The introduction of the MGA 1500 was eagerly awaited by both the public and the press. Even before its introduction, the new car had an extremely attractive body whose flowing lines were to become one of the most sought-after classic cars of today.
The success of the MGA was breathtaking: More than 13,000 cars were built in the first full year of production in 1956, far exceeding the total production of the TC over a four-year period. It was obvious that MG had launched the right car at the right time. The engine was fitted in standard tuning and initially produced 68 bhp at 5500 rpm and was later increased to 72 bhp at the same engine speed. It is worth noting that several traditional MG features were carried over from previous models, including lever arm dampers that formed part of the front wishbone suspension and two in-line six-volt batteries mounted on either side of the propshaft behind the seats. The weather equipment was also carried over from the previous models. It consisted of a simple self-assembly with separate side windows fitted with flaps to allow hand signals to be given.
However, like its predecessor, the TF, the MGA had flashing direction indicators. The dashboard was also a welcome return to the traditional design, but without octagonal instruments. The MGA had sensible round dials, with the rev counter and speedometer in direct view of the driver behind the steering wheel on either side of the column. The handbrake was located on the side of the transmission tunnel, which was effective and ideally placed, as was the gearstick, which was precise and in the optimum position for quick operation. Optional equipment included a radio and fresh air heater, and the car could also be ordered with standard steel disc wheels or wire wheels with central locking.
As already indicated, the MGA was an instant success: by the end of 1955 just over 1000 examples had been built, and in 1956 300 examples were streaming through the Abingdon factory gates every week, with no fewer than 58,750 examples sold in total, a large proportion of which reached the American market.
After only one year of production, the roadster was complemented by a closed version, the MGA Coupe. This car was completely different in concept from the open car and featured many refinements found in sedans of the time. Folding windows, a wraparound windscreen at the front and a similar rear window. Lockable door handles made the car safe. The difference between the roadster and the coupé was a total of 100 pounds, which meant that the car was slightly slower than the open version.
The Coupé was to remain in production throughout the following model range and was available with all models including the 1600, Twin Cam and the extremely rare 1600 De Luxe.
By 1959, there was no stopping time and progress on the MGA. Competitors such as Triumph introduced disc brakes and also had a weight advantage over the MGA. This undoubtedly led to the introduction of the 1600 version with more power and disc brakes, which made a top speed of 100 mph possible and safe. The MGA was produced in various forms until 1962, with over 100,000 models produced before the introduction of the MGB.