Needs Finishing: 1971 MGB GT

left front

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This MG is listed on Craigslist in Woodland, California. The body looks nice in the pictures and they’ve done a lot of work on it, so perhaps the $3,500 asking price isn’t too far off. It runs but needs carb work. The seller has done brake and suspension work as well as replaced the clutch slave and master. Lots of parts, including chrome trim, are included.


It looks serviceable inside. A good cleaning would really help. Reupholstered seats would make it really nice.


Everything looks complete under the hood. Could that yellow be from coolant leaks? The only paint over-spray I see is on the rubber hood blocks. The engine runs, but there’s no way, of course, to tell what condition it’s in.


The dash is all there and original. The steering wheel could use a cleanup, but the dash looks nice.

right front

The owner has done so much work, it seems a shame to quit now. Perhaps he’s found a fatal flaw. It sounds like all it needs is carb work and bolt on the wheels to make it drivable. The engine and transmission are the big unknowns of course. What do you think it will take to finish this? What’s it worth as it sits? I look forward to seeing what you think.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Rando

    Carb work seems like black magic til you get comfy with it. The important thing is to clean clean clean.

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  2. Paul

    Take the dual Stroms off and replace with a Weber. And, I agree with Rando, clean her up and show her off. I think the price is right for a local pick-up for the condition. Having it shipped across the country would only add to the expense, however, if it does not require a whole lot of money rather than effort, it could still be a prize.

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    • RayT

      Those look like SUs to me. Easy-peasy to service and adjust, IMO, especially if you have a Uni-Syn. Of course there are wear issues to worry about, too, but still….

      In many cases I’ve seen, the owner-restorer was simply in over his head, and did work that wasn’t quite good enough. If I bought this, I’d end up tearing the whole thing down all over again, just to be sure everything is properly tight and clean. So yes, the asking price is a tad too high for the cost of parts and services I’d need before trusting the car on the road.

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    • Murray

      They’re SU’s my friend, and you’d best be keeping them unless you’re partial to retuning your Webber every time you drive to a higher (or lower) altitude, and enjoy filling the thing with petrol (gas)….

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      • forestghost07

        Agreed, once you learn the drill with SU’s they really are set and forget. Seems like they need endless fiddling and fussing after a rebuild but then they “click” and you’re good to go … with none of that awful Weber throttle lag and big fuel appetite. I saw online a comment that they are closest to FI in precise fuel metering, for real! My SU HIF’s (’72) deliver razor-sharp response and up to 32MPG highway.

        Uni-Syn helpful but not req. – 2 or 3 other ways to sync. ’em

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  3. wagon master

    Could be misery and a money pit based on 3 issues …. #1 it’s British, #2 it’s British, #3 it’s British. For me, $1700 is a comfortable buy. Although I’m a sucker for British cars and hot Latin women, I continue to pursue both, even after vowing to never go down that path again of suffering. I’m currently in negotiation for a 74 Jenson GT cvt. So what does.that tell you.

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  4. Alex

    At $1700 I’d be comfortable chucking that engine and swapping in something a little more modern and reliable. Selling something this close to being a running driving car is also a tad suspicious. Seems like a few hundred more in the right places would justify the seller’s asking price.

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    • Murray

      More reliable than a B series 1800? What in the world would that be?

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      • zero250 jeff steindler

        i agree!!!!

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      • forestghost07

        Not sure if I’m replying to sarcasm or not but in my case, a rebuilt, tweaked and upgraded 1800, surrounded by a ’72 BGT, is a faithful daily driver. Wish I could say same for my horrid Chevy SUV.

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  5. angliagt

    If you could buy it for a little less,it’s a decent deal,if it’s
    free from rust.GT’s are appreciating – seems that many B owners
    want one to go with their convertible.
    I have a ’67 GT,& it’s a lot of fun to drive,especially on back
    roads.I had to sell one of two sports cars a while back,& let the TR6 go.

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  6. Bill

    It all depends on the body and frame condition. The rest of the stuff is pretty easy to replace. These cars are getting more desirable and I’ve always had an affinity for them. Especially the chrome bumper ones.

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  7. DG

    It’s a unibody; no frame but rust is definitely a concern. Spent 4 years of college and 1st year of marriage in a 71. Stripped it to restore then we decided to move. To show the house better, I stored much of it in my father-in-laws barn…which shortly thereafter burned to the ground.

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  8. Rufus

    Remove the Strombergs and replace with a Weber. First, they are SU’s, second why would you want to remove the easiest carbs in the history of the automobile?
    Chuck the engine and replace with something… Why not a SBC??? Murray had it right, what is more reliable than a cast iron pushrod 4 cyl?
    Where did the $1700 figure come from? Ad says $3500 are we just assuming he’d take 1/2 the ask? Some days I have to wonder about you guys.
    By the way, this car is a color change, from Bracken to red. Notice the color of the engine compartment? The interior isn’t as easy as it looks. The head liner is a genuine beeyotch, and it appears the seats are a transplant from a later car as the velour wasn’t available in 71.
    If I was going to guess, this car sat dead in someones garage for 15 or 20 years and this guy pulled it out looking for a quick flip. Then, he found out that the cosmetics are more work than he’d figured, won’t take time to read the four page rebuild sheet on the HS4 carbs, and is trying to bail. Maybe he’ll get lucky and find another guy who thinks he knows it all and get his money out of it.
    How about you Paul?

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  9. ClassicCarFan

    +1 on the comments re the SUs. It seems to have become some sort of urban myth classic car lore that folks think every British sports car engine automatically needs to be “upgraded” to Webers.

    The SUs are pretty good carbs. They do wear out around the throttle shafts which causes them to be difficult to tune accurately, but they can be refurbished and rebuilt. A pair of SUs in good condition and properly set up work extremely well on these engines.

    The single downdraft Weber kits based on the DGV downdraft type run well but would be a significant performance downgrade as they will flow a lot less than the original twin SUs.

    If you read the opinion of real experts like Dave Vizard (someone who has spent literally 1000s of hours doing proper scientific comparisons of the different carb types and set-ups) he says that for most levels of tune short of out-and-out full race tune the SUs will perform just as well as Webers. It is only really when you are looking for the maximum level of tune that Weber can really give you and edge over SUs.

    Not criticizing Webers. They are very high quality carbs and work just fine. The point is, that if you are driving your MG, Triumph or whatever on the road (as 99% of owners are) spending the money on Webers will bring you no worthwhile benefit over a well-sorted set of SUs. For the price of brand new side-draft Webers you could afford to have your SUs professionally rebuilt like new. To quote Dave Vizard again….”one major advantage of SUs….is you already have a pair of them !”

    1971 was a change-over year for the carbs on NA MGBs I believe, they went from HS4 with separate float bowls to HIF4 with integral float bowls. These do appear to be HS4 type?

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  10. wagon master

    @rufus: my opinion of a $1700 value is based on math. What are correct ones going for? Then count backwards deducting for color change, needs and hidden unknown issues …. IMHO. Or just buy one already done for the same investment, less blood sweat and tears.

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