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Thread: TR3-A or an MGA?

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    TR3-A or an MGA?

    If, trying to decide between these two classics, which one is the best to own and drive (est. 2,000 mi. p/yr)? No project cars or barn finds. I know what "good ones" cost and want a car at that level.

    thanks,

    dave in st. louis
    scootafan

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    Luke Skywalker
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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    Be easier to find a nice TR3 than an A. And cheaper to fix.
    Life is short. Don't look back.

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    Luke Skywalker
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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    Dave,
    As I've a 56 TR3 I'm prejudiced.
    The TR3's strong points are it's torque/HP and speed compared to the MGA. The MGA's strength is it handles better (R&P steering).
    Maint is straightforward on the TR3 and the motors are known for their robust nature. I've driven mine more than you plan (10k in two years) without ever being roadside.
    The electricals on the TR3 are easy too (nice considering the Lucas origins).
    As to looks the MGA is a nice looking car with great lines the TR3 is something you like (rough purposeful) or you don't.
    I've had mine going on 5 years now and like it more all of the time. Really has a personality.
    Luck

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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    Having owned both an MGA and Triumph TR-3s and 4s, Nothing compares to the TR-3. TR-3s are the coolest old car that there is. The cut down doors, the unmistakable exhaust note, and the looks and attention you will get. The only other cars that I have owned that got just as much attention were an A.C. Cobra(real) and a XK-120 roadster. If you decide to buy an MGA you will miss out on a very unique experience that you can only find in a TR-3. Just ask anybody who has ever owned a nice TR-3 or someone who has a nice TR-3 driver what they think. I know that they will agree with me. I have found that the members of Triumph clubs are motorheads and are usually very knowledgable about their cars and are very helpful if you need help. As an old car guy (62 years old) who has been into sports cars all my life, a TR-3 is my recommendation for the best sports car money car buy. Bill C. Az.

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    Luke Skywalker
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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    Hey Bill, don't hold back...tell Dave how you really feel!

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    Great Pumpkin - R.I.P TR3driver's Avatar
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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    He he ... kind of a silly question to ask in the Triumph forum! Of COURSE we think Triumphs are better [img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/grin.gif[/img]

    I'd suggest a test drive in each one. I think you'll conclude, as I did, that there is simply no comparison.

    Many years ago, a buddy and I were driving down the coast of FL, he in his MGA and me in my TR3A. Neither of us brought a top, of course, and we could see a big rainstorm blowing in towards us. We both floored it to run away from the rain ... he got wet, I didn't [img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/grin.gif[/img]
    Randall
    56 TR3 TS13571L once and future daily driver
    71 Stag LE1473L waiting engine rebuild
    71-72-73 Stag LE2013LBW waiting OD gearbox rebuild

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    Moderator Andrew Mace's Avatar
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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    I'm a lifelong, diehard Triumph guy; no question about that. But I'm also a lifelong, diehard British Car guy! I honestly don't think the two cars are truly comparable; rather, I think it really boils down to what appeals to you!

    Car for car, though, I've worked on both and would prefer to work on the TR3. (Ever tried to set or change points in an MGA? Try to balance a couple brand-new 6v batteries on rusted-out brackets? Fussed underneath the rear of the MG trying to get the SU fuel pump going?)
    -- Andrew (Andy) Mace, VTR's Triumph 10/Herald/Sports 6 vehicle consultant and keeper of the North American Triumph Sports 6 and Herald Database

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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    I think Andrew has the right advice here: Buy what you are most excited about. The opinions of others are just opinions, but the one that makes you happier is the one you should buy.
    Dave Reese
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    No longer have any LBC's...but many fond memories of owning Fagin...

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    Great Pumpkin - R.I.P TR3driver's Avatar
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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Mace
    Fussed underneath the rear of the MG trying to get the SU fuel pump going?)
    Driven down the road with the battery cover off, so you can reach back and thump the pump when it stops clicking ?

    Those wooden floorboards were fun too, when you mounted the exhaust too close ...
    Randall
    56 TR3 TS13571L once and future daily driver
    71 Stag LE1473L waiting engine rebuild
    71-72-73 Stag LE2013LBW waiting OD gearbox rebuild

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    Yoda
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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    You definitely need to drive a healthy example of each - you'll know right away which you prefer.

    I'm lucky/dumb enough to have both and they are actually pretty different cars. The MGA feels more delicate, and lighter whereas it feels like you could pound nails with the TR3. I think a lot of it might depend on how you intend to use the car, I can see touring in an MGA but rallying a TR3.

