A 1939 MG VA, initially purchased as a stripped bare shell of itself, is heading for auction.

When the pre-war vehicle sold for only a few hundred dollars, it wasn’t asking for much – most likely because it wasn’t offering a whole lot either. Missing entire doors and rusting in more than one place, the car left a lot to be desired.

Its original owner had tucked it away in the garage after the MG failed an MOT in 1969 – an annual test in the United Kingdom to verify a vehicle’s safety. Although they’d intended to restore it, those plans never came to fruition, with the car learning a hard lesson in dust bunnies instead.

45 years later, it finally got the chance to see the light of day again, with its next owner snatching it up from a family friend at a ‘bargain’ price. And to everyone’s delight, the vehicle finally got the makeover it had been waiting almost half a century for.

The owner – who has requested anonymity – even performed the bulk of the work by themself, although they left the engine overhaul and respray to the professionals.

The hard work produced some spectacular results, and with the car now rolling into auction with an asking price of ~$18,500-$22,2000, its next owner is sure to enjoy all that it has to offer.

When the line of MG VAs left production, they sold for up to $650 (or roughly $35,000 in 2023), and only 2,400 of them were ever made.

The vehicles were produced alongside the larger SA and WA models, with their smallest-in-the-range 108-inch wheelbases distinguishing them from their counterparts. The VA model was only produced for two years, before the Second World War saw production come to a screeching halt.

The MG company itself had been founded in the 1920s, and was renowned for its range of two-seater sports cars. After years of ownership changes, and after it was absorbed into the British Leyland group, the firm – which at that point was known as MG Rover – faced financial difficulty in the early 200s, and by 2005 was forced into receivership.

However, the group was then purchased by Nanjing Automobile Group, and resumed its production of vehicles in 2007. In 2011, the MG6 appeared in the market, establishing itself as the first UK model in 16 years.

And as for the 1939 VA model heading to auction with Charterhouse, Richard Bromell – who is handling the sale – had one just one thing to note, “to say the MG was bought as a project makes it sound much better than it was as it was in a very sorry state indeed

“Thankfully the owner was more than handy with a spanner and undertook a complete restoration of the MG.”

Images: Charterhouse Auctioneers & Valuers 

This article first appeared on Over60.