No More Mr. Nice Guy: 1974 MGB

By Jeff Bennett

When we write stories about MGBs, the comments section often takes on the look of a small scale war between the American car loyalists and the ever on the defense Anglophiles.  Cries of too slow and pictures of Lucas electrical smoke in a jar are returned with thinly veiled suggestions that American cars are primitive, and the occasional picture of a hayseed next to a truck.  Its all in good fun most of the time, but I have to admit that the British car lovers do get roughed up a bit when horsepower is mentioned.  Well, today is their day in the sun.  The car I have found for them may be a little garish, but I am certain that it has shown its royal derriere to a number of American muscle cars.  Take a look at this 1974 MGB, found on Craigslist in Yulee, Florida, and priced at a heart stopping $22,500.  That number is a bit high for an MGB, but it has a secret.  Under the hood rumbles a 383 Chevy stroker motor!

Above is a picture of the most amazing heart transplant since Dr. Robert Jarvik slapped an artificial heart into Barney Clark in the early 1980s.  I look at it, and I wonder how they even managed to get this monstrous engine under the hood of an MGB at all.  The answer seems to involve homemade headers, a fabbed up hood scoop, and a die grinder.  Another amazing aspect of this build is that unlike most of the wacky engine swaps we see, the motor doesn’t look to be fresh from the junkyard.  From the aluminum heads to the high rise manifold down to the MSD ignition, this engine looks like a real runner.  God save the Queen, especially if she took a ride in this thing!

Inside, the car appears to be equipped with a B&M shifter to move the Turbo 350 transmission through the gears with some urgency.  I don’t see a nitrous button, but I am sure that adding some laughing gas to the list of goodies was in the plans.  Chances are the car was so scary fast that even the Dr. Frankenstein responsible for this beast thought it best to put that idea on hold.  The rest of the interior looks to be in great condition, another sign that whoever built it spared no expense in making it perfect.  They also had the good sense to add a roll bar, and it looks like a set of racing harnesses was added as well.

Outside, the car looks like a little 2/3 scale Cobra, complete with chromed side pipes.  The slime green paintjob looks to be well done, and the seller tells us that it was a base coat then clear coat job.  Usually this type of paintjob comes out shinier, as the clear coat is added after you have the opportunity to polish out any imperfections in the base coat.  From there, you can add multiple layers of clear coat to give the paint job depth and that mirror finish that looks so good on custom jobs.  The aluminum wheels with black spokes really ties the whole thing together visually.  I would have picked a different color (black, of course), but this one looks really nice.

Another feature is the lift off fiberglass top.  Adding the roll bar likely made using the convertible top the car was equipped with impossible, so something had to be done.  I have seen aftermarket fiberglass tops on MGBs that look similar to this one, but there is something different here.  Take a close look, and you can see that it looks like a padded vinyl overlay was added.  I am not sure if I like this or not, but at least it will provide a bit of sound insulation for the driver, who is likely already on the Beltone Hearing Aid mailing list.

The front end view on this thing is just plain mean.  The old style hood scoop and the racing stripes add to that vintage drag racer look that I think the builder was going after.  Whether you like the idea or not, you have to admire the craftsmanship displayed in this build.  Whoever built it obviously knew what they were doing mechanically, fabrication wise, paint and body wise, and was an excellent painter.  The problem with a build like this, besides the huge increase in your life insurance premium, is that you usually never get your money out of such a car.  This one might have a chance.  My guess is that there is at least one British car lover with a fat wallet and a desire to get even.

In the meantime, if you drive a muscle car and you see the MGB above in your rear view mirror, just wave him by.  You don’t have anything for him.

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Comments

  1. mark

    Wow, great looking ride. Looks like things were done right on this one. I would be curious to know how much the drive line (rear end, drive shaft etc) was beefed up on this one. I also wonder about the front suspension. lots more weight on the front end now than when original. $22,500 is a lot of money but in this case I think they will get that quickly if the details are correct.

    2+
    • Wombat

      Actually that small block Chev. with the aluminum heads probably doesn’t weigh more than 50 -75 lbs more than the cast iron 4 cylinder original.

      1+
  2. Jay E.

    “if you drive a muscle car and you see the MGB above in your rear view mirror, just wave him by” till the first corner…

    13+
  3. sir mike

    God is that thing ugly…..

    18+
    • Forbes

      I thought I was alone. I agree. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Can’t deny the engineering. Great work. But its making my eyes water. It looks all our of proportion like a small pug. But hey, you will never please everyone and as long as the owner likes it then that’s what counts. I like my gt just the way it is. .

      1+
  4. whippeteer

    New interior after being driven once…

    4+
    • Metoo

      And for the second ride be sure to put on a pair of Depends beforehand. Between the engine and the overall look it is downright frightening.

      1+
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Dean, IHRA rulebook states, “all machines that do 150 mph in the 1/4 or 125mph in the 1/8th, require a parachute. Cars in excess of 200 mph in the 1/4 require 2 chutes operated by one handle”. I bet this thing is darn close to one parachute.

      1+
      • Sam Sharp

        Hi Howard, I don’t think that a ‘chute does much good when you’re going through the traps sideways. It happens with beasts like these. Don’t ask me how we know these things. This was when drag strips didn’t have ‘stickum’ the full length. Worse now.

        2+
      • Steve R

        A shute is unnecessary, the only time this car would go near a race track is if there was a show in the parking lot.

