Rick’s Free Warehouse 1979 MGB

free-mgb

Although we would rather have the MGA we featured earlier today, we certainly wouldn’t turn down this MGB if someone offered to give it to us for free… This one has been parked in this warehouse for 7 years where BF reader Rick M. works. One day he decided to ask his coworker about it and the response he got was a bit of a surprise. It had been parked in the warehouse after the clutch stopped working and the owner was tired of seeing it just sit, so they offered to just give it to Rick. Like any of us, Rick couldn’t turn down a free sports car, even if it wasn’t running. Now that he has it home he is trying to get it back on the road.

free-mgb-interior

Overall, this Limited Edition MGB is in very nice condition. The body has some damage from wear and tear, but there doesn’t seem to be any rust. The interior looks to be in great shape, but the convertible top’s window is going to need to be replaced before taking it out on a cloudy day. According to Rick, the previous owner believed it needed the clutch replaced, but that everything else was working properly when it was parked. Rick admits he doesn’t have much experience working on cars, so he has been looking for advice from other MGB owners on how to get it running again.

free-1979-mgb

There is usually a reason why a free car is free, and it usually is because the car isn’t running and repairs are going to cost more than the car will ever be worth. In the case of Rick’s MGB, we think he will come out ahead on this deal, especially if the problems with the clutch turn out to be related to the hydraulics and not the clutch itself. We will keep hoping that someone decides to give us a free car, but until that happens we will just have to live vicariously through Rick. Thanks for sharing with us and good luck on your new project!

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Comments

  1. Brian

    That’s a great free find. Lucky lucky!!

  2. Robert J

    Rick, what a great find!
    As someone who has owned several MGB’s I can assure you that they are one of the simplest vehicles that you could ever possibly work on. I assume that since you are asking for tips, you are not planning to take the car to a shop ($$$$) for repairs right?

    Moss Motors is your friend, as is EBay –
    http://www.mossmotors.com

    Carburetors – The carburetors will need to be thoroughly cleaned out, along with the fuel tank. Don’t fret, it is not that hard to do. Buy a set of wrenches and an owners manual and spend one hour a day working on it. Once you have the fuel system cleaned out a bit, check the oil, add a battery and start the car up. This will give you encouragement to proceed further.
    Brakes – Any car that has been sitting this long will need to have its brake master and slave cylinders replaced. Again, this is really not as hard as it sounds. Get online with the MG Experience Bulletin Board and start reading:
    http://www.mgexp.com/phorum/

    Clutch – This is a bit more of a project. It is not out of reach for the home tinkerer, but get your feet wet with getting her running, then start to think about how you are going to get the clutch replaced. You may opt to have this done at a shop.

    Best of luck to you! It certainly is a nice looking B.

  3. Catfish Phil

    An LBC is not just transportation – it’s a hobby! All parts are available, and they’re easy to work on. Get a Haynes manual and get busy. Best to get it started first, then determine the clutch malfunction. Have fun!

  4. Shuperman

    I had a 1980 MGB LE identical to this one while in college and oddly enough it vomited up a throw-out bearing during the time that I owned it. It sat under a tarp for a couple of months before I could save up enough money to get the clutch and bearing replaced.

    They are terrible cars, but very charming. Mine had a cracked head I suspect given how much oil it would throw out of the dipstick. There were two dash fires that I remember. Water dripped from the cowl vent right onto the radio and shorted it out so I could listen to the rain fall in silence. Then there was the crazy anti-run-on system that was supposed to use engine vacuum to pull gas out of the carb when the key was turned off, but it never worked right. It was so hard to look cool when your car dieseled for a painful 30 seconds or more after it was turned off.

    I loved mine and have so many memories tied up in it, but don’t want it back.

  5. 88R108

    Somebody has good taste in boats. That Cobalt in the background is a beauty.
    Hope he gets the MG up and running. Hard to beat the price of admission.

  6. paul

    Never was much of a fan of rubber bumper B’s, but free, what the hell, I wonder if you toss the bumpers if it would be that hard to retro the chrome parts. Of course you would want to lower the spring rates back to the pre bumper height.

    • Brian

      It’s not hard, but its expensive unless you have a parts car with nice chrome.

  7. Dirty Dingus McGee

    Being as the vehicle has been sitting for a number of years, You will definitely need this;

    http://www3.telus.net/bc_triumph_registry/smoke.htm

    And it will also be helpful to do the following;

    “Recommended procedure before taking on a repair of Lucas equipment: Check the position of the stars,kill a chicken and walk three times clockwise around your car chanting:” Oh mighty Prince of Darkness protect your unworthy servant..”

    Best wishes on your clutch repair. If you get it running well, it’s probably the best time to sell it. JK
    Can’t beat the price.

