Aussie Ausca MG special on the block

By: Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

1959 ausca roadster Distinctive body shape is easy on the eye.
ausca2 Early Holden-powered versions saw a lot of race action.
ausca4 Cockpit is basic.
ausca5 It currently runs an MGB engine with 4-speed manual transmission.

Hand-built Australian MG special from the 1950s looks for a new owner

Aussie Ausca MG special on the block
Ausca MG special

Hand-built small-volume cars can often end up being pug-ugly, but we reckon this is one of the prettier and more intriguing things we've seen for a while.

Made in 1959 and using MG mechanicals, it's being offered at the upcoming Shannons Melbourne Spring classics auction on September 19. Some famous names are attached to it, such as legendary engineer and tuner Phil Irving.

Shannons takes up the story:

One of Australia’s best-known specials, the Ausca was developed by a Repco engineer named Paul England, who designed and built the car in conjunction with his friend Bill Hickey.

Using a bespoke tubular chassis frame made of 16-gauge steel, the Ausca employed Holden running gear, the Grey motor driving the rear wheels through a Fiat 521 gearbox, along with Holden-sourced front end and back axle and Peugeot steering.

The Ausca’s most striking feature was a fibreglass bodyshell modelled on Maserati’s AG GCS/53 sports-racing car and it proved highly competitive against more fancied opposition from its debut at Fisherman’s Bend in February 1956, ultimately enjoying a long and successful racing career.

It later ran with the first of Repco’s famous ‘Hi-power’ cross-flow cylinder heads designed by the legendary Phil Irving, appreciably boosting power to somewhere in the region of 150 horsepower, along with an Austin-Healey diff.

A run of copies of the original body was made (most sources put the number at 16), mounted on a variety of chassis, including MG, Triumph and Healeys and using a mixture of running gear, some of them raced, including that built by well-known actor Gus Mercurio.

Now recognised as a part of Australia’s motoring heritage, the original Ausca was recently displayed in the Shifting Gear exhibition celebrating design innovation and the Australian car held at the National Gallery of Victoria.

One of only a handful of Ausca-bodied specials to survive, this particular example has been restored with MG running gear, the MGA motor replaced with one from an MGB.

The current owner purchased the car for his collection in 2014 and has been kept securely stored ever since.

Beautifully presented, the Ausca has evidently undergone considerable refurbishment at some point, the fibreglass shell and paint both in good condition, the cockpit is very clean and it has been set-up for road use, with indicators and seat belts.

 


Sign up to our free weekly newsletter for more unique car reviews and features plus see the latest unique and classic cars for sale.

Subscribe to Unique Cars magazine
- Print edition
- Digital edition