MG MGB Club / MGB MkII / MkIII With prices of the best MkI MGBs from the model’s earliest years achieving prices of £...

With prices of the best MkI MGBs from the model’s earliest years achieving prices of £20,000-plus these days, what’s out there for anyone with a budget half the size? Thankfully there’s plenty of choice, with excellent examples of the 1967-on MkII and 1972-on MkIII (prior to the launch of the ‘black bumper’ look for 1974) readily available.

The MGB got off to a flying start upon its debut in 1962, offering extra refinement, a more upmarket feel and a bigger version of the venerable B-series engine compared with the outgoing MGA. The launch of the MkII range five years later brought an array of worthwhile upgrades, including an all-synchromesh gearbox and the option of automatic transmission for the first time. By 1969 the MGB found itself with Rostyle wheels, while 1971 saw a new recessed black front grille introduced, changed to chrome again the following year. By the time the MkIII took a bow in 1972, the MGB featured a redesigned fascia and various other aesthetic upgrades.

Under the bonnet of any standard-spec MGB roadster you’ll find the familiar 1798cc engine (pushing out roughly 95bhp DIN depending on year), endowing the car with enough performance to make it an entertaining drive. Running costs are aided by the MGB’s simple spec, impressive parts availability and reasonable economy. If you fancy an MGB that benefits from numerous upgrades but was built prior to the still-controversial 1975 model year, a MkII or early MkIII makes real sense – and remains one of the most practical and enjoyable-to-drive classics for the money.
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  •   Daniel 1982 reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    votren911 updated the picture of the group
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  •   Daniel 1982 reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    Glut of quality MGBs heralds a downturn in prices / #MGB-RV8 / #MGB / #MG

    VALUE 2012 £10k

    VALUE NOW 2018 £13.5k

    June auctions saw MGB prices take a downward dip. Barons dispatched a red ’1978 roadster with a chrome bumper conversion, fresh MoT, 43k miles and £1600-worth of bills for a giveaway £2915.

    CCA also had mixed results, with five MGBs all knocked down for tempting money. An as-new #1970 Bronze Yellow roadster subject to a total bare bodyshell resto made only £9350 – probably half the rebuild cost. A #1980 rubber-bumper GT in Glacier White with 5200 miles made only £9k, while an as-new 1980 GT in BRG with a tiny 1540 miles didn’t sell. Neither did a completely restored 1970 roadster in red. Even a nicely mellowed ’1972 roadster with Oselli-tuned engine and 20-year ownership made just £5740. Anglia Auctions struggled too, with no fewer than 14 MGBs. The best pair, both older Heritage bodyshell total rebuilds, made only £8904 and £13,780, eight others averaged out at £4600 each and two were no-sales.

    There’s tremendous value in MGBs right now. Over-supply is putting pressure on values and even very fine ’Bs are around 40% down from 2015. MGBs may be a bit clichéd, but they’re still uncomplicated, good to drive and infinitely more interesting than an MX-5. There could also be a softening in #MGC and #MGB-GTV8 prices. CCA’s 1970 older restoration MGC GT made only £12,320, while H&H’s very original white ’1973 V8 with 84k was unsold.

    Track the market carefully – a totally rebuilt MGB complete with new Heritage bodyshell for around ten grand is cracking value. And looking at today’s market, finding one shouldn’t be hard.
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  •   Quentin Willson reacted to this post about 2 years ago

    Car #MGB GT

    Run by Greg MacLeman
    Owned since July #2013
    Total mileage 57,893
    Miles since September
    2014 report 747
    Latest costs £200

    Each of our classics has an everchanging list of niggles that needs addressing, but some are more serious than others. In my case, they tend to fall into three unique categories of increasing importance.

    The bottom section of the Mac- Leman Worry Pyramid (MWP) is occupied by irritating details that require much less effort to fix than the inconvenience they cause – I call these Incidentals. The radio, for example, is currently hanging out of the dashboard. Then there’s the driver’s-side speaker, which tears off more of the doorcard’s covering each time I climb in.

