Parts Car Only? 1964 MGB

Lurking in these dark and blurry photos is a 1964 MGB. It will need a complete restoration, or it could potentially be used for parts. It is located in Deposit, New York, and is being sold in a No Reserve auction here on eBay. The owner states that he believes that the car is good for parts and that he doesn’t have a title in hand. However, he is willing to obtain a title for the car at extra cost over the auction price.

The MGB originally started life painted white, but was painted in this metallic blue at some later stage in its life. There are rust issues in the car, and this is why the owner suggests that it may be best used as a parts car. There is some rust in the floors, some in the rockers, but he does say that the front and rear undersides look quite good. The majority of the body panels look like they are okay, except for some surface rust. The greatest concern is the fact that the doors only open begrudgingly. This may suggest that the body has twisted or bent, which could be the result of rust issues in the frame.

The interior is basically a total loss. The owner says that the seats and the soft-top are both only good for their frames, as the upholstery is pretty shot. There doesn’t appear to be a dash, door trims, or carpet. You can see some of the rust in the floors in this shot.

The owner believes that the engine and transmission date from a later MGB, possibly a 1969 or 1970 model. The engine doesn’t run, but after putting some Mystery Oil down the spark plug holes and leaving it to sit for a month, the engine now turns freely.

The owner is very honest when he views this MGB as a parts car, and that is probably going to be its fate. While a restoration looks like it would be a big job, and the financial viability would be questionable, for anyone who is currently restoring and MGB, or who has one already up and running, this car represents a pretty decent source of parts and spares.

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Comments

  1. The Walrus

    MGB’s can basically be built out of a catalog. One would have no reason to own an MGB parts car. Meaning decrepit MGB’s have just 2 realistic fates. Restoration or crusher. This, being an early pull handle car is the 2nd most desirable series ( ’63-’65 pull handle 3 main bearing cars). The most desirable being ’65-’67 5 main bearing cars (MG made continuous running line changes, and ’65 was a year with many significant transitions). Thus, this car should be restored, but not by a professional. Most MG’s are restored primarily in home garages (many farm out welding and engine work). With about a year and a half of weekends and $15,000 or so in parts one would have a car worth $20K all day.

    Oh, and on the ‘frame twist’. MG’s don’t really have frames. They have a transmission tunnel in the middle and 3 rocker pieces (inner rocker, outer rocker and castle rail) that act as the primary structure. Whatever is wrong now could be easily fixed when the $800-ish in new rocker pieces are installed.

    Like 6
  2. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Okay….sooo as a 2nd most popular – it’s a dang good parts car ?

    Like 2
    • The Walrus

      The sum total of usable parts on it that can be purchased new for less that the purchase price of this thing. The only reason to pay anything for it is that it is a restorable ’64 (as all ’64’s are).

      Like 4
  3. GearHead Engineer

    It’s an early pull handle car which means it is relatively uncommon. I’d restore it if it could be picked up cheap. As The Walrus says it is worthy of being saved, but only by someone doing the work themselves. Professional restoration costs would far exceed the value.

    These are simple cars and easy to restore. All the panels are available, and the quality/fitment is pretty good. Not terribly difficult to take one apart and weld it back together. Almost all the other parts are available from catalogs. Fun little cars when they are done.

    This is for someone who likes the challenge and does it for the love of the car, not profit. I hope someone buys it and makes it nice again. I’d go back to the original white, with red interior.

    – John

    Like 7
  4. Paul T Root

    In an age of unlimited free pictures, how can anyone justify putting these pictures up on the web. I suppose to hide how bad the car really is?

    The only thing going for this is pull handles and VIN number.

    Another thing that really annoys me is a seller to lazy to spend $40 to get a duplicate title.

    As a two time MGB owner – Hard pass on this.

    Like 3
  5. Allen Member

    Wow, what a great bunch of comments! Among MGB enthusiasts, the pull-handles are a big deal. The North American MGB Register even has a separate sub-register for pull-handle MGBs.

    You can’t tell from the pictures, but if the doors are intact, they would be desirable as parts. Although a lot of MGB body panels are available, doorskins for pull-handle cars are not available. Furthermore, pull-handle doors are not interchangeable with push-button doors. I learned this stuff restoring my pull-handle (early) ’65. Sometime after March of ’65, the pull-handles were replaced with the new push-button doors that would serve up through end of production in 1980.

    My ’65 was badly rusted – but easily fixable. I learned to weld on this project – and I got a LOT of practice! Previous comments (above) are so right about professional restorations on MGBs. The cost of an $18,000 MGB may exceed $60,000. There are guys who go this route – but only because they passionately love these cars, and have lots of money to throw away. Even doing all the work yourself – it’s very easy to price yourself out of the market. You still need professional machining in your engine rebuild – read $$$! I know a number of guys in the hobby who do their own paint work, but I’ve always been afraid to do it myself. I’m afraid I won’t meet my own standards, and moreover, I’m too cautious about paint fumes and safety concerns. I do surface prep, working with filler and sanding. Then get the body shop to shoot the sanding primer, I can do the straightening. The sanding is all hand-work and I do save myself many hours of body-shop time – $$. But just the materials alone can run you over $1000.

    Upholstery kits that you can install yourself will still eat a pretty big hole in a $1000 bill. Tires, wheels, brake parts, all new rubber bits, hydraulics, wiring harnesses, rebuilding/replacing instruments… they all add up. So, even if you do your own work without a care as to how many hours you put in (as am I), you’d be very lucky to sell your MGB for what you have in it. The other advantage of doing as much as you can on your own is that it will spread the restoration costs out over MUCH more time.

