1939 MG VA Tickford Drophead


Since 1968, this 1939 MG VA Tickford Drophead coupe has been owned by a single family based on the West Coast, and now this pre-war British car is looking for a new home. As we’ve come to love from vintage MGs, the Tickford Drophead coupe is a two-door roadster with seating for four, and these cars were built in very limited numbers for just three years before the start of World War II.

According to the listing, only 551 of these MG VAs were built, and this final-year example was imported to the U.S. from England in 1968 by the seller’s late father. The MG spent 30 years enjoying Southern California and occasional cruises before being shipped up to Washington where it was kept in a climate-controlled storage area. This car has been displayed at numerous car shows over its lifetime, and it remains a driver-quality show car.

Today this car survives with plenty of patina, but the important part is that it’s a complete car in running condition. Although this 1939 MG VA Tickford Drophead coupe is just a restoration from becoming a concours winner, it can be driven and enjoyed as it sits. Despite its long hood, this roadster is powered by a 1,548 cc four-cylinder engine and a four-speed manual transmission. The coolest part about the MG VA Tickford Drophead coupe is the convertible top, which can be set in three positions: fully closed, fully open and a removable portion above the front seats.

Here is just some of the touching history behind this car’s journey:

My father, Robert C. Earl, imported this car from England in 1968. His sister, who lived in England at the time, located the car and arranged for its shipment to my father in Malibu, California, USA. The car was stored in my father’s garage at his home in Malibu for nearly 30 years. During this time, he and his wife used the car for occasional pleasure drives and trips to nearby auto shows. I have included a picture of them during a “red carpet” showing at the Queen Mary Ship Tour and Museum.

After his wife’s passing in 1999, my father relocated to Bellingham, Washington, USA and brought the car with him. He kept the car in a heated storage unit and continued using the car for occasional pleasure drives and trips to nearby auto shows. He had the canvas replaced locally during his time in Bellingham. He and a buddy had the car trailered to an auto show at Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada. As my father aged, I became his driver for the MG. We shared many memorable local drives together.

My father passed away in 2007 and left the car to me in his will. At this time, I brought the car to my home just outside Bellingham. I’ve stored it since then in a garage on my property. I use the car for occasional local drives and trips to nearby auto shows. To make the car safer to drive, I replaced some of the drum brake components a few years ago.

The decision to sell the car has taken me a long time to make. I find that I’m not using the car as much as I have in the past. While the car holds wonderful memories for me, I hope someone else will enjoy the car as much as my family has.

Produced 2 1/2 years. Est. 551 produced. Extremely rare. Lots of patina. Engine 4 cylinder 1548 cc, overhead valves, twin semi-downdraft carbs coupled to 4 speed gearbox with remote gear change, 19″ wheels were fitted, shod with 5.00×19 inch crossply tires. MGVA 3 roof positions: fully closed, fully open, or with just front seats occupants exposed. Engine has counterbalanced crankshaft, a new-type dry plate clutch. Luvax hydralic shock absorbers and the “Jackall” built-in jacking system.


Miles 15,393 mi
Color Red


Year 1939
Make MG
Model VA