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At what speed does it become "too much?" (A confessional)

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Redhawk1689 Avatar
Redhawk1689 Gold Member Steven Stockham
Salina, KS, USA   USA
1958 MG MGA 1500 "Belle"
This is a subject that I usually don't worry about now that I'm nearing retirement age but I was just over in the Engine Swaps and saw Bill Spohn's post about that crazily over-powered 2 litre with twin turbo-chargers delivering 600+ bhp or (some such thing) capable of being installed in an MGB and I thought to myself about his comment that, "...even at one turbo, it would still deliver 450 bhp. Wouldn't that be enough?" (I whole-heartedly agree, by the way!) It got me thinking about my driving in my MGA and I realized that I couldn't do it!

I have a Buick Lacrosse that is my wife's car and I have taken it over a hundred easily in Texas where the speed limit was 85! I felt like I was doing 70 or possibly 75... no big deal. I have been over 130 in a 1968 Impala (driven by a friend) and that was the only time I ever was actually scared!

With an MGA roadster, it's so much different. Even though you are only tooling down the road at 55 to 60 mph on back roads, it feels like you are cruising at a faster speed! Quite frankly, anything faster and the turbulence rapidly increases! When I first get out on the highway, I am actually a little leery of going over 70 mph until I get used to it. The steering is so tight and you are very exposed that it makes you very cognizant of your own mortality! Eventually, I settle down and bring her up to 80 but that is all I want to do! It's really not that fun at high speeds! 60 mph is about the limit for "civilized, relaxing driving!" For me, 75 mph is really the limit for Interstate travel.

I hear about how our cars can do "over a hundred" but I have NO inclination to try it! I guess top speed is a goal for some whereas 0 to 60 is the ultimate goal for others. I really like seeing what others are capable of and I really enjoy seeing new ways to boost power but I am content with what I have but I wonder if it's me getting old and losing my nerve or just having a healthy respect for my own limitations! Am I the only guy feeling this way?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2018-05-15 11:33 AM by Redhawk1689.

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wyatt Avatar
wyatt Silver Member Wyatt W
penguin point, drift ice, Antarctica   ATA
...had my 87 peugeot stx at 130+ on a trip to northern michigan, felt safe as houses....had my friends 64 impala at 100 and I too was scared, what a nightmare those cars speed

Grubeguy Avatar
Grubeguy Gold Member Grube Guy
Washington, DC, USA   USA
I've taken my Z4 to 155, where it's governed to plateau, and a few thousand RPM left on the tach. It felt stock darned steady and I had no issues with buffeting or control. I'd rather be able to get to 80 quickly, more than I'd like to get to ludicrous speed ...

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Blueosprey90 Avatar
Blueosprey90 Jeff Sienkiewicz
New Milford, CT, USA   USA
I'll take finesse over speed all day long.

And for me, the dialogue at .19 to .48 says it all!

copernicus Avatar
copernicus Nick Kopernik
Springtime in, CT, USA   USA
In another life and a long time ago I buried the speedo in my Porsche 911 S; I was perfectly comfortable, although as I look back, it was dangerous due to the road that I was on. I blame it all on youthful immortality and a night at the Snow Chicken (this was the disco era). With the A, I avoid Interstates as much as possible and prefer State and local back roads to get to where I need to be, but then, I rarely need to be anywhere, so its casual cruising till we find someplace interesting to stop for a while. Typically speed will be between 30-50, with higher ones as needed to maintain community speed if on one of the Parkways or Interstates, but I really do dislike sitting lower than the axle of a semi, or even an Acadia

Stephen, you're correct when you comment on the turbulence experienced at higher speeds, and with the road noise, high speeds for lengthy periods of time just doesn't seem to be necessary or even enjoyable when driving the A. Besides, all you need is a little Deep Purple to make you feel that you're going fast, even when you're not:

Redhawk1689 Avatar
Redhawk1689 Gold Member Steven Stockham
Salina, KS, USA   USA
1958 MG MGA 1500 "Belle"
Ahh..... Amen brother!! thumbs upcool smiley

bobs77vet Avatar
bobs77vet bob K.
northern Va, VA, USA   USA
heres my perspective.....I enjoy the MGA for what it is a fun old car with nice driving characteristics and mostly safe on todays highways. I dont try to push it in any way or fashion. If i want to go fast and go zoom zoom then I like modern amenities...air bags, ABS, powerful engines, big brakes, big tires.....and for that i have my nice weather daily driver now its a c5 corvette before the c5 it was a newer mustang. i guess where you live has lots to do with side the capital Beltway on our roads its a freaking war zone. I was scared to death most of the time driving the TD on these roads. I have never been scared in the Mustang or the C5.

even with increasing power and braking abilities to make these cars more able you still have the limitations of the original design.

