Rust and Raccoon Ravaged: Pair of MGB GTs

Sometimes, as the saying goes, you just bite off more than you can chew.  We have all taken on a project that we think we can handle, sit on it for a long while, then sell it in frustration.  Then some starry-eyed dreamer repeats the process anew.  If you have decided to get a doctorate in rust repair and metalwork with a minor in electrical troubleshooting, then you might want to take a look at this pair of MG MGB GTs for sale on craigslist in Papillion, Nebraska.  Both the red 1968 model and the black (formerly blue) 1973 model are being offered at $1,250 each.  Is even that low price too much to ask for a pair of British sports cars ravaged by rust and raccoons?  Thanks to Jack M. for this flakey find!

When MG finally replaced the gorgeous MGA with the MGB in 1962, some felt that the styling wasn’t in keeping with the company’s traditions.  While it didn’t have sweeping fenders and a classic look, the MGB was a radically advanced car compared to the MGA.  Body on frame construction that still used wood for floorboards was replaced with modern unit body construction and a much stiffer chassis.  The MGB was a beauty in its own right with handling that was in the MG tradition.  The cars sold amazingly well.  So much so that a hardtop version, the MGB GT, debuted in 1965.  None other than the famous Pininfarina design house was responsible for the updated greenhouse on the roadster body.

Over 500,000 copies of the MGB and the MGB GT were produced by the time the assembly lines stopped in 1980.  Then, an amazing thing happened.  After twelve long years out of production, the body shells were reproduced.  This led to 2,000 completely new cars being made using some of these shells.  The new car was called the MG RV8.  On their own, the body shells were a big hit.  Why?  Because the MGB’s greatest enemy was and is rust.  Due to the unit body construction, excessive rust in the right areas can destroy the structural integrity of the car.

In the red car we see above, that is exactly what has occurred.  Rust has eaten deeply into the sills that run at the bottom of the body under the doors and into the rear quarter panels.  You would think this problem would be more dangerous when it occurs on a roadster than a hardtop.  The problem here is that the steel roof structure doesn’t provide as much support as you would think, as it was an afterthought.  The only solution to this problem is to completely disassemble the car, truss it up, ruthlessly cut out all of the rust, then weld in the needed replacement panels.  Unless the car we are talking about is an MGC variant or one of the European V-8 variants, it is cheaper and easier to just find a better car.

As for the two unfortunate MGB GTs seen in the ad, the seller tells us that these cars have become too much of a burden to bear in retirement.  The cost of storage and the amount of work needed to complete the projects has just become too much to bear.  We are told that both cars are complete except for batteries.  The motors turn over in both cars, and the red 1968 model is equipped with the desirable overdrive unit that doing any freeway driving in today’s world almost requires.  Sadly, the red GT has been victim to a tragedy that is even more undignified than rusty sills.  It seems that a family of racoons took up residence inside the car for an unspecified amount of time.

The black car, which was formally blue, is said to have rust in the usual areas.  We are also told that it is the only car that has a title.    Other than that, we are pretty much clueless except for what we see in the pictures and taking into account the above the snow belt location of these vehicles.  Both cars would require extensive work to restore, and the costs of restoration would likely far exceed what they would be worth in the open market.

This is terribly sad, but brutally true.  Both cars will likely end up as parts cars.  While this eventuality would help keep another MGB GT or two on the road, I cannot help but think just how beautiful and fun to drive each car would be.  Perhaps there is hope.

Have you had to battle the dreaded tinworm?  Do you think these MGB GTs can be repaired?  Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    The hard top would be the only thing that would make the rebuild worth while. It’s a welded on structure designed to fit and provides all the strength needed to go into the lower panels for replacement. Problem here is lousy pictures that don’t show any of the rusted areas. That alone would keep me looking for something else. As for parts cars, the low price could be trimmed down to something reasonable and worth the effort.

    Like 5
  2. Craig Baloga Craig Baloga Member

    Agree with bobhess, just not enough here to make a massive restoration effort worth it…..yes, I know there are those who have the attitude of “save everything”….but in some cases (such as this), that is just not realistic.

