BF Auction: 1979 MGB Roadster

Bid to: $1,100View Result

  • Seller: Casey K outstaal
  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Mileage: 74,261 Shown
  • Chassis #: GVVDJ2AG504568
  • Title Status: Clean

While working on one of the BF Projects outside Barn Finds HQ, a tidy-looking MGB pulled up a while back. The young guy who jumped out of it introduced himself and expressed curiosity about what I was working on. Clearly, he loved classic British cars, so I gave him a quick tour of the shop, which was jam-packed with British cars at the time. He lives down the street and decided it was time to stop and talk cars. We’ve been friends ever since, so when we found out he was considering selling his 1979 MGB, we offered to auction it for him right here on Barn Finds! We’ve driven this B, and it’s a fun machine, but he’s ready to try something new.

The MGB is likely one of the best British sports cars ever built. It’s not the fastest or the most agile, but it strikes the perfect balance of performance, comfort, and dependability. They are easy to get in and out of, offer plenty of legroom, and are simple to work on. The MGB debuted in 1962 and stayed in production until 1980, so clearly they were popular. While rubber bumper cars aren’t as sought after as early cars, they are still a blast to drive and are starting to appreciate in value. As a matter of fact, we currently have a rubber bumper project, and it’s one of our favorite cars to take out for quick spins around the block.

The seller is the car’s third owner. It was sold new at the Boise MG dealership and has spent most of its life here. It briefly lived in the Salt Lake area but returned to Boise, where it has stayed ever since. It was treated to a new coat of paint before his ownership, and unfortunately, the color is a few shades off from the original. It’s held up well, though, and it looks good in what he believes is a Jaguar shade of green. When it hasn’t served as his daily driver, it’s been parked in covered storage.

Rather than blow their budget by buying new interior parts, the seller has done their best to make this B a comfortable driver using second-hand parts or custom-making their own. The seats are from an earlier MGB, so they lack headrests, but the original seat frames are still present if you’d like to put it back to original. The seller custom-made the door cards, door pulls, and kick panels using leather. While not correct, they are nicely done and look great. As with most MGBs, the dash has some cracks, so a dash cap has been installed. All of the gauges and lights work as they should.

With a turn of the key, the 1.8-liter engine fires right up. It’s currently equipped with a Weber DGV carburetor, which could use a tune-up. The seller has recently performed a complete engine tune-up and installed a new throttle cable. The brakes have been serviced and an extra set of rotors and drums are included. If it looks like there are extra hoses under this hood, that’s because the car was equipped with A/C! The seller believes it was factory-installed. Unfortunately, the under-dash components have been removed, so it no longer functions. The compressor and other engine bay components are still present, so you might be able to find the missing pieces and put it back together. While having A/C certainly isn’t required in a convertible, it would be nice on those hot summer days!

The photos show that the car has some cosmetic flaws but presents well overall. It also has some mechanical issues that could be sorted out. The seller had the transmission rebuilt recently by a shop in Boise, but it occasionally grinds when shifting into 3rd. It also makes an odd noise when pressing the clutch in. They installed a new clutch and throwout bearing, but the noise remains. They’ve also replaced the clutch slave cylinder and hydraulic lines. Having driven the car, neither issue impacts driveability but should be investigated further. The seller has also removed the convertible top mechanism, but it is included with the car. The soft top has a hole, so a replacement will need to be sourced if you plan on reinstalling the top. The tonneau and original sun visors are present and included.

Many of the complaints we’ve heard about rubber bumper MGBs don’t match our experiences. The final years of rubber bumper MGBs are admittedly the best, as they have front and rear sway bars, which improves handling significantly. Any electrical gremlins can usually be traced to a previous owner’s custom stereo or addon gauges. And while rated horsepower was down compared to earlier cars, this car will zip around town nicely. This example isn’t perfect, but it is a nice driver-quality car that has been well cared for. So, if you’d love to be its next owner, cast your bid below. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section.

