Going To A Funeral: 1980 MGB

1962 was a big year for all things British.  Slowly emerging from the horrors of World War II, the British had struggled to regain their former stature in both popular culture and manufacturing.  However, 1962 saw the emergence of two icons from the mother country that we still talk about today: The Beatles and the MGB.  Founded in 1960, the Beatles had their first hit on October 5, 1962 in the form of the song “Love Me Do.”  A few weeks earlier, September 19, 1962 to be exact, the fine chaps at British Motor Corporation released the details of their replacement for the primitive but beautiful MGA.  Called, logically, the MGB, the technologically advanced little unibody roadster would spread its British charm to over 500,000 happy drivers until the curtain fell in 1980.  To commemorate the dark, mismanaged end of the line, those cheeky fellows that ran what was then called British Leyland decided to milk the old cow one last time and offer a limited edition model.  This MGB, found on craigslist in Williamsburg, Kentucky is one of those last gasp cars.  With 46,000 supposedly original miles on the odometer, is this roadster equivalent of a funeral car worth the $4,999 asking price?

When it came out, the MGB was radically different than the MGA that it replaced.  The biggest change was that it was based on a unibody shell that made the car much stiffer than the old body on frame with wooden floorboards construction of the MGA.  It didn’t have the MGA’s stunning good looks, but it did come with the MGA’s proven drivetrain.  Development costs were quite expensive, so the British Motor Corporation entered into an agreement with a company called Pressed Steel-Fisher to produce the tooling.  This agreement allowed Pressed Steel-Fisher to pay for the tooling to make the bodies initially, but charge BMC a fee for every one produced.  Little did anyone know that so many cars would end up being built, and those costs, added to British Leyland’s inept management, their stingy and ham handed attempts to meet American safety and emissions rules, political changes in England, and the rising value of the British pound versus the American dollar, all worked to murder one of the most popular roadsters ever on October 23, 1980.

By then, two seat British sports cars with convertible tops were bordering on extinction.  The myriad of British roadsters that were still in production didn’t last much longer, and British Leyland put all of its faith and backing into the Triumph TR-7 and V-8 powered TR-8.  By October of 1981, the show was over for these poorly assembled roadsters as well.  While there were a few convertibles here and there sold for the next decade, none would achieve much success until Mazda unveiled the Miata at the Chicago Auto Show on February 10, 1989.  The designers and engineers of the Miata weren’t ashamed to admit that the MGB, along with the Lotus Elan, was one of their influences.  While the Miata is now in its fourth generation, all that is left for MG enthusiasts is a number of surviving cars in various conditions, and a very healthy aftermarket industry to support these cars.

This particular MGB looks is one of the Limited Edition models that were sold in the last years of MGB production (1979 and 1980).  The special model was brought out to combat sagging US sales, and was only available stateside in black.  One of 6,668 of these models produced, this particular MGB has just 46,000 miles, and there are no obvious signs of rust.  Of course, it is an MGB, so buyer beware here.  Rust is a huge problem for earlier MGBs, but the later models seem to have been made from much better steel.  The rest of the car seems to be in good shape, and doesn’t show any noticeable damage.  The bumpers seem to be shrinking a bit, but the “Sabrinas” (named after a well endowed British celebrity of the time) are still quite useable.  The air dam and five spoke wheels that came with the Limited Edition are still there and look to be quite well kept.

Inside the cockpit and trunk there are a few concerns.  The champagne colored interior, offered for just a few months, appears to be reproduction parts rather than original.  The stitching is correct, but the new looking seats don’t have the basket weave pattern that is evident on pictures of original cars.  The convertible top looks to be a replacement part as well, as, once again, all pictures of original cars show the top to be black in color.  I think the tan top and new interior look great on the car, but if the top and interior have been replaced, maybe a good look at the floor pans would be prudent.  The car does have the leather covered steering wheel that came with the package, but the radio is missing.  Also evident under the dash and in the trunk is a lot of wiring that isn’t hidden well.  I won’t tell you any more about the legendary lack of unreliability that British cars suffer from, as I always get drug through the coals in the comment section when I hint that the legend might have basis in fact.  You are on you own in assessing the wiring situation.