    Recent starting problems also fell into this category. The cold weather we’ve been having had sapped the power from the MG’s battery, which seemed to be past its best anyway. A quick trip to Halfords yielded a calcium replacement, which should last longer than the old unit, and provides a bit more juice at start-up.

    I call the next part of the pyramid Significants – problems that are likely to prevent the car from passing its next MoT test. The main issue that I faced this time was a rear brake imbalance, so I got the car home – conveniently located next to the testing station – to investigate. Traces of oil on the offside rear wheel suggested a leak, so I removed it to take a look at the drum.

    As soon as the cover came off, it became clear that the hub seal was leaking and filling the drum with fluid. I didn’t have any new ones to hand, so all I could do was clear the debris with brake cleaner. Replacement seals have been ordered and I will be fitting them as soon as possible.

    The final piece of the pyramid is reserved for the most dire of jobs – Catastrophes. Unfortunately, my car has a few of these.

    The most pressing was the rot that I discovered in the nearside sill a while ago. I was in talks with a specialist repair centre throughout the summer months, which meant that things dragged on for much longer than I would have liked. Eventually, I had no choice but to get it sorted locally – and I’m glad I did. My local mechanic Vince – ably assisted by Bobby and Nick, who have looked after the car since I moved to Teddington – had the underside stripped, prepped and beautifully patched in no time at all.

    It was made particularly sweet when the estimate from the previous bodyshop finally found its way into my e-mail inbox – it would have cost well in excess of £900. With the #MG B now boasting a (relatively) clean bill of health, my thoughts have turned to the next driving adventure. Spa, Le Mans and Flanders Fields all featured on the #2014 calendar, so I’m considering somewhere further afield for #2015 . The AvD Oldtimer GP at the Nürburgring is always a draw, but I’m tempted by a trip to France – in particular the Circuit des Remparts d’Angoulême. I’d also like to visit the Chantilly Arts & Elegance concours again, particularly after getting engaged at the inaugural event last year.
    For now, though, I’m just pleased that the B is fully functional, if still a little tatty, which should let me tackle more entries on the MWP as the weather begins to improve. Who knows, I may even get to reach the crisp, rarefied air above the pyramid – Improvements. But let’s not be too hasty.

    ‘A local mechanic had the car’s underside stripped, prepped and beautifully patched in no time at all’
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  •   Quentin Willson reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    CAR #MGB-GT / #MGB / #MG / #MG-MGB
    Run by Greg MacLeman
    Owned since July 2013
    Total mileage 60,041
    Miles since August 2015 report 1571
    Latest costs £150


    The unseasonably mild end to 2015 kept the gritters away from Richmond and meant that my MG was pressed into daily service. It didn’t take too long for the increased mileage to take its toll, however, the main victims being both trackrod ends. I’d spotted their torn and perished rubber seals while topping up the lever-arms, so I popped over to Moss Europe for a pair of uprated replacements. They were fitted while the B was in for its MoT test. Despite the clean bill of health, I’d noticed an increasing number of squeaks and rattles coming from the car, many of which I’d pegged as a wheel bearing. Trivial enough to put to the back of my mind, until I reached the multi-storey car park by the office each morning when the racket would get much worse. So I asked Port – whose eyes lit up at the prospect of getting under a car – to take a look. Within minutes he’d diagnosed shot propshaft UJs, and by that afternoon – thanks to the ever-helpful staff at Moss – I had a new replacement. I spent a cold, rainy morning laying under the car fitting the prop, which has transformed its character. The ‘phantom bearing’ disappeared, as did most of the other mystery noises. Result. I could then finally enjoy the car again so, instead of driving my fiancée’s modern back to the family seat, I took the B. Five hours from Twickenham to Spalding wasn’t the dream trip I’d planned, but having the car over the festive break at least let me visit friend Mike Matthews. He rode to the Nürburging on the car’s ‘parcel shelf’ in 2013, and had just bought a house in the picturesque Rutland village of Ketton.

