9,500 Original Miles! 1979 MG MGB Limited Edition

I always find it interesting when someone buys themselves a classic sports car, and then they hide it away in storage after only a few short years of use. That is apparently the story behind this 1979 MGB Limited Edition. Following 4-years of limited use, it was then placed into climate-controlled storage for the next 37-years. It has recently been revived and returned to a roadworthy state and is set to go to a new home. The MGB is located in Dade City, Florida, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on this little British classic has reached $9,401, but I’m not surprised to see that the reserve hasn’t been met at this point.

The MGB Limited Edition is one of many examples that we have seen from various manufacturers over the years of a model that was meant to be exclusive, and as such, was intended to be built in very low numbers. The original intention was to limit production of the Limited Edition to 500 units, but such was the demand for the model that eventually a total of 6,682 examples rolled off the production line in Abingdon. The American version of the Limited Edition subscribed to that old policy of being available “in any color, as long as it’s black.” That was a quote that was incorrectly attributed to Henry Ford about the Model T, but it was definitely true of this MGB model. Looking at the original Black paint that graces the flanks of this particular car, it appears to be very nice. There are no obvious dings or dents, and it retains a good shine. The silver graphics are in good condition and provide a welcome contrast to all of that Black. Being a Roadster of unibody construction, it is vital that an MGB should be as rust-free as possible. The owner doesn’t mention any issues, and the car looks to be clean and solid in the supplied photos. It has been treated to a new Black soft-top, and this is a nice, tight fit. One of the aspects of the later examples of the MGB that is often criticized is the rubber bumpers. I understand this because they do profoundly change the vehicle’s appearance. However, on a car finished in Black, they are nowhere near as obvious or intrusive as they are on a car that is finished in a lighter shade.

Lifting the hood on the MG reveals a clean and tidy engine bay, along with a 1,799cc BMC B-Series 4-cylinder engine. Bolted to the back of this little engine is a 4-speed manual transmission. An overdrive option was available, but it doesn’t feature on this particular car. Being a small-capacity engine of an older design, these power-units were massively hurt by tightening emission regulations during the 1970s. From an early high of 95hp, by the 1979 model year, 62hp was all that could be mustered from the B-Series. Naturally, the performance was negatively impacted, and a 1979 MGB struggled through the ¼ mile in 20.4 seconds. After its time in hibernation, the owner has undertaken all of the work required to return the car to a healthy and roadworthy condition. One of the changes that has been made is to the carburetor. Originally, this would have been a Stromberg unit, but there is now a Weber DCOE side-draft carburetor on an aftermarket intake in its place. The original exhaust manifold has also been dumped in favor of a set of headers. This probably won’t restore all of the lost power, but with the engine now breathing better, there should be a noticeable improvement. In addition, the MGB rides on a fresh new set of tires. The owner does claim that the vehicle has a genuine 9,500 miles on the clock, and if it really has spent 37-years in storage, that means that it has only seen active use for around 4-years. That would certainly make this claim conceivable. The owner doesn’t provide a lot of information on how the little classic runs and drives, but the fact that he emphasizes that everything works as it should does sound quite encouraging.

The best word to use when describing the interior of the MGB is spotless. There really isn’t anything to fault inside the car, with the upholstery and dash in very good condition. The carpet is free of fading and marks, while that thick little sports wheel appears to be free of any wear. As an added bonus, this car scores an AM/FM radio/8-track player, along with dealer-fitted air conditioning. With that option fitted, it’s probably a good thing that the owner has extracted a bit of extra performance from the engine because A/C would really have had the MG struggling in standard mechanical form.

When the MGB was released, the company found that it had a major hit on its hands. It sold in far greater numbers than originally expected, and the US market couldn’t get enough of them. Many enthusiasts decried the changes that were made to the car during the 1970s to allow it to comply with American safety requirements, but it didn’t prevent the car from continuing to sell in significant numbers. Today, it is possible to find the occasional 1979 MGB LE for sale for under $7,000, but the chances are that these are going to be high-mileage examples. Finding one with an odometer reading like the one on this car is a rarity, and figures of $15,000 or more are commonplace for low-mileage examples. Interestingly, I have found this particular car listed on another two websites, and the prices on these sites have been set at $14,000 and $17,995 respectively. That should provide some indication of where the reserve has been set on the car. Even at the higher figure, if it is all that it purports to be, then it does represent a pretty competitive buy.

