Affordable British Classic: 1979 MG MGB

Some classic cars will seem to offer potential buyers more than others for their money. That’s what makes this 1979 MGB look like a pretty hot deal. The owner has recently performed a list of work as long as your arm, and it represents a considerable cash outlay to get the car to its current state. He is now offering it for sale here on Craigslist with an asking price of $4,899, making it an affordable and tempting classic buy. It is located in Sunriver, Oregon, and I won’t be surprised if someone snaps it up pretty quickly. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Matt H for spotting this fantastic British gem for us.

The photos that the owner supplies of this Pageant Blue MGB aren’t the greatest, but they reveal this to be a car that shows some promise. The paint shines impressively, although it appears that there could be some flaws that prevent it from achieving perfection. The panels are straight, with no dings or dents that are worth noting. The owner doesn’t mention any issues with rust, but this is one of those cases where it might warrant an in-person inspection. It is hard to be certain, but the first photo shows an odd area in the driver’s side rocker. I’m not sure whether this is a trick of the light or whether it might indicate some form of repair. The fact that it is in the rocker causes me some concern, and it could be indicative of deeper problems. The rest of the car looks clean, but the buyer will probably want to replace the decals and pinstripes to lift the vehicle’s overall presentation. I know that many people are not fans of the cumbersome front bumper, and I understand their feelings. I have seen owners retrofit earlier bumpers and grilles, and that move has transformed the appearance enormously. The trim and luggage rack are in good order, as is the glass. The owner has recently had the original wheels restored, and he also includes a new tonneau cover and car cover in the sale.

I initially mentioned the money that the owner has spent on this MG, and the interior is the first stop when considering this aspect of the sale. The owner has recently purchased and installed a Deluxe interior kit from Moss Motors. This would have cost him a cool $2,000, which is a great score for potential buyers when considering the sale price he has set. As a result, this interior would seem to need nothing. It presents superbly, with no flaws or issues for the buyer to address. He has also attempted to retain as much of the factory appearance as possible, with a radio/cassette player seeming to be the only aftermarket addition.

Powering this little MG are its original 1,799cc four-cylinder engine and manual transmission. Capable of producing 62hp, it should send the car through the ¼ mile in 20.4 seconds. If the owner has spent some money on this classic’s interior, the theme continues when we look at its mechanical history. He has recently replaced the clutch pressure plate, throwout bearing, hydraulic hose, and slave cylinder. There are also a fresh set of front brake calipers, a new water pump, thermostat, heater control valve, along with all new belts and hoses. The ignition system received an upgrade with the installation of a Petronix ignition kit, while the original carburetors now suck their air through a set of K&N filters. Fuel finds its way to the engine from a Moss Motors 16 gallon fuel tank, and there’s a new sender unit and fuel pump to round things out. All of this work augers well for potential buyers, although the owner provides no information on how well this little gem runs or drives. However, if appearances count for anything, the news should be nothing but positive.

For enthusiasts who have their heart set on a classic British sports car, this 1979 MGB is worth a closer look. It has a couple of question marks hanging over the question of potential rust issues, so hopefully, the seller will be open to the idea of an in-person inspection. These aren’t cars that generate huge resale values, but the numbers are creeping up very slowly. It is not that difficult to find them in the market for around the same price as our feature car, but it is equally true that pristine cars can nudge towards $20,000. When you consider the amount of work that the owner has recently performed and the money that he’s spent, it makes it an affordable classic that could be worthy of a closer look.


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  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Lots to like on this B, with a LOT of work already done. If going retro on the bumpers, replace the shocks and drop it back down to ‘normal’ height…

    Like 7
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    I would indeed make a great retro look car, especially in that color.

    Like 1
    • Terry

      So true Bob,a great car.

  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Read “It” for the first word….

    Like 3
  4. mike b

    Not the original carbs. Original would be a single Zenith carb (w/ auto choke) rather than earlier dual SUs (w/ manual choke). Also missing the smog pump. So it might make a few HP more than stock, if set up well, but could raise issues if you want to cross state lines (at least going south). Yes it’s got rubber bumpers, deal with it. Don’t try to make it what it’s not. It’s still a fun, top down, evening cruiser. Just be ready to respond to “MG? Who makes that?”

    Like 9
    • Pat

      Yes, I had a 79 MGB and it did not come with dual carbs. It came with a Zenith Stromberg carb that would always suck the oil out of the reservoir. Replaced it with a 2 bbl downdraft Weber which improved things significantly. I updated the ignition system as the seller has, but with a different setup. Just those 2 modifications turned an unreliable car into a pleasure to drive.

      Like 10
    • Paul T Root

      I have a 77 very like this. Mine is Tahiti blue, but needs to be painted. I had SUs for many years, but changed to a Weber DGV a couple of years ago. Drivability is better, and yes the SUs were worn out. It’s not fast, but quick and fun. Even with a 50s style suspension. From 77 on, the sway bars returned which improved things.
      Looks like a really nice B.

      Like 1
  5. Rick

    It states that he replaced sll of the clutch parts with the exception of the disc. That seems a bit odd to me.

    Like 2
  6. Jim

    I owned 2 1971 MGB s years ago. They were fun to drive if not very fast. My B s were very reliable and I drove them as my only car 12 months of the year in Northern winters. They were close to useless in any snow but hey drive behind a plow truck!

  7. Frank

    This car lines were destroyed by NHTSA Bumper Car bumpers. Buy the MGB Bumper Retrofit kit to increase the value and appearance. These are fun cars and one the Brits better vehicles.

    Like 1

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