        Steve R

        10+
  5. Sam Sharp

    Sooooooo, another Tiger killer. A really neat scale version of the Dragon Snake that was so popular in th ’60s.

    Then ther are the other MG- T, A, B, BGT, MGC series conversions. The Rover-Buick V8s, Leno’s TD monster. Until you’ve strapped on of these things on, you’ll have to do your burnouts in a wet Long John Silver’s (ended up in a really neat crash into the building- wish I had a video camera shot of the squid’s mommy spanking him in public) parking lot.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid of awakening a beast like this one. But what a charge.

    4+
  6. Sam Sharp

    Ps; Too many Cobra replicas are a lot larger than the original. Actually, the 289 slab side Cobra is shorter than the current Miata which isn’t that much bigger than an MGB.

    BUT OF COURSE, y’all already knew that. Sorry.

    5+
  7. Madmatt

    Awesome toy,but Iam afraid that my–M.G.B.
    “my giant butt” would not be so comfortable,
    although iam also 6ft tall now,
    when I was a kid appx 12 my dad had a customer with one,
    I was 5ft and skinny,and had a hard time fitting in it!
    Looks like a lot of fun tho !

    0
  8. Howard A Member

    Man, this is the baddest MGB I’ve ever seen. It looks like a 1/24th scale slot car I had once. I’d have to think something like this would be uncontrollable. I mean, these cars were front heavy to begin with, then double that? I’d have to see the suspension, but it’s wild, no doubt.

    4+
  9. jdjonesdr

    Makes perfect sense to me. Use it as a DD.

    0
  10. Dave Wright

    Not much MGB or British left here. Like calling a NASCAR a showroom model.

    1+
  11. Rich Peabody

    In the day, I built/helped build two Sprigets (Sprite was the same). A friend had a small block Chevy in one, and Henry couldn’t keep him in axles!
    The first was equipped with a 215 aluminum Buick V-8 with a Mercruiser manifold and a Rover auto trans….bad news, although when the trans shifted, it was fun.
    The second used a V-6 Buick with a 4 speed….great stuff! Had Henry do the axles and abused it for about 40K miles….wicked fast, too!

    0
  12. Dan

    Man can you imagine as light as this thing is and that much power, shew be a scary ride I am sure. I rode a Corvair one time that had a 427 blg block Chevy in it….scared the crap out of me and I don’t scare easy, well when I was young.

    2+
  13. Van

    383 stroker. Because you need torque. I can see this on the track. 1st gear terified. 2nd gear mind blown. 3rd gear sideways so fast all you remember is waking up in the hospital.

    4+
  14. AMXSTEVE

    MEIN GOTT MAN! now that’s a DEATH WISH

    3+
  15. boxdin

    Like stated too much motor for the chassis, but as for body mods its one of the better looking MGBs around. The rear is very street rod and looks great.

    3+
  16. Bob

    I like it.
    Bob

    3+
  17. Ron Trainor USMC

    My best friend (RIP) had a 1958 MGA…327cu in. backed by T-10 4-speed. Did best run 10.64 seconds @ 144 mph

    2+
  18. Neal

    Fun car and a fun write-up. Thanks, Jeff.

    1+
  19. Rally Ace

    All I can say is whomever ends up with this better not foul a plug. I think you need to pull the engine to change plugs.

    0
  20. Wade

    Hard top is all fiberglass, just looks like it is vinyl. I have one almost identical on my TR6. Can’t remember the maker off hand, but they are out of CA.

    2+
  21. Wade

    Here’s mine

    0
  22. AMCFAN

    Car looks pretty good however the scoop makes it look like a refugee from a 1980’s drag strip.

    I would have been a little more clever then the Chevy in everything known to man build. A Honda S 2000 with a 6 speed would be lighter and make an all around better car then only boat anchor straight line only performance and the Honda can be boosted and make more HP then stroking your Chevy. This car just looks unsafe at any speed. Hopefully the wrong person doesn’t get killed in it then shows up on the Copart website for us to chat about!

    2+
    • Joe Howell

      There’s horsepower and then there’s torque. Horsepower is later , torque is now.

      0
      • AMCFAN

        Obviously you haven’t had the pleasure of launching a Boosted Honda @ 8100 or know what Vtec is all about? It is about as NOW as one can get.

        0
  23. Lloyd Hale

    Simple Comment “LOVE IT”

    0
  24. Bob Morris

    I wonder if it can corner or stop? Not my cup of tea.

    0
  25. R.hernandez

    I can’t see this thing taking a corner 45 to 50 mph without the rear end coming out from under you….better make out a will before you strap yourself in this car!

    2+
  26. michael streuly

    Works for me.

    0
  27. Joe Howell

    Gotta love it, don’t want it but I love it. Weight distribution is off a bit but probably aids in smoking the tires. Maybe it’s a drifter.

    1+
  28. Marty G

    Hilarious piece, Jeff. The artificial heart, Dr. Frankenstein and Beltone Hearing Aid lines had me laughing out loud. Thanks!

    1+
  29. Steve H

    A tiny British sports car with a fire-breathing American V-8. What’s not to love? I’d drive the hell out of that thing and enjoy every minute.

    0
  30. Lloyd Hale

    Amen Steve, drive the hell out of it and know it is going over-steer. Fun car to take to track days are the local race venue.

    0
  31. Bill

    Here’s mine. Setback 454 with Vette front frame clip and late model GTO rear suspension. Hot cam and AFR heads. It has sufficient power….. No hole in the hood so kind of a sleeper.😁

    2+

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