We found this MGB tucked away in a garage three months ago. It didn’t run, but the body was still wearing its original teal blue paint and there wasn’t any visible rust! I’ve looked at a lot of Bs over the years and every single one of them had at least a bubble or two in the rear quarters, so you can image my surprise when I ran my hand over the area and didn’t feel a single bump. The car also got my attention because it was wearing rubber bumpers, but had a pair of SU carbs on the engine. I assumed someone had backdated things, but it turned out to be a fairly rare midyear model that complied with the new safety regulations, but avoided some of the emissions stuff. Needless to say, I dragged it home that day.
The owner had purchased it out of California about seven years ago, but after driving it home he didn’t take it out of the garage again. So, when moving time came, the car wouldn’t start. We quickly found out why it wouldn’t go though. There was a new battery in place, but the cap was off the distributor and the carb linkage wasn’t hooked up. Apparently, he had attempted to rebuild the carbs, but never put it all back together. The tires were cracked from sitting so new ones went on and the troubleshooting process began. Figuring out what someone else has done is not always easy, but we are happy to say say that it now goes, turns, and stops!
The master cylinder was obviously leaking as evidenced by the peeling paint on the firewall. That still needs cleaned up, but we just focused on the bare essentials to make the car a runner again because we have some very big projects already vying for our attention. If I was going to keep this one, I would have sanded it down and rattle canned the area with some color matched spray paint from Napa. New brake and clutch master cylinders went in, as did new hoses.
The shoes and pads have a lot of life left in them, so a quick bleed was all that was needed to get the brakes and clutch working again!
With the most important part of the car working (brakes), it was time to turn my attention to the engine. The points were toast, so those got replaced.
By following the wires from the distributor back to the coil, I was able to find the possible reason for the melt down. Both of the wires were on the positive poles. We now had spark, so our next task was to make sure there was fuel.
I sourced the correct ‘74.5 throttle cable and set the idle and mixture to factory specs. She fired up, but wouldn’t rev. My trusty old Uni-Syn quickly revealed that the back carb was sucking a lot more air than the front. It was running lean and spitting back at us.
I tried to adjust the idle, but just could not get it right. Off the carb came, but I couldn’t find any obvious reason for the difference. I’m assuming that the amateur rebuild job needs redone because some of the parts look new on one carb, but not the other. The shafts fit tight in there though so it shouldn’t be a big deal. I fiddled around with it for a whole afternoon before deciding to throw on a Weber kit that I had kicking around the shop on there. After hooking up the linkage it fired right up and sounded great so we decided to leave that in place for now and will just include the original carbs if the the next owner wants to put them back on.
After cleaning her up a little, we took her out for her first top down drive in almost a decade! We drove up and down a back street near our shop and the engine sounded great, the steering felt fine, and the brakes worked good. Unfortunately, we ran out of fuel on the way back and had to coast a short distance back to the shop. A couple of very nice people stopped to ask if we needed help and one guy even jumped out of his SUV and came running ready to help push. Ironically, we had to go back after fueling up to help him get his newer American vehicle running again…
Anyway, this MGB still needs some sorting and detailing. The interior is crusty and could use new carpet and an upholstery kit. The dash is cracked, but you can get replacements. That might all sound like a pain, but trust me, it is a lot easier to replace soft goods than it is to cut out rust, weld in new metal, and repaint it. A lot cheaper too! We have a new top that needs installed, but I would probably leave it down all summer anyway. It could use a tune up, the shifter is a little sloppy, and the brakes probably need bled again. Still, I think this little roadster will provide someone with tons of summertime fun for the money.
The car is located in Boise, Idaho and I would like to get $3,000 for it. There’s still some work to be done, but this car has lived most of its life in California, as evidenced by the blue California license plates found in the trunk, so rust will be one thing you shouldn’t need to worry about any time soon. All the spare parts that came with the car will be included. Be sure to checkout the photo gallery and you can contact me directly via email if interested. I really like MGBs so I’ll be really sad to see this one go, but we have bigger fish to fry right now!