    An exception may be if one has a large sentimental history with a vehicle….I have had that experience, personally.

    Best of luck to the new owner, enjoy our hobby! 👍🤓

    Like 3
  3. angliagt angliagt

    Good project cars for those who like a (double) challange.

    Like 1
  4. Robert West

    Anyone else think that the MGB engineers purposefully designed the rocker panels to rust like hell? Even well cared for examples of these cars eventually get rocker cancer.

    Like 1
    • luckless pedestrian

      Ya… MGBs and 2000s vintage Chevy Silverados…

      Like 0
  5. DA

    Five bucks for the mallet in the back.

    Like 1
  6. Gig O

    I’ll pass on this, had a ’66’ rag top way back when, had to pull the engine to change the clutch, spent more time under the hood than driving it. Dual carbs, 6 volt system, knock off hubs. Fun to drive, a bear to work on.

    Like 0
  7. Roger Stamps

    I believe roadster shells are available so that is the road to go down. At a recent sale a caravan full of MGB parts was sold very cheap, such bargains abound here in UK .I no patriot but I do like Bs as said the overdrive make a difference.If you have never driven a B try one and save these two cars .Regards to all Roger K.

    Like 2
    • William Ranker

      GT shells are available also from British Motor Heritage directly, but these are not cheap. I imported a GT V8 conversion shell in 2021. Due to COVID and the British “on tea break” ethos, it took 2 years from order date to actual delivery. However, you do get new, higher quality steel, that has been given the modern e coating process.

      Like 0
  8. The Other Chris

    The shell of an RV8 is not the same as an MGB’s, and they were not made from repopped MGB bodies. Though, repop’ed MGB bodies were made, yes. I think the door skins and boot lid were the same, or something like that, but it’s otherwise a completely different car.

    Like 1
  9. luckless pedestrian

    Maybe $1250 for both… but only if they were delivered to my barn… where they’d probably sit for years until I too decided I really didn’t have the time for them. Seriously, these will be a labor of love for someone… GLWS.

    Like 1
  10. Kelly Breen

    I have seen worse cars restored. If it were not such a nightmare dragging a car across the Canadian / US border there would be a lot less need to fire up the torches.
    Several companies offer sills and floors at a pretty reasonable price. The best part is the new steel is usually thicker and of better quality than original.
    The cars in this find are overpriced though.
    There is no shortage of near basket case MGB’s.
    The MGB is a great first restoration project for someone wanting to try a hand at this hobby.
    Simple mechanicals and a ton of aftermarket parts sources.

    Like 2
  11. Lawrence Smith

    I think a good price would be $1000 max for parts the overdrive is worth $400-$500 the engines maybe $300 eh,the rest is just a gift.

    Like 1
  12. Sandman

    That OD gearbox is worth about $750 if in good shape. That’s a good parts car for a grand.

    Like 2
  13. Lawrence Smith

    I guess prices have gone up in the last 20 yrs ,LOL, since i had my 2 MGBs
    Which i still had them, I now have a 82 Lancia Zagato that i restored,

    Like 2
  14. Lee Huang Seng

    I am interested to import this two mgbgt to Malaysia, can you arrange shipping by 20 foot container? Advice . All expenses will pay by me. thank you

    Like 1
  15. OldCarGuy

    Kelly Breen: I had an Avanti stuck in Texas, for well over a year, during Covid; was put onto a Canadian auto transport company, the car was delivered to my door in 5 days, no fuss, no muss, real gentlemen. Ask our host, here, to forward a note to me, I will supply the info.

    Like 0
  16. Lowell Peterson

    There ya go! Le Huang Seng is the man with a plan!! Lovin it!

    Like 0
  17. Michael Member

    Thes cars ARE great sources for every bit you need when building a kit car or restoring another B or the tens of other sports cars using the same hardware, if someone needs the windshield and other bits the price is worth it if you don’t need to pay to ship it far–that’s a big expense! It would be nice to know that the mechanicals are decent!

    Like 0

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