1979 MGB Roadster

HIGHLIGHTS


• Dry-stored for the last 20 years
• Retrimmed interior
• Tax and MOT exempt 
• Lots of history

THE BACKGROUND


In 1962 the MGB was launched as the replacement for the legendary MGA, and was immediately a roaring success. Featuring great styling and the robust B-series engine, which put out a healthy 95bhp, it’s easy to see why it was so popular. 

It remained a regular sight on British roads for almost three decades, only reaching the end of its production run in 1980. To this day, it’s a popular choice among classic car enthusiasts and anyone who simply wants a great handling roadster, with good examples being particularly sought-after.

THE HISTORY


First registered in 1979, this lovely little roadster has been UK-based its entire life. The current owner purchased it in 2000 and it has had significant mechanical, body and interior work carried out to make it a practical and reliable classic with a dash of style.

The current owner has kept the car garaged and mostly only taken it out in dry weather, its main journey each year has been to Le Mans and back. In fact, on average over the last 21 years, the car has covered a little over 500 miles per year. In 2015 the car was declared SORN and had remained garaged and largely unused since.

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THE PAPERWORK


As well as the V5, the car comes with a large stack of receipts, detailing maintenance and restoration work carried out since the 1990s. The receipts and maintenance record stops in 2015 when the car was declared SORN.

While the car is an historic vehicle and therefore MOT exempt, as preparation for sale the owner has just put the car through a pre-MOT check where two relatively minor issues were noted. Otherwise it was given a clean bill of health. The current owner is also including two workshop manuals and a Haynes Guide to MGB Purchase and DIY Restoration manual with the sale.

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THE INTERIOR


Overall the car is in very nice condition internally. The dashboard, carpets, steering wheel and gear shifter are all in great condition, with only minor age-related wear, and no cracks or damage. All of the dials and switchgear function correctly, the only element of the cabin that needs attention is the window winding mechanisms – the windows rise correctly and smoothly, but are a little sticky when being retracted. 

The owner has fitted a new tan coloured tonneau cover. In 2001 they also retrimmed the seats and door cards to match, using a tan vinyl with blue piping to match the exterior paint. All of the vinyl trim, including the tonneau, is in very good condition with no tears or serious wear. A couple of the internal pop-studs that hold the tonneau in place could be repositioned to make it easier to fit (it’s currently very snug). The original black vinyl door cards and tonneau come with that car, should the new owner wish to return the car to its stock specification.

Inside the boot is a full-size spare wheel, which is in good condition. The boot itself is carpeted and in good condition.

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THE EXTERIOR


Finished in Pageant Blue, the car is externally very original. The chromework, bumpers and badges are all in good condition, with little evidence of pitting or tarnish. In terms of the bodywork, the receipts indicate that some work has been carried out over the years, including new front wings and sills in the 1990's, and most recently new doors were fitted in 2002. Generally the paintwork is in reasonable condition, but would benefit from a machine polish. 

We noted on inspecting the vehicle that one or two panels requires re-aligning, the boot lid in particular. But other than the passenger side lower rear wing, which ideally needs to be replaced/repaired, we did not see any evidence of corrosion.

The wheels are the original chrome plated Rostyle 14” items and are shod in 185/70 R14 tyres which have very little wear. They would benefit from a light restoration, but are generally in good condition.

It should be noted that the current owner has mostly used the car with the roof down, and the car still has its original fabric roof, whilst serviceable is a bit tatty and could do with replacement.

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THE MECHANICS


Mechanically the car is in good condition. The car fires up from cold well, running smoothly and driving well. The owner assures us the four-speed manual box, with overdrive on third and fourth, operates smoothly and well. We noted the temperature and oil pressure were good and consistent.

Over the years, many elements of the suspension and brakes have been replaced, as borne out by the receipts. The most recent mechanical work carried out was in 2014, when a new radiator was fitted along with new brake callipers, clutch master/slave cylinders and brake pads. In 2019 a new battery was fitted. Looking back through the receipts, it appears a new engine was fitted at about 58,000 miles. Which means the current engine has covered approximately 63,000 miles. 

In August in preparation for sale, the owner put the car through a full pre-MOT check and only two issues were noted – some play on the off-side rear wheel and corrosion on the off-side rear suspension strength plate. The current owner believed that the strengthening plate had been dealt with prior to his ownership by a plate welded inside the vehicle as shown on the photograph and that the MOT tester had not been aware of this work.

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THE APPEAL


MGBs have always been a great way into classic car ownership. They’re relatively simple to work on, they drive really well and parts are plentiful and reasonably priced. This example is no different, it’s a really solid little car, that’s already had quite a bit of work carried out internally and mechanically.

The Pageant Blue paintwork is a great colour for the MGB, suiting the shape really well and offering something a little different from the usual red or racing green. It’s complemented by the tan vinyl trim, which we think looks great, and is in very good condition. Internally, there’s very little to do to the car other than give it a good valet.

Mechanically, the B-series has always been a great engine. When they’re well maintained, they’re smooth, revvy and unstressed, providing a great driving experience. The unit in this car has been properly cared for and, for the last 20 years at least, has covered an average of less than 600 miles annually. So there should be lots of life left in it yet.

As the car has been garaged for the last 6 years, and prior to that has mostly only been driven in dry conditions by the current owner, it has resisted the usual MGB corrosion issues. Overall the car appears to be very solid in generally in good condition. With some work, such as a new fabric roof and a little bodywork, this could genuinely be used as a daily driver and would be a whole heap of fun.

There’s a reason these cars are so often chosen as a starter or daily classic – they drive fantastically well, they’re very easy to work on and parts are abundant. If you're looking for a first classic or a fun project for the winter, you’d be hard-pressed to find something better than this. We think there’s a lot of potential here, and we can’t wait to see what someone makes of it…

Notice to bidders

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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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1979
  • Make MG
  • Model B Roadster
  • Colour Pageant Blue
  • Odometer 21,242 Miles
  • Engine size 1798
  • Location Warwickshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
13 bids from 4 bidders
  • Ro•••• £5,000 22/09/21
  • Gr•••• £4,900 22/09/21
  • Ro•••• £4,800 22/09/21
  • Gr•••• £4,700 22/09/21
  • Ro•••• £4,600 22/09/21
  • Gr•••• £4,500 17/09/21
  • br•••• £4,400 17/09/21
  • Gr•••• £4,300 17/09/21
  • br•••• £4,200 17/09/21
  • Gr•••• £4,100 17/09/21

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