Jay Leno is making a point of highlighting young car enthusiasts. His guest on a recent episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage” was 24-year-old Daniel Harrison, owner of a 1958 MG A he started restoring when he was 15.
When he sees a cool car, Leno has made a habit of flagging down the owner and chatting them up and inviting them onto the show. That’s the case with Harrison, who restored this MG while working on an engineering degree. He named the car Helen after his mother, who died of cancer when he was 16.
Harrison, who also has a YouTube channel called “Limit 55,” moved to the U.S. from Britain at age seven. He started looking for a car to restore in high school, and found the MG locally in Los Angeles. He said the styling was what sold him on the little sports car.
The car started out as a “lemon yellow rust bucket” that was barely running, but that was the point, Harrison said, noting that he and his father wanted a restoration challenge.
Daniel Harrison’s 1958 MG A on Jay Leno’s Garage
While the MG required a lot of work to get it to its current condition, Harrison said “youthful energy and ignorance” got him through the project.
One major aspect of the project was building and installing a 1.8-liter inline-4 from an MG B to replace the stock 1.5-liter inline-4 after that engine died, likely due to chronic low oil pressure, Harrison said. He reckons the new engine makes about 95 hp. Stopping is handled by non-stock front disc brakes, along with rear drums. Harrison, a mechanical engineer, did most of the mechanical work, but the body work and paint (from a modern Jaguar) were farmed out.
Taking the car for a drive on the streets of Los Angeles, Leno seemed impressed by Harrison’s restoration work, and by the nimble MG A itself. He noted that the engine doesn’t overpower the chassis, which makes it fun to wring out the most of cars like this.
Check out the video above for the full story of the restoration project. You’ll be impressed by the job done by this young enthusiast.