Well Equipped: 1973 MGB GT

Hardtop MGB GT cars were introduced a few years after the roadster model and have always had a kind of cool, Jaguar E-Type look if you squinted hard enough at them. What they lacked in wind through the hair motoring was made up for by better weather protection and a stiffer chassis. This particular GT is offered with an aftermarket installed A/C system which apparently needs a refrigerant charge to be made functional again. This car is for sale in Richmond, VA by the present owner here on eBay in a no reserve auction.

Originally an Arizona car, this GT has an older repaint and is showing some surface rust bubbling in the usual places like the doglegs and rockers but the floors look solid. The seller notes areas where the original red color is visible. The interior looks to be in good shape with leather upholstery, a modern sound system and that rather large A/C unit. The odometer isn’t operational so actual mileage is unknown.

The 1800cc engine was rebuilt by Mercer and Woodson in Richmond, Va. in 2017 and has upgrades such as electronic ignition, stainless exhaust, and what appears to be a Weber downdraft carburetor.  There’s also the desirable overdrive transmission and the seller reports that the overdrive is operable.  There are an estimated 1000 miles on the rebuilt engine.

This sounds like a great classic British car to either enjoy as is or to fully restore. The hard and expensive work has already been done for you.

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Being a hard top, that makes fixing the lower rust easier because you don’t need a jig to put the body in to do the cutting and welding. If there’s rust down low then looking at deck lids, window frames, etc. for rust and stopping it is a must thing to do. This has the basics to be a great car to restore to street level condition.

    Like 4
  2. Jcs

    Who is Robert Zatz?

  3. OldGTRacer

    When you see rust in those usual areas, it likely will need the usual repairs and these are expensive and time consuming…rust in the doglegs and the rails under the doors is critical as this is a monocoque and not dealing with it will present serious problems later.
    Previous post is correct. These problems often are result of water getting into the body from areas on top…weep holes in the body get clogged over time so water sits in the body and rusts it from the inside out…when you see this sort of thing, it means a big job if you do it yourself and a very expensive job should someone else have to be paid to do it.

  4. Christopher Gentry

    I personally have always preferred the GT to the roadsters. As I’ve become an old fart, AC is a huge unexpected bonus

    Like 6
    • Bill McDonough

      Has anyone here had any experience with the MG ZT260 powered by a Mustang 5L V8? I’m looking at one at the moment, but I have very little information to go on. Rover V8’s were used in some models, but the Mustang V8 is interesting and unique?

  5. Doug B

    I think I may have passed this very same car, being trailered on 95 a little south of the Richmond area, a few weeks ago while my family and I were returning from a spring break camping trip in our white 1975 VW Westy camper (and pulling a ’71 Westy Essen 121 trailer from which we lost a fender on the trip). My daughter’s initials are “MGB” and so we always joked about getting her one…and when she saw this blue one she was smitten and has been talking about it since. GLWTS!

    Like 2
  6. Rory Litwin

    I know this may seem sacrilegious to many, but I think these look better than an E-type. I have always loved the design of these.

    Like 6
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      I have a ’67 GT.The rear 3/4 view is,to me,
      one of the nicest looking cars ever.

  7. Bill Parker

    Brings back a great memory. I was a freshman in college and we weren’t allowed to have cars in the county unless your regular home was at least 100 miles away (1969, doubt if they have such rules any more). A buddy I had made did have one, a white MGB GT. One Friday night we were hanging out getting drunk and my high school girlfriend called and said there was a party Saturday night (hometown about 60 miles away) and could I get a ride. Buddy said he’d drive if she could get him a date. She called back shortly and confirmed a date. Saturday we headed up in the MG and he took full advantage of the winding and hilly state highway. I had been into drag racing and big blocks but that was one heck of a fun trip. His date was hot too so he was super glad he’d volunteered.

    Like 2
  8. Allen Member

    Yup, the B/GT is one gorgeous little car. I totally agree with Rory! It’s also more spacious inside than an E-type. I’ve had my ’73 B/GT since 1986 – and it’s still my three-season daily driver. Aftermarket A/C, and overdrive on mine too. 250,000 miles on it; I’ve driven it in at least 28 states and three provinces. It’s been coast-to-coast twice. Not just fun, it’s also about the most useful little car on the planet.

    Teach yourself to MIG-weld and you can fix the rust properly, and have fun and a lot of satisfaction in the process. Heritage and Pressed Steel panels are readily available, reasonably priced, and they FIT! The only time I’ve had a panel not fit was when the car was crooked. This car does need rust repair – soon!

    Also, while my first-choice years for MGBs would be ’62-67, the ’68-71 models have the Abingdon pillow dash, and the ’72s still had the black hole of Calcutta vacuum-cleaner grill. ‘74.5-80 had the rubber bumpers. That leaves the ’73 and early ’74 as the most desirable years, even if you love ’em all!

    Like 3
  9. Allen Member

    I forgot to mention that Bruce Woodson is a very highly respected MG mechanic and well-known active supporter of the MG community. His name on this engine rebuild carries a lot of weight as to the quality and thoroughness of the work. Conversely, Woodson enjoys a superb reputation for the quality of his overhauls. It would not be in his self-interest to compromise that quality. I would have every confidence in this engine.

    It might be useful to know how the seller broke this engine in, and following break-in, what the oil pressure is after the engine has been running at least 20 minutes at maximum operating temperature, running at 3200 rpm.

    Like 2
  10. OldGTRacer

    Bill; There is no such thing as an MG ZT260. The MGB GTV8 was built with the Rover V8 that BL had licensed from GM. They never built an MG with Ford power.
    There are guys who have fitted a wide variety of motors in the B GT and in the roadster, Fords included, but the only 8 that the factory put in the GT or the later RV8 was the Rover.
    If you are looking at a B with a Ford, it’s been modified to accept that engine. There is a vintage race car sporting just this GT and Ford V8 power and it’s a heck of fast car. Google Les Gonda to see some pix.

