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Barn Find Garage Update: 1977 MGB Roadster

We’ve got so many projects currently going on at the Barn Finds Garage that I said no more new ones until a few have been completed. Well, Jesse drug home another derelict, but this is one that we have been trying to buy for years, so I’m going to allow it! Clearly, it isn’t a high-dollar car, it’s a rubber bumper MGB after all, but it’s been sitting outside at a house that is just a few blocks down the road from the Garage and it’s been killing us to see it slowly deteriorate. We have tried more than a few times over the years to try and connect with the owner to see if they would sell it but never had any luck. Jesse finally was able to catch them at home and it turned out that they were actually wanting to get rid of it! I’ll just let Jesse tell you more of the story in the video below.

I’ve not had a ton of time to work on it, but I’ve already managed to get the engine running and a huge box of brake parts has just arrived! Hopefully, in a few days, we can actually take it on its first drive in nearly 15 years. There’s going to be a lot to do here to make it a nice driver, but we thought it might be fun to document the entire process and what it costs us to get it there, so stay tuned for future updates.


  1. RacerX

    Great basic original and unmolested classic car find that can be purchased AND recommissioned for realistic money.
    I look forward to the future updates.
    Well bought!

    Like 7
  2. Jim

    I don’t know why the “rubber bumper” cars are always dissed. I hink they are by far better looking than all that chrome. Feel that way about the Midget and Spitfire, too.

    Like 5
  3. peter havriluk

    Can you backdate a rubber-bumper car back to chrome grille/bumpers and lower the suspension?

    Like 1
    • Joshua Mortensen Staff

      You can backdate the bumpers, but it isn’t as easy as just swapping the bumpers, at least if you want it to look correct. There are companies selling kits with all the needed pieces to do it, but personally, I’d just lower the suspension and leave the bumpers.

      Like 2
    • Jim

      Why? If you want one with the chrome, just buy one. Leave the rubber bumper ones to those that like them.

      Like 0
  4. Bud Hall

    It’s been a few decades since I messed with MG s, but I believe I recall some at the shows that were back dated to chrome. So I’ll guess 99% sure it can be done. The rubber bumper, and the higher ride height, as well as engine, carburetion, and exhaust changes, were to meet the then new Federal importation requirements. I recall many post ’74s got lowered to pre’74 heights, and had the power system backdated too. Some state inspections might have regs. that prohibit backdating, if they spot it and care, so I’d say double check on that; otherwise sounds like a plan!!

    Like 1
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    Would love to see a demonstration of back dating this car. People keep asking if you can do it so why not show them. Parts are available for the transition.

    Like 2
  6. Allen Member


    There are those who would point out that leaving the rubber bumpers still adds about 200 pounds to the weight of a chrome-bumpered car. Aesthetically, I too rather like the rubber bumpers. The cars look more substantial and the front bumper completes the curve of the bonnet down to the bottom. Regrettably, I cannot say the same for the Midgets where the front rubber bumper seems to overwhelm the little car. I also think the Midget lost it’s soul with the loss of the A-series 1275 engine in favor of a Spitfire transplant! What an insult. I still haven’t gotten over it.

    My own feeling is that if you want a chrome-bumpered MGB, then buy one. There is one reason to buy a rubber-bumpered MGB and convert it and that is if you wish to convert it to the BOP-Rover V8. The rubber-bumpered cars were designed to fit this engine – right down to the engine mounts. Particularly on the ’77-80 models, the conversion is a bolt-in job. The factory built 2-3,000 of these – never approved for North American markets. That is an entirely separate – and sad – story.

    Like 1
    • Paul T. Root

      Yes, the later cars were modified to accept the Rover V8. They moved the radiator forward and modified the firewall. And for a RBB, the ones to get are the 77-80. The rear sway bar was returned to the car which helped the handling considerably over the 74 1/2 to 76 models.

      The factory only made BGT V8. Ken Costello made the first MGB V8, as a convertible. But BL didn’t think the convertible could handle it. They were of course wrong. Also the Rover engine is lighter than the B-series. Wouldn’t it have been great if they had that engine when making the MGC?

      There is a good book on the conversion.

      If I were to change the bumpers on my B, I’d like the MGRV8 dumpers. Though, I don’t know that it would fit on an unmodified B front end. The fenders are all changed on the RV8.

      Probably should just look for a RV8.

      Like 1

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