|The MGA With An Attitude
Pre-engaged Lucas Starter Motor for MGA - ET-251
Apparently lots of people don't like the original inertia starter on the MGA, because it eventually chews up the ring gear (although I have only replaced a ring gear once in a quarter million miles). Some people also seem to want a little quicker cranking (maybe to compensate for a weak battery or failing cable connections). In any case, lots of people have installed high torque gear reduction starters as shown on the prior page. They are moderately expensive, and in many cases somewhat unreliable. While you may get one replaced for free under warranty, it doesn't cover the time or cost of labor or the inconvenience of the starter failure.
So here is a British born Lucas solution to the same issues (for a lot less money). The MGB from 1968 on used a larger pre-engaged starter motor with a solenoid on the side. That one will not fit in the MGA, because the chassis frame is in the way of fitting the solenoid in the prescribed location. However, the Austin Marina used a similar pre-engaged starter with the solenoid on top, and this one will bolt right into the MGA (sort of).
This picture (courtesy of Bill Spohn in West Vancouver, BC, Canada) shows the final alternative for the MGA. It is the Marina pre-engaged starter on an early MGB 5-main engine. The flywheel is 1965-1967 issue, small diameter to fit the 3-synchro bellhousing, mated to the 5-main engine.
Before you mention that these throw in the opposite direction, and that the bevel on the gear teeth faces the wrong way, let me assure you that it doesn't matter. They pre-engaged before throwing torque behind it and don't really seem to need a beveled lead-in on the teeth. I believe the late MGB starter cost about the same as the original MGA starter.
Beware that the engine in the photo above has been converted to Twin Cam cylinder head. The Twin Cam engine has the distributor high on the left front corner, not anywhere near the starter motor. This picture shows a blanking plate in place of the original distributor position.
On 5/28/2017, Brian McKeigan wrote:
"Did anybody actually do that other than Bill Spohn? I installed the starter in my MGA, (fits perfectly) but the problem is, the distributor cap will not fit on the distributor any more. The solenoid is too close to the cap. Tried both the Lucas 25D and 45D, but no luck. Maybe the Marina used a lower mount starter position. I noticed in Bill's picture there is no distributor installed, looks like there is a plate covering the mounting hole. Wonder what he used for a dist"?
The engine in the picture at top of page is a MGA Twin Cam With MGB 5-main bearing engine block). The Twin Cam has the distributor high on the left front corner. You might be right that this starter may not work with a high starter MGA, January 1959 or later production. It likely will work for a low starter 1500, produced prior to January 1959.