1959 MGA Twin Cam Roadster£ 59,995
Every now and then we are lucky enough to come across a truly special car when great history and condition merge to give it an identity far beyond the simple model type. This MGA Twin Cam is just such a car, it’s fascinating 63-year life is fully documented from the original order form on file from 1959 through each of its six owners, the original owner keeping it until his death in 1983, and his son subsequently owning it until 1991. Always in good working order, in 2013 the fourth owner commissioned a concours restoration by celebrated Twin Cam Guru, Bob West. Hence today the Twin Cam is one of the finest of its type and has that probably unique complete back story.
This MGA was ordered when new from Messrs John Gibson & Son Ltd, the MG distributor in Edinburgh by local car enthusiast Mr John Wilkinson following his careful perusal of the brochure for the new Twin Cam model, which remains on file. The original order form on file dated the 1st April 1959, details the MGA Roadster at £663 with £270 for the Twin Cam and disc brake options together with purchase tax at £332. The car was built between the 17th and 20th of April 1959 and was then despatched to the dealer in Scotland who registered the car on the 28th of April, before delivery to Mr Wilkinson the following day, as confirmed in the original warranty certificate on file.
Mr Wilkinson used his new MG enthusiastically, indeed he embarked on many continental trips in his first year of ownership taking it from Greece into Bulgaria and then Czechoslovakia during the summer where he became caught up in Russian troop manoeuvres. An email on file from his son, the second owner, details these escapades and confirms that the Twin Cam was only used in summertime and not run, if possible, in wet weather and was garaged in a workshop at the Wilkinson’s family business. Indeed, there are original photographs of the car in their workshop.
Mr Wilkinson experienced a high level of oil consumption on his trips as noted in correspondence with The MG Car Company. In a letter on file to Mr Wilkinson dated 15th October 1959 they agreed to inspect the engine whilst denying that the level of oil consumption experienced is high! At this time the car is six months old and has already covered 8,000 miles. Mr Wilkinson continued to show his concern the following year and a letter on file from MG dated 23rd August confirmed that Mr Wilkinson was not alone in experiencing problems with the twin cam engine. The manufacturers grudging acceptance of higher than normal oil consumption and holing of pistons was the result of some Twin Cams falling into the wrong hands in their opinion! Nevertheless, MG did redesign the piston for the Twin Cam as detailed in a letter to Mr Wilkinson dated the 16th of February 1961 and in April of that year Mr Wilkinson drove his car back to the factory in Abingdon for a full mechanical overhaul including the fitment of new design pistons and distributor as detailed in the invoice on file for the 6th April amounting to £50.
Mr Wilkinson continued to correspond with The MG Car Company and the manufacturer’s replies on file make for fascinating reading. Indeed, it would seem that this owner almost assumed the role of an unpaid development driver for MG. Despite his initial problems, Mr Wilkinson clearly loved his MG using it and taking great care of it until his death in 1983.
Keith Wilkinson inherited the MG from his father and continued to use it occasionally in the summer and storing it still in the family business premises. He serviced it as required, the only additional work being the refilling of the seats with new rubber foam, the original Dunlopillo having long since turned to dust. In Summer 1991 the Twin Cam left the Wilkinson family for the first time and was bought appropriately perhaps by former Sixties MG Works Le Mans racer Rodney Bloor. There are a number of very informative emails on file from Keith Wilkinson that help provide the detail for my description, this concludes with his sale of the MGA to Rodney Bloor in 1991 for the then high price of £15,000. He continues that the car at this time was in immaculate condition as it had never been out in wintertime and therefore had never been touched by road salt.
Mr Bloor set up the highly respected car dealership Sports Motors in Manchester and continued to race successfully in a number of historic series. He obviously had much sentimentality for the MG marque and offered a number of fine cars from the marque and was obviously able to see the quality of this Twin Cam. His hunch was rewarded as he sold the car in November of 1990 for £25,000 as confirmed in the bill of sale and letter from the new purchaser on file.
This new owner kept the Twin Cam until 2011 and used it very sparingly, the mileage rising in his ownership from 54,307 miles to 56,000 miles. In 2011 he sold the car to Twin Cam guru and ace restorer Bob West.
Bob sold the car on very quickly to a notable collector who described it as an incredible rust-free example following his inspection prior to purchase in correspondence on file. He further confirms that he commissioned Bob to carry out a concours restoration with no expense spared, stipulating that no reproduction parts must be used. He confirms that all metal work is original as one would hope after the careful stewardship of the original family owners. There is a detailed description on file along with an extensive book of photographs that detail the high quality of the restoration completed and indeed the incredible originality of the car in bare metal. During this work a much more pleasant to use 5 speed synchromesh gearbox was fitted, however the original Moss box remains with the car.
Only 1,100 dry miles have been covered since this restoration and careful storage by two subsequent owners has ensured that it remains in the most superb condition in all respects. The Twin Cam comes with everything, even the original owner’s manual in the original MG envelope marked ‘Only to be opened by the purchaser’. There is also of course the amazing complete history file that documents the cars life with correspondence, invoices, MOT certificates, early tax discs, Twin Cam factory service bulletins, original insurance documents from 1959 and even a shipping ticket from one of the early continental sorties.
A very special MG, a joy to own and drive.