Summer Driver: 1977 MGB Roadster

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For a simple summer driver, look no further than this 1977 MGB roadster on craigslist, with an asking price of $3950. The seller indicates that he has purchased a Jaguar XJS and it needs his attention, so this well-sorted MGB is being sacrificed to keep the harsher mistress happy. A reasonable price and a long list of work completed in the last five years make this car especially interesting despite a few knocks against late model MG’s. The car can be driven to its new garage from Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania, though it’s running a bit hot so keep that roadside service number handy. Mitchell G sent us this tip – thanks for finding us appealing cars to feature, Mitchell!

We can complain that this car has rubber bumpers, sits high on its suspension, bore the brunt of detuning, and has a bit of rust. But if a buyer can accept the ’77 MGB for what it is – a fun, inexpensive, well-handling sports car with great parts availability, loads of club support, and scope for improvement – perhaps it’s worth a call. The seller has already attended to all tune-up items, shaved the cylinder head, installed headers, renewed some hydraulics, and installed new weatherstripping. The 1800 cc four-cylinder has clocked 115,000 miles, and rather than its original single Stromberg carburetor, wears a Weber. From the factory, output was about 63 hp. An all-synchro four-speed manual puts the power to the wheels. The seller does note the car runs hot, but that can be the gauge, a clogged radiator, a bad water pump, or about five other things. I like to use Water Wetter in very hot weather; a new oil cooler also helps; and I don’t like Webers so I would change that out. While I was at it, I would scrub the engine bay.

The seller purchased this car five years ago from a dealer, who repainted it and completely replaced the interior, the top, and the underhood insulation. The dealer also gave the car new tires. The Rostyle wheels look sharp, and there’s a spare in the trunk. The windshield is cracked, but apparently, the car comes with a new one; the courtesy light and high beam also do not work.

The car has a luggage rack –  handy for long trips if you’re going to carry the spare. In addition to encroaching sill rust, the door skin is torn at the mirror. It’s not an MGB if the door skin isn’t torn at the mirror! Best to weld a brace on the inside of the door to fix this – done properly it will never crack again. Die-hard enthusiasts loathe rubber-bumper MGBs, but this generation is gaining favor. I couldn’t find a cheaper late MGB than this one, and several sported asking prices in the teens. What do you think – worth a summer fling?

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  1. PwogMember

    Might be a good entry level car. Speedo sure looks out of place.

    Like 2
  2. crpetp

    Running a bit hot? Blown head gasket usually caused by overheating, but in PA, where it can get very cold–frozen?

    Like 4
  3. Tom Wasney

    Had a white 70 roadster for 5 years in my youth. Love hate relationship. Got a black factory hardtop for it. Had the car painted silverblue. Rust repair done poorly, rusted again the following year… Still like the persona of the little buggers

    Like 4
    • scooter8

      had a 66 rust bucket. i was young. enjoyed it! except when;…the rain wet my pants. radios stolen all the time. aluminum hood blew open on LSD(chicago) hit my riders head. no smarter after?….miss; the car. being young….bought a 74 TR6 later. had to aim at pot holes to get the wipers to work. maybe caused my trailing arm to break off? LOL

      Like 4
  4. Rufus

    The rubber bumper cars are one of the best entry paths to British sports car ownership. Because they have been largely looked over by more experienced B owners, many of them have wound up in the hands of folks who didn’t understand the difference in BMC upkeep and maintenance and keeping up a Ford or Chevy from the same era. This car appears to be one of those. The Weber conversion, while a lot less expensive than other methods of dealing with the emissions control system after 74, does little to enhance the performance, and IMO is just a stop-gap. The Crack of Death on the drivers door is a common problem brought on by grabbing the wing window frame to close the door rather than the arm rest, and while it’s a minor cosmetic issue, if not solved properly it will simply come back. The over heating could very well be caused by a head gasket, or a water pump as some folks have mentioned, but could also be the result of a preventive maintenance task, draining the block to remove the sludge build-up in the cast iron passage ways, a procedure most folks never perform. I guess my point here is that yes the rubber bumper MGB’s are a great way to enter the collector car hobby, but if you take the time to properly attend to the flaws that have been overlooked or handled wrong, these cars can be loads of fun for short money. Or, they can be like this one, needs help. RTFM!

    Like 3
    • Paul Root

      I’ve now had my 77 B for 22 years. I also have a weber in it, for about. the last 4 years. I had HIFs for a long time,but they just worn out. The weber is a better performance option than the Zenith Stromberg.
      It had the crack of doom when I bought it, my cousin fixed it for me the first few years I had it. Still good.
      I haven’t had any overheating issues since removing the ZS, and fixing up the temp sensor and fans. That was kind of finicky, but once solved, no issues.
      Mine needs paint, but hard to spend as much as it would cost, when the car is worth for what this is being offered.

      Like 1
  5. Paul Root

    That’s not a bit of rust, that is complete replacement of the outer, middle, and inner sills.

    Like 0
    • ben

      funny same last nome wonder if we are related ben root in fl

      Like 0
      • Paul Root

        I know nothing about anything before my Grandfather who was a butcher in a small town in Wisconsin.

        Like 0

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