Brickyard B: 1972 MGB Convertible

From many accounts, one of the most fun collectible cars you can own is the humble MGB.  These simple, four cylinder convertibles handle well, are fun to drive, and affordable.  MGBs haven’t been sold on these shores since 1980, but examples in good condition still pop up from time to time.  Take for example this 1972 MGB convertible for sale on eBay out of Princeton, West Virginia.  Stored in what looks like a brickyard for many years, the seller has lost his storage and is offering the car for a buy it now price of just $2,000.  With that bargain price comes an MGB’s Achille’s heel: rust in the sills.  Is this otherwise well preserved B worth the work needed to return it to the road?

The story on this car is fairly simple.  This MGB was last registered in 1982, but has been stored under cover for most of the years following that date.  The current owner bought it from the original owner’s estate in 2001 with a desire to restore the car.  An extra engine and overdrive transmission were also picked up somewhere along the line.  Equipped with a four speed without overdrive, wire wheels, and a hard top, this car does appear to be in very good condition with two exceptions.  The driver’s side and passenger side sills are toast.

An MGB is a unibody car.  Thus, having solid door sills (also called rocker panels) is vitally important.  These are major problem areas for MGBs, especially for cars that come from places where the roads are salted.  I would guess that the good folks in West Virginia have to deal with road salt frequently.  Therefore it is no surprise that this MGB needs some help.

Help costs just $429.00 per side from Moss Motors, which is the premier aftermarket parts supplier for British cars.  This doesn’t include the costs of installation.  Having a professional strip the car down to perform this repair properly would likely be pricey.  However, if you are handy with a cutting wheel and a MIG welder, then it is possible to complete this repair in your garage after you properly braced the body.  Not easy, but doable.

The interior, other than some seat bolster and arm rest damage on the driver’s side, looks like it might be perfectly useable once the dust is cleaned off.  The seller tells us that they believe the 90,000+ mile odometer reading is the original mileage on the car.  Given the overall condition of the car, that figure doesn’t seem to far fetched.  The interiors on these cars weren’t very beautiful after US regulations forced them to pad the dash and modify the switches to meet safety standards.  However, the materials used were at least durable for the time.

Under the hood, we see that the twin carburetors are missing and it looks like a glove was stuffed into one of the openings in the intake manifold.  Also interesting is what looks to be a taped repair to the lower radiator hose.  Was it an overheated engine rather than rust that sidelined this MGB so many years ago?  Is that the reason a second engine was sourced?  There are other concers as well.  Look carefully in the lower right hand corner of the picture.  Is that area rusted out or just very dirty?

Regardless of what the pictures tell us, a thorough inspection of this car would be warranted before any purchase.  The rust you see may be just a small part of the overall story.  A car like this may look to be a sleeping beauty, but large amounts of rust in an MGB can be terminal.  There is a reason why there was a brisk business in reproduction bodies some years ago.

Do you think this MGB is a dusty bargain, or an orange money pit?

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Comments

  1. RoughDiamond

    My ’63 B rusted in the sills like that and was never exposed to salted roads. I’m guessing it was a design flaw when conceived on paper or a manufacturing issue that never was discovered or if it was, that could not be corrected or would not be due to increased costs involved.

    Like 2
  2. Macon Michaux

    I’d go about 800.00 on this one if I was in the market.

    Like 8
  3. Pete

    I’ve replaced the inner and outer sills on a Midget. Easily done with a little care. You can buy the metal in a sheet for less and form it yourself. Its a simple curve. I’m more concerned about the bottom of the ‘a’ pillar on the driver’s side. The inner wheel wells can use some care also. The wheels are the biggest cost question mark. $500-800 sounds a fair price….

    Like 4
  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    As Jeff said, all the sheet metal is available for damage such as this. The Brits and everyone else of that era turned out cars with great paint on the outside and bare metal on the inside. If it’s mechanically sound and bought cheap this could be a good project.

    Like 1
  5. Rube Goldberg Member

    Pretty freakin’ creepy,,,I had this exact car, same color, Parrish hardtop,( even with the same rubber strip that kicked out in the back) wires, kinks in front end from people backing into me, only mine was a ’71, without that funky console or fresh air vents, new for ’72 and the only difference from the ’71. I put at least 125K on the 1st motor, then found a GT that was in a wreck, with lower mileage and an O/D. The difference with O/D was night and day, and put another 80K, it was one of the best cars I ever had. Mine eventually broke in half, and the rust started just like this. If the rockers are rusted, I bet the rear spring mount is toast too. I’d love to have another, but there’s plenty of nice MGB’s around. I’d pass on this, or for parts. Thanks for the flashback, tho.

    Like 4
  6. Mike Wester

    71 72 the MGB’s were maid from Russian steel, and the quality shows.I agree worth about $800.

  7. Brian

    From what I saw, you can still get a new LHD or RHD MGB Body from British Motor Industry Heritage Limited. It’s about 11K Quid, and in usd I think that would be about $14K. May be well worth it if this body can’t be saved. Someone had the blessed foresight to preserve the body dies before they were tossed, after the Abingdon factory was shuttered. Regrettably no one thought of that with the MGA, a body/frame car.

    http://www.bmh-ltd.com/mgbshell.htm

    Like 1
  8. LR

    Having had several of these…. here in the midwest that’s a $500 car…tops!

  9. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    I love this color! I had a 1972 Midget in this color, new off the showroom floor.
    As a daily driver, I wouldn’t recommend it. As a fun weekend car, yes, yes, yes!
    I now live in Vegas and a sport convertible is what need for night driving around here.

    Like 2
  10. Louis Q Chen

    This “B “project” car will be a “money pit” with rust issue! Yes, the “B” are a blast to drive and fairly to repair. This car is would be good at $500. Are you a fan of: “Why do British love warm beer? Because they have Lucas refrigerators,!” Oops this shows my age!

    Like 3
  11. TimM

    Doesn’t seem to be to far gone yet!! I hope someone can save it!!

  12. MG Steve

    There’s actually 4 pieces, per side, needed to properly repair that sill damage, and from experience, when the sills are that rotten, you can plan on replacing the front and rear “dog legs” . . . and I’ll throw a small bet on the floors as well, and the support “structure” for the two batteries is probably lace by now also. Just sayin’ . . .

    Like 3
  13. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Parish Plastics hardtop ?

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