The MG VA made its first appearance at the 1936 London Motor Show. The VA was the second car to be introduced since the company had been acquired by Morris Motors, and it was placed at the entry-level of the MG saloon lineup below the SA and WA. The attractive sports saloon was soon joined by a two-door, four passenger open tourer and a Tickford-bodied dropead coupe. The VA (also known as the 1 ½-Liter) shared its 1,548cc overhead valve engine with Morris and Wolseley. But MG founder Cecil Kimber still had a role to play in his former company, and the engine was tuned to his specification to suit the sporting nature of the MG Octagon badge. Twin side draught S.U. carburetors helped push the little engine to 58 horsepower, which gave spirited performance to live up to the MG image. Motor magazine tested a VA Tourer in period to a top speed of 76 mph, and went on to claim 82mph was possible with the windscreen folded – an action best reserved for the brave or foolhardy. To aid performance and driving enjoyment, synchromesh was fitted on the top two gears. By the time production ended in 1939, 2,407 VAs of all styles were produced, of which only 564 were open four-place tourers, making this a very rare and desirable pre-war MG, particularly on our shores.
This charming 1937 VA Touring car has enjoyed an incredible 76 year run within the same family. It was originally purchased in England and brought to the Boston Area by the first owner in 1938. In 1939 it was sold to the father of its most recent owner. The car was used lightly and well maintained by the family for the next 75 years. Having spent time in the Boston and Brookline area, the car went with the family to Cape Cod where it spent most of its days. It became a well-known sight on the cape – the little VA touring car, top down, with the family’s Great Dane riding shotgun.
In the late 1980’s, the family turned to Classic Coachworks of Hyannis to refresh the car in its original specification of black over green trim. Classic Coachworks had been caring for the car and knew it well, and their fondness for it was revealed in the quality of their work. In spite of the time that has passed since restoration, the respray in original black still looks very good today. The interior was retrimmed at the same time in original green leather and has aged remarkably well. Under bonnet detailing is good, with an eye toward functional drivability. In recent weeks, it has been treated to an extensive freshening to further enhance its charm and fine quality.
Very pretty and well sorted, this MG VA Touring car is a surprisingly spritely driver with peppy performance from the 58 horsepower 1.5 liter engine. Handling on the tall 19” wheels is on par with a TC or similar machine; direct, light and fun to drive. Thanks to four-wheel Lockheed hydraulic brakes, stopping this MG does not feel like a pre-war experience! It is surprisingly usable and friendly for a pre-war sporting machine. Nearly eight decades of care in the same family have imparted this wonderful MG VA with a charm and charisma that is difficult to express in words. We invite you to become the next chapter in this wonderful machine’s delightful story.
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