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MG MGA - Headlight Rims

I am looking for a set of original headlight rims to have rechromed. With all of the reproductions out there, is there any way to determine the originality of these parts? Were they made of brass or steel? What, if any, other cars of the period used the same units?

I do know that the originals had a rounded rivet at the top and a slotted fixing screw at the bottom.

Steve Brandt

Chrome on brass.

I tried to cross reference the Lucas part number - as the same rim (or at least a visually identical interchangeable rim) was used on many cars of the period.

The Lucas part number is 554439 up to car 72039 (1600) and then part no 54520651 (for UK). It seems that these Lucas part numbers don't relate to other non MG models.

These two parts seem identical and are definitely interchangeable - The MGA parts manuals show part number 17H5147 for all models and destinations.

There are high quality (claiming concours quality) chrome on brass parts available new (and for much less than second hand and rechroming costs!)

I don't know if Moss Motors sells these high quality brass parts, but beware of cheap repro. (chromed steel) rims!
Neil McGurk

I can't say about original parts. My old parts are stored pretty deep so I can't easily pull one out for comparision. I bought repro headlight rims from Scarborough Faire about 13 years ago. These had the rivet and were as good a reproduction as you will find. Most repor rims of that era did not have the rivet. The SF (their P/N N301) rims are (or were back then)steel. The plating is pretty good, even though they are the "cheapo" parts. Mine have lasted these 13 years and still look like new. It has to be cheaper than having parts replated.

Here is a shot of them now.

Sorry for bringing this up if you are dead-set on originals.

Chuck Schaefer

Also used on Rover P5 and Frogeye sprite (+ Magnette and MGTF)
Neil McGurk

I's a bit like antiques: sometimes the only way to recognise an original part is from the weight and the "feel". As a clue, the rivet heads seemed to have less chrome or suffered more from regular polishing because they often go through to the bare metal before the rest of the rim. The worst repro parts don't even bother to put the locating tag on the inside and the rivet head is no more than a dimple in the metal. An old part, unless it's NOS, will show signs of having been polished and will probably have lots of tiny scratches in the surface. If someone wants to sell you NOS, then I'd want to see some packaging too.

Malcolm Eades

Steve, Have a look at these:-

If they really have copper base they should be as good as originals provided the plating is up to the mark. The price is not much more than for steel based examples.

The RM headlamps were 7" Lucas P700s as on the MGA . Most British cars of the era used the same headlamps. ..................Mike
m.j. moore

I purchased a set of rims from SF 6 months ago and they still have the rivet on top. Chrome is nice. Once on the car I have no idea how one can tell if they are original or not.

Holden Vintage sell them:

Probably a bit more pricey than other suppliers, but I have found their products to be usually of a good quality.

Steve Gyles

Ebay can be a good source. You can find originals there for a reasonable price. I always try to use original stuff if possible as the fit is better. Good luck.

Bill Haglan

Mike, the ones you link to will fit but are a different shape cross section to the MGA ones.

If you can see the parts, there is a big difference between the cheap ones and the good ones (brass or steel) The quality of the plating and the smoothness of the inside edge are the key things to notice. The appearance of the "rivet" too as previously mentioned.

Upon close inspection the cheap ones feel and look cheap. Last year there was a box full for 2.99 a pair! I wondered how many might find their way onto eBay where they (unbranded new headlamp rims) sell (in auction) for up to 20.00 a pair. Original NOS Lucas go for much more, but they do show up now and again.
Neil McGurk

Neil, Yes I thought they looked more rounded than mine but I think I could accept that if they really were copper based and plated to Service (not surface!) Condition 4 (BS1224)....................Mike
m.j. moore

If you can find an older Mini, they are the same as the MGA ones.
dominic clancy

Dominic, the old BPF mini ones fit, but I believe, like many other cars in the BMC range they had the more angled cross section.

There is not so much difference between the two and I don't think anyone except a real anorak (that's me) would really notice. It is especially irrelevant as almost every MGA (in UK) has halogen, sealed beam or even worse - the repro. BPF lenses. (I have to admit that I went round all the cars at MG Live and checked.....)
Neil McGurk

This thread was discussed between 19/11/2010 and 21/11/2010

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