Bid On This Auction

High Bid: $1,100 (Reserve Not Met)
Ended: May 3, 2024 11:00am MDT
High Bidder: marbella car restauration
  • marbella car restauration
    bid $1,100.00  2024-05-03 07:22:51
  • PhilLa bid $1,000.00  2024-05-02 13:17:02
  • marbella car restauration bid $750.00  2024-04-30 10:21:19
  • Reese’s ride
    bid $451.00  2024-04-30 07:52:12
  • g.rock bid $200.00  2024-04-27 15:42:25

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. Joe MecMember

    It looks like a nice maintained driver and I’m glad it is not so perfectly original. I am an old-schooler and like the B’s but only the chrome bumpered years. I simply don’t like the rubber bumpered cars even though they did handle better.
    Good luck on the sale.!!

    Like 3
    • The Other Chris

      The rubber bumper ones did not handle better. I don’t like them as much as I like the chrome bumper ones, but I still regret selling my ’77. They are fun cars.

      Like 2
      • Jesse JesseStaff

        The first rubber bumper Bs weren’t good handlers because of the raised height and lack of front sway bar. In ’77 MG corrected things though by putting the front bar back and adding a rear. Personally I think the 77-80 Bs are the best handling because they corner flatter than any other year. It’s easy to kick the back out too. I think those first cars just gave the rubber bumper a bad rap.

        Like 2
      • The Other Chris

        True about the early rubber bumper cars, but to say even the later ones ae better handling is a stretch and is not at all to my real-world experience, but whatever you think.

        Like 0
      • The Other Chris

        One thing I left out, and maybe this is where we differ… it’s very easy and inexpensive to make a rubber bumper car handle as well (or better) than an earlier car. Stock, not so much. But yes, they can be just as fantastic or better handling wise. People have been upgrading suspensions on these forever, and I highly recommend it.

        Like 0
      • Jesse JesseStaff

        @The Other Chris – I have owned multiple MGBs (early, mid, and late), and I actually like the way these later ones handle the best. My chrome bumper car (front sway bar) squatted a little too much in the back. My early rubber bumper car (no sway bars) flopped about. But my late rubber bumper (front and rear sway bars) cornered flat, and it was a lot of fun to slide around corners. Plus, you could take speed bumps without worrying about bottoming out!

        Like 1
  2. Marky Mark

    For speaking of it so highly it sure has a long laundry list of things that are incorrect or not working. If I was in the market for one I’d seek out an example that’s more original and complete.

    Like 3
    • Evan

      I think your point is valid, but if it goes for the right price, it might be a great “starter classic” for someone.

      My concern is that the engine is tuned, but the carburetor still needs to be tuned? Sounds like somebody installed the carb out of the box and gave up, maybe?

      Like 6
      • bobhess bobhessMember

        Scrapping the Weber down draft and putting a set of SUs on a good manifold would do wonders for this engine. Also, parts to get the AC going are readily available. After owning a ’66 and liking the looks I’d probably convert this one back to early bumpers etc.

        Like 7
  3. Jeff Zekas

    I’m in the chrome bumper camp, it’s worth 1000 bucks to buy the Moss motors chrome conversion parts. That way you have the best of both worlds, the newer suspension, but with the classic look.

    Like 5
  4. Cobraboy

    I am no fan of the rubber bumper B’s aesthetics, nor their higher stance.

    However, that is offset by a much nicer interior and an engine compartment designed to allow a V-8 installation with minimal metal work.

    250hp in a B, easily accomplished with a mild 302 and install kit or a Rover V8 mill, really makes these cars come alive. In performance, it’s similar to a Sunbeam Tiger.

    I have driven two conversions and came away very impressed, a totally different car than the pokey 1.8 4-cyl. And you don’t notice the weight up front much, 50lbs. or so. BTW, the pokey 4 is fun, just a different kind of fun.

    250hp & tq means the rear end does not need to be beefed up much—as long as you aren’t popping the clutch at high RPM’s and drag racing—although modern suspension mods are nice and lower the stance. Go above 300+, and you should consider beefing up the rest of the drivetrain.

    I have seen ribber bumpers painted the same color as the car, and they look really nice. The chrome bumper conversion looks great. I love chrome bumper Bs, but it requires a lot of work, welding, and an expensive conversion kit.

    Putting a V-8 in a chrome bumper car is a lot more work, which is why a rubber car is ripe for conversion.

    A rubber B conversion is in my future. I just hope I can still slide into one.

    Like 5
    • Paul Root

      The Rover V8 is lighter than the B-series. That’s a well documented fact. It is the route I would take, if I had the desire.

