Back On The Road! 1979 MGB Roadster

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We’ve featured an incredible number of classics over the years with the main goal of getting those finds into the hands of our readers, but sometimes someone that doesn’t follow our site beats one of our readers to the punch. Honestly, that’s alright with us as long as the car is going to a good home. We featured this clean rubber bumper MGB back in December of 2021 but Ben G spotted it locally rather than through the site and beat everyone there. While doing some internet research on it recently, he was surprised to see a search result about his car. After reading our article on it, he thought he’d reach out and see if we’d like to hear about the car’s current status. Since our goal is to save classics from becoming forgotten relics, we are obviously excited to see that he has this MGB back on the road where it belongs. You can read more about it in Ben’s words below!

From Ben – I purchased the car in January 2022.  The car was much as described but obviously undrivable and was very straight and correct with no hacked wiring and nothing missing.  The engine turned by hand.  After looking over the car negotiations lasted less than a minute with a discount on the price that made the car very well bought in my opinion but didn’t beat up the seller either.  The MGB was snowbound in a garage on an unplowed back lane and remained so for about a month after purchase.  The seller was a very nice fellow and allowed me to store the car for free as long as it was in my name and insured.  A few interesting things about the ad and things found.  The aftermarket radio appears to have been dealer-installed and more or less period correct.  A Blaupunkt which would have been a higher-end unit at the time and still sounds good… I did receive both the window sticker and dealer accessory slip that shows the radio as added by the original MGB dealer.  The owner was a car dealer so effectively I am the second owner of the car.

To get the car running the following things were replaced or corrected. Replaced fuel pump – It was rebuildable but I went with a correct Lucas replacement that was electronic instead of points based.  I saved the old one which I plan on rebuilding at some point as a spare. Replaced bad fuel tank and sending unit. Four tires – after the first drive up and down my driveway one of the tires blew out in my garage.  Believe it or not, this is not the first time this has happened to me so always replace the tires. Replaced stuck float valve in carburetor – I was going to rebuild the entire carburetor but took a chance on just the float.  The bowl came off easily and I didn’t even need to replace the gasket. Rebuild the charcoal canister.  The stuck float valve filled it with gas. Reinstalled the third front wiper with new wiper blades, cleaned the water choke, and added oil to the carburetor – these are real things with an MGB. Miscellaneous hoses under the hood.  The only non-stock replacements were for a few emissions hoses that are molded and I haven’t been able to find them so I used standard hoses. Replaced both stuck rear wheel cylinders. Most cars that I have seen that sit for long periods need this and they are cheap.  The car did have new shoes that were properly installed with new(19-year-old) grease on the adjusters. Replaced sticky electric switch on the ignition switch for failing to return to detents with sufficient gusto.  No rodent damage was found on the car itself but a dead one was discovered when changing the switch. Replaced broken rear muffler hanger. I also replaced the seat webbing to the driver seat as the rubber bands were shot and checked the floor condition while the seat was out.

All total I had about $500 over the original asking price in getting the car running and on the road using my own labor.  I paid more for some parts as given the original and unmolested nature of the car I decided not to bodge it up by using universal parts.  IE.  The fuel pump was the most expensive part purchased even though a generic pump was ⅓ the cost but would have been obviously incorrect and easily spotted as the fuel pump protrudes into the trunk of an MGB.  The next most expensive item was towing.

My wife and I enjoyed the car all last year until late fall.  Just the other day I checked the fluids and charged the battery. The MG fired up with minimal fuss and I went on a 20-mile test run to get it ready for spring.  It really is a fun car to drive and turns heads as they are not commonly seen in the rusty north.

Future plans for the car. The rotors are past their prime and I have replacements to be put on including oversized pads. The top works great as a sun shade and is in good shape otherwise has a split back window.  The local upholstery shop said it wasn’t worth replacing as MGB tops are inexpensive.  I am unsure when I will replace the top because it’s not really a rainy day car and shade is the only requirement we have for the top. The carpet is worn only where your left foot rests against the footwell and the rest shows well. As visible in the original ad, the driver seat has two holes from someone sitting down with a tool that poked two holes in it. The foam is still in good shape. The engine valve and side cover leak a very small amount but I have replacements for them. The car was clean enough that I have never really fully cleaned it except for the windshield and the carpet under the driver seat so it definitely deserves a few hours of full detail work.

It really is amazing to see this MGB back on the road. They are fun cars to drive, but finding nice original examples is getting harder to do. It looks like Ben really scored with this one! I want to thank him for taking the time to share his story with us and I hope he sticks around as a Barn Finds Reader. Be sure to make him feel welcome here! And if you have a cool story, we’d love to hear it.

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Comments

  1. EuromotoMember

    Good story and Ben seems like a good guy. Maybe he will start following BF and we will benefit from his obvious experience in reviving classics?

    Like 12
  2. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    Well done Ben! Cheers!

    Like 3
  3. Mike B

    Well done Ben. Not that you’ll be driving a lot of miles but I recommend putting the factory gulp valve on a shelf for posterity & running the Nissan version for trouble-free motoring. The convertible top is an easy project (don’t forget the header rail gasket) & good insurance for sudden downpours.

    Like 2
  4. Jack M.

    Nice job Ben. Instead of letting the battery go flat, I keep my summer car on an automatic trickle charger year round. The battery will last a lot longer.

    Like 6
    • D Kauffman

      I am always leery leaving any kind of a battery charger or maintainer on a battery when I’m not around. Could lose the car and the shop that it is parked in. Retired ASE mechanic.

      Like 1
  5. Mark RuggieroMember

    Single Stromberg and an air pump, those were (NOT) the days…

    Like 1
  6. Robgw

    I had a 79 MGB in this exact color combination. Fun car to drive in Sunny Florida. Someone came along and offered me three times what I had in mine and I sold it to try something a little different.

    Like 2
  7. John EderMember

    I just purchased two MGB GTs- one complete and original, but extensively rusted; the second a rust free shell. I am looking forward to the dismantling and reassembly process on these (I bought a “Restore your MGB” book online- how hard could it be?). It should keep me occupied until I am around 114 years old…

    Like 4
  8. steve

    I really like these cars and would like one someday, maybe I’m crazy…

    Like 3
  9. FrankDMember

    Just a fun car that is reliable if taken care of. The chrome bumpers years are the jackpot model with Supercharger.

    Like 1
  10. matt

    Hello,
    It sounds like he hit many of the same items I did on my rubber bumper B.
    I had a sticking ignition switch and lubricated it, but it continued to stick… and one day coming back home from a cruise I was moving just past 50 when the starter motor engaged. Lots of loud noise.
    I have a lifelong buddy who said, Matt wait until I get there tomorrow morning, I want to see that starter – – (he picked me up that day with his tilt bed tow truck), I’m a machinist – the starter looked like someone took a milling cutter to the windings!!

    Leter, when I was selling the car, I drove it the day before to prove out all the important items – turn signals, brakes, wipers etc.
    When he got to my house, I said I will show you how it starts cold.
    Water Choke !!!
    The water choke was all gummed up, and would not let the car start. He was polite, but I knew he was upset with me. I tracked down the choke problem after he left.
    The rubber bumper B’s have unique differences which compared to my ’67’ surprised me.

    Like 3

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