Under the hood is the five main bearing inline four cylinder engine that was known to be quite reliable, if maintained properly.  Capable of just 62 horsepower, these engines were choked down and de-tuned to satisfy our EPA overlords.  These later cars were fed by a single carburetor rather than the beautiful but hard to tune twin carb setups of the past.  These later cars had problems with heat buildup in the engine compartment, and one of the by-products of this was a tendency for the intake manifold to split.  This car looks to have some modifications to the carburetor, and a heat shield can be seen below it.  It also appears that a cast aluminum valve cover has been added along with new plug wires.

Overall, this doesn’t look like a bad car at all.  The wiring makes me nervous, and I’d like to know why the interior and top were replaced on a car with so few miles.  Even with low mileage, if it sat outside long enough to do damage, I might be more inclined to pass on this one.  While the later models are derided for their poor handling and lack of horsepower, they do seem to be better choices if you don’t like to repair rusty panels.  While gorgeous, especially with wire wheels and in British Racing Green, the earlier cars do tend to rust in a few vital places.  At just under $5,000, this one is edging near the price of an older MGB that has gone through a restoration in the past.  A thorough inspection and test drive might prove that this last of the breed MGB is a bargain that will provide the new owner with a lot of smiles per mile, or it could be a little black hole to throw money down.

To me, it just seems sad that the end of such a nice car came down to a “limited edition.”  These cars were designed to do nothing more than to milk MG fans who wanted one of the last of the true British roadsters.  It is fitting that they were painted black, because it really was a funeral car when you think about it.

WANT ADS

WANTED 1959 Chevrolet Apache 3200 Fleetside LWB Looking for project truck. Complete vehicle with minimal rust desired. Contact

WANTED 1960-1965 Ford Ranchero Looking for period-correct cap or topper. Protect-O-Plate was the main brand, but open to any brand Contact

WANTED 1977 Dodge Dodge Aspen RT Peferred driver, super PAC edition, fixer-upper. Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. chgrec Member

    Seems like a good deal providing there isn’t any rust hiding in the rockers or dog legs, where these tend to rust. Just need to backdate the carb & exhaust to make it a little more drive-able. And one point of correct, these bumpers are not what were called Sabrinas. (see attachment) Those were 6 month only cars with large over riders on chrome bumpers. These are just called rubber bumper Bs….

  2. Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

    Fair warning. I’m calling about this one tomorrow.

    • MFerrell

      Let us know how it goes!

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        Unfortunately, it sold to someone from California before I called. :-(

  3. 86 Vette Convertible

    I once had a Spitfire (kissing cousin to the MG), when it ran it was a blast but when it didn’t it was expensive. Mine had the twin carb setup, it was a bear to get set up right. There was a total of 1 guy with 100 miles that seemed to know about them and how to get them working right.

    Based on past experience with British cars, I’ll pass on that one.

  4. Neal

    I just wrote a long comment on the Miata listing about my dad’s great experience with his for over 20 happy years.
    I don’t know why anyone would choose an MGB over a Miata for a cheap roadster experience. Blasphemy I know. Sorry to B fans!

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      It’s no secret, car makers have been imitating the MGB for years. The Datsun 1600, the Fiat 124, the Miata, yet few capture the charm of the original. Oh sure, their headlights may go on when asked, or turn signals blink accordingly, but where’s the fun in that? The British made some great cars, and without a doubt, the MGB was one of the greatest. I loved my ’71, and unless you’ve actually had one, it’s hard to convince someone, but it’s probably the best selling British roadster of all time.