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  1. GuernseyPagoda

    Nice looking car. I always liked them, however I remember a buddy of mine got one as his high school graduation gift in May of 1981. Maybe this was one of the last ones standing, since production ceased in 79? Not sure. Anywho, it gave him problems from the start of the ignition. He ALWAYS had problems with that car. Eventually traded it for an 83/84 Cougar. That would just make me a little scared to buy one of these, but I do like them, especially with me being 5’7”. Perfect fit. GLWTS.

    • Del

      What the hell does GLWTS mean ?

      Or is it a secret handshake ?

      • Gland

        Good Luck With The Sale

    • gregwnc

      Parents bought old college girlfriend one of these back in 1980. Great memories with her but I agree, gremlins drove us nuts, particularly the electric variety!

    • JOHN Member

      I had a 70 MGB, and I was 6’1, there was plenty of leg room in these cars, but nowadays, the only way I could get in the car would be with the top down. My old back just wouldn’t cooperate! Mine was *relatively* reliable all in all.

    • Paul T Root

      The late electronic ignition was reportedly better than the earlier (75-76) electronic ignition. Still not great. Pertronix makes a very good and dependable ignition for the car.

      I’m 6’2″ and fit very nicely. Wish that were true newer cars. I can’t fit in a Miata (except 1st gen barely), or Subaru/Toyota.

      Also, the cars with the stromberg carb (with or without the catalytic converter); had an one piece intake/exhaust manifold. Hence, replace in the intake, you have to replace the exhaust.

  2. Skorzeny

    Adam mentions the rubber bumpers. Many complain about them but I prefer these over the chromed steel bumpers… Just makes the car look more modern to me… I think this one is a pretty good deal, buy the best that you can.

    • Kurt W. Krauss

      I totally agree about the rubber bumper MGBs. You and I are in the minority. I also happen to like the mid-79-80 Triumph Spitfires with their plastic bumpers and own a ‘76 TR6 with the Dagmars – love the additional protection from today’s boats.

      • Steve

        I like the rubber bumper cars better too.

    • Kuzspike

      The look of the black bumpers certainly plays a part in why people don’t like them, but the main reason is that the ride height was also raised when they were added which significantly changed the driving characteristics.

      • Paul T Root

        The 77 on cars added back in the rear anti-sway bar. Which helped considerably.

        I like the extra height when changing oil is nice. You don’t have to jack the car up to do so.

        I’d like a more modern bumper but with a real grill. Something like a Sebring front end, but with an actual bumper behind it, rather than just a fiberglass shell.

  3. H5mind

    There was a mini trend some years ago to paint the B’s plastic bumpers body color. They take paint perfectly well and dramatically modernize the look. In fact, it makes them appear kind of like the MG F and TF that followed them here in England. As far as super low miles, back in the day the advice was to buy British cars with MORE miles, not less, because at least you knew the thing could run.

  4. Del

    An MG with A/C 😁

    I have seen it all now.

    Even with A/C he cannot get a decent price for it

  5. Howard A Member

    We’ve seen these low mileage, rubber bumper MGB’s before. Fact is, I had to look back to make sure we haven’t seen this one before. I think it’s a great find, but these sellers all seem to think this is a desirable car, when in fact, it’s probably the least desirable MGB of them all. Don’t get me wrong, the price for a low mileage car like this isn’t too bad, it’s just not many will go for it, when they can get a nice ’67 ( my favorite year) for the same price. They certainly aren’t rare, not yet, anyway. Big downer for me is the Weber carb. You aren’t buying this car for it’s blazing performance, and there was nothing wrong with the Stromberg. I test drove a Spitfire with a Weber, and it ruined it completely, and unless it’s tuned properly,( good luck with that) this car will never run right. I just don’t get what’s the attraction with this Weber carb baloney. All that aside, this is a pretty nice car.

    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      Agree with you, Howard A. And it does seem odd that with a sub-10k mile car the owner found it necessary to change out the carb/intake and go with headers. Perhaps a modest performance boost. But this adds to the complexity of keeping the car in tune for the next owner. Didn’t read the ad all the way, hopefully the seller retained the original Stromberg and MOWOG intake manifold. They should look practically brand new.

      • Spanky

        Maybe the owner is trying to make it perform half decently to help sell it.

      • Del

        Maybe the Mods did not work and he just wants rid of it 😁😂🤣

  6. mike b

    AC in an MGB? Now you have to stay behind VW vans on the hills.