      As it is, my 77 with a DGV is what I want in an MG. Up a little higher for my old knees. Easier to crawl under to change the oil. And fun tooling around the lake or other county roads. No it’s not fast, it’s just fun.
      This looks like a great B as it is. No it’s not stock, it was changed as how the owner liked it. As people are so quick to blather on about it not being as good as a CBB, and so isn’t worth as much. Therefore, there is no reason to keep it stock. It will never be worth much. As to the bumpers, they have at least one advantage. Better protection from the ever increasing number of bad drivers in parking lots.

      Someone else put forth the myth of instant transformation of the 4 cylinder with a set of SUs. One must also keep in mind these later engines have different distributors and cam shafts. “Waking it up” is more complicated than a carb swap.

      Like 0
  5. Rufus

    Since everyone is throwing misinformation and opinion about like MardiGras beads, I’ll add my own opinion based on having had several rubber bumper B’s. Unless you plan on track days, the basic one inch lowering kit from the “usual sources” is a good way to improve the overall look of the car, and make it feel a lot better in a corner. Front springs and cut down bump stops, and lowering shackles in the rear, and you are done (front sway bar is really a good idea). Then, throw the downdraught Weber as far as you can, and replace it with a fresh set of SU HS4’s or HIF’s (there is a guy down in Texas that can help with that, ask Jesse). This car already has a chrome header so that has been taken care of. Remove that crimped off brass line and plug the ports with proper hardware, leaking air into the combustion chamber is not a good thing. If you really want to add usable power, change the timing chain and gears to the early dual row (it advances the cam timing back to the early spec, and gives a better range of power). Remove ALL of the A/C parts and sell then to some guy with a GT, and clean up all of the extra wires and tubes and junk under the bonnet. In essence, if you “back date” the engine, you will find yourself with an extra 15 – 20 horsepower that the folks in Abingdon robbed to pass EPA specs. And for goodness sakes, leave the bumpers alone, unless you want to take them apart, lighten them about 30 pounds (tutorials available in the MGE library) and return them (once again, IMO) these cars look good when they are lowered.
    So, to go sum it up, IMO a lowered RBB with a backdated engine, is a great low budget, hobby car that is fun to drive, and economical to operate. A great first sports car for someone is kinda mechanically minded and doesn’t mind doing his own work.
    One thing that I have found in over 50 years of messing about with British cars, all of the jokes about Lucas electrics (you know – warm beer – factory smoke etc) are primarily the result of previous owners who either had no idea what they were doing, or wouldn’t take the time to fix it the way it came. And the SU carburetters are NOT a pain in the a$$ that most folks complain about. Like Willie said “they’re not wrong, they’re just different”.

    Like 11
  6. dcroydon

    I drive a 79 B as my everyday car in the good weather. Have driven various B,s over last 40 years. Excellent little car lots of fun even to go down to the local grocery store. Big important thing is they are perfect introduction to young car enthusiasts for very little money and you are on the road. Just change out the carb to dual SU,s , over drive would be an excellent addition makes a world of difference.

    Like 1
  7. Jesse JesseStaff

    I wouldn’t recommend chrome bumper or V8 swaps. Rubber bumper Bs are great affordable fun just the way they are. They handle good and have lots of charm. Chrome bumpers require body work and paint and a lot of V8 swaps never get completed. Don’t waste the money. Just drive it!

    Like 7
  8. St.Michael

    This would be a great Ford 2.3T & T5 swap from a clapped out SVO, T-Coupe or XR4Ti

    Like 1
  9. SJMST

    Looking at the engine pics, I thought I saw an A/C set up. Rare! A convertible does not negate the need for A/C in most climates (assuming it is effective). I wish my 81 Fiat Spider had it for those 90-degree humid days.

    Like 0
    • Paul T. Root

      Yes, it does look like there is an A/C compressor stuck under the alternator.
      And something else I didn’t notice before, or didn’t register. A big shroud over the fan. The fan that shouldn’t be there.

      They retro-fitted a mechanical fan to the car. Not a stock one as well. I looks like the 2 pusher fans are also still there in front of the radiator. I suppose you can’t be too careful with an AC unit. Perhaps the mechanical fan comes with the A/C unit kit.

      Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds