Diamond In The Rough? 1974 MGB

We all hope for that deal of a lifetime, and every once in a while it actually comes along. Is this “gem of an MGB” found here on craigslist the diamond that you have been looking for? Surely the $3,100 asking price is attractive but this jewel may have some flaws not described in the ad, so it would be best to ask lots of questions if looking to buy sight unseen.

Located in Springvale, Maine the ad is very short, however, this little MG is the last of the steel bumper cars as midway through 1974 the less attractive rubber bumper cars started production. If history serves as a guide, steel bumper vehicles (no matter the make) will generally hold a premium over their later federal bumper siblings.

From the exterior pictures the seller has provided, this MG looks to be in decent condition. The panels seem to line up pretty well, and the paint doesn’t look too shabby either. Upon closer inspection, both the front and rear lower valances have road rash and possible rust forming. The rockers look good and the Rostyle steel wheels apparently sport new rubber all the way around. The exterior brightwork looks presentable in the pictures and it looks as though all the exterior lights and lenses are present. I always like to see pictures of the underside and inside the trunk of anything I consider for a possible purchase. It is unfortunate that both of these areas are not shown or their condition mentioned. As with all MG’s, rust is a constant worry and it would be nice to know where this car stands.

Mechanically, the seller mentions nothing other than a new battery installation and a 4-speed transmission. No engine bay pictures are provided, so once again the mystery around this MGB “gem” deepens. Assuming it still retains the immensely easy-to-service stock 1798 with twin SU carbs is probably not a stretch. However, there are numerous modifications that can be added as a bonus for these cars, and all vary in quality. Who knows, a small block Chevy engine may just be shoehorned under the bonnet!

The seller provides one interior picture which shows a presentable cockpit for summer driving around New England. The MGB is a more comfortable car for long distance travel over it’s smaller brother, the Midget,  and the aftermarket steering wheel in this one looks great. It is hard to see from the picture provided how the interior has weathered over time, but it does seem quite presentable, with no rips in the bottom seat cushions that can be seen.

At $3,100 this car may be a true diamond at a bargain price, or it could turn out to be a cubic zirconium letdown instead. Parts and club support are never a real worry with MGs, and anything that may be needed to make this one right is readily available. Is it worth the treasure hunt? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments

  1. Beatnik Bedouin

    I’d take a very close look underneath, under the bonnet and boot (just to keep the English British) to see what this car really looks like, condition-wise.

    It seems that the deal is too good to be true, which reminds me of an old Yiddish saying… Caveat emptor.

    2
    • ken TILLY

      First place to check is the joint between the front mudguard and the cowl just in front of the windscreen. If there is a sign of the slightest bubble of rust there, then rest assured there is a big rust hole underneath. Been there, done that, many times.

      6
  2. Francisco

    This car has been listed for 28 days. Something’s wrong with it.

    4
  3. ccrvtt

    “This car has been listed for 28 days. Something’s wrong with it.”

    It’s in Maine…

    9
  4. Miguel

    I get the rough comment, not so much the diamond.

    2
  5. jdjonesdr

    Asking 3100, offer 2500 and take it home.

    1
  6. ron

    did the car not have Zenith/Stromberg carbs by this time? just wondering…

    • Blueprint

      All ’74s, including the rubber bumpers, had the twin carb setup.

  7. Dirk

    For many of us, MG production ended in 1967, the last real MG.

    1
  8. Randy Member

    Spoke to seller, has a single 2 barrel carb, so manifold and twin SU’s have been replaced.

  9. Allen Member

    Dirk,

    I understand your comment, but folks have been saying that since the dawn of the T series in the late ’30s. The TA was the first MG with a pushrod engine – therefore – not a real MG. And the purists were horrified by the MGA with its envelope styling. Then came the MGB with ROLL-UP windows. Horror of Horrors! The ’68 models had the “Abingdon Pillow” (padded) dash, a four-synchro gearbox, and EPA-required emission-control stuff. Admittedly, US EPA requirements – more severe with each new year – eventually contributed substantially to the demise of MG.

    Imagine what could have happened had MG been able to hang in there even just another five years. The emissions solutions of the ’70s were pathetic – for all cars sold here. Even the tried-and-true American V8s were rendered gutless by about 1977. In the early ’80s the engineers started to figure out computerized engine management, and smaller engines began to enjoy a brilliant future.

    Given, emissions issues affected all cars in the US market, but Leyland either wouldn’t or couldn’t provide the funds to upgrade the venerable but aging B. After 18 years, the brilliantly-designed monocoque had run its course. Remarkably, they were still in demand right up to the end, but Leyland had decided to put all their sporting eggs in the Triumph basket.

    MG had a great new O-series engine – that never made it to a production MGB. We all know the rest of the story.

    3
    • Dirk

      Yup. Having personally owned literally hundreds of MGs myself including a number of works lightweights and racing cars, and having done some racing myself, in many ways, production MGs have been going downhill since the last overhead cam P-Type rolled off of the production line but the icing on the cake was the gap between ’67 and ’68 which was, at least for me, the end of the line.

  10. carl french

    I live maybe 5 miles from Springvale. I don’t know the personally nor recognize it but I can give it a solid once over. I own three B’s and have some some sill jobs so I know what to look for.
    If it’s a good driver then it’s not a bad price. I will update either tomorrow or the next day

  11. Wrong way Member

    Definitely worth finding out more about this car! The price is very good! Looks good too!

  12. Allen Bachelder Member

    Well, Dirk, I’m not going to argue with your credentials! There was one “improvement” in ’68 – the four-synchro gearbox. But was that an actual improvement specifically for the MGB? Or was it designed for other cars in the line, and that was thus the only option available for the B? The rest of the changes (hardly “improvements”) were only to meet increasingly stringent market requirements throughout the rest of the run.

    Actually, one can even argue about the gearbox. Personally, I prefer the old three-sync boxes – in terms of really being in touch with what you’re doing. The four-sync feels “cushioned” – and you’re really isolated from the road and the function of the car. I have owned 40-50 MGs over the past 34 years – nothing like your record, but nevertheless above average. I have not ever raced. In fact, I learned in my few tries at autocross that I have the wrong temperament for competitive auto sport. All sense, all reason, totally leaves me in the quest for speed. ‘ Can’t imagine I wouldn’t tear any car up in one lap – and probably myself along with it. It’s a part of the hobby I can’t afford.

  13. Alex

    Looks like my high school car, same color but I had a 68 MGB. One of my favorite cars ever even though by the time I got out of school I was on my 3rd car. 66 beetle then a 67 Malibu then the MGB. Mine had wire wheels.

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