exports were so important to the country’s post-war recovery.

It seems remarkable it was 60 years ago next month that the world first saw a road-going MGA at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Nuffield Exports had flown a car to Germany in a TWA Constellation, an event that merited a Pathe newsreel.

I would love to hear from anyone with first hand memories of their involvement with the MGA when it was in production, or from someone who knows of a relative’s role in the story.

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