Original Two-Tone Seats! 1972 MGB GT

I took an initial glance at this ’72 MGB GT and kept on cruising but then I backed up and looked her over again. What caught my attention is this car’s cleanliness and sharp presentation. We encounter MGs of all varieties all of the time on Barn Finds but this one really stands out for no other reason than it’s just a very nice example. It is located in Washington, D.C. and is available, here on craigslist for $9,000. Thanks to Jay L. for this tip!

Another reason for wanting to review this MG is due to the fact that I have a friend who has a similar car. His MGB GT is a ’67 but it looks very much like this example and is finished off in the same hue. About three years ago we took his car on a fairly short, 100-mile road trip and I was impressed with how well his stock GT zipped along on interstate expressways at 70+ MPH. While the electronic overdrive helped combat some of the engine noise, it was a surprisingly quiet ride. I’m a long drink of water and had no problem with ingress, egress, or general comfort.

Starting with the interior, what’s not to like? There are three images provided and the entire environment shows very well for a 49-year-old car that has experienced 92K miles. No rips, tears, cracks, or scuffs – and that includes the cargo area. The seller mentions that 1972 is the only year that the MGB GT seats came with velour inserts. In this case, the two-tone black and gray contrasting color combination upholstery has been reinstalled over top of new foam. The velour is showing a bit of discoloration but it’s minor. The instrument panel, replete with Smiths gauges, is not revealing any unoccupied slots, always a good thing.

Under the hood is a 78 HP, 1.8 liter, in-line, four-cylinder engine. The seller states that the following items have been facilitated: All fluids replaced such as oil, filter, coolant, brakes, transmission, and gear oil, new (original factory) alternator and new (original factory) fuel pump, timing, and carburetor tuning.  It also has new sparkplugs, a new battery, and a Weber carburetor – the original SU carburetor is available with the sale. Regarding operation, the seller states, “Current issue: starts but stalls shortly after“. The transmission in place is a four-speed manual gearbox, no word if it is equipped with overdrive.

While I wouldn’t necessarily refer to an MG of this vintage as a rust bucket, they do have an attraction to the common wasting away problem known as rot. The seller mentions that this MG is a former Florida car but I know from experience that Sunshine State residency is no guarantee of a rust-free car experience and the seller states, “little or no rust” but there is no elaboration beyond that. One image of the leading edge of the driver’s door does show what appears to be some corrosion – the rest of the body looks to be clean, however. The Flame Red finish is showing a bit of typical fade but it still presents well. The chrome bumpers, stainless trim, and wire wheels all look fine.

The starting and dying problem with the engine is noteworthy but may not be as serious as it initially sounds. Beyond that item, this MGB GT appears to need very little, it’s a sound example. I’m not an expert in MGB valuation but searching around the web, the listing price for this example doesn’t seem that out of line. So, if you were in the market for an MG, what would be your preference, an open-top MGB or a closed car such as this GT?

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Comments

  1. wifewontlikeit

    I miss mine, having had both a few roadsters and the GT, I think I prefer the GT. It just drove differently. The production cars were built outside Morris Garage with aluminum hoods to save weight.

    When I bought mine, it had been sitting in a garage for a few years, a barn-find on Craigslist. Soon, a new battery and a tune-up had it humming. Great little cars! The owner didn’t think it had overdrive, but I found a lever that looked like a turn signal but wasn’t; it was the overdrive! Bonus! I sold it in 2015, then a few years later, in 2019, Road & Track named the MGBGT one of the “16 of Pininfarina’s Most Beautiful Designs That Aren’t Ferraris.”

    The history The MGB GT was an original greenhouse designed by Pininfarina. It literally launched the sporty “hatchback” style. I loved my roadsters, but the sloping rear window and rear decklid (boot) made my MGB GT more practical for sailing stuff. I’d always liked the Volvo P1800 hatchback and this little MG offered the utility of a station wagon with the class of a Pininfarina coupe. It offered far more luggage space than in my roadsters. The MGB GT did receive different suspension springs and anti-roll bars and a different windscreen. Top speed also improved by 5 mph (8.0 km/h) to 105 mph (169 km/h) because of better aerodynamics (although I never dared to take it over 85).