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frnloth Avatar
frnloth Jonathan Lane
Greenwood Village, CO, USA   USA
1960 Austin-Healey 3000
1967 MG MGB Racecar "Race Car"
1971 MG MGB GT "BRiGT"
Racing my MGB a couple years ago at Watkins Glen I was having a great race with Alan Tosler and heading into the Bustop chicane my Race Chrono clocked me at 128mph. Car felt completely solid at that point and very much at ease. I was definitely aware of the fact that we were going blazingly fast but I never felt like I needed to back off. That was a hell of a weekend.


Lotus Avatar
Lotus Silver Member Roy Hodgson
Villeneuve, VD, Switzerland   CHE
1974 MG MGB "Butterscotch"
As Mark Weber said when he left F1 "You don't get faster as you get older".

We have two lives. The second one starts when you realize you only have one.

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59mgaguy Avatar
59mgaguy John Terschak
Wakeman, OH, USA   USA
1930 Ford Model A "Jenny"
1959 MG 14/28 "Jessie"
1974 MG MGB "Oooops"
While up in Alaska I took my son's 97 escort down to Denali on the way back with a the highway clear, sun out I kind of got carried away with speed, As I spotted a oncoming truck the vehicle behind it moved as to pass but went back behind the truck. My radar detector went off and I knew I had been tagged by the Alaska state police. I pulled over and the trooper took my drivers permitt. With me stating that it was my CDL. The trooper ask if I knew how fast I was going. So I was honest with him. I told him it was such a nice day, the highway was empty and the road was clear. After checking my CDL and find no citations. He told me that he clocked me at 97 miles per hour. ( In a FORD escort!!!) That since I had no marks ever on my permit he would give me a verbal warning. (One of the best trooper I've ever come across.)

As for speed I've hit 140mph in the MK5. I could have gone higher but figured why push it. 180 knots in a T-1A which is take off speed.


T-1A.jpg    35.6 KB

Aridgerunner Avatar
Aridgerunner Silver Member Bill Bussler
Montoursville, PA, USA   USA
1956 MG MGA 1500 "The A"
1959 Triumph TR3A "The Mistress"
Ever since the deer came through the windshield of my pick up truck at 55 MPH I've been a little more careful about where I go fast. The country roads around here are wonderful and the deer are plentiful.

That said, a few days ago I got to ride in and then drive a 550 HP Superformance Cobra. It hit 100 MPH in the blink of an eye and all I could think about was where are the friggin deer? Then it was my turn to drive. For some reason I forgot about the deer. It's a beautiful car and if I owned the thing I'm sure I wouldn't live much longer.

Thanks for the drive but I'll keep the A. To answer the question, 70 on the interstates and 55 or less on the back roads is fine.

Rob Z Avatar
Rob Z Silver Member Rob Zucca
Camarillo, CA, USA   USA
1960 MG MGA
This is the entire reason I own an MGA. I’ve never been much for muscle cars old or new. Go fast in a straight line just ain’t my thing. The speed limit here is 65 and the A will do that just fine. Pointing a car in a straight line and mashing the loud pedal can’t compare to driving the A through the twisties where you’re actually DRIVING. My daily driver is a Mini Cooper S Clubman. It’s pretty fast, but it’s the go cart handling that I enjoy.

"Time flies like an arrow......Fruit flies like a banana"

Steve S Avatar
Abingdon West, Southern California, USA   USA
75 is a pretty normal speed in our A, and is the typical local freeway speed. I've had it up to probably 90 or so but I don't really drive the A for speed, more for canyon jaunts and afternoon cruises. If I want to go fast I'll get in a different car. But nothing made after the 60's, that's just cheating. (and boring!)

gmkjr56 George Kress
Verona, PA, USA   USA
I think I once had my Harley up to 100 when I was young and foolish. Speed is not why we drive these cars. For me it is the joy of making something old that does not work and making it work again. Also the people I have met along the way.

Redhawk1689 Avatar
Redhawk1689 Gold Member Steven Stockham
Salina, KS, USA   USA
1958 MG MGA 1500 "Belle"
I sometimes wonder if adding a supercharger to the engine would be worth the effort, both in time and $$$ but I came to the conclusion that I was satisfied with the top speed already (as I am too scared to even see what it is) and that the car accelerates at a reasonably decent (not exceptional) rate. It does what I wanted it for which is "wind in the hair" driving and enjoying the hell out of the ride! MG Oh yeah, having people turn heads when you drive by and all the admiring stares doesn't hurt either! cool smiley

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