Tuesday, May 15, 2012

MGA 1500
Restoration World Review #3

The new 
'Joy Osmanski Factor' 
rating system

Joy Osmanski

MGA 1500

As of today, I have decided to implement the 'Joy Osmanski Factor' in deciding not only if an affordable project car is worth taking on, but how cool it will be when finished.

Allow me to explain....

Joy Osmanski is a famous and very beautiful actress. Angels literally cry every time she wakes up in the morning, simply because of her awesomeness. The sun decides whether to shine or not, based solely on her mood. 

She is an Asian version of Kristin Scott Thomas.

So...why not the Megan Fox Factor? Umm, bad skin and bad attitude. Need I say more? No, we want an approachable yet pretty girl to rate our potential ride.

The rating system is based on whether or not Joy Osmanski will get in your restored jalopy and go out for hot wings and a pitcher of beer.

Quite frankly, is the car cool enough to attract a smokin' babe...or is it lame?

So, bearing that in mind, all of the cars that I review will be rated according to the 'Joy Osmanski Factor' rating system, which consists of one to five stars.

The Volvo 122 wagon that I cherish is an excellent example of a car that Joy would hate, and would probably get zero stars. The Mustang GT500 from Gone In 60 Seconds would more than likely get five stars.

Are you starting to get the picture? But enough of that crap...here's a primo 1500...

Today we talk about the MGA 1500, a British sports car without the pedigree that drives the price up. I've seen unrestored versions selling for $2,500, but a good one will cost around 10K.

The 1500 (1955-1959) is slow and extremely outdated, but that's not really the point. The point is top down, bugs-in-your-teeth fun for a decent price - plus, a beater that you can fix up in your garage on your own time. 

I mean, MGA never even got around to installing disk brakes on this hog, so 0-to-60 times make no difference whatsoever.

Word of warning: As with all British track cars, the manufacturer never expected people to be enjoying their creations 50 years after the automobile left the factory.

MGA Twin-Carb Four Banger

They kinda thought that guys in tweed jackets would wrap the cars around a tree....so rust-proofing was a pipe-dream. 

To add insult to injury, English cars also employ the first frame-less runabouts, so the suspension is basically bolted to that rusted-out tub.

The MGA 1500 also had a bad reputation concerning the Twin-Cam version, but those problems got ironed out long ago. If you do run across a stock Twin-Cam, take a close look at the carb setup, because this is the heart of the engine's problems. The factory carbs would froth the fuel, burning holes in the pistons - stay away.

MGA stuck it those carb problems for the most part, though, and fixed the problem even as the 1500's rep was shot to hell.

Find yourself a California 1500, or at least one from a very dry state. Have the body resprayed, and have the pipeback seats covered to match.

Hell...have some fun. As a resto goes, it's not even high dollar. Hint: the electrics and motor are as basic as your average CJ-5. (And I wired one of those from scratch in a day)

My take is this....you get the looks of a Jag 120, but without the hassle or high cost. Joy rates this car at least four stars.

Joy Osmanski Factor - Four Stars

What is your favorite European car?

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