    A great collectible, lots of fun, and very small for the garage space. I wish still had mine.

    Like 8
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      When I was doing traffic control for the local
      fire department while my Dakota was in the shop,
      I was able to load up our ’67 GT with most of the
      items I used,including a small light bar,traffic cones,
      flares & safety equipment.I wish I’d taken a picture.
      GTs are one of the most fun sports cars to drive
      that are also practical.

      Like 6
  2. Nick G

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the carb was the problem. I have one of these 2-barrel downdraft Webbers on a 1275 Austin, and it is problematic to tune. In my 40 year experience, SU(s) are far simpler and reliable.

    Like 9
    • 19sixty5 Member

      I had a 70 MGB, with the dual SU’s, and it never gave me any trouble. A jet adjusting tool set and a Uni-Syn was all you needed to keep it running smooth. I replaced the rear lever shocks with Koni tube shocks. I thoroughly enjoyed that car, the one-year split rear bumper design.

      Like 4
      • Bruce

        I agree with 19sixty5 here. Having duals just means getting them set the same, and then defying anyone to ever tough them once set. Put a little weight in the back and it tools through snow far better than you would expect.

      • Michael S

        Lovely car … pity about the carburetor.. the SUs were fabulous.

        Like 2
  3. Christopher W Muse

    This has been on DC Craigslist for a few months. I’m really surprised it hasn’t sold.

    • Uncle Pauls Garage

      For 9k people want the engine to run. As a non runner it better have a 15k body. It doesn’t. The interior is nice and new carbs are under 1k tuned and installed but unknown other issues (sitting tank rot?)
      As a restoration shop for these cars the body is most of the cost but rust hides in them really well in places you can’t see and when it does show costs 8k or more to fix (rockers are 3 pieces and rust from the strengthening panel out)

      Like 1
  4. Drew

    I fully restored a 1972 MGB roadster – it still gets me around on nice days. Would be a nice addition in my already too full garage. The GT is a very nice package.

    Like 2
  5. William Bussler

    Having bought a new BGT in 1972, with overdrive, all I can say is it was probably the most enjoyable car I’ve ever owned. I sure do miss it.

    Like 2
  6. Little_Cars

    The cloth inserts could prevent driver and passenger from sticking to the otherwise frying vinyl bucket seats in the GT’s. They are known hothouses without a top to go down.

    Like 2
  7. bachldrs Member

    I have a ’73 B/GT that I’ve owned for 35 years, and it’s been my seasonal daily driver most of that time. Her name is BriGiT, and she turned over 250,000 miles in August of 2019. She has been coast-to-coast twice, from Texas to Ontario, from Rohnert Park California to Whistler British Columbia, to Blacksburg Virgina to Amherst Massachusetts. On interstates 90 and 94, we ran her at a steady 80 mph from Spokane Washington to Fargo North Dakota (she has overdrive).

    At the conclusion of one of the public MG videos, there was a panel discussion: the panel consisting of Jean Kimber Cook (her father, Cecil Kimber, was the founder of MG), Stirling Moss, George Thornley and, I believe, Sid Enever. Question: what’s your favorite MG of all time? Jean started the conversation with “whatever MG I happen to be driving” but then they all agreed; it was the MGBGT.

    In addition to being a ball to drive, the B/GT has got to be the most useful sports car on the planet. I have occasionally run to Lowes or Home Depot to pick up some 8-foot 2X4s. Now, when you roll a cart out on a Lowes parking lot and proceed to load these into the hatch of a B/GT, you are going to attract some attention. I feed the 2X4s in between the seats and into the passenger footwell. It’s when I then CLOSE the hatch that I get some incredulous looks!

    These cars remain practical daily drivers in 21st century traffic. As I drive it, I can’t help but think to myself: “Isn’t this absolutely incredible? There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that could go wrong with this car that is not worth fixing!”