  8. jim s

    if you have been able to get a title and there is no/little rust this would make a very nice daily driver. great find

  9. Mike

    Very cool of the coworker! I’m not a rubber-bumper guy at all, but if the price tag was FREE, I suppose I could find room in my collection. :)

  10. Tim O

    Having owned a few of these the first thing you must do is get rid of the single factory carb
    and get a weber conversion kit that has a carb , Manifold and linkage . To change the clutch you have to remove the engine which isn’t very difficult, just a pain in the ass. Then get rid of the lever shocks if it came with them and get a tube shock conversion.
    If you are really ambitious when you get the engine out, take it to a junkyard and bring back a 302 ford and 5 speed. Then you’ll have a real sports car!!

  11. Dolphin Member

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease, or in this case, the guy who inquires and shows interest gets the sportscar. Well done, Rick.

    As I recall, the engines in these are fairly easy to remove to get at the clutch. Biggest issue might be setting up a chainfall. I’ve removed larger engines with a $15 cable come-along and a ‘bridge’ made of 2X6s. Or, you might consider taking the gearbox out from below. I hope she runs well after you fire it up.

  12. cory

    the le was the coolest of the rubber bumper cars. they were also the slowest. they strangled them with emissions so badly they barely moved. best to ditch the stromberg carb and get su’s or a weber. the single carb manifolds also crack often. the LE isn’t necessarilly valuable but it is desirable to mg guys

  13. Jim-Bob

    Not a fan of the rubber bumpers but at this price who cares! Depending on where he lives, it might be a good bet to strip off the unworkable smog equipment and run it as it was originally intended to work. Also, depending on where he lives, he might want to try the local self service yards as rusty MG’s and Triumphs sometimes turn up with the chrome bumpers and trim in good condition, at least where I live. I would also say that for all the issues these supposedly have, is there really anything on an MGB that is beyond the abilities of a good home mechanic? I tend to think there isn’t, and with this one being rust free it shouldn’t be too hard to get it going and (somewhat) reliable again.

  14. MBF

    He may want to check and replace the master & slave cyls for the clutch as well as the hose. If I remember correctly this can all be done w/o pulling the engine. If its been sitting these will need to be done to prevent a future problem if he does end up having to replace the clutch

  15. Jamie Wallhauser

    Awesome find and you can’t beat the price. Congratulations, I say!

  16. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Congratulations on a receiving a free sports car. Consider- there are people paying millions for cars with half the heritage of MG. Stupid simple to work with, you’ll have blast ! I had my MGB for 10 years & put less than 1k on it & yes it ran just fine.

  17. Bryan Cohn

    I’m reading along all these comments, and frankly, many concern me. Here we have a new enthusiast and instead of words of encouragement I see lots of “Not my favorite car”, “MG’s are terrible”, Rubber Bumpers are ugly” etc etc etc.

    Its an MGB. Its a late model one with those great looking 5 spoke color matched wheels, stored indoors and in decent condition that he got FREE!

    Someone pointed him toward Moss Motors which is great. You also have Victoria British plus on line resources and the fact that these cars have been raced the world over for 50 years.

    Rebuilding the hydraulics is a weekends work and rather inexpensive. The in-op clutch could be as simple as a bad slave cylinder or clutch master, worst it needs a clutch kit. These are some of the easiest cars to remove the engine/trans to do a clutch ever. Anyone saying otherwise hasn’t worked on my Peugeot 505 or any number of modern cars…..

    Think of it: Swap in twin SU’s and a manifold, a header, fix the clutch, a full set of springs (front and rear) that lower the car to pre-74 ride height, a good tune on the engine, rebuilt brakes and a new top and the new owner is cruising in style for cheap!

    Long story short, go for it Rick!

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Couldn’t have said it any better Bryan!

  18. Victor Brown

    Lucky beggar!!

    I would definitely take that, but I would sell the wheels back to a stag owner, they are nice but for the wrong make!

    Hate to play a broken record, but subscribe to Practical classics, it really will help with this kind of car

    • paul

      These wheels are correct for this black edition in the US.

    • Shuperman

      Those wheels are correct for the LE (limited edition) B in 1980, the final year of production. The interior is black and tan, a plaque on the dash, the air dam on the front and gray stripes. If I’m not mistaken, the map pocket on the passenger side is also a one-off item for the LE if not the 1980.

  19. OldfortMG

    Got hooked on a MGB LE same year 8 years ago. Barn find with ten years of pigion droppings. New tank, fuel pump, rubber brake lines and other misc items and 15k miles of troublefree driving. Stromberg has been fine. Clean all electrical connections and grounds to hide the Prince of Darkness. Drive it, have fun.

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