MGB | Buyer’s Guide

MGB | Buyer’s Guide


(introductory music) – My name’s Danny Hopkins and I’m editor of Practical
Classics magazine. This is the MGB and this particular one is an MGB GT with the fantastic roof line,
designed by Pininfarina. The MGB itself can be divided into four different subsections. They either came as GT’s or Roadsters and they either came with chrome
bumpers or rubber bumpers. Now, within those four subsections, there are more subsections but, those are the four main ones
you have to choose from. They’re fantastic cars and they are very, very desirable, particularly
the chrome bumper cars. But, the later rubber
bumper cars, themselves, are beginning to creep up in value and that’s why we’ve got one here because that’s where the
bargains can be found. This particular one is a Jubilee version, produced in 1975 to mark 50 years of MG. I think it’s particularly good looking. I like the way that the
gold stripe breaks up the side flanks of the car. Also, reduces the impact
of those impact-absorbing bumpers at the end. The MG BVA wheels are
great in black and gold. It really is an imposing car. It looks great on the road, even with its slightly raised ride height. All rubber bumper cars had that. But, I think they’re a great package and if you’re looking to get
into classic car ownership, you could do a lot worse
than to start right here. Anyway, this particular car, is applicable across the range. It doesn’t matter whether
it’s a rubber bumper or an early car, the same rules apply, particularly when you’re checking on the body and that’s what I’m gonna do right now. The first thing you should do, if possible, take the wheel off. If you can’t, stick your
hand up underneath here and have a feel on the inner where there’s a sort of ledge halfway up. Feel around on the top of that. It’s an absolutely brilliant rust spot and if that’s gone, then it’s likely that the box section inside it is gone too and that is a big bill. You wanna come down here and
then check the seals next. MGB’s rely on their seals
for their integral strength. It’s an absolutely essential part, particularly on the Roadster. They also rust and that
means you have to check really carefully all along. If you’ve got a magnet,
put it in your sock, run it along the seal and make sure that it’s sticking to
metal all the way along. If it doesn’t, that means
there’s plastic in there. Again, big bill. Walk away. If you need any more reassurance, check the door gaps,
particularly on Roadsters. If the door gaps uneven, that means the whole car could have sagged and that is a massive bill. You’ll be into a restoration and I’d say walk away. Finally, the dog leg
section at the back here. Again, if there’s any rust
on the outside of that, it means there’s probably
something going on inside as well. You could be into another big bill. If you can, get your MGB up in the air. Have a look underneath. Have a look at the shatty rails. If those shatty rails are corroded anywhere near the springs,
that’s an MOT failure. But also, if it is corroded, that means that there’s probably more rust lurking elsewhere as well. You could be into a big
restoration project there yourself. Unfortunately, you’ve gotta
do it like that because, like most British sports
cars, the MGB rusts for fun. So, once you’ve done
your cold engine checks, you’ve checked inside the oil
filler cap for mayonnaise. You’ve checked inside the radiator to make sure that oil
and water hasn’t mixed. You’ve checked that all the
wires are where they should be and everything’s in a good condition. Check for any evidence of leaks. It’s time to get inside the car and as you can see, the MG BGT
has got a fantastic cockpit. Very atmospheric, very
simple dashboard layouts. This particular one has got a plaque here. These special edition cars
often came with plaques giving the car number because, this is obviously a jubilee. They’re produced in limited numbers, as well as the limited edition, which is the runout model in 1980. But, above all and beyond, the most important thing about the MG BGT is that you should use it and that’s exactly what I’m gonna do now. So, we’ll start the engine first. That’s a very distinctive
note that the MGB has got, that lovely, kinda long, long stroke, sort of throaty verbal. Again, some MGB engines
sound a bit tappity. Don’t worry about it being tappity. It’s not a problem. They’re prone to that. What you should listen
for is deep rumbles. Keep an eye out the back as well, for blue smoke as well. Worth checking in with the
person selling the car too, whether it’s been converted for use on unleaded petrol. Again, it’s not an alloy head. So, that needs to be done at some point. But, as long as there’s nothing obvious and this one sounds particularly sweet, no reason why you
shouldn’t go for a drive. So, shall we? The MGB should feel like a car that you should be able to
do serious distances in. It’s comfortable. It’s tight. It’s got a lovely classic feel. And it’s not slow either. Tight in the corners,
rack and pinion steering. It’s not going to feel vague and if it does, you need to ask why. Most MGB’s that you’ll
find will come with, particularly the rubber bumper cars, with overdrive. If it doesn’t work, it’s
probably a solenoid. If it isn’t the solenoid,
you might find yourself with a little bit more
expenditure on the cards. It’s worth, if I was gonna sell it, to have a little tweak if
the overdrive doesn’t work. On this car, the
overdrive is on the stock. You pull it back towards
yourself to activate it. On some of the later
cars, the overdrive switch is on top of the gear
and then you’ve gotta click it backwards and forwards. All in all though, it’s fun, it’s simple, easy to live with and in
the rubber bumper car, you will be in a classic vehicle for next to no money and that’s good value in anybody’s book. I drive an MGB. It gets me to work most days. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. (engine revving)

52 thoughts on “MGB | Buyer’s Guide

  1. Anyone considering buying an MG should consider the Lucas electrics; they were rubbish. I'll never forget when I was a teenager, and one of my father's friends drove his over after work (just a Midget, not a GT). When he went to leave, it wouldn't start. They spent the next several hours rewiring the starter circuit, because part of the wiring had melted under the dash.

