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

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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  •   Quentin Willson reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    TIME FOR REPAIRS BIG AND SMALL

    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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  •   Alastair Clements reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    #MGB-GT
    Run by Greg MacLeman
    Owned since July #2013
    Total mileage 57,280
    Miles since September report 144
    Latest costs £24.95

    WHEN ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE

    Upon receiving bad news most people undergo five distinct stages, or so say the men in white coats. The first of these is Denial, which I displayed with aplomb in my May report. After finding slight bubbling and cracking to the #MG s paintwork, I wrote: ‘I’m currently reassuring myself that its probably just the outer sill, and definitely not anything more serious.’

    Finally manning-up, I decided to see once and for all the extent of the damage, so put on my overalls and grabbed a screwdriver before jacking up the car to have a poke around. The wise old owls among you will have been able to see what came next from miles away: I gently stabbed the dodgiest-looking bit of underseal and put my entire hand through the passenger-side sill.

    Stage Two: Anger - mostly directed towards myself for not carrying out the same exercise when I bought the car.
    I’m only now entering Stage Three: Bargaining. So far, this has involved trawling the internet to try to cost the job, which it seems will cost me a minimum of £700 per side - excluding paint and finishing. The next stage is Depression.

    I’ve got an appointment with a top bodyshop lined up this autumn, so decided to take my mind off bodywork woes by focusing on keeping the car running. Which has proven tricky, given that the clutch problems suffered at #Spa and #Le-Mans have become progressively worse. It got so bad that I eventually decided to replace the slave cylinder. That was a breeze compared with bleeding the clutch, a task for which art editor Martin Port nobly stepped forward, and performed with aplomb.

    The car’s weeks in dry dock did offer me a great chance to carry out a few more improvements, chief among them fitting a Revotec electric fan one lunchtime with help from Port, Page and Pittaway. I was sick of feeling panicky every time I got caught in traffic, so decided to finally take the plunge. When the car is back on the road, I will no doubt be glad that I did - the reassuring whirr should mean that I will no longer come out in a cold sweat at the thought of tackling the M25.

    Despite the improved cooling, there’s still a big part of me that feels as if making improvements such as that to the car in its current state is akin to swabbing the decks of a sinking ship. I’m still a long way off Stage Five: Acceptance.
    It was clear all was not exactly well, but...

    ...close inspection revealed the full horror.
    Port in his role as bleeder of the clutch.
    Control unit for the Revotec electric fan.
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