  7. rustylink

    a BL car of the late 70’s – what broke on it at the 9500 mile mark to preserve it? ;)

  8. GaryE

    Why has the engine been removed and painted orange on a 9500 mile car.

    • Paul T Root

      it probably wasn’t. The paint on the engines wasn’t very good. My was also red/orange when I got it. The paint came off, that was primer.

  9. Lynn Dockey Member

    the owner parked it because it was junk

  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I don’t know what this seller is trying to pull by saying it is a private seller. The tiles floors gave it away and Googling quickly revealed that this is being sold by Streetside Classics: https://www.carsforsale.com/vehicle/details/58969728

    They are looking for $17,995 for it, which will give you an idea of what the Reserve might be.

    And, 1979 wasn’t the last year for the MGB.

  11. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    And while you are in Tampa looking at this one, you might as go look at another Limited Edition, same year, same color: https://www.carsforsale.com/vehicle/details/47150759

  12. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    1980 was the last year for MGBs and Midgets in their home country. 1979 for the Midget and 1980 for the B in the United States. Last of the MGB-GT were imported to the US for the latter part of 1974 and they featured the rubber safety snouts (relatively unusual) until the flow stopped early 1975.

    PRA4SNW, I believe all the Limited Editions came in black. Wheels, graphics and front spoiler are among the things unique to this release.

  13. Hill Billy

    Yep, something is fishy here. Not only is the block Chevy orange, the head is black. I would bet this is not even the original engine. And those side draft Webers work great. On a high RPM race engine. Twin SU’s work better on a street engine. And that’s based on personal experience. We made the switch to twin carbs and got much better performance.

  14. JEFF S.

    I purchased a brand new 1977 MGB for $5,600. Inflation adjusted to over $24K today. The car spent more time in the shop, than on the road. Bosh Electrical problems, every time I turned around. A recall for a drone sound in the exhaust at 50 mph. A noise in the pinion gear in the rear end when in reverse, that they never fixed. Thank God I only owned it while it was under warranty. It did have the 5 speed, I would not buy one with the 4 speed. I traded it in 1979 for a new Mustang and I was glad they gave me $500 above my payoff. I would not buy this one for $5600. Good Luck to the new owner if it sells, up to $12,100 reserve not met.

    • JOHN Member

      Lucas electrical, Bosch is German. Lucas is also known as the Prince of Darkness…

      • JEFF S.

        You are right Lucas is crap in the MGs, but I have had problems with the Bosch electrical in my 66 Mercedes, since it is the most recent 2015, maybe that is what stuck in my head. lol.

  15. Russell Ashley

    I agree with most all of the negative comments here. I bought my wife a 10K mile 1977 MGB and it started giving problems immediately. The first year (I think) electronic ignition went out and I replaced it with an after market kit. Then various switches on the dash quit working. Final straw was when I saw that the rubber suspension arm bushings had deteriorated and falling apart. The local MGB experts told me that I was lucky that it lasted as long as it did. This car was not even five years old. It was a fun car to drive when it was running but too much trouble to keep.

  16. Kenn

    Maybe mileage figure is correct, given what I’m reading about electrical problems. But, four years at only 2,500/year? In Florida? It’s difficult to believe, frankly.

    • Miguel

      Kenn, what is hard to believe?

      MGs barely ran when new.

      It doesn’t surprise me a person got tired of dealing with it and parked it keeping the mileage low.

  17. Bob McK Member

    Didn’t these have a lot of electrical problems? When I read the title the first thing that came to mind was that the mileage was so low because it was in the shop most of its life. Maybe I am wrong about the electronics. Beautiful car!

  18. JOHN Member

    I bought a low mile 1970 that was sideswiped on the drivers side, it sat for about a year and a half before I bought it in 1973. I paid $100 for the car. The fender and door were toast, the top had seen better days. I put a new choke cable in it as well as the two 6 volt batteries, turned the key, fuel pump ran, pulled and locked the choke and it fired right up. I found a door and fender, and repainted the car in the original British Racing Green. I did have to replace the alternator, but that was it for any electrical issues. I did break a torsional spring in the clutch on a downshift, replaced it and changed the lever action shocks to Koni tubular shocks, and added an Ansa exhaust. It was a pretty reliable car overall.

  19. Miguel

    A guy buys an MG new. The car barely runs for limited use for 4 years.

    Years later people think the car is better because it sat for decades.

    People are weird.

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