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Still an amateur-- what is an MG?



  • bocatripbocatrip Posts: 194
    The TR7 was absolute trash. The TR8 although realtively rare was and still is not worth all that much. It had a nice smooth V8 but was not incredibly fast. 1980 was the last year for the TR8. The year to own for the MGB is 73, which is the last of the chrome bumpers. There were actually 2 different bumpers for 74. The chrome bumper with hideous huge "rubber bumper overriders" and the full plastic bumper. The car was raised, fitted with a single carburetor instead of the dual sidedrafts (emission restrictions) and pretty much ruined. Although they made a zillion of these Bs, a rust free healthy clean car from 73 and earlier will fetch good money. The 73 is probably one of the strongest in value. The MGC was built in 68 and 69 to try and replace the Healey. It had very poor reviews especially for understeer for being front heavy. This was actually exaggerated, but the car was doomed from the start. The only way to distinguish the MGC from the B was a bulge on the hood to accomodate the aircleaners. It had 150 HP and was actually a real smooth engine. These cars can be found with an automatic as well. I especially enjoyed the GT Coupe as it was a relatively solid little car. Many MG parts can be easily found and again rust is the thing to look for. They rusted almost from the beginning.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Got my MGB, Orange with OD, from the depot west of London in
    May 1972 after discharge from the USAF. Ordered it from a
    catalog of cars for pickup in Europe and put 10,000 miles on
    it in just over 3 months before shipping it back to the SF
    Bay Area. Drove it until 1984, one trip to Colorado, many
    trips to LA and Vegas and daily commuter after getting out
    of Grad School in '75. Only two issues I ever had with the
    electrics was that the odometer quit at about 20k miles and
    I never fixed it, knew about what speed from the tach. Then
    this wire would fall off under the car below the driver
    seat and I kept a tarp behind the seat, coast to the side
    of the road, drop the tarp, lay down and reach under to
    give it a squeeze and slide it back on the connector, never
    even knew what it was. Best car I owned up to my current
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    I drove my MGB all over the USA. It was a fun reliable car. Can't recall that it ever broke down...but I do remember staggering back to the airfield all shot up a couple of times.

    To me, a good British car or motorcycle is one that "always gets you home".

    An MG can do that, but a TR7? Bring a five day's supply of food and water!!

    ODOMETER: I think there is a little right-angle gearset in there that always breaks.

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  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    I was poking around looking at cars that would be fun to have as an extra fun car. I'd been looking mostly at Miatas but there have now been a couple of "close but no cigar" MGBs coming by. Just needed more work than I'm ready to give.

    I might still end up in the Miata (an MG for people that don't want to do repairs...) but seeing these old MGs is pulling at an old famiar heartstring....
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • bocatripbocatrip Posts: 194
    The Miata will certainly not give you much grief. If an MG is what you want, just stay away from 1975-80 as they are underpowered, more problematic and certainly not as valuable.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Good advice. I like '68--73s the best. And NO Weber carburetors. The original SUs are great if they are in good condition. Webers will suck gas like crazy and are way too much carb for that engine.

    There's a great aftermarket for MGBs...more parts and vendors than practically any other classic car except maybe VW and Model A. You can even order up an entire new metal body! Any part you want, UPS two days.

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  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    There must have been a MG, probably some kind of general british speciality place, parts warehouse near my old UPS hub because we got all kinds of odd ball parts in. They were hub loads though so they probably came from one state over.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    There's a lot of them. I'm not aware of any part you can't get for an MGB---maybe some rare trim piece on a GT or something....

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  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Well, I have to differ. The Weber DGVS is a tried and true replacement for the dual SU's on the earlier cars (different intake manifold of course), and works well on later cars although the entire modular intake/exhaust manifold has to be replaced with the earlier style (or a header). It's a very popular mod and very little effect on mileage if jetted right. Not smog legal in may places of course.
    Sidedraft Webers, even though I have seen them on stock engines, are better left to highly modified cars with ported or crossflow heads.
    You can go fuel injection now (on the later cars) with the mod kit from Moss Motors (smog legal!). And of course if you really like to punish your wallet, there's the supercharger kits.
    I have to agree that looks wise the chrome bumper cars are better. The later cars have refinements that are hard to beat though, like power assisted brakes. You can always do a chrome bumper conversion and put in a lowering kit to get the look of the earlier cars.
  • bocatripbocatrip Posts: 194
    I remember the 69 MGC I had for a few months a zillion years ago. It was planned as a replacement for the Austin Healey MKlll that ceased production partially do to stringent emission regulations.The MGC also failed do to poor reviews and direct competition with the TR6 under British Leyland. It had the smoothest engine I can remember for a British car. It was nose heavy as the initial reviews of this car's intro stated, but it wasn't that bad. The engine had alot of torque. No one will know that it's a MGC other than the bulge on the front of the hood to accomodate the radiator and further back for the air cleaner assembly. I still think this car is undervalued, but it is extremely hard to find a real one. As with the MGB or any old car needing's better to find one that someone sweated over and spent all their savings on to bring to pristine condition. It's never worth the effort to restore. You will inevitably lose money and probably your interest in it as well.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    I've seen dyno testing with a Weber on a stock MGB only get about 3 HP and way less gas mileage. Webers are fussy and expensive, SUs are simple and bulletproof.

    Just don't see the point of this conversion unless you are tracking the MGB and have a very hairy motor in there that could a) use all the fuel Webers dump in and b) fuel mileage is not an issue and c) you have all day to tune it.

    Otherwise, big waste of $$$ in my opinion on a stock B.

