Friday, June 7, 2013

British Motor Corporation's US Offerings - 1964

Whenever you look at automobile pricing from years past, it is striking to see how low prices were "back in the day".  Granted, income was also comparatively low but how do the prices of yesterday look when adjusted to today's dollar?

Let's take a look at the suggested retail price list for British Motor Corporation's products sold in the USA for the 1964 model year. We've got the MGB Roadster (the MGB/GT was still a year away), the MG Midget and its close cousin the Austin-Healey Sprite. The Austin-Healey 3000 topped the range out. 

The image can be enlarged by clicking on it.

Let's take a look at the prices from 1964 adjusted to 2013 dollars:

  • MGB -on disc wheels $19,937.00
  • MGB -on wire wheels $20,687.00
  • MG Midget Mk II- $15,714.00
  • Austin-Healey 3000 Mk III $27,266.00
  • Austin-Healey Sprite Mk III $14,439.00
 The modern sports car priced closest to the ones listed above would be Mazda's MX5 Miata. The 2013 MX5 base price is around $23,000.00 and can be optioned up to over $30,000.00. If you're looking for something comparable the Midget/Sprite twins of 1964 in today's market, you'll be looking at a Smart ForTwo ($18K+) or a Fiat 500 C ($20K+). Neither the Smart or the Fiat catch spirit of basic, fun driving the same way that the Spridget twins did.

What 1964's new car buyer couldn't begin to imagine, however is the array of technology packed into modern cars, either by government mandate or competitive pressure. 

Taking a look at optional equipment, we can see that a heater was a fairly expensive option, but still cheaper than a factory hardtop for the MGB, anyway. Again, in 2013 dollars.

  • Heater - $487.00
  • Folding (vs. packaway) hood - $225.00
  • Whitewall tires - $262.00
  • Dunlop Roadspeed tires - $262.00
  • Tonneau cover - $300.00
  • Hardtop - $1,687.00
  • Overdrive - $1,350.00
  • Anti roll (sway) bar - $60.00
MG Midget:
  • Heater - $450.00
  • Tonneau cover - $262.00
  • Dunlop Roadspeed tires - $262.00
  • Whitewall tires - $262.00
Austin-Healey 3000:
  • Tonneau cover - $337.00
  • Whitewall tires - $262.00
Austin-Healey Sprite:
  • Heater - $450.00
  • Tonneau cover - $262.00
  • Dunlop Roadspeed tires - $262.00
  • Whitewall tires - $262.00
As can be seen from the option list, it would have been fairly easy to option an MGB up to near Big Healey price territory but it would have been a loaded MGB, indeed.

It is also interesting to note that a tonneau cover for a 1964 MGB can be purchased new from Moss Motors for around the same money as the adjusted-for-inflation 1964 price.

So, how have values held up over the years for these special cars? Very nice MGBs and even less than perfect Austin-Healey 3000s could easily bring their inflation adjusted prices. Check out Hemmings Motor News, Hagerty's price guide or one of the dozens of automobile auctions that are televised each year for proof.

Midgets and Sprites from 1964? Well, they have their following, too and while it would not be impossible to find a nice Spridget advertised in the mid-teens, it would be a very nice one.    

1 comment:

  1. 64 1/2 Mustang was 2557
    64 Chevrolet was 2300


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