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Chrome Bumpers Are Better: 1971 MGB Roadster

1972 MGB Project

We recently picked up another MGB project and even though it’s a rare ’74 1/2 model, people still questioned our decision to drag home something with rubber bumpers. Perhaps we should have picked this one up instead? It’s a ’71 so it benefits from chrome bumpers, lower ride height, and more power. It wouldn’t have costed any more, but this one does need a lot more work. What do you think – would the chrome bumpers have been worth it? This one is located near San Diego, California and is listed for sale here on craigslist for $1,250.

1800 B Series

Luckily, the engine isn’t seized up. The B-series engine used in these cars is tough and can produce decent power. It has five main bearings and is usually bulletproof. Unfortunately, this one is also missing its carburetors. There are a lot of Weber carb/manifold combos out there you could buy, but I’d recommend that the next owner source a set of SU carbs. They are simple and easy to tune. They can be made to idle well and are probably the best choice for the average motorist.

Wiring Needs Work

The engine bay didn’t look too bad, but there are some areas of concern inside. There are lots of wires hanging down, so count on needing a new wiring harness. Add in a full interior kit and dash too while you are it. Fortunately, everything is available from multiple sources at not too bad of prices. You can see that someone had their Moss catalog out trying to figure what they needed to make this thing run again. It won’t affect running, but the next owner will want to patch up a couple of holes in the floor too. There’s some rust to deal with, but the body appears to be relativity straight.

Blue Plate

The blue license plates tell us that this car has been in California its whole life. I’m not sure how much that fact has helped this car, but it probably would have been in worse shape had it been in another part of the country. This is a good year of MGB, but the values aren’t to the point where this looks like a good restoration project. The seller does make the suggestion that it could be used as a vintage race car. Personally, I like that idea because you wouldn’t have to feel bad about tearing up a nice example. It would probably be cheaper too because you wouldn’t have to worry about things like the interior. Does anyone else have any other good uses for this B?


  1. Jeff G

    You can buy a nice B for 6 or 7 grand. It’d be tough to make this one nice with a $5,000 dollar budget.

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  2. Howard A Member

    Oy Vey!. Well, at least the price is right. Again, no mention of O/D, a huge selling point, for me. As said before, these people may not even know it has O/D. ( only clue was the WW stalk had a small tag, O/D-Direct) This is exactly like mine was, a ’71. Like Jeff sez, B’s aren’t rare, and I passed one up, a ’72, I think, sat on a guy’s front lawn all last summer, with a price of $1800, and was driveable. It’s funny, I see the bondo on the hood, mine was the same. Can’t tell you how many times, I came out to my car, to find someone backed into it. If it’s solid, it is clearly worth it. Plenty of parts around. As much as I cussed out those SU’s, I go with them too. Just don’t know enough about a Weber. Proof positive, cheap British roadsters are around, but you’re gonna have to get dirty.

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  3. andrew marshall

    I think its a real little jewel us guys in southern Ontario dream of having a California fixer upper like this , she is a labour of love ,safety it ,drive it go to flea markets you will be the talk of the town piece back together a little bit a time enjoy the car .

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  4. ccrvtt

    Just went to the national MG show in Louisville and I would love to have had this to drive out onto the field. The contrast with all the pristine & over-restored (& beautiful) cars there would have been great. And I’m sure someone with too much money would have been glad to take it off my hands for double the price.
    It should be preserved if not restored.

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  5. Howard A Member

    I just noticed something. This car has the center wiper on and the 2 outside wipers removed, I did just the opposite. I took the center wiper off, because it was annoying, ( and people teased me about it) and it didn’t really do anything anyway.

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  6. Doug

    I paid $7k for my restored-to-original spec, split bumper ’70, and it’s darn near perfect and with an OD! $5k to rebuild this? Hmm…not sure…

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  7. Robert Pearcey

    After owing several of these cars over the years , I’d say the price looks fair but there is a lot of work to do. This car would have sold for $80 in the late 80s , it just shows you if you keep something long enough it goes up in value. I’m never sure that restoration are a sound buy, Buy the best resored carsat between $10,000 and $14,000 and enjoy it straight away.

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  8. Billy de Hulst

    Parts car. Or restore it if the seller will give you a couple of grand to drag it away.

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  9. david

    Rubber bumper B’s have real advantages over the speed bumps

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  10. Kent

    VIN looks funky. Methinks numerals should be in the 200,000s.

    Oh and this is a $400-600 car at best without OD.

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