    RE: MGC -- not easy to "fake" one since the front end/suspension are very different than an MGB. It's not just a B with a 6 cylinder stuffed in...which is why they are harder to restore....not many parts available and many parts are unique to the C.

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  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Are you referring to sidedraft or downdraft Weber conversions?
    The downdraft conversion on my 77 (DGAS, mechanical secondary as opposed to vacuum)is 100x easier to maintain than the SU's ever were and I won't even talk about the original single Zenith/Stromberg that was on it.
    Who worries about fuel mileage on an MG today anyway? It's not like very many use them as daily drivers now (unless they like daily punishment!).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Oh yeah, I could see putting a Weber on a '77, definitely a good idea to throw that Stromberg over a fence. Good move.

    People never understood SUs very much and I don't blame them because information was hard to get. But once SUs become familiar to a person, there is no simpler, easier, more trouble-free carburetor in the world IMO.

    The problem with Webers is that they are narrowly engineered. If you get them to idle well, then they starve at high speeds. So you get them to run great at full throttle, and they bog at mid range. So you dial in mid range, and they won't idle worth a damn.

    If you want overall great behavior throughout your rev range, you can't beat rebuilt SUs for your vintage MG, in my opinion.....and you'll get double...yes DOUBLE the gas mileage from a pair of "FAT" Webers.

    Webers always run fat, that's what they're built to do, and why they are so good on the track.

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  • mako1amako1a VirginiaPosts: 1,855
    Great hearing all this MG stuff. I always knew MGs were better than Triumphs. I had a 57 and 58 MGA. One would pass inspection but ran lousy and one wouldn't. I used to get the one inspected and switch windshields every inspection. Had no $$ and had to fix all myself. Electric fuel pump repair...sandpaper contacts, good as new. Wonderful fun cars. Bought for $200 in 1966 and sold for $200 in 1968. Now fetch $7500 and up. ps Body was made of some non rusting metal on hood (bonnet) trunk lid (boot), doors, rockers. Also SU semidowndraft carbs were great. Just twist off the brass top fitting and 3 drops of 3-in-1 oil every couple months and good as new. Remember positive earth? That got a lot of people. Good memories. Thanks, Dave

    2013 Mustang GT, 2001 GMC Yukon Denali

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Yes the Brits used to explain to us, quite solemnly, that they thought electrons flowed better neg to pos. I never quite got the theory.

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  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,580
    In the late 70s, we had this fella that had three 66 MGB Roadsters and at least every other month, one of them would be in for electrical problems.
    Most often, because he was trying to install some negative grounded accessory in it.
    One memory that comes to mind was when he wanted to install a "new fangled" cassette player in it.
    Since at that time, there were no positive grounded cassette players, we had to insulate the housing and run the ground wire to the battery and the positive wire to the chassis.

    Another time, he cooked the electrical system, because he took one to a body shop and they decided to do some TIG welding on the vehicle. They didn't disconnect the batteries and it took out the regulator and every bulb in the vehicle.

    I don't miss those days at all. ;)
    One of those 66's sits at my step brother's right now. :cry:
  • texasestexases Posts: 7,733
    When did MG go to negative ground?
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,580
    Boy, gonna test my memory on that one.
    I'm thinking 68 or 69, but I could be wrong on that.
    Had to be close to that though.
  • texasestexases Posts: 7,733
    All this MG talk has got me thinking, and I was wanting to narrow down my, say, '70-'71 would be good years if I wanted to minimize the odd stuff and the bumpers/pollution controls, etc?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    It would be good to avoid the models with the air injection pump but that can be fixed with little plugs in the head.

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  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I'd go for an earlier model if you can, say a later 60's. The most important thing to consider is rust. Check underneath real good. MGB's are unibody, once rust starts around the rear spring mounts your in for trouble.
    I have always been partial to the 1970, I like the split rear bumper, only available that year.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,580
    Personally, I like the early to mid 60's models.
    There are kits now to convert them from positive ground to negative ground and they really aren't that expensive.

    The early 70 models started to see the emissions garbage of the 70s and have several problems.

    One thing to keep in mind when looking, the dual carb set ups of the mid 60s were a bear to get set up correctly without the proper tools.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    To set the carbs, you'll need a "Uni-Syn" tool and a small wrench. Most MGs don't run right because the carbs are all worn out by the time you get them...the throttle shafts are loose and suck air into the mixture and screw it up. But SUs, once rebuilt, are very simple inside. I think there are 3 parts total in there. You can buy a book on how to take care of them.

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  • texasestexases Posts: 7,733
    Those SUs sound like older motorcycle carbs - any similarities?
  • Almost all MG parts are easily available. I'm rebuilding the SUs in my MG right now...Moss Motors and Victoria British offered everything I needed.

    I like the 1971-1974 MGs...lower ride height and fewer emission controls. And in the case of the Midget (my MG), it has the better engine than in later or earlier years.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Yeah, slide type with a tapered needle jet...

    That's right, you can get just about any part imaginable for an MGB. There's a fabulous aftermarket parts network. No waiting! Aside from a VW, I can't think of any other foreign car where so much is available so easily. You can even order an entire new body for the car!!

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  • You can even order an entire new body for the car!!
    It's true...even the body. Except for the 1970-1974 Midget, which has a prettier, albeit less crash friendly, rear fender design. But if you have an early or late Midget or any (I believe it's the same for all years) B, the rear unibody is available brand new!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    I think on the B you can order (perhaps in pieces) the entire body shell and doors, hood and fenders, complete. That's pretty amazing.

    And to think, they killed MG for the TR7. No wonder they almost lost World War II.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,634
    And they did lose their auto industry :sick:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    And their motorcycle industry :sick:

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