      • Alexander

        The accusations/allegations among MG cultists for years was that BMW bought out the Rover Group, which owned the MG marque at the time of its purchase in 1994, in part to “kill off” the purportedly technically more sophisticated MGF with CVT and “variable valve control”, in order to boost sales of its BMW Z3 Roadster, introduced in 1995. Whether this is a wacko conspiracy theory or not, the timing does support such a hypothesis…..

  5. ccrvtt

    Thank you for the excellent and informative write up, Jeff. This must be a very recent listing since I check the Louisville area CL almost daily for MGBs. The biggest issue I see with these cars is obviously rust. If you can find a later model with a solid body shell the rest of fixing it up is bolt-on stuff. The price seems to be in the ballpark as these are beginning to get some traction in the marketplace.

    I never was a fan of the rubber bumpers and have seen a number of acceptable chrome retrofits. That would be my first project, along with lowering the suspension a bit. I’d prefer the look of wire wheels but could live with minilites. The stock ones always looked cheap & ’80’s to me.

    Nice find if it’s solid.

  6. Bob c.

    Back in 1981 I worked at a dealership that mainly sold Toyotas. They still had unsold 1981 Triumphs in their last year and 2 unsold 1980 MGBs sitting around with dead batteries. I think one finally sold before I left.

  7. Rube Goldberg Member

    Kind of a sad end to a great car. Britain wasn’t the only one lagging behind in what the world wanted, or needed, and these were a last gasp for the marque. I had a ’71 that I put over 200K miles on, until it broke in half, and it never stranded me, or if it did, was a simple fix, usually points, and I was on my way. It was a very dependable, fun car, and I loved it. I never cared for what they did to the interior, all the plastic, ( who needs dash vents with a roadster?) and while the bumpers looked funky, they were functional. I can’t tell you how many times I came out, only to find a new ding in the front end. Others just couldn’t see the car behind them. Still, no mention of O/D, I figured O/D would be standard on a 1980, maybe not, and that would be a deal breaker for me. That and the color, black. Plenty of “B’s” around, and this one, aside from being the last, is not that collectible.

  8. Alexander

    You don’t have to be a masochist to own a British Leyland car–it will train you very well. <:-)

    I need not rehash all the lines about British sports car ownership; I've seen all the t-shirts at the car meets ("Lucas: Inadvertent Inventor of the Intermittent Wiper Control").

    But the limited edition MGB only represents the "end of the line" for the U.S. market. Got to Britain (or maybe Japan), and you'll find the very overpriced MG RV8, right-hand-drive only and never officially exported to the States–1,983 built, with over 1,500 going to Japan but many of those eventually being repatriated: http://autoweek.com/article/car-life/one-last-hurrah-1994-mg-rv8

    Then there was the MG Metro, about which the less said the better; the two hundred and five road-rally MG Metro 6R4s, which probably produced death threats upon the stylists from MG traditionalists but put on a heluva performance; and the MGF and MG TF: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MG_F_/_MG_TF

    • Derek

      MG Metro’s not too bad. Decent parts donor to make Minis faster, too. 6R4s were absolute monsters; loved them. Saw them at/going to a special stage at Ingliston race circuit during the Group B era. The ones to avoid are the MG Maestro and Montego; fast when they’re going, though.

  9. Gary

    British sports cars that break down are like girlfriends that cheat on you. You hate it when they do it but you keep coming back for more. You can’t really explain why you keep coming back other than you find them exciting – for some unknown reason.

    That said, the $5k price seems fairly reasonable if there is zero rust and almost everything works properly (no British sports car will have 100% of everything working properly).

  10. Coventrycat

    Low self esteem is why they go back, both with women and cars. You like being seen with both – when you’re driving it nobody knows that it’s the only day in 3 years it’s been on the road, they just see a nice car being enjoyed. Same with the girl, you look happy but they don’t know she’s been trying out the backseat of said car – probably with a Miata owner😀

    • Alexander

      WHAT “backseat”?!?!?!?!?

