BF Exclusive: Blue Plate 1974.5 MGB Roadster

1974 MGB

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.

New Tires

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!

Master Cylinder

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.

Drums Off

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!

Melted Points

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.

Crossed Wires

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.

Disconnected Carbs

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.

Weber Installed

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.

First Drive

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…

Baseball Glove Interior

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.

Top Down Fun

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!

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Comments

  1. Howard A

    Nice car, Jesse. Does it have O/D? Deal breaker for me. And the bumpers.( not a deal breaker) If I remember, there’s a plastic bushing at the bottom of the shift lever “anti-rattle bushing”, may be worn. Cheap fix. Oh I’d use those SU’s all right, as tire chocks, and the Weber is a great switch. Since the belt is still on the air pump, it means it still turns, and that causes funky driving. I remember, all of a sudden, my MGB stopped backfiring. Come to find out, the air pump froze. Ran great after that, even with the SU’s. Good luck, but I’m headed towards the TR-6 camp.

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    • Jesse Jesse

      Sorry, no overdrive on this one.

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  2. duke

    this is a 74 3/4 car….there were -3- 1974 cars made—the early 74s had chrome bumbers just like the 73s. then came the mid year 74s, that had the chrome bumper but with large rubber bumper blocks. then the rubber noses which stayed in the usa until the last year of importing 1980-
    1975 and newer were ALL water choke single carb stromberg….all previous years were twin carbed SU

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  3. Badnikl

    What a great little tank! If you were across the street I would buy it. Thanks for keeping another one going. Also thanks for everyone pitching in the information on cars they know. I always learn something.

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  4. cyclemikey

    Nice find, and good on ya for putting it back on the road.

    The stock SU carbs are easy to fettle; I was working on them when this car was new. I have the correct SUs on my ’67 and they work just fine. Tossing them aside and putting on that ugly-ass Weber feels a lot like giving up to me. Or worse, “restomodding”.

    This won’t take much to bring all the way back, and anything you need is available. That’s the beauty of restoring an MGB.

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  5. ClassicCarFan

    This car does not appear to have OD. The pre-1977 OD-equipped cars had a big long toggle switch on the far left-hand end of the dash to operate the OD. I can’t see it on this car? In 1977 onwards cars the OD switch moved to the gear-knob like the contemporary Triumphs.

    I’d agree that a truly rust-free body is a real bonus on an MGB. I quite like the color and I prefer Rostyles to after-market alloy wheels. Obviously the rubber-bumper style are never going to look quite as nice as the generations of pre-74 chrome bumper cars but I think this would make a nice practical starter classic for someone at the right price.

    I’m with other commenters….make the effort to sort the SUs out an put them back on ! no doubt a brand new DGV Weber is easier to get set up right than old mal-adjusted twin SUs, but once properly rebuilt and adjusted right the SUs are a class above that single Weber DGV. Not that Webers are not great quality instruments – just that a single downdraft DGV on the tortuous manifold will never fuel the engine like the SUs could.

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    • Fred

      Actually on a ’74 the OD switch is in the turn signal stalk (left side of the steering column) you push it forward to engage the OD.

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      • Howard A

        Hi Fred, that was the high/low beam on the left turn signal stalk. I remember, because when coming at another MG, I’d pull the turn signal to “flash the lights”. ( do MG owners still do that?)

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    • forestghost07

      Thanks from me as well Jesse for (hopefully) saving another B! And for real, SU’s are SO simple and SO misunderstood – just takes a bit of patience to learn the set-up routine, and rebuilds are childs play. A Weber is a fuel-waster, doesn’t hold a candle to a healthy SU set! Photo is my prize ’72 GT, w/ extremely well-behaved SU HIF carbs

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  6. Roger Taylor

    On 68 to 74 mgb’s , the overdrive trans was controlled by moving the wiper switch stalk towards you, all mgb’s were wired through this switch whether they had overdrive or not, there is a yellow wire connected on right rear side of engine bay, if it has overdrive, otherwise left hanging, twin SU carbs were stock at this time, single zenith carb came in 1975

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    • Howard A

      Roger got it. Right side wiper lever. Plus, there was a little sticker on the column part “Overdrive/Direct”. ( if so equipped) I don’t think a Weber makes this a resto-mod, a SBC would be that. I had good luck with SU’s, provided many miles of driving, it’s just a Weber, ( or any 2 barrel carb, for that matter) is just more civilized. It’s the only part of buying a TR-6 I’m not too crazy about ( SU, Stromberg, same sxxx, different shovel)

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  7. Jeffrey osborne

    Please Help me sell my Near perfect 1974 M. G. B. Really need to sell it Due to Health Reasons. Asking $ 8500 O. B. O. Jeff

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    • Jesse Jesse

      Please don’t post cars for sale in the comments Jeff. If you would like to get it featured on the site, you can submit it here: http://barnfinds.com/submissions/

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      • Dantheman

        I figure it was because his wife found out about the girlfriend’s car.

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  8. Hoos Hoos

    I love these cars, and to find one with original paint and no rust is unheard of. Great find. If I was closer, it would probably end up in my garage.

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  9. Jay E.

    Thank you for posting your experience with this car. It allows me to live vicariously but not actually own it. I have had them in the past and liked the SU’s. In another life I would buy this.

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  10. Jesse Jesse

    We have had a few nibbles, but no bites yet. I’m open to realistic offers as we could really use the shop space. Thanks guys!

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  11. Dantheman

    Where is it?

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    • Jesse Jesse

      Boise, Idaho.

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  12. Tyler

    We’re neighbors! I live in Southeast Boise. Wish I knew anything about these because it looks like a fun car and I’m in the market for a commuter. Very cool!

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  13. Ray Withrow

    Jesse the 1974.5 MGB arrived at my ranch this morning at 8 AM and we drove it 4 miles and starts and runs fine but I have to agree with the others as to install the SU’s . I am already making a list of things to order to bring it up to standards but it was a hell of a good deal and great barn find. Thanks Ray

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    • Jamie Jamie

      Terrific news, Ray! Keep us filled in on how things go!

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