    The blast back across the Fens via Essendine, Toft and Twenty following an impromptu photoshoot went a long way to making up for the hours lost on the M25. I was so involved that it was too late to return the gesture when I noticed a wave from a powder blue, Spridgetshaped blur heading in the opposite direction. Sorry if you thought I was being rude. I even passed the historic home of BRM in Bourne. It wasn’t the smoothest journey, though. For the flattest part of the UK, the roads certainly are bumpy, hinting at an impending suspension rebuild. Better get the spanners.

    THANKS TO Moss Europe: 020 8867 2020;; Mike Matthews, for bed, board and beers

    Trackrod end was almost at breaking point.
    Fresh prop silenced the noisy drivetrain.
    BGT part-way through an epic drive along favourite Fenland back-roads during the Christmas holidays.
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  •   Quentin Willson reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Car #MGB-GT / #MGB / #MG
    Run by Greg MacLeman
    Owned since July 2013
    Total mileage 60,699
    Miles since March 2016 report 658
    Latest costs £460


    My previous report highlighted a problem with the MG’s suspension, one that I had been ignoring ever since I bought the car. Crossing Lincolnshire’s bumpy roads had the front end bouncing all over the place, while the offside dipped alarmingly during hard cornering – not really confidence inspiring. It was my mother who proved the final straw. I can’t remember exactly what she said after our trip to the shops, but she looked a bit like Will Smith’s finger-wagging mum in the opening sequence of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and had turned a queasy shade of Tundra.

    My first stop was the MG Car Club, of which I’d recently become a member thanks to a Christmas present from my old man – a fellow MG nut who sparked my interest in these cars a number of years ago.

    I ordered a pair of reconditioned dampers, which were uprated in firmness by 25%, and a set of sporty front springs that would also lower the car by around an inch. The package was completed by Super- Pro: the firm’s sales manager, Nick Beal, generously offered a set of polyurethane bushes after hearing about my refurbishment plans.

    Fitting them was not beyond my abilities, but time was running short to get the car ready for my wedding, so I dropped it off at Tomblins Garage in Pinchbeck. It has looked after my family’s vehicles for years and the chaps were happy to stick the B in the back of the workshop and work on it when they had the time. I could not have been happier with the result. The MG has gone from loose and rattly – and at times downright scary – to sure-footed and comfortable. I didn’t realise just how much road chatter, vibrations and crashes were being transmitted straight to the steering column.

    Unfortunately – if not predictably – the suspension woes weren’t the only thing that needed seeing to before the MG took up its weddingcar duties. The mysterious clutch problem that has haunted the BGT for the past couple of years was also a concern. Having exhausted my own talents, and the patience of the rest of the C&SC team, I took the car to MG specialist Beech Hill Garage to get its expert advice.

    It had been on the ramps for only a few minutes before the suspected culprit was tracked down: a worn clevis pin from the master cylinder assembly. The entire unit was quickly replaced and the drive back to Twickenham an utter joy until – just 20 yards from my front door – the lever once again snatched when disengaging gear and refused to budge from neutral.

    I reluctantly accepted that such an unreliable vehicle wasn’t the best mode of transport for the most important day of my life, so issued an all-points-bulletin for wheels.

    My prayers were answered by the lovely Lindsey Dipple from Jaguar Land Rover, who had just the thing for the job. Like the B, it was a twodoor coupé in British Racing Green: an F-type V6S. Had I been in the MG, I probably wouldn’t have made it to the church on time! The Jaguar wasn’t the only interesting vehicle involved in the big day, of course. My old friend Matt George offered his ’68 Volkswagen Beetle – a genuine Hermosa Beach car – to ferry my fiancée around, while his Triumph 2000 had lots of room for the rest of the bridal party.