  11. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Owned a B for 10 years, only twice had electrical probs- on a moonless summer night in the middle of nowhere in a blind left turn ALL lighting quit & immediately came back on as the turn straightened out. Then 1x car wouldn’t start so I whacked the gastank with the ol’ lead mallet & that was that. Now the time driving back from Cleveland on a cold winter nite with a friend in his TR6 & the underside of the dashboard crackled, smoked & caught on fire was different kind of experience.

  12. Bubbamoron

    Jamie, I am calling too. Good luck. Santa gave me a few Christmas$. Hope it’s enough.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Hope you are the one that got the car — it was sold to someone from California!

  13. John B

    Seems a shame that they had to jack up the later cars for American bumper standards.

  14. ICEMAN from Winnipeg

    Say this 3 times fast:
    Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers….
    Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers…
    Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers…

  15. Gary

    The listing has been deleted. It’s been replaced by an ad seeking a good mechanic with a high pain threshold.

  16. Hugh Anger

    Looks nice …… for funerals but was always a ladies or granny car, never a match for the Triumph TR.

  17. SteveR

    “Poorly assembled” the early TR7s were; I bought one new in 1976 from the Speke factory, and it spent most of its first few months in the dealer’s shop getting manufacturing errors fixed. (I still have it today, by the way.) But when that factory was closed and production moved to Canley, build quality went way up. And I’ve heard that when the final move happened to Solihull, it went up again. So whatever was going on “by October 1981” the Wedges on dealers’ lots at the time weren’t contributing to the problems by being poorly built. The fact that I bought mine for $4995 in 1976 but in 1981 the same base TR7 cost $10,995 – that was just too much of an increase for a lot of people to accept. The TR8 was another $5,000 on top of that.

  18. Paul

    I believe that’s a Webber carb, not the stock Zenith-Stromburg. The ZS was a side draft like the SU. This is obviously a down draft. So the catalytic converter will be gone as well; since the intake and exhaust manifolds were one piece

    The air pump and rail, charcoal canisters are gone also removed.

  19. angliagt angliagt Member

    Listing deleted.

  20. Bob C

    It’s a shame that author would refer that a 1980 MGB is a funeral car because it was painted black. Even though it was the last production year it still stands out and admired by a lot of fans of the MG. I have owned 3 MG’s and I currently own a 1980. I love it. Sure I’ve had my problems but that’s the fun of owning a classic of any make.

  21. Bob

    I love my 77 b….it’s like a Cadillac compared to my 1960 A ! The A is a true machine and so fun to drive. Both cars turn a lot of heads in Chicago :)

  22. Michael Johnston

    Hard to tune? They are the simplest carbs in the world to tune. As for the poor handling 2 hours work to lower it back to the right height.As for the lack of power you do need yo be a mechanic but the parts are available

  23. Mike R.

    Poor performance? Not a problem, has anybody out there ever heard of an MGB8 ? Only a few got across the pond. Range rover v8 fits right in, & is 50lb lighter than 4 cylinder.

  24. Allen Member

    “I won’t tell you any more about the legendary lack of unreliability that British cars suffer from, as I always get drug through the coals in the comment section when I hint that the legend might have basis in fact. You are on you own in assessing the wiring situation.”

    What a typical inane uninformed observation from one who knows no more about MGs than what they read in the most biased presses. Of course you’re getting dragged through the coals – because you deserve it! There are hundreds of MGB owners in North America who will join me in my observations founded on 34 years experience with over 40 MGBs. These are bulletproof reliable cars. Case in point: my ’73 B/GT – daily driver for most of the past 32 years. Dual SU carbs hard to tune? Yeah, 10-15 minutes every five-ten years. It still has its original Lucas wiring harness.

    Rust? And what collectible car from the ’60s an ’70s rusts less than an MGB? And what other collectible cars from this era have a better supply of rust repair panels that actually fit?

