1959 MGA Twin-Cam Roadster


  • Rare 1588cc twin-cam engine - 1 of only 2,111 cars
  • South African ‘knock down’ example
  • Recently restored and in very good overall condition

The Appeal

While just over 100,000 MGAs were produced in total, only 2,111 received the coveted twin-cam engine which was capable of producing over 40 horsepower more than a standard B Series.

Here we have a South African assembled ‘complete knock down’ MGA, restored in 2000 by renowned South African restorer and collector Ricky Cooper and equipped with that legendary powerplant. It has since returned to the UK and is offered for sale in very good condition.

The History and Paperwork

  • Exported from the UK in April 1959 as a ‘complete knock down’ car
  • Restored in South Africa by Ricky Cooper c.2000
  • Acquired by the vendor in 2011, who used the car in South Africa
  • Returned to the UK in 2020 with reg plate "598 XVL"
  • Accompanying history file
  • British Heritage Certificate
  • Road tax and MOT exempt
  • Maintained by the restorer while in South Africa
  • The vendor has since completed his own maintenance
  • Odometer shows the mileage since rebuild

The Interior

  • Very good restored condition
  • Red leather
  • Little wear throughout

The vendor informs us that this MG’s interior was carefully restored, reupholstering the original seats and dashboard in red leather to a very good standard. While there is, of course, a little creasing to the seats from use over the past 20 years, they appear in really nice shape with no damage or excessive wear we could discern.

The leather on the dash too looks really smart and all the instruments and switchgear held within appear to be in excellent order, with the vendor informing us that everything functions exactly as it should. The wood-rimmed steering wheel is very sporting and shows few signs of wear.

The black carpeting looks smart throughout the cabin and there is no wear to speak of on the pedals. Inside the boot, there is currently no carpet or liner, although there is a spare wheel with a cover. The absence of carpeting does show that the bot floor is exceptionally solid and well painted.

The Exterior 

  • White with contrasting red convertible roof
  • Very presentable bodywork
  • Original brightwork used where possible
On the outside, this is a really presentable MGA. The white bodywork looks to have been restored expertly and retains crisp lines and excellent panel fitment. The vendor points out a couple of blemishes around the car including a small scratch on the driver’s door, although these are really very minor in the grand scheme of things.
We are informed that the original brightwork was saved and reutilised where possible during the restoration, although this does mean that there are a few blemishes and signs of general patination on a few chrome components. As an older restoration, the fixtures and fittings have gently weathered and this MG looks all the more handsome as a result.
The vendor informs us that no corrosion is evident anywhere and, being a South African car, this may explain how it has seemingly survived so well. Underneath, it is clean and tidy, suggesting that the restoration work was extensive, leaving no component unchecked. 
The red roof apparently operates exactly as it should and is clean, taught and free from damage. There are also side screens and a matching tonneau included.
The painted steel wheels really suit the car and appear in good order. The vendor tells us that the original style Michelin XZX tyres have ample tread remaining.

The Mechanics 

  • Rare and desirable twin-cam B Series engine
  • Starts, runs and drives well
  • Brakes restored recently

The thing that really makes this particular MGA stand out from the crowd is what’s under the bonnet.

Where MG’s engineers struggled to extract more than 60 horsepower from the standard B Series, the extensively modified twin overhead cam variant was able to produce an impressive 108 horsepower at 6,700 RPM. 

The vendor informs us that the brakes have been overhauled since the vehicle returned to the UK. This was due to it having been used quite infrequently for a time before its return to these shores. 

It now drives really well, with no smoke to report and only a couple of small leaks as is to be expected of a British car of this vintage. Having covered an indicated 4,619 miles since restoration, this engine is now nicely run in and there has been plenty of time to iron out any faults.


With its highly desirable engine specification and high standard of restoration, it has to be amongst the best MGAs around. 
A British roadster should really be on every petrolhead’s wish list and this MGA would be an excellent candidate for any car enthusiast who is yet to scratch that itch.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1959
  • Make MG
  • Model A Twin Cam Roadster
  • Colour Cream
  • Odometer 4,619 Miles
  • Engine size 1588
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Hampshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
8 bids
  • steve-b•••• £5,200 08/06/23
  • Anto59 £3,750 08/06/23
  • andrew-•••• £3,500 08/06/23
  • malcolm•••• £3,000 08/06/23
  • RMHE £2,750 08/06/23
  • chris-l•••• £2,300 08/06/23
  • stephen•••• £2,000 08/06/23
  • eddy-wr•••• £1,000 08/06/23

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