One of the most prolific soft-top roadsters is the MGB which is commonplace among enthusiasts who still take advantage of its affordable price and genuine sporting performance. Journalist Denis Jenkinson called said it was “part of a growing scene of smooth, quiet, well-sprung, comfortable sports cars.”
MGB design was influenced by its predecessor, the MGA which raced and sold just over 100,000 units. Both cars shared the same inline-4, B-Series engine, and both provided stability as foundation products for MG. So much so, over half a million MGBs were built.
Styling for the MGB was a blatant ripoff of the Ferrari California Spyder right down to the taillights, kickup over the rear wheels and front grill which was only slightly altered. Had MG not charged the grill somewhat, Ferrari may have had grounds to pursue the design.
BMC, the then umbrella company of Austin-Vanden Plas, Morris, MG, Wolseley, Riley and Austin Healey, planned the MGB to be an affordable car which would appeal to the export market. As a departure from the MGA’s design, the MGB was made around a monocoque steel chassis. Such construction took considerable development resources, but made the car cheaper to produce.
Upon completion, the MGB was very well received and was thought to be much better than its predecessor. It had more interior space, increased visibility, better instrumentation and a remodeled engine.
Being released in the 1962, the MGB beat the Mustang by two years and got a strong foothold on the American Market. For it’s price, the only shortcoming of the car was the lack of hardtop or coupe version. Since BMC was keen to meet customer demands, the MGB remained in progressive development throughout production and a removable hardtop was one of their first considerations.
The MGB enjoyed a considerably long production run that went through a lot of stepwise evolutionary changes. The four-speed manual gearbox was upgraded to full synchromesh in 1968, a plastic and foam dashboard in 1969, full rubber bumpers were released near the end of 1974 and continued up to 1980.
Special Tuning at Abingdon prepared MGBs for works competition use and these included an AHT100H cylinder head with with larger valves
and front fenders made from aluminum.
The race records reveal that MG focused on American audiences by racing at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Factory prepared MGBs appeared there four consecutive times, and took the class victory twice but, only ever reached third in GT category. They also contested Le Mans with cars built up by Den Green and Knobby Hall in the MG “Comps Shop”. Furthermore, several factory work cars appeared in rallies such as the RAC rally.
The best result achieved with an MGB came at Le Mans. During MG’s first attempt in 1963, a specially prepared long nose MGB was driven by Alan Hutcheson and Patty Hopkirk. Despite being the last car to finish, it still won the 2.5 class as the only finisher, behind a Lotus Elite, Jaguar E-Type and a slew of Ferrari GT cars.
Other notable MGB victories included the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally where the Morley brothers achieved a class victory behind the winning Mini Cooper S. A third overall was achieved at the 1966 Brands Hatch where an MGB placed, despite being way outclassed behind a 7-liter Cobra and 4.7 liter GT40. MGBs also took a class victory at the Nurburgring 1000 and two fabulous GT victories at 1966 Targa and SPA 1000.
1967 MG B GHN3L102275 – sold for $37,400 Complete and Well-Detailed Restoration. Excellent Color Combination. Accents Include Chrome Wire Wheels and Headlamp Stone Guards. Highly Desirable Pre-1968 “Chrome-Bumper” Model. Equipped with Overdrive for Cruising Ease. Complete with Owner’s Manual and Tonneau Cover. Auction Source: The Amelia Island Auction by Gooding & Company
1964 MGB Roadster – sold for €10,764
We are advised that this MGB roadster was previously owned by Mr Eugene O’Keeffe of Dulwich, South London, who acquired it in September 1988. Purchased by the current vendor in October 1993, the car has been regularly maintained by Sargeants of Goudhurst (see bills on file). The odometer reading stood at 12,439 miles when the car was MoT’d in January of this year, and we are advised that this is possibly the total covered from new. Finished in green with black leather interior, the car is offered with MoT to January 2011, old/current Swansea V5/V5C documents and a quantity of old MoT certificates and tax discs dating back to 1998. Auction Source: 2010 Collectors’ Motor Cars at Goodwood Revival by Bonhams