    Like 1
    • Bill McDonough

      Hi Old GT Racer. You are not correct. I have now seen an MG ZT260 sales brochure and a pic of the car I’m thinking of buying.
      There were about 800 of these built at the very end of the MG saloon production and they have a Mustang V8 installed, not the Rover V8 as I originally thought. Tomorrow I’m talking to the shop that serviced this particular car since it was imported into Australia. Thanks for your interest and input anyway. Bill in Australia

  11. Allen Member

    @OldGTRacer Read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MG_ZT. I saw one of these cars at the Heritage Museum in Gaydon. This has nothing to do with MGB, however. And of course you’re right about the BOP-Rover 215 aluminum V8 being offered in the MGBGTV8 in the mid-70s. In fact, the engine bays of all rubber-bumpered MGBs were altered at the factory to accommodate that particular engine. Among MGB hobbyists, the Ford 302 is another favorite V8 chosen for swaps. I believe it weighs but 17# more than the four-cylinder MGB engines. Somebody, clarify that for me.

  12. OldGTRacer

    Allen;

    You are correct, any number of people have transplanted Ford V8s into their B GTs, and the motor is around 20 lbs heavier than the 4 cylinder B motor. The Rover however is lighter than the 4 banger which makes it a great substitute as the weight/balance is actually improved by putting it in.
    A good number of people also replaced the BL 4 with a GM 6, which weighs about the same and give a definitive bump in power too.

  13. Allen Member

    OldGTRacer: fun bantering with you. Yeah, I believe the 215 V8 is about 70# lighter than the old B-series four-banger. Chevy 3.4 L engines too. Brian McCullough, dba BMC Motors does a lot of these. And now guys are doing MX5 and Honda S2000 conversions. But wouldn’t ya know it, even these “little” engines require cutting and “bumping” the MGB engine bay. ‘ Would love to do a swap on my ’73 B/GT, but I don’t want to cut into the car.

  14. Ric

    Rusty rockers are the least of the problems if the castles are toast. Turns a cosmetic repair into structural nightmare. Not for the backyard mechanic without a jig.

    Like 1
  15. Allen Member

    Well…pretty much agreed, except any rust repair on an MGB is structural. If there’s rust in the sills, you know the “diaphragms” are gone too. And yes, probably some damage to the castle rails and inner sills. I am a “back yard” mechanic and I have properly welded up several of these. Most of the time I find myself replacing castles as well as diaphragms, the inner, and outer sills. If the rust had already distorted the original shapes and lines, that would be beyond my pay grade, but on a GT, between the roof and the transmission tunnel it takes a lot of rust to destroy the original integrity. The strength can be lost, but if the integrity is there, you can brace it up firmly. If the Heritage panels fit, you’re good to go. If not, it ain’t the panels. I guess the trick for us backyard guys is to know when a car is too far gone to fix it without jigs. In which case, it’s too far gone to bother with.

    • Ken Buschur

      A very decent looking MG/GT. I have owned a ’69 and ’74 MGB coupe. Unfortunately, rust is a killer on these classics. If it runs well, drive the heck out of it till it falls apart, unless you have the patience, skills, and $ to fully restore it.

  16. ClassicCarFan

    OldGTRacer – there certainly is such a thing as a MG ZT260 with a Ford 4.6 V8. it’s just a much later product from the later MG company (or the company that continued with the brand at least) between 2003 and 2005. It has nothing to do with the MGB or any other MG from the old era.

    https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/used-car-buying-guides/used-buying-guide-mg-zt-260

    • Laurence

      Classic Car Fan: you are right. The right to use the MG badge was purchased by the Chinese some years ago. It makes the British think that they are buying an old beloved domestic brand, while the cars are totally Chinese in design, concept, etc. These “MG”s are also being sold in many other countries. The Chinese have found a clever way to overcome any “push-back” towards getting their cars on the world stage: buy the right to use famous old badges that have faded away.

  17. Rob C

    Unless you have the skills, the tools, the money that GT is looking at 10 grand plus of work rust repairs major and full paint.
    Someone or someone’s are bidding it up without knowing what they are looking at.
    Run away…

  18. Rob C.

    some????surface rust bubbling in the usual places like the doglegs and rockers but the floors look solid. The seller notes areas where the original red color is visible.

    The rust on an mgb is cancer.
    They rust from the inside out.
    This MGB is a painted over rust bucket.
    Calling it anything but that is a shame.

  19. Ric

    Oh the pain and busted knuckles! After owning a 51 TD Mkll, a 58 ZB Magnette, a 65 B, a 68 MGC and a 69 Downtown stage 3 MGC, I look at this and can’t run away fast enough. At this stage of life, if my car needs air in the tires, it’s going back to the dealership.

  20. Allen Member

    Rob, I fear that you are about right. If you hire it done, you might need to make that $15-20 grand. Even after all the rust repair is done, the car would need a total strip-down just to paint it right. I wouldn’t do an engine bay for less than several thousand myself. That’s a LOT of work.

  21. OldGTRacer

    Yes, as I wrote before but it never showed up in these replies Bill, it seems that the car you’re talking about was a later variant made by whoever owned the MG name long afterBritish Leyland went belly up. The difference between what most of us old farts think of as an MG and these later cars is significant. I know there were other cars made carrying the MG logo, but after 1980, they’re just not really MGs to me. So, yes my comment was incorrect insofar as what you are talking about does exist and was built commercially…whether it’s really an MG, well, in nameplate only.

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