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1980 MGB With Only 4,200 Miles?

left front

This MGB listed on craigslist in Indianapolis is long past the best days of the B, but what a time capsule it is! The $9,995 asking could seem high, but what is a time capsule like this worth? The story of how this ended up not being driven is, well, humorous. The mother bought her daughter this nice new MGB, but mom didn’t like the fellow her daughter was dating, so she took the car back. It sat in her garage for about 5 years. The daughter married her boyfriend. Mom was really unhappy and needed her garage space, so this MGB was sent off to a barn in the country. It was driven occasionally for a few years, but finally ended up just sitting when the tires got too bad. The barn is owned by the current owner’s brother in law.

1980 MGB Before and After

Larry (the owner) provided some great before and after pictures. The rodents didn’t do any damage to the interior or wiring. The paint cleaned up nicely and the interior survived and is in nice shape except for the carpet which was replaced. This MGB needed all the usual mechanical work to the fuel system and brakes as well as new tires and a top. The wheels were sandblasted and powder coated.


It cleaned up really nicely. The radio is missing. When the car was delivered new, there was a $49 charge for the radio. The first owner didn’t want to pay the extra charge and had it removed at the dealership. The ashtray is also missing. What would it be worth to have an NOS MGB? Would you lower it and convert the bumpers to the chrome bumpers? I’m really curious to see what you MG folks have to say about this one!


  1. Avatar photo Matt

    I’ve been looking at buying one of these and you can find them way cheaper, looks like $5500 car to me. I’ve seen nicer ones for less but more miles

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  2. Avatar photo Fred

    I did an appraisal of one of these (a ’79) last year for a client buying one sight unseen from a high end dealer here in Nashville. The mileage was something like 20K and the condition was immaculate. I was only evaluating condition and was shocked when I later looked at the dealer’s website- asking price was over $25,000!

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  3. Avatar photo Dolphin Member

    Amazing transformation from what looks like a genuine barn car in a real barn to what looks like a pretty nice car. The seller did a mostly good job of presenting the car except there are no shots of the floors, trunk, or underside. You never know what’s under there.

    But agreed that it’s overpriced. It might be in good condition and with low miles, but there were about half a million of these made and it’s not hard to find a good one for a good price.

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  4. Avatar photo David Member

    Yes, you can find anything cheaper. As always, this car is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. If you look at eBay sold listings, you’ll see similar MGBs, newer ugly bumper ones, with more miles selling for a similar or more money like this one that was bid up to $10,000
    There’s a bit more to this story, though. For once, we know why the car was sitting for so long, a funny story in this case, and we have great before and after pictures.

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  5. Avatar photo Michael Jacobs

    Boy whats wrong with you cheap readers…maybe hes out out by 2 grand but the car has such low miles on it…most of these cars were driven lots..its pretty rare to find one like this…but maybe 6 to 10 grand is not crazy..put another 5 grand in this car and it could be so nice…but alas british cars, having owned a 1973 Spitefire that spent more time in the garage has told me to never go near these makes again…sadly most of them meet a sad ending!

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    • Avatar photo Marco S

      Sad ending … NOT!! Meet “Viajero” (spanish for Voyager), my ’72 MGB GT that with some elec. and fuel system upgrades has carried me all over the eastern US; 7 – 8000 highway miles per yr. And wins show trophies to boot. New tech and new materials = they DONT have to be unreliable any more! (not for sale – ever)

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  6. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    I suppose the story is plausible. Being the type of car it is, it’s not something that would be used a lot. Just because it has low miles, don’t think for a second it won’t need more work. Sitting like this is not the best thing ( for any car). I loved my MGB and put over 200K miles on it. It was a great car. It seemed the MGB was kind of in the middle, with Midget/Spitfire, then MGB/TR4, then TR6 and so on. Looking at the “before” pics, you’d never guess it was such a low mileage car. And it’s the last year for MGB. Couldn’t cover it up? Pretty cool find.

