1961 MG MGA Police Car

The MGA was first introduced to the market in 1955 in 1500 configuration as a replacement for the 19-year-old MG T-series. Compared to the outgoing TF, which was little more than a hastily refreshed TD, the MGA’s styling was sleek and shockingly contemporary. The MGA also featured the modern B-series engine that debuted in the Magnette sports saloon. The Mark II was the final iteration of the series and saw the most significant improvements – a 1600 cc engine, MG’s first application of front-wheel disc brakes, and some minor styling changes like larger taillamps and a revised grille. Production of the Mark II began in April 1961 and ceased in June 1962, with 8,719 units completed before the arrival of the MGB.

Visual differences of the Mark II included vertical grille bars recessed at the bottom, a new taillight cluster borrowed from the Mini, and most noteworthy, BMC’s 1,622-cubic-centimeter four-cylinder engine. This cast-iron block motor offered a 13-percent horsepower increase and an increase in torque of 12 percent, all from a displacement increase of only 34 cubic centimeters. All told the 93-horsepower engine afforded the Mark II with a top speed in excess of 100 mph.

According to its accompanying British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate, this is one of the approximately 33 right-hand drive MGAs originally used for police duty. First registered as 710 WTC, this car has been in the current owner’s possession since the mid-1970s, although he was unaware of the car’s previous life until he decided to do a frame-up restoration in the late 1990s. When he received the BMIHT Certificate, he saw the destination dealer was listed as “Lancashire Police.” At that point, he decided to return the car to its original specifications. Police cars were optioned with disc wheels, tubeless tires, side screens, and a low compression engine for durability. They also included the “Full Police Specification” option, which had a modified battery box to accommodate larger batteries, a high-output generator lifted from bigger BMC saloons, and a certified Jaeger speedometer to track down speeders in the local village. Lancashire Constabulary was among the most avid users of MGAs for traffic patrol work, and they fitted the requisite lights, sirens, and signals at their police garage.

Once it was decided to return it to original specs, the MGA was completely disassembled and, according to the previous owner, restored to a high standard by the Body Werks in Barrington, Illinois, with engine work handled by marque expert John Twist. Meanwhile, the owner scoured the UK for authentic and proper police parts. He met a retired London policeman who had been involved in restoring two other police MGAs, and he had a stash of the period-appropriate fittings. Further research led to the owner speaking with the very officer assigned to this car in Lancashire! He also found a photo of his MG in its full regalia featured in the book MGs On Patrol (Andrea Green, 2nd ed). Restoration to original specification was completed in 2013, with the only change to original spec being the fitment of chrome wire wheels and the corresponding axle assembly, added before the owner knew of its police history. In addition, an MG luggage rack has been added.

This marvelous MGA receives rave reviews wherever it is shown and has been kept in a heated and climate-controlled garage since restoration, preserving its superb condition. The high-quality paintwork and upholstery remain in excellent order. Details are accurate to original specs, such as the gray vinyl roof, original police equipment, and Raydyot fog lamps. Most recently, it received Best in Class honors at the 2019 NAMGAR (North American MGA Register) meet; it will no doubt continue to win admiration under the care of its next owner.


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