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Pull Handle: 1965 MGB


This MGB has been listed on craigslist in Nisswa, Minnesota, for almost a month now. He’s asking $3,500 but taking offers. MG switched to push button door handles early in 1965, so this would be one of the last of the “pull handle” MGBs. It should also have the improved 5 main bearing engine introduced 1965 making it a very desirable model. This is a somewhat original car except for the air cleaners, upholstery and aftermarket top. The seller supplied a very thorough description. It runs, drives, but needs a tuneup and the clutch master cylinder replaced. The seller says the floor pan has been replaced but he also says there’s bondo in the fenders, so the restoration work done is questionable.


The inside needs a good cleaning but looks OK. The seats have been redone with aftermarket covers.


The engine runs but will need a tuneup. There was work done on the engine several years ago and the paperwork is available and should provide details.


The pictures provided don’t show any rust. There is a lift available to inspect it closely. The seller did provide pictures of areas most prone to rust like the dogleg in front of the rear wheel, the top of the rear wheel arch, and the bottom part of the front fender.


This area appears to have been repaired. Is that bondo peeking out from the chip on the bottom corner of the door? There should be a seam where the dogleg joins the sill. It seems to be covered with filler and already cracking, a sign of a poor repair. The pull handles tend to wear so the doors open at inopportune moments but repair kits are available.


While the pictures provided with this listing are certainly limited there is just enough shown to make one hopeful. The seller has described the shortcomings in enough detail to give prospective buyers a good idea of the overall condition. For the purists among MGB enthusiasts, this model seems the most desirable model in the 18 years the MGB was in production. It has the the improved 5 main bearing engine and is the last model with the door pull handles. Of course, it still has a positive ground electrical system ruled by the dark lord Lucas. There’s no mention of the condition of the fuel tank, a known weakness of MGBs until the 1967 model when an improved tank was introduced. A replacement will be expensive because the fuel tanks are hand made. $3,500 is a high price to pay for a non running MGB but low retail for these is said to be $10,000. This MGB has been listed for almost a month. Perhaps it’s because it is almost winter in that part of the country or perhaps folks have had a closer look and don’t like what they see. I’m not a purist and don’t care about the door handles so I would look for a 1967 model. This one, however, might make a nice driver if the rust isn’t too bad and the repairs were not to poorly done. A dedicated MGB fan might find this car worth restoring. Nice ones do sell for about $15,000. I look forward to reading what readers who really know MGBs have to say about this one.


  1. The Walrus

    Yikes. That area on the rocker, just at the end of the door curve, is cracked bondo. It should be a seam of the outer rocker. My guess would be this needs inners, outers and the castle rail on both sides. Easily obtained, moderate to install. A lot of work is needed.

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  2. Allen Member

    I agree. That door gap looks pretty tight too, although it’s gaps that widen toward the bottom that really worry me. Beyond that, it’s just a matter of how badly you want a pull-handle B. I would not buy this one at this price without a careful look at the bottom. I already have one – it was built in mid-March of 1965. Mine is yet to be finished and is not for sale. It was rusty and the engine was seized. ‘ Paid $500 for it. But that was a few years ago…

    In my earliest years, weekly trips through Nisswa (then home of Akre’s Dutch Oven) were the norm in our family. ‘ Drove through it a few years ago after about two decades absence and didn’t recognize the place. Shame; it was such a great, iconic, Gull Lake fishing village.

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  3. Bill

    That is not a pull handle!

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    • TC

      Bill those are pull handles you can see the small black rubber bumper in the body at the end of the chrome handle.

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      • The Walrus

        Definitely a pull handle.

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  4. ccrvtt

    I’m a fool for MGB’s but the Walrus & Allen are right about this one. Spend the money for a more solid example & sleep well at night.

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  5. Biggles21

    This is what the rocker panel area should look like. 2 seems have been filled in.

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  6. C. Steve

    Definitely a decent project car, but for $3500 given the possibility of major body work? I would have to go completely over it to see how extensive the repairs would be. It is a nice year and having the pull handles makes it kinda cool (and yes, those ARE pull handles). But I too, would consider a late 67. One that still has the original ride height, and the 1st gear synchro.

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  7. Yellowjax Member

    Have you checked out the prices lately on a decent B? $6k to 12k. In 4 years this will seem like a great deal.

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  8. The Walrus

    The B market has been stable for almost 20 years. Good ones have been 5-10K since the mid 90’s. They’re actually losing value as the dollar has been in decline over that period. This early metal dash, pull handle, chrome bumper 5 main car is worth 20K restored, and has been worth that for 20 years.

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