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  7. Avatar photo Dolphin Member

    RE: the $10K asking, the price might be OK for someone who wants an ultra-low-mileage example of the last of the breed, but the price and this car’s build could be a problem for someone who prefers the earlier versions of the B.

    Unlike last-year models of many special cars, these last-year Bs were not the most loved. One Zenith-Stromberg carb instead of two SU carbs, reduced performance, raised up on its suspension, vinyl instead of leather upholstery, and ugly battering-ram bumpers make these less desirable than the earlier cars for many MGB buyers.

    Although this car came out looking pretty good after being cleaned up, and would probably satisfy someone who wanted the last, most comfortable version, for others it’s not the version of the B that they would pay $10K for. So I think whether that price is OK or not would depend on what you want in a B. And Howard’s point about it needing work because of how long it sat could be very important too.

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  8. Avatar photo 200mph

    Rubber Bumper MGBs are so (choose one or more) common, underpowered, ill-handling, outdated, British workmanship, etc, etc, that their day as a $20,000 car is going to be very long in coming.

    Even the best examples struggle to bring $10k.

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    • Avatar photo Peter

      My brother bought, I believe a 1978, in immaculate condition. You could eat off the engine compartment. Mildly upgraded car maintained by an MG fanatic. Mileage in the 30,000 range. Purchased about 18 months ago for about 7200. I would rather buy one that has been driven and obviously carefully maintained than something that has been sitting for a lengthy amount of time. My brother has not had to do any additional maintenance. Get in and drive!

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  9. Avatar photo Mark S

    So tell me you guys what part of these cars is un reliable where are its problem areas. I don’t know British cars that well, so fill me in on the week points please.

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  10. Avatar photo John H Bell

    Dim, flicker and off. Lucas electrical components. Been there, but never again…

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  11. Avatar photo Axel Caravias

    Mark S, “Lucas prince of darkness” lol

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  12. Avatar photo Muz

    Don’t you love it when people describe MGs as unreliable junk. These cars are no different to any old car, British, American, German or Japanese. If you buy a cheap one thats not been cared for it will give you heaps of trouble. If you buy or build a good one you will get years of reliable and cheap motoring. MGs were a reliable sports car when they were new. They sold 100s of thousands of them in the toughest sales market in the world, the USA. If they were as unreliable as these self proclaimed experts tell us MG would have sold bugger all cars full stop. Sadly for MG (Triumph, Healey etc) many owners of them, fancy themselves as half decent mechanics which means all sorts of mechanical atrocities are committed upon them. I’ve owned a lot of MGs and covered several hundred thousand miles in them. If you start out with a good one and look after it properly it won’t let you down. I would without hesitation jump into any of my current MG stable and drive it from East Coast to West Coast any time. BTW that means a journey of some 5500km.

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    • Avatar photo Marco S

      I agree – I have 2 (’69 rdstr, ’72 GT) – the ’69 is daily driver, the ’72 is for road trips and shows – and my “dependable” Chevy truck stays parked – flaming POS

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  13. Avatar photo Wayne

    Leaves Us Cold And Stranded

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  14. Avatar photo car guy

    I used to own a 68 mgbgt with wire wheels. Loved that car.
    The old joke, around british car circles. ” Do you know why the british like warm beer?” ” They all have Lucas refrigerators” I can tell you, the electrics were prone to dampness, which is really quite funny considering England can be be very damp and foggy. That being said it was a love hate relationship with that “B” lol:)

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  15. Avatar photo DH

    I’ve got a 72 mgb gt, it’s a great car. It always starts. As with any 43 year old car some maintenance is expected. The biggest thing with the blame on Lucas is the connectors tend to get corroded. Clean them, reassemble and it should be reliable. Many use these cars as daily drivers.

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  16. Avatar photo Larry

    Hi guys, I’m the owner of this MGB and the story about it is true. I’m a car guy but have only owned American cars, so not really an expert on British cars. Priced it based on mileage and condition, but am open to reasonable offer, if you don’t think it’s worth my price and are a serious buyer shoot me an offer, the worst thing that can happen is I’ll say no, or counter offer. Thanks for all the input. Larry

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