Launched in 1962, the MGB would become a success story and an icon with over half a million units sold until the curtains call finally came in 1980. In 1973 a 3.5 litre V8, produced by Rover and fettled for the demands of the sports car, was released.
It gave effortless performance that some had felt was previously missing, a road test of the vehicle in period saw a speedo reading of 127mph, and a 0-60 time under 8 seconds. Such power immediately created a feeling of sophistication when used on the growing network of motorways, but didn’t betray the original appeal of the MGB, the country lanes were still there to be mastered in a V8.
Advertised as practically the fastest thing on for wheels for under £3,000 in the original marketing campaign, the V8 took on competition from marques across the world that were infiltrating an area of the market that Britain excelled in. The key to the implementation of a faster model was inserting a larger engine that didn’t weigh so much that it would unduly upset the handling characteristics of the car, many at the time agreed the car delivered on this core value, with an impressive front to rear weight distribution for such a large engine.
Just over four decades of ownership have seen the car move sparingly. A note made by the owner’s wife in one of the handbooks of the mileage over thirty five years ago being was just 1,000 miles less than it is today. This shouldn’t be confused for thinking it has been left and forgotten.
The vehicle has received a lot of attention to its bodywork and mechanicals by the owner, but fleeting opportunities to drive it have culminated in it becoming a vehicle that is prided by its condition rather than how many miles the owner has put beneath its wheels. As these cars have become rarer, the owner, like many others, was reluctant to see it leave his stewardship, but an acceptance that it should go to someone that will enjoy it for all it has to give has finally made his mind up.
Due to the current owner retaining the vehicle for so many years with little intention of selling there isn’t a stamped book or row of invoices for each service, but the condition alone backs up the owner’s statement that the car has seen extensive attention. There are two packets of photos of the car receiving bodywork restoration serving as proof and documenting a place in time for the vehicle.
Among the paperwork for the vehicle’s mechanical maintenance are more recent invoices, along with receipts for previous work throughout the years that the owner decided not to undertake himself but let a specialist perform. An MOT was conducted in 2020 (400 miles ago) and it received a clean sheet pass.
Beginning from behind the wheel, we see the crackle finish on the dash has been redone and displays in excellent condition, a non-original steering wheel (original will be included in a box), and an original gear shifter. Scan your head around and the owner has advised us that the headlining, seat covers, door cards, and boot floor have all been replaced.
The interior still retains its original features minus the radio, which is absent but retains the correct wiring. Due to so few miles being covered and the dry storage the interior looks and feels as fresh as it would had if the work been months, rather than years ago.
A look down into the footwells showed excellent condition carpets and lifting them revealed solid bodywork, matching the exterior colour. Lifting the boot floor reveals the original spare wheel tucked away, a new owner may want to consider replacing the spare tyre if they intend to use the vehicle regularly. The key barrels for boot, doors, and ignition are all original and a key for each is supplied with the vehicle.
Look hard enough on any classic and you’ll find something worth mentioning, the best cars are the ones that force you to circle them several times before they reveal a blemish. UGN 3M was one of those cars, a minor chip in the paintwork on the bonnet and ageing original chrome bumpers were all it gave up.
The owner explained the extensive work that has been done, including new doors, not just the skins, but new doors entirely, new rear wings up to the join, and an underside that was treated and then sprayed to match the exterior colour. The wheels have been sprayed chrome, or silvered, as it otherwise termed and new headlights, along with nearly all the trim seals, except the boot seal which couldn’t be tracked down, have been replaced.
Delightfully, a real effort has been made to retain the original chrome work, including the headlight surrounds, two replacements came with the headlights when they were replaced and will be included in the sale but the owner wanted the fit and finish that only comes with the original items.
The owner also advised that inner, middle, and outer sills were all replaced and crucially the paintwork was done in one go after all the bodywork was completed. This was evident as the sun crept out from behind the clouds and a continued lustre to the paint was displayed without any disturbance between panels.
Reinforcing the care given to the car, it hasn’t just had a place in the garage, but has its own dust sheet and waterproof cover, a really positive sign, and doubtlessly why the vehicle was stunning to behold no matter what angle or light it was in.
Twist the key in the ignition and you are served up an immediate reminder of why so few of these cars come to market. The engine fires with an animalistic spirit before settling into a steady idle.
The motor was removed for some extensive maintenance after the owner noticed some rough running a few years ago. It was decided that Piston number 1 needed replacing and an original item was sourced. The owner advised that it then went on to have the head honed, two new camshafts, new shells, new hydraulic tappets, new rings all around along with an array of new gaskets.
It will come as no surprise that the owner has taken an active role in the mechanical upkeep of the vehicle, with one eye on retaining original items wherever possible. An example of this being the radiator, which he tells us had a new core, and the alternator, having received a new diode and brushes rather than be replaced when it demanded attention.
New hoses were evident throughout, and a non-original brake master cylinder was visible, but it was one of very few non-original items under the bonnet. An extensive amount of mechanical maintenance has been carried out on the rest of the car, highlights include new front brake disks, pads and calipers, new fuel tank, new engine mounts, and new copper brake pipes.
A few spots of oil were on the drip tray that the owner keeps beneath the car, the owner suggested this is quite possibly a result of the extensive work without being driven. The V8 benefits from electrical ignition and started immediately, the owner hadn’t fired it for three weeks prior to our arrival and felt it best to let us hear how it came to life from cold.
Each gear, including reverse, engaged without a problem. There was a minor squeal during low speed manoeuvring as the car was placed in different positions for the photos, however, a cause wasn’t obvious and the owner offered the fair assumption that with it not moving much it may be the brakes.
Four matching Uniroyal Rain Expert tyres were seen and both the clutch bite and brakes were excellent in their pedal feel during our time with the vehicle.
Standing in front of an MGB with the bonnet up and a V8 staring back at you is a precious moment before sliding behind the wheel. Yes, there may have been half a million MGB produced but the V8 is a truly rare car to behold. It isn’t just the sound of the engine or the transformation in character but it is the feeling that MG really wanted to give its customers an experience that decisively differed from the inline four.
The numbers of these on the road have dwindled from the already relatively small production number. Finding an owner willing to part with one, and once more, a brilliant example that is ready to be enjoyed is a scarce occurrence not to be missed.
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Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.
As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.
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