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MGB experiences

I bought a new 1965 MGB in July of that year.
Tartan red with black top & interior. Kept it 8
years, and sold it because it was rusting rather
badly (northern OH). Never had any significant
problems, however I really kept up with maintenance
(topping off the SUs,cleaning plugs, filing &
adjustihg points, adjusting valves, etc.)And I must
not forget topping off the 2 positive ground 6V
batteries mounted behind the driver/passenger
seats. My only real complaint about the car was
it's rather ravenous appetite for exhaust systems,
I believe I went through 4 systems in 8 years. I'm
glad to see "new" MGBs being made with the Heritage
shells, although I'm not sure I'd be willing to
pay the $20,000, that a good one costs. I guess
I'll keep my '85 911 for the moment--but I have
very fond memories of the "B"


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,376
    Great little car, the MGB. Along with the Alfa Sypder or an old Miata, the best bang for the buck in little sports cars. And you can buy ANY part you need for an MGB, and you can just about fix anything on it with a minimum of tools.

    They have some tolerable weaknesses, but simple fixes are available. A single twelve volt battery replaces the two silly 6-volts, and new battery cables and fuse box takes car of 95% of any electrical problems. The engine is bullet-proof, the SU carbs as simple as a wood stove (3 moving parts!). Also the body is incredibly strong and well-built. If you need to take a hard shot in an old sports car, an MGB is what you want to be in.

    On the negative side, the heater controls are a pain in the neck, the top is a bit of a struggle (Alfa is a breeze)and unless you get the overdrive, the car is a little noisy at 70 mph.

    But a great handler, fast enough, economical and good-looking.

    None of this applies to the rubber-bumpered 1975 on up models, which are a hodgepodge of desperate, last-ditch engineering and styling, in my estimation. To be avoided.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,376
    This car is one of my favorite MGs.

    World first modern hatchback, by the way--stuff that in someone's pocket when they start bad-rapping this great car (out of ignorance, so forgive them):

    Here's a song about the MGBGT:


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  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 583
    british racing green convertable MGB. A most enjoyable ride for a young man or woman. It had tan interior and it sounded great - that tuned low growl that an MGB of that vintage distinctly has... When the top was down you'd be up in heaven. It had 2 six volt batteries hooked up in series...those brits, they thought of everything (wel'''''''''''''''''''''n considerably)...

    Today it would be an inconvinence for me to get in and out of a little two seater all the time, that's the only reason, though, why the miata wasn't bought last year.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,559
    Having owned two MG's, a 1962 MGA and an early 1974 MGB, I just don't have the same fond memories as some others may have.

    Yes, they were fun. The fun, however stops in a hurry when on a rainy night, the headlights go out for no apparant reason or the wipers quit.

    Once, in a friends MG, the thing decided to quit right in the middle of a dark, ONE WAY tunnel!

    The damm spring on the points decided to snap!

    If you don't think an old MG is heavy, try pushing one while dodging oncoming army trucks!

    You never know what an MG is going to do to you!

    Still...They do have an appeal to me.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,376
    Yeah, you have to address and correct the electrical system, but once you do, it's a great little car...they'll run darn near forever.

    Like I said, getting rid of the two 6 volt batteries, getting new battery cables and fuses put in, and switching to an alternator (toss Lucas generator over the fence), and for a few hundred bucks you've improved the car 1000%.

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  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 583
    rubber and wiring?

    One fact i've learned over the years is that a large rock is much heavier than it looks. Same holds true for an MGB. As iselhondas sez, they are whole bunch harder to push than you would think. Many owners of these know....
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,376
    They are strong little cars...really overbuilt.

    I dunno about the British back then...tradition-bound, I guess. I mean, look at the Rolls Royce from the late 1950s to the early 1990s. What a pile of beautiful, expensive and unworkable parts assembled with a wild eccentricity and lack of functionality that borders on madness.

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  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 583
    around here it's hanging on the wing of some airplane. Kinda scary, eh?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,376
    Well, luckily for Rolls Royce Aviation Department they couldn't get away with all the silliness they used on their cars, since the consequences are a bit more grave than being stuck on the side of the road.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,559
    These airplanes we fly on...Do they have Lucas Electricals??

    I'l rather walk!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,376
    Actually, Lucas Aerospace does make electrics for the 747.

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  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 583
    I do remember someone telling me that the reason why the british and french automobiles of yester year rubber/electrical went to pieces so fast was that they used natural rubber with no additives...after a couple of seasonal years (rain, dryness, temperatures, etc) developed cracks and dry rot..
    But in brake master cylinders???..?
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Lucas (actually, Lucas Varity) and all subsidiaries (including aerospace) were recently bought by TRW.
  • You are right...all Brit cars had brake seals made of natural rubber. For some unknown reason, the only brake fluid that was compatible with this was Girling "Green". If you used any of the brake fluids used in American cars, the brake seals would swell and leak-I used to know a Jaguar mechanic who made a living off redoing these ruined brake systems. Oh-I also remember that the Brits continued to use cloth insulation on their wiring, long after everybody else went to plastic insulation-this made for nice short circuits.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,376
    The Brits were so stubborn and slow to learn...look at the world motorcycle the 50s and early 60s Britain owned it, and the Japanese rolled over them in about 6 years and took it away, completely and utterly destroyed them in the marketplace in the blink of an eye. Unbelievable that the UK could have let this happen. And they gave away the two-seater sports car market at well. The last MGBs were pretty sad affairs.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,559
    Sad times...In order to meet the newly imposed bumber standards, they had to raise the car something like three inches which ruined the way the car handled. They also went with those ugly (IMHO)black rubber bumbers!