    Have I mentioned transmission? What a shame to finish an MGB restoration without overdrive. $$$$!

    Regarding the replacement panels. If the ones from Steelcraft/Moss don’t fit, it means your car is crooked! Speaking of which… I am concerned about the comment that the doors are difficult to open. Badly enough rusted, MGBs will sag. That’s the criterion often used between restorable and parts-car.

    One other concern regarding viability as a parts car, one should consider the engine. Sometime in late 1964, MGB went over to the five-main engine. But the earlier three-main engines definitely have their own following – and they ain’t makin’ ’em no more. OK, so maybe it doesn’t have a three-main engine (engine number prefix 18G or 18GA). If it has an 18GB engine – first of the five-mains – this too is a unique engine among the five-main units. It does have a rear main seal (which the 3-main engines did not), but it has a smaller flywheel and backplate, allowing it to fit any 3-synchro (early) transmission. Five-main engines after the 18GB were fitted to the larger four-synchro gear boxes beginning in 1968. They had larger flywheels and will not fit the early transmissions. So, any 18G, 18GA, or 18GB engine is likely (for differing reasons) to be more valuable, more hard to get than any of the later engines.

    Also, does this car have overdrive? You cannot tell without a good view underneath, and often sellers don’t know anyway. But an MGB parts car with overdrive is the proverbial goose laying the golden egg. If it has overdrive, it’s definitely worth the $500 opening bid – and more. Without overdrive, I’d try to get it for $250.

    Two other observations about the engine. It’s hard to tell much from the one picture, but I can see that it does have a later model head on it – with injection ports for the smog pump – required beginning in 1968. So the head is incorrect for this ’65 model – BUT that does NOT mean the engine is wrong. Along with this, notice that the elbow for the upper radiator hose curves to the right. This contradicts the head. MGBs had this hose on the right side from ’62 through ’67. They had to move it to the left beginning in ’68 to make room for the smog pump.

    Like 5
    • Richard V

      Damn good description, Allen, this from the previous owner of a British car shop for many years. I owned, and repaired, MGBs from all eras and still know them well.

      Like 2
  6. Allen Member

    ‘ Forgot to clarify: examine the rear door gaps (at the B pillar). If the edges are not parallel bur rather closer toward the top, the car is sagging – hence the doors are helping to keep it straight as long as they are closed. They will be very hard to open. This can be fixed, but you need a bit more advanced knowledge than most of us have. How do you get it straight? How do you know when it’s right? I’d be inclined to jack it under the B-pillars until the doors close easily and the gaps are straight. Then tack-weld braces across the inside of the door opening. Sturdy ones. That still doesn’t guaranty that you’ve got it right. I’d get the car up in the air and take a lot of careful measurements: right rear to left front, left rear to right front, front wheel centers to rear wheel centers on each side, etc. If I could then assure myself that the car was straight, only then would I proceed with restoration.

    Like 4
  7. Allen Member

    Many thanks for your kind words, Richard! Not a pro here, but 34 years as an involved amateur who loves to wrench and learn. Mechanics who know carburetors,distributors, and Lucas electrics are becoming very scarce. ‘ Hope you find ways to share your professional knowledge with lots of MGB owners.

    Like 2
    • Richard V

      I do miss working on the British iron for sure! I wish I could still have an opportunity to satisfy the urge to fine tune those SUs that I spent so much time and research mastering. But, those HIF series carbs could be a real pain. And then the Strombergs, ugh! Have fun continuing your mechanical persuits of all cars British!

  8. Allen Member

    Richard,

    It’s an ironic stroke of genius that the boys who brought us a leaky heater control valve immediately above the distributor later brought us a leaky Zenith Stromberg right over the red-hot catalytic converter. These are but lovable quirks among the initiated.

    I’m near Detroit Michigan and I think my carbs are OK, but how far would I have to drive to get you to have a look? I’d pay going rates, by the way.

    Like 1
    • The Walrus

      While I’m sure many of you lbc enthusiasts have heard this one before, I’ll attempt it here…

      Hmm rmmm hmmm…

      Why do the English drink warm beer? (Answer is backwards below)

      Answer:
      !noitaregirfeR sacuL

      Like 1
    • Richard V

      Ah, indeed so! And, remember the early Stromberg cars had a little heat shield below the float chamber and above the aforementioned cat converter that was shaped like a squared-off bowl. This to fill up with fuel caused by a sticky needle valve and make certain there was plenty of ready accelerant for the impending fire!

      I suspect that you are very capable with those SUs and don’t need me but, if you feel like a journey to Medford, Oregon, it’d just be fun to compare battle wounds!

      By the way, I traveled to Flint in ’99 and again in ’00 to work on a huge collection of vintage cars, mostly British, that a doctor owned. THAT is fodder for another story so as not to bore the other Barn Finds readers.

      Cheers!

  9. Allen Member

    Richard,

    I see a budding friendship here – which might bore other B F readers as you say. I’m on MG Experience at https://www.mgexp.com/member/bachldrs, or email to bachldrs (at) Comcast (dot) net. Beyond MGBs, I’m a total MG Z Magnette freak and I’ve got a Magnette buddy in Etna CA (about 80 miles south of you) who could really use some carburetor help. Whether or not you could help with that, would love to kick some tyres and tell some lies with you.

    Other B F readers can at least see “MG: the Marque of Friendship” in action here.

    Yes, Cheers!

    Like 1
    • Richard V

      Hi Allen:

      I sent you an email a few days ago, I want to make sure you got it. Please let me know.

      Tnx!

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