Blank Canvas: The MGA, in V8 and Rotary Flavors

With proper fabrication skills, a car is a blank canvas for any angle-grinder wielding auteur. Today, we consider thought provoking variations on that hallowed tradition of stuffing a British roadster’s bonnet full of some lairy motor. However, instead of the more traditional and famous Tiger or AC Ace, today’s MGA twins bring a touch of reserve and class. First up is Lyle Jacobsen’s pretty MGA, which an all-aluminum Buick 215 under the hood. The 215 or later Rover variants are (as you’re probably aware) the SBCs of the British Isles, being small and readily available. They’re also quite light, which helps when you’re considering that the MGA is made out of the ferrous equivalent to overcooked spaghetti. As compact as the Buick lump is, it’s way bigger than the B-series four, so the fenders, firewall, front crossmembers, and transmission tunnel all needed some pretty intense fabrication. Luckily, Mr. Jacobsen built this Anglo-American hybrid out of a rusted out heap, rather than cutting up a clean car. For this, we give him great credit. Backed with a Tremac T-5 5-speed, a solid and reliable transmission, we assume this little MGA hauls ass when called upon. And the finished install is gorgeous, with the Buick motor looking nearly stock. Put on a deerstalker and embarrass some Mustangs, old boy! Read more about it HERE. But America isn’t the only place to go when looking for a new way to motivate your MG. You could look East! Why not? Triumph ended up selling rebadged Hondas in the ‘80s, and to tell the truth those might have been the best-built cars to ever wear a British badge, so it’s not that terrible of an idea. Jonathan Lamson went with a Mazda 12A rotary, kitted out with Racing Beat bits, in his MGA. (Imagine the reaction at stoplights by British JDM fans if Lamson’s MGA were sporting Racing Beat stickers!) Sure, the 12A has a little less torque than your average electric toothbrush, but we believe the guy when he says that she screams in the power band. And since the 12A’s already situated, it seems like a 12A turbo or a 13B-DEI and its associated 185 HP wouldn’t be that difficult of an upgrade. Recalling how yours truly grinned like a besotted lobotomized idiot for about 3 days after driving my last rotary-powered car, I imagine that no matter how slow this one is, it’s probably a pleasure to drive. More details HERE. Which would you pick?

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