1958 MGA is owner’s dream car

Darrell Hallgren fell in love with classic cars at age 12

  • Nov. 1, 2019 6:30 a.m.

– Story by Maggie Jackson Photography by Don Denton

Darrell Hallgren of Bear Mountain fell in love with classic cars when he was twelve years old. A few decades later, his dream of owning his dream car came true. That car was a cream coloured 1958 MGA.

“I saw it online and purchased it without driving it, Hallgren said. “You might say it was love at first sight. It was shipped to Victoria in an enclosed carrier.”

The MGA was restored before he purchased it. “The car is mostly original. It’s a complete off-frame restoration. The tires are aftermarket and the back taillights are from a 1960 MGA.

I also personalized a few things,” Hallgren said. “I love classic cars, they have so much character. They remind me of the simple things in life that make us happy.”

This isn’t Hallgren’s first classic car. “I’ve had a Porsche 911, a BMW M3 and a Jag XKR, but I only had them for a year or two. I experienced them, and that was cool, but then I was looking for something new again. This one is different. I remember going to car shows when I was young and I could look at this body style for half an hour. The 1958 MGA was really the car of my dreams.”

“I love the colour combination of this MGA. I love the body style and the noise it makes, hence no radio. It puts a smile on my face every time I drive it,” he said. “I have owned many fast European sports cars, but they weren’t right for me. But this, this ’58 MGA … it’s hard to put into words. This car is so cool. I’ve never felt this way about a vehicle before. I guess you could say it brings out the boy inside of me.”

The interior of the car is indicative of the 1958 era. “The handles are not on the outside, they are hidden inside the door where you pull on a cable. It’s so straight-forward – there’s a map light on the right-hand side. People ask why I don’t put a radio in and it’s because I don’t want to kill the sound of driving the car.”

The dash of the car is, of course, all analogue. “The dash is all old school,” said Hallgren. The dash is so simple and elegant, yet highly functional. The back-light is a greenish colour. The speedometer, tach and oil are all analogue and instead of the signal light on the column there’s a switch on the dash that you push. There are little lights on the dash too.”

Owning the MGA has changed the way Hallgren drives. “It’s really cool to drive this car. I used to travel in the fast lane all the time, now I’m in the slow lane and it doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s funny how you have these fast vehicles and you get caught up in the speed of it. In this car I want to enjoy the ride, enjoy the scenery. I love driving around the south island, especially near the ocean.”

The car has also garnered Hallgren a few new friends along the way. “When people see me in the car they always come and talk to me, some become friends. Little kids will walk by and stop and wave and give me the thumbs up. When I’m stopped in traffic, people roll down their window to ask about the car.”

And, his car has a name. “I named it Isa, after my daughter Isabella, who’s the love of my life. I plan on keeping this car forever, and when the time is right, I’ll give it to my daughter.”

Hallgren has owned the MGA for over three years now and the thrill of owning it is still there. “This car is a keeper. Everyone from 8 to 80 years old smiles and waves when I drive it. They want to come over and talk to me about it. You can’t put a price on happiness.”

CAR DETAILS

Year: 1958

Make: MG, two door roadster

Model: MGA

Exterior: cream

Interior: red

Mileage: 57,936 km (36,000 miles)

Motor/Engine: 1800 cc

Transmission: Manual, 4 speed gear box with rear wheel drive

Outside length: 3962 mm / 156 in

Width: 1454 mm / 57.25 in

Wheelbase: 2388 mm / 94 in

Curb weight: 930 kg / 2050 lbs

Top speed: 150 km/h (93 mph)

(declared by factory)

Accelerations: 0-60 mph 14.6 s; 0- 100 km/h 15.7 s; 1/4 mile drag time (402 m) 19.8 s

Gas mileage: 11.3 l/100km, 25.1 mpg (imp.), 8.9 km/l

Manufactured from 1955 to 1962 in Abington, England

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