    Like 5
  8. Ron

    I had one of these years ago. I bought it out of a junkyard thinking I would take parts from it and use them on my 65 MGB. Turns out the car was junked because the rear end was fried. I put a new diff in it, and drove it for a couple of years. Sold it off, but I still have my 65.

    Like 2
  9. Graham Line

    ’72-’73 is a sweet spot in MGB history and the taller windscreen makes the GT a lot more pleasant traveler than the roadster. Put the SU carbs back on and look around for an overdrive set-up.

    Like 1
  10. Gerard Frederick

    Why would anyone substitute Webers for the original SU´s? The only problem with those that I know of where the paper thin aluminum floats which developed pin hole leaks, easy enough to fix.

  11. bachldrs Member

    Most of the folks I know who have converted to the Weber downdraft eventually go back to the SUs. Of course you have to tune the SUs every 5-10 years, but if you stay away from them in between, you’ll be fine.

    It’s interesting to note that non-overdrive MGB transmissions are literally a dime a dozen, but overdrive ones run anywhere from $800 to $1500 and up, depending on condition and your good luck. Converting a non-O/D gearbox to O/D is possible but not practical. You have to take it all apart to install a different 3rd motion shaft. Buy a whole rebuilt O/D box – or a five-speed; there are now three or four good choices out there. The electrical part is already in the car. And all ’68-76 MGBs have the switch (squeeze the windscreen wiper stalk toward or away from steering wheel).

    A pet peeve of mine is when folks refer to the MGB overdrive as “electronic”. There is absolutely nothing electronic about it. The design is planetary and it is actuated hydraulically. There is a plain old solenoid operating the valve to pump gearbox oil into the assembly. The solenoid is operated by the switch. That’s about as “electronic” as a 1950s doorbell! It’s smooth, it’s bulletproof and if you are like me and cannot stand to listen to these engines “cruising” at much over 3500 rpm, it is a godsend. In 4th gear at 3500 rpm, you’re going 63 mph. In O/D 4th at 3500 rpm you’re running 78.75 mph. That’s enough to break every interstate speed-limit in the US. And 80 mph comes up at 3555 rpm.

    I’m not so sure those seat inserts are OEM, but that’s no big deal.. They look nice. MGB/GTs did come with cloth inserts but all the ones I’ve ever seen were a matching fabric – which did not wear very well. I have leather in mine. All in all, this looks like a nice car, but $9,000 seems a bit optimistic to me. I think I could find a comparable one with overdrive for less than $6,000. Maybe not – maybe I’m just behind the times. I HOPE the seller is right though; meaning my estate will get more $$$$ from the sale of mine after I’ve taken my last drive into the sunset…

    Like 1
  12. bachldrs Member

    The throttle shafts on the earlier SU HS4s would eventually wear out the bushings – causing air leaks. Two solutions: ream for oversized throttle shafts, or have Joe Curto install new bushings. The later HIFs had rubber seals on the bushings. But I totally share your concern. I hear people complain about tuning SUs, but that is so easy even I can do it. If you can’t tune a pair of SUs, they need to be rebuilt! The complainers are usually the “fiddlers” – constantly trying to find a magical sweet-spot that will turn your MGB into a Ferrari. There ain’t one. While an MGB engine can be tweaked in the rebuild to put a smile on your face when you put your foot in it, there’s no magic that’s going to make your stock ’70s MGB engine go 0-60 in less than about 15 seconds. Set the carbs so the engine starts and idles smoothly, and accelerates without hiccups. Then leave ’em alone!

    Like 2
  13. PYoung

    I understand it is possible to fit the Mazda MX5 (Miata in USA) Six speed box in the MGB which makes big improvement.

  14. bachldrs Member

    Eclectic Motorworks in Holland Michigan have installed an MX5 engine and gearbox in a ’67 MGB/GT. The process is shown in great detail:
    http://www.eclecticmotorworks.com/previous.html.

    Very tempting!!!

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