  2. Great video brings up great points.
    Of course, we all know no other cars ever had problems around that time ….. 🙂

    The Lucas wiring required a maintenance plan of it's own sadly. But if you checked "things" most disasters could be avoided. Too many folk talk about Lucas without having lived with it and understanding that like so many things, it was needed to move ahead. All Germans are rude, all French people, all English call everybody "mate" and stop for a "spot of tea". Right…..
    To get a reality check, simply purchase a Lancia or Alfa from the same era, it does nothing to "fix" the MGB weaknesses, but will give a real sense of how much worse things could have been!
    The MGB's SU electric fuel pump had points inside the plastic end cover that dangled out there for the rain to attack and hence proved to be a weak point. The starter wiring issue, was I believe at times a regulator issue (Lucas). Simply fix? A Bosch. Or a simple fuse in the low side and a relay feeding the starter solenoid. All mis-designed by men who had smoking jackets, a wife at home and got suitably lubed up every night on VAT 69 whilst reading Practical Mechanics by the fireside in an ivy covered cottage.
    Ditch the SU's and replace with a Weber. The sheer weight of the SUs made the design questionable at best and the set up was too detailed for what should have been a simple hole with petrol squirted in. As a Carbratooter, SU/Strombergs had nostalgic appeal, but so did bubonic plague. The setting and tools required became an obsession to many, proving that the direct translation of the French word "Carburetor" equates to the phrase "leave it he F*%k alone!"
    The MGB roofs leak – always and especially when replaced with a brand new one.
    Rear windows are actually an opaque bulkhead. They will pass the white or blue following lights, but little else.
    The heater doesn't heat, but strangely….
    The engines overheat,
    Buy one with overdrive, it soothe the soul (and the bum)
    The doors split under the quarter-lights chrome locking bar (posh word for "little window").
    Braking requires planning etc…etc….etc.
    When young, romance at short notice even proves challenging without having a suitably willing, quite pliable and "no-limits" type of partner, as mistakes are inevitable. (the MGB would benefit from a fully removable gear lever in this respect, but this could hinder quick getaways when the boys in blue arrive at your favorite remote location).
    I loved the MGB. Mine was BRG, had factory steel wheels, 3-bearings (yuk!) and no tonneau due to Rally Style high back seats (like Recaros). I had an early (1963) bored to what I believe was the maximum back then, 2092cc. The police stopped me at 112 mph wanting to look under the hood. No ticket. Whew!
    Then I bought a later 1978(?) rubber bumper model, but did not like the way it looked. It was a nasty yellow colour (not the original "Primrose") and and the seats lacked "character". They were cloth. Nasty cloth at that.
    Love them or hate them, you cannot ignore MGBs. I am honestly considering buying a restored pre-rubber variant as my only/daily drive. I am an Englishman now in my early 60's and live in "Florida- Land of the fake everything". Body, soul and intellects included.
    Sure, my current BMW is a rocket-ship, but just does not make me "happy". Maybe I just need to get it out of my system and understand that memories should remain as such. Then again, I may just need to find a willing and pliable partner with a twinkle in her eye!

    Good luck to you all, as when all said and done, anything that can be fixed from a small tool bag you can keep in the boot/trunk can't be all bad.

  3. Was not styled by Pininfarina but Giogiori, and you could not get chrome or plastic, you got chrome only then later facelift you got plastic only

  4. Loved my '77 B. In the five years I owned it it burned through seven starter, two alternators, had two full-on electrical fires where the wires ran along the inside of the firewall, AND the carburetor came apart and leaked fuel – causing ANOTHER FIRE – onto the exhaust manifold. I was experienced with this car by the last fire and I was able to quickly put it out. The auto choke was a plastic protuberance attached to the side of the SU carb, and fuel ran up against the plastic wall. Vibrations loosened it from the carb, spilling fuel, etc. By then I had a complete tool kit in the trunk, or, as we uppity wannabe people say, the boot, so I quite literally rubbed sealant on the choke and tightened it to the carb with Lok-tight and pedalled on down the road within fifteen minutes. A couple of years later I replaced the SU with a Webber carb and it ran great. Had to sell it because the wife took issue with our baby daughter riding in that little space behind the seats. Miss that car.

