Long Term Barn Find: 1966 MGB Roadster

I was immediately drawn to this ’66 MGB for two reasons, first, I like MGBs but secondly, and more importantly, there are before and after storage images included. Some may think that disturbing the “magic” barn find dust alters the potential value of their vehicle. Let’s face it, no one is going to preserve the dust, it’s going to get cleaned off at some point. That being the case,  this seller’s initiative is greatly appreciated; now you can get a good look at what you may want to purchase. This MGB is located in Lake Grove (Long Island), New York, and is available, here on craigslist for $3,800. Thanks to Ikey H. for this great find!

The seller states that this MG has been enjoying a siesta for 45 years as it was driven by its original owner until 1976. Interestingly, the validation sticker on the rear New York license plate shows a date of 12/72 so it may have been off of the road for an even longer period of time. So, what’s it mean to have a car sit, unused, for such a long period? Well, a lot can go wrong, and it all starts with the type of storage employed. Moisture is the enemy and while the topside can look OK, the underside can be another matter completely; a basic inspection is always warranted. Other maladies can include a seized engine, “jellied” fuel, and locked brakes, it all just depends.

This MG’s 95 HP, 1800 CC, inline, four-cylinder engine spins freely as the seller states, “Motor spins by hand, I haven’t attempted to start the car yet”. That’s a good sign but I don’t know why he wouldn’t take things a step further and try to fire it up – it could be a sale enhancer. There is a typical grimy engine compartment environment but it looks to be complete and hopefully, with some coaxing, this “B” will come back to life easily. The seller adds that the new owner will need to “do the fuel system” so that may involve R&Ring the fuel tank, blowing out the fuel line, and perhaps both carburetor rebuilds. He advises that some effort with the brakes will be needed to make this car road-worthy but doesn’t elaborate beyond that.

The body of this MGB appears to be in pretty decent shape. The seller claims, “Body is fairly straight, has rust bubbling on the rockers. Front and rear rails are perfect, floors are great besides a small spot on drivers front floor. Trunk is spotless and no rust in the back half of the car. All the original glass is intact”. MG’s of this vintage are rust-prone and that’s the reason for the earlier suggestion to perform a basic inspection. One really attractive feature of this roadster is the Parrish hardtop, many of the MGB’s that I have reviewed don’t include this option. It will make for a more pleasant driving experience in winter or inclement driving, assuming that the new owner would be inclined to engage in such activity. The seller suggests, “Personally I’d get it mechanically sound and drive it as a survivor”. The finish and bodywork on this MG are presentable enough to do just that.

That approach, however, may not work with the interior. I suppose it could, but the seat upholstery is shot and there are unattached wires hanging down from under the dash – and then there’s the matter of the rusted-through floor pan. The instrument and switchgear, however, seem to all be in place and this MG is in possession of its original radio. The seller adds that the convertible folding top and frame are present but he advises that they “need restoring” so that’s probably the canvas top at a minimum.

This is a very nice barn find and again, I applaud the seller for cleaning it up and playing it straight with the description. The price seems reasonable for this MGB, if I were interested in a British classic sports car, this would be one to consider, don’t you think?

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Comments

  1. MattR Member

    Ha. I submitted this one last night. I am always in a draw with Ikey. ;)

    Wrong coast otherwise I would be all over this if creeping under the car didn’t scare me out of it.

    Great potential at that price. If rust isn’t terrible you could have a classic car and not be underwater.

    Like 10
    • kiteflier

      A classic and fun car at that price. I bought one in 1969 and the old man had a fit when he saw it. First off it had two strikes against it. One, it wasn’t made in the USA and Two it was Foreign.
      You would have thought I found a UFO and discovered alien technology.
      “Ya can’t get parts for it and if ya could nobody knows how to work on it and if ya did know how to work on it, ya don’t have the special tools it’s not SAE!”

      The old man was right but if I listened to him I would never have learned how to maintain it and would’ve missed all the fun an MGB was in 1969. And it was FUN.

      Like 13
      • Paolo

        Take that, Old Man!

      • OzyJohn

        With respect, I don’t know where you got your info from, but majority of British cars use SAE, (Imperial).
        I had a ‘70 MGBGT, and all my tools were SAE. In those days we didn’t know what metric was in Australia.
        I must say, if I was around NY, I’d certainly be checking this one out. Great find.

  2. wifewontlikeit

    MGB’s are the most fun for the buck! I have had 3 roadsters and one MGB-GT with overdrive. All were easy to work on and a cheap restoration! The pans are the big rust issue. The waay they are built, they are one of the few true sports cars I can fit my 6′ 3″ frame into. GLWTA!

    Like 8
    • ccrvtt

      Username checks out…

      Like 4
  3. Clive Roberts

    I am a fan of MGs. I have had four including the ’79 Roadster I currently own. An earlier ’71 GT I bought ten years ago for $3.5k in similar condition to this one cost me another $6k to get it into the condition I wanted. I hope someone will undertake this one as they are worth the effort and MGBs surely will be more valuable in the future.

    Like 9
  4. Bill D

    I love these cars. I ran one as a daily driver for most of the ’90s. Bought it as a rolling tub with most of the rest of the bits in a series of very big boxes and assembled it myself.

