Jack Begley's 1957 MGA with 1962 Buick 215 V8

(originally published in British V8 Newsletter, Volume 2 Issue 1)

Owner: Jack Begley
City: Merced, CA
Model: 1957 MG MGA
Completed: May 1991 (and reworked in 1993)


Jack is a true MGoholic who currently owns about 14 MGA's, MGB's, and MGB/GT's. Among this collection sit the MGA V-8 described below and an MGB, Oldsmobile V-6, and Borg-Warner T-50 transmission soon to be assembled.

How It Was Done

Engine: 1962 Buick Special cubic inch. Jhans pistons. Offenhauser intake manifold with Holley 600cfm 4-barrel carburetor. High volume oil pump kit. Balanced. 19 row oil cooler with remote oil filter. Standard Dodge throttle cable. (Fuel injection coming soon.)
Transmission: Borg-Warner T-50 5-speed manual from a 1979 Monza. Shortened MGA shifter welded to T-50 shifter.
Bellhousing: stock Buick 215 drilled for T-50 transmission.
Clutch: 12" Chevrolet. 1979 Ford Courier slave and master cylinders. Master cylinder is mounted under the dash and the reservoir in the engine compartment.
Flywheel: 215 automatic, MGB brake rotor fitted in recess with recessed allen bolts, then drilled for 12" Chevy pressure plate.
Exhaust: stock Buick 215 manifolds. 2" dual exhaust. Gas tank was centered for clearance. Turbo mufflers installed in stock battery locations. (Battery relocated to trunk.)
Brakes: Jaguar MkII/150 rears (see Suspension). On front, MGA front spindles turned down to fit Jaguar MkII/150 rotors. Ford bearings. Custom fabricated caliper mounts. (This was difficult and cost approximately $500.)
Tires/Wheels: 15" wire wheels from 1979 Cadillac Seville. Jaguar hubs were drilled for bolts. 205/50 EURA TA tires. These were replaced by Dayton wheels in '93.).
Suspension: Jaguar MkII/150 rear end unit with Panhard rod and torque bars.
Cooling: stock MGA top and bottom tanks on late MGB core. Clutch fan from 1979 Ford Courier. (Still runs 180-200F, a shroud will be installed shortly.)
Rear End: 1968 Jaguar 4.8 MkII/150 with 3.74:1 gearing, posi-traction, traction bars, and Panhard rod. (This rear end did not require narrowing and fits an MGB well.) The Jaguar cantilevered spring mounts installed.
Steering: early MGB steering rack, collapsible Oldsmobile Starfire steering column w/ tilt steering wheel. MGA tie rods shortened. (1975 or later steering rack would probably work better as U-joint is further up.)
Frame/Body: firewall moved back 2" and replaced with steel sheet as were the floorboards. Lateral braces relocated. A depression added to front crossmember for oil pump clearance. Fenders flared and molded to body and ground effects added. Trim on top of doors and behind seat was removed and smoothed. Custom seat back fabricated, moving the seat back 2". Removeable fiberglass top painted red to match car.
Cost: ~$3500 (parts only).

British V8 Home:        Read the Magazine        Photo Gallery        Web Forum        Annual Meets        Contact Us        Site Map