    Just who is this Bennett guy anyway? Shouldn’t these cars be reviewed by guys who actually know what they are talking about? When I bought my first MGB in 1984 – a ’78 model, I thought surely I was entering into an automotive nightmare from which I could only survive by becoming an expert. OK, yes, on my first long trip I had to replace a $4.95 Zenith-Stromberg carburetor diaphragm. And yes, just 30 years later in December of 2015, the Saturn alternator on my ’73 B/GT did fail. Did you notice I referred to it as a “SATURN” alternator? As in “Made in USA”? My choice – of a poorly rebuilt American made unit.

    Let the people who’ve owned and driven these cars for a few decades determine whether or not they are reliable! I am so-o-o-o disgusted with these totally unfounded rote criticisms of the marque from those who have obviously never owned them.

    How about it, Mr Jeff Bennett? Let me hear your tales of dismay in dealing with your own MGBs. Tell me all about how old the car was when you bought it, what kind of treatment it had received, and how much of the prescribed maintenance you did on it before driving it? Tell me of all the 40-50 year-old cars you’ve owned that gave you so much better service in daily driving.

    I’ll bet I don’t hear a response to this comment!

    Like 1
    • Richard V

      Hear, hear! This from the retired owner of British Car Service, Glendale, CA and Eureka, CA.

    • Jeff Bennett Staff

      I am sorry you didn’t like the article.

      • Richard V

        Hi Jeff:

        Actually, your article is well written and shows a good deal of research into the marque. I think Allen’s, and my, reaction is to what we believe is an overstated belief that most, or all, British cars are so unreliable. It ain’t necessarily so! In my years of B ownership, as well as working on them professionally, I found a great deal of the electrical weaknesses in the rocker switches used in the post-1967 B as well as SU fuel pump issues. But, as any experienced British car owner knows, a loving tap on the fuel pump would usually get her rattling again!

        Carry on!

        Like 1
  25. Alan Northcott

    I agree on reliability. I had no problems with the 1969 B I drove in the late 70’s, except when work took me around the M25 during the day.

    At 70 everything was fine, but the M25 was a racetrack and you needed to do 80 to keep up or you would just be in the way. At 80 I had to put in a pint of oil after each trip. Small price for the fun, but would turn out badly if you didn’t know and check it.

    Like 1
  26. David Miraglia

    I’d take this MGB any day over a TR7.

    Like 1
    • John B

      So would I, having owned a 7 that was the strangest car to ever disgrace my driveway. Never again…

      Like 1
  27. Bob C

    Jeff
    I understand you have your opinion which I respect. I am however a lover of the mg. For whatever reason I have been drawn to the car. I don’t drive it every day and have had many of the problems that have been stated. My everyday driver is a Ford Explorer and now and then my 05 T Bird. I always enjoy your coloum. Thanks for what you do.
    Bob

  28. Allen Member

    Jeff, it’s not that I dislike your article. And we all owe our thanks to you guys who take the time to write these things up. But I do tire of the old stereotypical prejudices about these cars. I too had fallen victim to the bad rap when I bought my first MGB at age 44. I was prepared for all manner of disaster. The fun part was, with that prejudice, I did prepare and learn. But in the 34 years hence, I’ve never been able to find what all the fuss over MGB reliability was about.

    I proceeded to buy MGBs that were trashed out, learning how to diagnose their ills and repair them – properly. I learned how much I could do myself and that was most satisfying. Abused, poorly-maintained examples will of course display characteristic problems – mostly electrical – mostly caused by DIY wiring repairs and additions carried out by students who bought the cars for one summer of carefree fun and abuse – with the idea of trashing the car by Fall. These are the cars that ultimately were deserted in parent’s backyards or college parking lots – ultimately becoming the inventory for our generation of car collectors.

    The fact that the cars were “cheap and cheerful” from new destined them to a lifetime of neglect. Those of us who restore and love these MGBs know that most of what we do can be called “postponed maintenance”. Once performed the car is brought back to its potential – and even after years of active subsequent driving, one is hard-put to find any of these legendary “faults”.