    Like 6
  5. Howard A Member

    These, I think, were the best MGB’s. I had a ’71 ( that I put 250K miles on until it broke in half) and I liked the interiors much better until the plastic ones came out( ’72?) As nice as these were, a bit steep for a “MGBeater”, I hated my wire wheels, and NY=rust, and parts, while abundant, you won’t make any deals with Moss except full price. Helped a friend get a Spitfire going, he used Moss, and I was shocked at the prices, but they got you if you’re going to do something like this, AND,,with a British roadster, it never ends.

    Like 5
  6. trdave

    Good at $1500. “Bubbling” rockers mean castle rails likely rusted. I have experience

    Like 2
    • sirlurxalot

      I’m with you. If there’s rust anywhere else then there’s most certainly rust in the rocker boxes. You can buy a running driver all day for what the seller is asking and a really nice one for under 10K. I sold one better than this last year for $1500.

      Like 1
  7. Bob Roller

    In the early 1950’s I worked in a garage that sold MG=Morris-Riley and Jaguar plus whatever else Max Hoffman imported from the still smoldering parts of Europe.NONE of these MG’s lasted for 10.000 miles without a major failure
    and one automotive machinist who did a lot of engine rebores said that motor block would not make a decent skillet.The last one I pulled the head off of showed a major wear and scoring in all 4 cylinders.This same machinist rebored a Duesenberg block and said NEVER again because that block was harder that anything he had ever dealt with.We built an engine from it that lasted for 20 years and the owned drove it hard,fast and often.

    Like 1
  8. Ron Vaughn Member

    I have had three MGB, 1965, 1979 & 1974. The 1974 I keep for 23 years before selling a couple years ago. Fun card when they are running good!

    Like 1
  9. MGSteve

    Most MG aficionado’s would agree that the best years for MGBs are late 65 through 67. The next best “grouping” would be the “pull handle” years, from 63 to mid 65. (OK, there’s a good argument there for #1 vs #2 — regardless, both year-groups are GREAT . . . for different reasons) So, this car is right in the middle of, at least ONE of the most desirable groupings. There’s gonna be some rust issues . . . “some blistering” is usually translated to needed new outer and inner sills, castle and a some other bits as well. And . . . doubt if it will stop there . . plan on front/rear doglegs as well.

    Still, if I didn’t already two of these, I’d be a buyer. These years are getting hard to find, in this condition.

    Like 2
  10. JimB

    I have that exact car. Mine is a 1966 MGB, Old English White, red leather interior with white piping, 4-speed plus overdrive, and wire wheels. Mine is fully restored and it is a blast to drive. I always wanted one so I bought one and restored it.

    Like 4
  11. BobH

    I had a 79. Bought it for 850, sold it for 950, just about what I think it was worth. Absolutely zero rust in the body (Calif car). But, the gas tank was fulla rust holes. It had been stored outdoors in the rain, and the MGB gas filler setup is designed to catch and funnel water into the tank. Anyway, a fun car, with typical British issues that pop up when you drive them everyday.

    Like 1
  12. Edmund

    That car is almost identical to my 65 MGB. It looks to be rusty in all the usual spots, but I would grab this in a minute if it wouldn’t cause my wife to blow a head gasket. Hopefully it goes to someone who will restore this great car.

    Like 2
  13. Bob Roller

    The MG’s I worked on in the early 50’s were the TC’s and TD’s and while the classic styling had an appeal the problems they brought with them soured a lot of us.The Jags in that same time frame were just as bad and cost too much.
    The best of the bunch was the Riley and we serviced several of these and no major problems as I recall. In 1985 I started helping the same man that had the Nuffield franchise but this time at an independent shop he owned that was dedicated to EUROPEAN cars and NO rice burners for any reason.Lots of good memories from both times.

    Like 1
  14. larryc Member

    I have the ‘66 that my dad ordered from the factory. That bent shifter shaft isn’t original, nor is the gauge, light and switch over the speaker. I don’t know what those could be. The gauge next to the wheel is water temp and oil pressure. The cigarette lighter is taped over for some reason and a JC Whitney (?) substitute is mounted under the dash. Not having overdrive is a problem for these if you’re ever going to get on a highway. I agree with a previous poster that this price is pretty high.

    Like 1
    • Bill D

      It seems shift levers for these cars were mix-n-match. Google Image Search shows that there are plenty of 1966 cars out there with a bent shift lever as on this example, although straight ones as on your example were more prevalent.

      Like 1
  15. Ganjoka

    62 to 67 MK 1 cars only.
    Bent shifter = non-overdrive
    Straight shifter = electric overdrive
    Some bent shifter cars have had overdrive added and retained the original shifter.

    Like 1
    • MattR Member

      I am with larryc…new to me as well. Thanks for this info!

  16. larryc Member

    I did not know that.
    Learned something new before sunrise today.

  17. Mitchell Ross

    Cars on long Island don’t rust as bad as cars north of NYC. Having been off the road so long could mean it didn’t ride through much snow, I had a 1967 that was identical to this car, my first car in HS on Long Island. i have never had a car since that put such a smile on my face, of confounded me so much. Everyone should own a B once in their lives

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