  5. I drove my 1979 MGB roadster today. I bought it brand new in May of 1981; it was made, according to the plate in the door, in November 1979, and sat unloved and unsold in the dealer's showroom until I found it. I was only 23 at the time, and had just changed jobs and bought a house, so it took 2 weeks to find a bank who'd finance me. Anyway, I got my little green treasure, and after putting a thousand miles on it in the first week, determined to use it sparingly, keep it pristine, and when I was an old fud in my 50s suffering from my midlife crisis, I'd have my classic green British sports car, all paid off with complete service history.It's the only thing in MY life that is actually on plan, darn it! It had <28,500 miles on it, and it got its first dent two years ago when an earthquake threw a can off the shelf in my garage onto the boot (trunk for us Southern California folk.) The body shop did as best they could matching paint, but it was a sad event indeed. The car is simple to work on, is fun to drive through the winding hilly roads where I live, and I take evil delight during annual emissions tests when the young "technician" puts the FRONT wheels on the dynamometer.My car never appreciated in "value" the way I thought it would, but I can still get most parts needed for repairs, I can fix most things myself, and it is a stunningly beautiful little classic. I'm grateful I had a chance to get one of these brand new.

  6. I've just bought my 5th MGB GT , a 78 in Pageant Blue. I love them. This latest one has already been converted to unleaded and is in wonderful condition.

  7. Danny, I thanks for this. I think you need to get on youtube more! Your excellent at presenting and practical calssics on youtube would be grand!

  8. A friend of mine here in Oregon owns a1975 MGB GT Jubilee. He paid $5,000 for it from a guy in England about six or seven years ago and it cost him another $5,000 to get it here. It's real nice. He told me it's only one of two known here in the U.S.

  9. I still have my first car, a 1978 MGB. I liked it so much (and so did my mother, I bought her one). I now have both of them and a parts mgb I bought years ago for the Overdrive tranny. Such wonderful cars and great memories to be made in them. They are of an age where knowing what you are doing mechanically would be a great plus to owning one.

  10. i think the rubber bumper is only better liked now because no one does re chroming and if they do its £5000000000000000000000

  11. I quote “I drive an mgb and it get me to work most days” not the greatest vote of confidence there

  12. Key phrase at the end there "it gets me to work MOST days". I have a 78 rubber roadster and it has been on the back of a tow truck too often… Doing what the factory should have done, swapping in a ford 302

  13. My dad had an MG roadster when I was a young child in the late 70's. It was a play toy for us both, he'd use it on weekends and to autocross with. I'd sit in the driver seat and dream of when I'd get to drive it. Even tho he had a very nice and new turbo Porsche 924, I always loved that MG better.

  14. I’m in America and I bought a chrome bumper but rubber minibumbered 1974 MGB GT for 16 hundred. And there were only about 3,300 of the 74 GTs imported to the North America

  15. I love these little beauties, my brother however loathes them, they're cheap, quick and quintessentially British.

    How mad would it be to get one, specifically the chrome bumper gt, as a first car?

  16. One thing about the MGB is that there are still quite a few around, go to any classic car show and you will almost certainly see a few. So if you like a more individual classic they probably aren't what you want. Then there's the dodgy Lucas electrics, the relatively slow and noisy B-series engine, and lots of rust. It's true to say that they were probably no better or worse than many other cars of their era but the MGB has triple skinned sills that are very prone to rust and are expensive and difficult to repair properly.

  17. I bought my 73 Roadster brand new in August of 1973 has never leaked in the oil never has an electrical problem and it's been a great car

  18. I like the Rubber Bumper cars, but have a 64 pull-handle.
    Although the car in the video is in stunning condition, the jubilee model has got to be the worst looking MGB produced. Those gold wheels look awful, whereas they look great when silver and black as per v8.
    ……….. and those stripes……….

  19. I had an MGB 79 convertible. Loved it. Drove it on a long trip 2800 miles in Canada. Never let me down. My only regret, it didn't have overdrive. After a while it began to use a lot of oil….

  20. Tip #1 on buying an MG B: Inspect the wiring under the dashboard. Check for hacked, unplugged, broken, spliced, cut, or fraying wires.

  21. My first car in 1977 was a used MG. It was fun and looked cool, but it was not very reliable. It was also gutless. But it did make me learn a bit about cars.

  22. im 73 and drive a brg 1970 B roadster its the 9th MG i've owned over the past 49 years. 4 BGTs, 3 B roadsters a 1953 TF and an MGC. still love them as much as the day i bought my first one

  23. I had a 74 GT as a daily driver 5 years ago. Made the drive to work fun. Not so much fun in winter as the heater did not work.

  24. Here is the golden rule of buying an MGB. DON,T THERE ARE MANY MORE RELIABLE CARS Mazda’s Porches Merck’s etc

  25. MGBGT V8 the best of the lot the poor man's Aston Martin a real wolf in sheep's clothing if you want.

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