    If you have tales of horror from your experiences with an MGB, many of us would love to hear them. Then we will understand why you chose to perpetuate this sad reputation that the MGB never earned.

    Please, no hard feelings. I really admire you for what you are doing for the hobby. But in any honest debate, we must question our opponent’s sources. My B/GT is just turning its 45th year – yet I trust it as much as any other car I’ve ever owned.

    Like 1
    • Bob C

      Thank you for your comments. I agree!

      Like 1
    • Jeff Bennett Staff

      Well, I never intended to upset so many readers by making a tongue in cheek remark about the quality of British cars. It is my desire to produce articles that are both entertaining and informative, and sometimes they are successful and sometimes they are learning experiences. However, if you look back at the other 194 articles I have written, I think you will find that I have tried to be complimentary when called for and critical when need be. Everyone has their favorite make and model car, and its not as if the shortcomings of all cars built aren’t known well by now (thanks to the internet and countless books and magazines written before Al Gore was nice enough to invent it). When writing, I try to build an article with a casual car guy reader in mind, one that doesn’t know every nut and bolt on a particular car.

      That said, while MGBs are perhaps some of the greatest British cars ever produced, discussions of rust and unreliability do have basis in fact for a lot of people. Those of you that have written comments are well versed in the MGB, and are equipped to do the preventative maintenance needed to keep them on the road, and you care for them as you would a member of your family. I think one of the mistakes that British car companies made is not fully understanding the American market. Americans, generally, treat a car more as an appliance than a valued possession, and they were sent cars that were built for Britain. British driving conditions and American driving conditions, and their respective dealers and mechanics, are quite different. These differences in how the cars were driven (think country lanes vs. interstates), serviced, and treated are probably the root of many criticisms. While some do not have merit, enough do that the whole idea of British reliability is a running joke in the automotive world. They are not the only cars that have to deal with dark humor. Just look at exploding Pintos and mid life crisis Corvettes to name just a few.

      Having said that, the idea that one hates a particular car because they discussed shortcomings of that car is not always true. If you have read any of Peter Egan’s work, you will understand this. As for needing to own and be a well versed expert in a classic car before one can write an article about it, that is obviously unrealistic. My wife and wallet will simply not allow this to occur. While I do not own an MGB, I have read a number of books on the cars, and am a big fan. My only serious attempt to purchase one was around the age of 21. I tried to buy an orange MGBGT that had been left in a fenced lot after its owner died. I wanted it in the worst way, and made a fair offer, but the guy’s parents weren’t ready emotionally to sell the car. I am a big fan of the MGB, and hope to own one some day. However, I already have three collector vehicles, and one is being restored right now. MGB dreams will have to wait.

      So, I ask everyone to tell me when I have made a mistake, offer suggestions when appropriate, and try to approach the articles you read here with an open mind. These articles are for entertainment and information, and to help a few lucky readers get into the hobby with a good car. We are all car guys here, and I am pretty sure we are all writing because we love cars just like you do.

      Happy New Years to one and all,
      Jeff Bennett

      • Richard V

        Well stated, Jeff – thank you for your post.