    As fantastic as the F-type was, it was great to have the old cars around – especially ones that I’ve had so much history with. The drive from Stamford Methodist Church to The George Hotel was hugely memorable thanks to the Beetle. It was my first drive of the VW, while the 2000 is set to carry us on this year’s Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run. Clutch problems aside, I’ve never been more excited about a summer of classic motoring.

    Beech Hill Garage:
    Jaguar LR:
    Amy Shore:

    Clockwise, from main: even the Beetle’s smiling; F-type dwarfs BGT; Laura’s transport; fitting new master; sitting pretty on fresh dampers; weepy old ones. Inset: poly bushes.
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  • CAR #MGB-GT / #MGB / #MG /
    Run by Greg MacLeman
    Owned since July 2013
    Total mileage 62,494
    Miles since July
    2016 report 1795
    Latest costs £379


    I’m surprised that I haven’t received any hate mail over the past two years. Every time I write about my MG’s knackered clutch (and take absolutely no steps towards sorting the problem), I’m sure most of you are frothing with frustration. I was starting to get the same feeling from the lads in the office, too, and with a trip to the Le Mans Classic looming – and the memories of last time’s horrific journey home still resh in my mind – I eventually relented and let Martin Port fix it. He was by far the most vocal, so I assumed he’d run out of things to do to his Land-Rover.

    I dropped the car at his in-laws’ place with the trip to Le Mans just a week away, and we got to work draining the coolant. Or we would have, had there been any in the radiator. Port was unimpressed. Just days before, the car had failed to proceed when a leaking heater control valve shorted the distributor and left me stranded at the side of the M25. Despite a valiant effort from AA patrolman Jamie – not to mention an entire roll of radiator repair tape – the B wound up getting a lift home on the recovery truck. I raided Martin’s parts bin and had it working again within an hour – albeit forgetting to top up the radiator…

    After hours of enduring my help – I managed to get a spanner stuck against the block while undoing an engine-mount bolt – we had all the ancillaries removed and the engine ready to be lifted free. The coal fires of the C&SC website don’t stoke themselves, however, so I had to dash back to the office before we got to the exciting bit. Imagine my surprise when, just a couple of hours later, I got a text from Martin with a picture of the brand-new clutch fitted, and the engine ready to be dropped back into place.

    I couldn’t wait to collect the car and see what it would be like to finally drive it without the constant fear that it would refuse to go into gear at traffic lights. My enthusiasm was tempered after seeing the MG parked at Thatcham station. Or rather, the stream of oil sluicing onto the hard-standing beneath. Hopes that it was just a case of being overfilled were later dashed, and we suspected that it was coming from the crankshaft oil seal – even though you can’t get to it without taking off the flywheel.

    The only possible explanation – having spoken to a few experts – is that pulling the end of the output shaft out of the spigot bush has revealed some wear and disturbed it enough for it to start leaking.

    A couple of miles behind the wheel confirmed that a few drops of oil was a price worth paying. It ran like a dream, slotting through the gears beautifully and not once resisting being returned to neutral.

    Faith restored, it was all set for the convoy to La Sarthe alongside the Landie, Citroën GSA and Triumph 2.5PI – plus, among almost 20 others on the C&SC Reader Run, the beautiful Bentley T1 of James Millar – and the altogether more care-worn Volvo T5R of Mark Dunscombe.

    Past trips to the continent have yielded fantastic tales for these pages, from changing fuel pumps in the pitch-black Ardennes to limping for hours on three cylinders and threadbare tyres, but this journey was blissfully uneventful – the MGB simply rolled along for mile after trouble-free mile. At this rate, I might have to buy something else to complain about.

    THANKS TO Beech Hill Garage: 0118 988 4774; The long-suffering Martin Port

    Day one, 4pm: Port has removed the engine and sets about taking off the old clutch. By 5:30pm, he’d replaced the pipework, too.