    They also smogged the engine down with smpg pumps, convertors etc... Thye ran like hell after that!

    Ah, progress...
  • In the English market, there is the really cool MG RV8 (with the Rover V-8 engine) and the MG F (small mid engine car). Both are fantastic looking cars. The RV8 is a "heritage styling" exercise harking back to the MG B and the MG F is a totally new and modern looking design. You would think with the renaissance in two seat sport cars that Rover (I guess now BMW) would try to Federalize these cars and bring them over here. I know that BMW probably doesn't want any competition to the Z-3, but I wouldn't buy a Z-3 (don't like their looks) but would buy an RV 8. BMW could increase their market share IMO. Any thoughts on this?
  • By the way in case any one is interested and loves the rubber bumper cars (I particularly don't), but anyway, there is a 1980 MG B for sale at Fantasy Junction in Emeryville with only 130 original miles on it for $19,800, FYI.
  • I've spent much time in Europe over the past 2 years and have seen many new MGs. They are very interesting, however, as you say with BMW running the show now, I don't expect to see them in the US.
  • Dranoel, lucky you to see the European MG's. Did you get a chance to drive any? I would think that BMW would want to improve their market share and revive a revered Marque like MG in the U.S. Much goodwill and press would come their way!

    By the way, that rubber bumper car I mentioned above is in Emeryville, CA (just over the Bay Bridge from S.F..
  • No, unfortunately I didn't have the opportunity to drive the new MGs. They seem to run quite well on the freeways though, with most traffic running 80+ mph in the UK and well over that on the continent.
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    I loved my two MGBs, even with their quirks. That soft aluminum hood (bonnet) was very vulnerable to parking damage from other cars and was a bear to repair. I must have bought 4 or 5 hood ornaments.

    I picked up my $1,949.00 US specification '64 in London to drive around Europe for a month before shipping it back to NY as a used car. What fun driving a stick for the first time and being on the left side of the UK roads with a left-hand drive car while trying to pass those wide lorries on narrow roads.

    Drove to the Abbingdon plant where they replaced my Hardy-Spicer rear end while I waited, because it was whiney. Traded that one for a '66 because of the "new" fifth main bearing and synchro down into first gear. What engineering advances!

    I clocked a record time of 1 minute 45 seconds for getting the erector set of a top out of the two bags in the trunk (boot) and snuggly snapped in place before the rains hit.

    Great cars until I graduated to the much more refined FIAT 124 Spyder in 1969. (One-handed top)
  • You've got me beat on top erection time, I doubt I ever got under 2 mins. on my '65 MGB. Another memory returned of my MGB days; I do remember increasing my speed in a decreasing radius corner and watching a Mustang that was following too closely, disappear in the underbrush, as he over-estimated his ability to stay with me---ah, yes,those days were good---
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,559
    Could those top frames ever pinch your fingers!

    Must have been a Lucas design...?
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    I just remembered another favorite feature of my MGBs while reading earlier comments about the battery location under the rear "seat". As I recall, those early MGBs were the only cars I've driven with an audible low-fuel warning system (much better than today's low-fuel warning lamps). Whenever I couldn't afford to put fuel in the tank and ran it down to the vapors, the fuel pump would start to make a loud buzzing sound. When I heard that buzz behind me, it was a foolproof way of getting me to head for a gas station for some $0.19 to $0.24 per gallon regular.

    I parked my cars in the garage under my apartment house where there was an angle change when you came up or down the ramp to or from the street. I remember that my '64 had no problems with that. However when I got my '66 it came with those newfangled "radial" tires (tyres). The radials had a lower profile which lowered the car enough so that my muffler scraped the concrete at the apex of the ramp. I took to carrying a pine 2x4 about 18" long, in the rear "seat". Whenever I went in or out of the garage I stopped near the entrance, got the 2x4, placed it in front of one of the rear tires, rode in or out on it and retreived the 2x4 before closing the garage door. That was just enough altitude to prevent my muffler from premature failure.
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 583
    I drive a nice low slung sports sedan these days. At the University last weekend, my 10 yr. old got on to me, "Dad, why do you slow down to a creep whenever you come up to those bumps in the road?"

    My reply began with and explanation of the MG's and Austin-Healys.. You know, it's hard to get out of the habit of hearing that muffler or tailpipe crunch....
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Posts: 140
    In those wonderfully carefree days of college I drove a 1959 MGA, a 1974 Midget and a 1969 MGC. In the latter of which I used to love to sneak up on TR6 and 7's and the 914 Porsches that were all the rage then. That big ol' 6 pulled like a freight train. Of course, it weighed about as much as one too, which made the C such an ill handling car in comparison to the B. Nevertheless, I drove it for 9 years--daily! Loved almost every minute of it. But it's the A I wish I had back. Not only are they expensive these days, but just plain hard to find....
    How much of a MG fan am I? My sons' initials are MG and TC.......
  • mgrmgr Posts: 40
    B or A? I know the A cost more, but my wife likes the A better. I think the B would be a better "daily driver". What are your thoughts.
  • dranoeldranoel Posts: 79
    I drove a "B" daily on a 36 mi.(roundtrip) commute here in northern Ohio for 8 years, with no major problems--however the salt finally finished it. Have only driven an "A" a few times, however IMHO the "B" is better.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,376
    Yes, I agree, the B is a much better car overall, and much easier to restore than an A as well. Of course, presently it doesn't have the value of an A, but it will, I predict, have similar value to A in a few short years. It's just about caught the C now, and some very nice ones are selling at close to TD prices. A really lovely A can run you $15,000++, so we're not there yet with B values.

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