Patina at a Price – 1959 MG A Twin Cam

project restoration barn findThe Twin Cam was an admirably bold move for MG. Their contemporaries Triumph and Austin-Healey certainly weren’t on the cutting edge of automotive technology, but in 1958 MG took a shot at fitting a high-compression, double overhead cam, aluminum head for the B-Series engine and selling it as their MG to end all MG’s. Four-wheel disc brakes and knock-off Dunlop wheels that looked like they came straight off of a D-Type Jag made it even more appealing, but a hefty sticker price, a lot of teething issues with the new motor, and a soured reputation thanks to said teething issues meant that few were swayed into buying one. Only a little over 2,000 were made between 1958 and 1960. In today’s market and with many of the issues like knocking and oil burning diagnosed and solved, the Twin Cam’s extra oomph helps it command a small but significant premium over the pushrod cars.

And speaking of today’s market, we all know that “barn find” is the big buzzword, with long dormant and very dirty cars fetching prices that we would have all laughed at a few years ago. This particular car is a great example. Located in Salem, Oregon, it is indeed a genuine Twin Cam and yes, those are cars that a lot of folks really want, but the reserve must be somewhere around that of a good, running example. And let’s face it, this car is far from good and far from running. The thing is, though, people are bidding. They’re seeing the tagline “off the road since 1962″ and their mouths are watering for a completely original car, something you don’t really find anymore. Again, you could probably have a perfectly good Twin Cam or a spotless pushrod MG A for what people are willing to spend on this, a serious project that will suck both time and money. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but nobody ever said this was a rational hobby.

At least it’s a complete and fairly solid car, and the motor has even been freshly rebuilt. There are also plenty of parts that come with the sale to get it up to snuff. Noted issues include minor rust in the lower rockers and not much else other than what is readily apparent in the photos. Bidding has gotten up there and there is plenty of time left on the listing, so a bargain project this is not. Whether or not you’re on the barn find bandwagon, though, it’s always cool to see a rare car like this unearthed, even if you’re not the one shelling out the dollars for it.

Check out the 1959 MG A Twin Cam here on eBay, where the reserve is not yet met at $21,100.

Leave a Comment