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MGB

MGB Published: 6th Apr 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

MGB
MGB
MGB
MGB
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● Super easy to own and run ● Easily uprated and improved ● Top club and specialist support ● Hugely practical GT 2+2

The MGB is a remarkable car, just consider the statistics: production began at the start of the 1960s and lasted for an amazing 18 years before it finally bowed out in 1980.

Some still sneer at the MGB claiming that it’s boring, but that’s just tripe. This MG deserves to be on the shopping list for anybody who is looking for a practical, affordable, super easy to run yet stylish and classless sports car.

Driving

The MGB was a decent, rather than scorching performer even when new and a different animal to the MGA. However, in the real world that lusty B-Series with its lorry load of low speed pull makes it seem zestier than it really is and more than able to mix it with moderns in the cut - and-thrust of real world driving.

Handling is another matter – it’s not what the MGB does but how it does it. MGBs are fun if hardly fast but all are very controllable and predictable plus handling and grip can be transformed by well accepted upgrades – as many cars are – particularly the post 1974 higher riding rubber-bumper cars where the handling is seriously impaired.

It has to be said that overdrive makes the MGB. On A-roads and motorways the engine will be spinning at a leisurely 3000rpm at 60mph which makes light work of long distances. In contrast, fourspeeders are too fussy, but one really worthy mod is the well known five-speed conversion kit based on the Ford Sierra gearbox; again it may be already fitted.

Best models

There’s little argument that the chrome bumper cars are most wanted although, apart from much lower prices, r/bs have their merits, such as a better cockpit, less robust ride and ‘proper’ 12 volt electrics. The GT is a great versatile working classic; with a sun roof, as many have, it’s almost as good as any roadster for sunshine cruising. Many MGBs are modified to some degree and changes to running gear are the most beneficial.

Given the choice, most B keepers would plump for the early all-chrome grille, with the chrome-and-honeycomb affair from late 1972 running a close second. The gaping-mouth recessed grille does have a period charm, though (designed by ex-Ford staff who were wooed to the Midlands!) and particularly when allied to a body colour chosen from the usual 1970’s palette of oranges, reds, browns and even funky beiges.

Prices

MGB values are always all over the place, from as little as £3000 for a rubber bumper model to perhaps £20K for a concours early Mk1 ‘pull handle’ roadster, meaning that £7000 results in a wide choice of cars and state of condition.

With so many on sale you’d get a better bargain buying a previously restored one than doing it yourself and as there’s no shortage of Bs you can afford to be choosy when looking around, although bear in mind that chrome converted rubber bumper cars aren’t as valued as the real thing.

Buying advice

The beauty of the B is that any part needed is available brand new, right down quality bodyshells, so nothing’s impossible. However, many detail changes were made over the decades so not all parts, particularly body panels, are directly interchangeable (watch if buying old bits).

The deciding factor is always the condition of the body, the hidden structure as well as the outer panels. Rust in the boot floor usually extends to the rear spring hangers and chassis legs underneath and repair is an involved job.

Rot in the front bulkhead is not easy to repair properly, and over sills (look for poor seams where the ends tuck behind the wings) and plated castle rails (the U-shaped channel under the floor just inboard of the sills) are both bad news, suggesting major rot has been covered up rather than properly repaired.

Mechanical problems should not be a worry, with the only exception being the early three-synchro gearbox, for which parts are getting scarce. Converting to a later four-synchro unit requires major body modifications and not worth the benefits.

 



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