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MGB GT V8 Published: 11th May 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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The B GT V8 was the MGB we all yearned for, but this old bottle, new wine, too late-inthe- day model wasn’t a good vintage when new. Now Queen B is a classic Q car and, like the MGC, loved for its well known deficiencies, witness an amazing survival rate and club support.


The MG’s ‘vintage’ feel that was so criticised when the GTV8 was new is now appreciated as one of the car’s strongest suits. Effortless and smooth “So appealing is the BV8 package”, Motor wrote, adding “As a poor man’s Aston Martin V8 the new MG has a charm and, with improvements, could even be a worthy alternative”. Performance still stands up and despite no automatic option, this is very much a two-gear car due to the torque on offer and the standard overdrive gives a lovely and long legged 28.5mph/1000rpm gait. Ironically, the fear of poor fuel economy that helped kill the car off rarely manifests itself on today’s Gatsofilled roads road and good V8s will sup about the same as a MGB.

You’d think that with the lighter V8’s improved weight distribution, the car would handle better yet it still didn’t corner quite as predictably as the four-cylinder MGB; road tests at the time put this down to the stiff rear suspension and added ride height.



There’s now clear water between the GT V8 and a regular MGB (MGC’s are now worth the most). Asking prices of up to £30,000 are becoming common and £20K for a good rather than exceptional example. Costellos can command slight price premium if genuine (although beware of fakes), depending upon their individual specification but run-of-the mill DIY conversions (which many MGB specialists won’t touch) should be barely above normal MGB values.



1973 Unlike Costello, MG fitted the lower tune Range Rover-spec V8 (137bhp), allied to a toughened up MGC gearbox but with special closer ratios (not used on Costellos) and overdrive. Suspension changes were only an increased ride height, pre-empting what BLMC had to do to the MGB a year later and ‘Police’ spec rear leaf springs. Interior and equipment levels were virtually unaltered making it a real Q car

1975 V8 received the infamous rubber-bumper look, despite the fact that the car was never exported to the USA!

1976 After the disastrous six-cylinder MGC, BLMC hoped that by giving MG fans what they cried out for it would sell like hot cakes, yet the GTV8 was given a lukewarm reception and pensioned off after just 2591 cars; about a quarter of what the ‘dud’ MGC achieved…


Top five faults



That classic V8 is long lasting if serviced right. Otherwise, watch for excessive tappet noise and sludging of oilways (a result of infrequent oil changes) as they are connected, furred-up waterways and worn bores


Modified MGC gearbox with overdrive only working on top (although some cars sneaked through with it operating on third too, we’re told). Check for undue noise and sheer wear due to hard use. It is vital to use the correct 20/50 engine oil in the overdrive


Running gear

Simple MGC suspension set up coped pretty well with the lighter if faster V8 power and doesn’t give more problems over an MGB. Kingpins, unless they’re greased every 3000 miles, wear out with ease


Rot in front bulkhead and inner wings not easy to repair properly – ditto sills and plated castle rails (the U-shaped channel under the floor just inboard of the sills) are both very bad news


Anything after N reg should be r/b so look for a conversion to bump up value (which it shouldn’t)


Best models



Some 1900 of the 2591 made are said to survive, with only 750 rubber bumper cars built. Originality will come to the fore over the years



Instigator of the Queen B, Ken Costello’s cars command more money although opinions are divided on what’s best. Full fat 160bhp comes as standard though



No shortage of DIY converts using mix of V8s; some great, many not… Must determine standard of workmanship before buying, or paying over the odds

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