    I wouldn't necessarily agree that the MGA is harder to get parts for - it is pretty darn well supported and there is a fair amount of tuning you can do including dropping in an 1800 engine w/out having to hack the car up. Steering is sharper, and it rides better. The electrical system isn't really any better/worse than a TR3 and I'd strongly suggest that the MGA drive train is robust if looked after.

    All that said, the TR3 is probably more visceral fun...

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    Great Pumpkin - R.I.P TR3driver's Avatar
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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdskip
    including dropping in an 1800 engine w/out having to hack the car up.
    As opposed to a TR3, where you can take the original engine up to almost 2400 just by choosing drop-in rebuild parts.

    And the TR has ordinary tube shocks in front, while the MGA has those funky lever shocks where the levers are also the upper A-arms.
    Randall
    56 TR3 TS13571L once and future daily driver
    71 Stag LE1473L waiting engine rebuild
    71-72-73 Stag LE2013LBW waiting OD gearbox rebuild

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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    Quote Originally Posted by 198686d
    If, trying to decide between these two classics, which one is the best to own and drive (est. 2,000 mi. p/yr)? No project cars or barn finds. I know what "good ones" cost and want a car at that level.

    thanks,

    dave in st. louis
    Nothin wrong with a nice 74 Pinto.
    Don
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    Mount Pleasant,SC

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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    I just sneaked over to the MG forum and I didn't read any convincing arguments over there!!!
    I think the MGA is a beautiful looking car, but I am someone who enjoys driving and working on my TR rather than polishing it and showing it.
    They are both great classic cars, so it has to boil down to your personal taste.
    Certainly the advice to look for the best you can afford and choose good bodywork before good mechanicals is the way to go.
    If you do go for a TR try to find one with overdrive. It will make long journeys so much more pleasant.
    1959 Triumph TR3A,
    1962 Triumph Herald 1200,
    1974 Triumph Toledo,
    1972 Morris Minor Traveller (My wife points out that this is her car!)

  14. #14
    vagt6
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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    The MG is a more comfortable car to drive and easier ingress/egress. No, I <span style="font-style: italic">didn't</span> say it was a more "girly" car (but some folks may).

    And as usual, the Triumph is more of a driver's car. However, both unique and beautiful automobiles and literally guaranteed to turn heads wherever you go. You really can't go wrong either way.

    I'll take a Triumph over an MG any day, simply because I've owned more Triumphs over the years. Having said that, I think the MGA is more attractive from a styling point of view.

    But if you want what is possibly one of the planet's purest driving experiences, get the TR-3, I'd say.

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    Jedi Hopeful JohnnyMead's Avatar
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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    Dave,
    I faced this This same decision earlier this year. I drove both and while I really liked the looks of the MGA, the TR3 was a better fit - literally! I need legroom and I found the TR3 interior fit me better.
    Of course you may not have this challenge.
    John
    Carbondale, IL
    Tucson, Arizona

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    Senior Member Safari's Avatar
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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    I own a TR6 and a 58 MGA. I have owned a TR4 and TR3 small mouth. I like both, the driving experience is very different at least for me. TR3 more power more torque and not quite as refined. For get up and go, go TR. MGA little more refined mot much just a little, under powered. The TR will keep up with traffic better. Out of all the cars I liked my TR4 the best of all a lot of the TR3 traits with roll up windows. The cut down doors on a TR3 are fun but can make you think about safety, not that a TR4 or 6 is much safer. MGA always advertised "Safety Fast", really not much difference.
    Thanks Safari

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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    Safari raises a great point - The TR4 is all that the 3 is, but with more creature comforts that the MGA might offer.

    By the way, Safari - the wife and I both are from Louisiana; Shreveport and N.O.

    Mickey
    "There are three kinds of men. One who learns by readin'. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on that electric fence for themselves." Will Rogers
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    Yoda Brooklands's Avatar
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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    Great photo Nick. Thanks for sharing. Maybe the 2010 calendar?
    Dave Reese
    Visit my Flickr Photo Albums
    No longer have any LBC's...but many fond memories of owning Fagin...

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    Great Pumpkin - R.I.P TR3driver's Avatar
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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Safari
    MGA always advertised "Safety Fast", really not much difference.
    Which was kind of ironic, considering that Triumph got front disc brakes first, which were a big improvement in safety, IMO.
    Randall
    56 TR3 TS13571L once and future daily driver
    71 Stag LE1473L waiting engine rebuild
    71-72-73 Stag LE2013LBW waiting OD gearbox rebuild

  20. #20
    Senior Member Safari's Avatar
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    Re: TR3-A or an MGA?

    You are sure living a a beautiful area now.

    I have to add the hood bump on the TR4 just makes the car.
    Thanks Safari

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