    MacLeman trying to stay out of Port’s way. The new clutch was sourced via Beech Hill. Clutch release bearing was replaced, too. Fresh pipe from master cylinder to slave. Coolant leak shorted distributor on M25. Essential preparations for the Le Mans trip.
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  •   Quentin Willson reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Car #MGB-GT / #MGB / #MG
    Run by Greg MacLeman
    Owned since July 2013
    Total mileage 63,304
    Miles since December 2016 report 189
    Latest costs £938


    The second half of 2016 was never going to be easy for me due to an impending flat purchase. The difficulties were compounded by staying at my brother’s place in Sidcup, Kent until the sale was finalised. A sofa bed was less than ideal, but it was the lack of parking that really worried me – not helped by the MG’s MoT expiry date falling at precisely the same time.

    With that in mind, I took the car for an early test to ensure that it was mobile should it require any serious work. Sadly, it did.

    The passenger-side sill was the main culprit. After I climbed into the inspection pit, it became clear that the rear portion of the sill was little more than a crusty coating of underseal, feeling more like a damp Weetabix box than solid metal. I knew that there was a problem in the making from the outside, too, where the paintwork was visibly bubbling at the lower corner, covering an area roughly the same size as my open hand. The second issue was a failing wheel bearing – a factor I’ve attributed to the strange, intermittent noise that I’d heard while returning from Paris earlier in the year. On top of those woes there were a number of smaller gripes also needing attention.

    With ‘London weighting’ affecting hourly rates as well as pints, I opted to take the car back to South Lincolnshire, where a recommendation from a local garage led me to an excellent bodyshop. They don’t normally work on classics, but made a welcome exception due to me being – in spirit at least – a local.

    The MG stayed there for longer than expected, but the work was carried out to an excellent standard. Instead of just using a small repair section, a larger piece was cut from an entire lower rear wing, which was supplied by the MG Owners’ Club, while a repair panel was fabricated for the underside. The paint match is astounding, and if they’ll have the car back, I’ll definitely be putting more work their way.

    Despite sitting for weeks on end, the B burst into life at first kick for the blast back to London. A 70mph cruise was just what the doctor ordered, having been away from the car for so long. Not even the blinding low sun, salty roads and a faulty windscreen washer could dampen my mood. The car was pulling so well I’ve resolved to get it on a rolling road to see just how many ponies have been corralled by its performance mods, and to set a benchmark for future enhancements.

    I took the car straight to my usual garage to have the wheel bearing replaced, but by the next day it was clear the washer jet was the tip of an iceberg. A litany of niggling ‘fails’ followed, including an intermittent horn, brake imbalance and worn tyres, which, irritatingly, hadn’t been picked up on the MoT just 120 miles earlier. In the end it cost £398, but the B now has a clean bill of health – probably its first since the three-day week and certainly the first during my ownership.

    By the time the latest round of repairs was complete my wallet was nearly £1000 lighter, but things were looking up. The new flat has that rarest of London attributes – a garage. For the first time since moving to the capital three years ago, the car can finally be kept away from the elements. Before the paint had even dried I’d cut a piece of carpet to cover the floor, which will make working on the MG much more comfortable. There’s even a ‘spares mezzanine’ (as dubbed by Elliott), although that is currently occupied with decorating detritus. The only downside is a lack of power, which one rogue on Facebook suggested I ‘borrow’ from the ideally located security light.

    As well as keeping the GT dry and secure, I’m hoping that having a dedicated space will give me the impetus to take on greater maintenance challenges, as well as tackling a few upgrades. And if that doesn’t, getting stuck with a bill for nearly £400 certainly will. MG fanatics of South Croydon, I will at some point be needing your help…

    After three years living outside under a cover, the MG finally has a proper garage in which to shelter from the elements. Note handy ‘spares mezzanine’.

    Rear of the sill needed extensive repairs.
    With fresh metal welded in, the body is masked up and primed ready for fresh top coat.
    B is dwarfed by moderns in a local car park.
    Two new tyres were needed for the MoT.
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