      • Russ

        Jeff – you hit the nail on the head with the British cars not being built for American roads and drivers. The attitude to ownership of appliance vs treasured possession is also very true. This is seen in reverse with regard to trucks – in the U.K they are merely work tools for most people whereas they are treated more as a much-loved pet in North America (I live in Canada now but am from England) as I do myself now, with my old Ford truck! Going back to the old British car criticisms, I started driving in ’82 and had a number of British 60’s and 70’s cars in the early days – all cheap ‘runabouts’ – and some where much better than others but mechanical reliability was seldom an issue. Keeping moisture away from electrics was nearly always the first thing mentioned when running issues were discussed, however… French and Italian makes were regarded as the ones with the bad rap back then and generally avoided once they reached the small ads, but I did eventually have a few Peugeot and Renaults without any major issues. Only one Italian – a Lancia that was previously very neglected… American cars in England were very rarely available new and those personally imported were loved by a loyal following and defended fiercely when criticized for their poor fuel economy, build quality and that they couldn’t go around corners without wallowing like an overweight hippo. These were general opinions over the years, not my observations as I never owned one in the U.K. or had any experience of them. But again, they were built for the North American market where gas was ( and still is) much cheaper and the need to negotiate narrow, winding roads was not a consideration as there aren’t many. You would likely lose most muscle cars in a Mini going around English country lanes but wave them goodbye when they hit the straights because you aren’t going to compete with the horsepower!
        Never had an MG, liked them okay but not enough to buy one and always wanted more seats, anyway. Knew several people who owned them and had varying success with them, mostly based on care/neglect of the previous owners. Nearly all on the road there are cherished classics now, I would think – apart from project cars, of course. Not likely many used as cheap beaters anymore.

  29. Madmatt

    For some reason, I always thought these look like a lot of fun,
    and I like the styling.I like the earlier models with skinny bumpers
    better,but I’m sure that the later ones probably had many improvements
    over the early years on a lot of things?I have no experience owning an MG,
    but I do know the “DARK LORD LUCAS”on a first name basis,
    his name is “Sparky”by the way……..LOL

  30. Gary

    Keeping alive the myth that MG’s aren’t reliable helps drive down the price of these fun little roadsters for those of us who don’t know any better. Which, apparently, includes me. Oh well …

  31. Allen Member

    Hi Jeff,

    It takes a lot of guts to address the den of lions I, no doubt, did more than my share to arouse. And it takes some serious diplomatic and writing skill to address them as well as you just did. I’m now asking myself if I overreacted, and I probably did. For that you have my apologies.

    You are right about the Brits’ failure to understand the North American markets. Should they not have included overdrive with every North American export? Good question; we had a national speed limit of 55 in the ’70s and an MGB without overdrive was therefore fine when trying to keep the price down.

    In the era of “export or die”, surely the Brits should have done some more test driving and market research here in North America to see how we used and maintained our cars.

    The Morris Minor was hugely successful, but had they compared it with the VW on American roads and made some design changes to address the obvious differences, the hugely successful Morris Minor would have become the insanely successful Morris Minor. They could have sold 15-20 million cars here. How might that have affected the entire British car industry? Something as simple as a rear end ratio might have rewritten history. Americans were not interested in 0-to-50 acceleration; they were interested in 0-to-60. They didn’t want to cruise at 50 mph, they wanted to cruise at 70 mph.

    I could go on, but one point I can make is that an overdrive-equipped MGB was one, maybe THE one, British car that could cope with American driving. These are good cars.

    Thank you, Jeff, for your service to our hobby, and your willingness to address your detractors. Effectively, I might add! I have a lot higher respect for you, having read your last contribution.

    • Jeff Bennett Staff

      No apologies necessary. Thanks for your response.

      Just as an aside, I had a history professor tell me that he thought that one of the reasons the British barely won the French and Indian War, and lost the Revolutionary War, was that their military never could grasp the vastness of America. They had always fought in Europe, and the distances were so much closer and the roads were well defined and easy to travel. A part of me thinks they never learned that lesson in the British auto industry either!

  32. Allen Member

    Of course the British military were charging down the wrong side of the road here in the colonies, and under law they were required to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. Easy win for the colonial army.

  33. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    I sold a rust-free shell of a 1980 MGB for $650 last year to someone who was going the whole chrome-bumper conversion and already had a rebuilt drivetrain to go in the car (mine had caught fire under the hood and seared the paint off). The Sabrina’s were indeed a mid-year 1974 MG phenomenon, as chgrec mentioned. I have owned three Midgets with them. chgrec, is that your car in the photo you posted?

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.