Garage Find: One Owner 1974 MGB Roadster

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MG sold 513,000 MGBs during the model’s production run from 1962 through 1980. With that many cars on the road, over that many years, arguments flare over which year is “best”. Early cars are prized for their spriteliness and design details. Mid-range cars are more comfortable and the five-main bearing engine was stout. Late cars tend to be less powerful, thus cheap – helpful for new entrants to the hobby. All MGBs benefit from a copious supply of parts and enthusiastic aid for the newbie. Here on eBay is a 1974 MGB roadster project car, bid to $2025, reserve not met. This car is in Mayfield, New York and it was last registered in 1998. Barn Finder Todd Boice submitted this tip – thanks, Todd!

BMC’s B-series 1798cc four-cylinder powerplant – such as it is – produced 87 hp in the mid-’70s, on its way down to an asthmatic 65 hp late in production. In the oily reaches of this engine bay are the dual SU carburetors, but also a lot more stuff – particularly related to emissions – that you don’t see in a ’63 MGB. Many a later car is “backdated” to earlier specs – a wise choice if you’re saddled with a mid-range car. A four-speed, four-synchro gearbox was standard; overdrive was optional and is now quite desirable. This odometer reads 50,167 miles, and the motor does start and run. The seller advises bleeding the hydraulics before attempting to drive the car.

The interior is “Autumn Leaf” vinyl – aka tan. That wrinkling in the door panel is typical – as the fabric ages it will become brittle and tear there. Gloveboxes are a here-and-gone feature in MGBs – early cars until mid-1970 had a metal glovebox, then padding obliterated the glovebox entirely through 1971. Sometime around 1972, a plastic glovebox arrived on the scene. This wasn’t corporate schizophrenia: it was US safety regulations driving design. Model year ’74 was also the end of chrome bumpers though the cars were burdened with huge overriders; mid-year, the advent of 5 mph crash bumpers resulted in the rubber-beaked look that purists detest.

An MGB is a lot of metal crammed into a small space: the curb weight of a ’74 ‘B is over 2600 lbs. A TR6 weighs 2400 lbs. A Datsun 240Z weighs a few pounds less than the ‘B. That said, an MGB will lighten up in no time when enough rust eats through its sills, though personally, I’d rather achieve race weight some other way. Rust bubbles are bad and this car already has a few of those; rust caverns are catastrophic. In case you aren’t convinced, here’s the jack point. This car’s storage may have been dry – as noted in the listing – but salty New York winter roads clearly took a toll. For a ‘B with attractive colors, low miles, originality, and willing to at least run, the undercarriage condition is a shame. What this ‘B needs now is a new owner well-acquainted with welding!

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  1. Slomoogee

    Well acquainted with welding and structural dynamics. A full under carriage and more may be in store. The New York winters have taken another old friend.

    Like 2
  2. Mike Fullerton

    My brother had a 1975 MGB in the anniversary orange. It was fun to drive but wasn’t setting any speed records. I loved the tight shift pattern. He put the car in my grandfather’s garage in 1980 and didn’t touch it until 1994. It wasn’t driven much in the Iowa winters because it was so low to the ground it was a snow plow. It was a total ruin by 1994. It was junked for $200.

    Like 1
  3. Dan Palmer

    An MGB roadster weighs around 2200 lbs, not 2600.

    Like 0
  4. John Jameson

    Been there and done that. The buyer best be buying to keep, you will put way more in it than you’ll ever get out of it, plus time.

    Like 3
    • Cdice

      Had an MGA and MGB back in the 60/70s. Enjoyed both. B was faster and had a few upgrades. Often thought about buying another one over the last 50 years but bought an NB Miata – faster, cheaper parts, modern motor and suspension and protection…..a modern MGB.

      Like 1
  5. philthyphil

    floors, inner and outer sills, and rockers all available straightforward if you know what to do,but a lot of time

    Like 1
  6. Bama

    My wife thought she wanted one of these one time. It was a mid 70’s car best I remember, orange with a black top, sharp little car. Only problem, I couldn’t drive it, my feet were too big for the tiny pedals! Go to mash the clutch, I’d hit the brakes at the same time! We bought a more sensible VW Bug instead. At least I could drive it!

    Like 0

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