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The MGB is a sports car launched by MG Cars in May 1962 to replace the MGA and manufactured until 22 October 1980—originally by the British Motor Corporation and later by its successors. MGB production continued throughout restructuring of the British motor industry, and the parent company’s transition from BMC to British Motor Holdings (in 1966) and to British Leyland Motor Corporation (in 1968).

Originally introduced as a convertible ("roadster"), a coupé (the hatchbacked "GT", almost a shooting brake) version, with 2+2 seating, was introduced in 1965. The MGB featured a four-cylinder petrol engine. A derivative model, called the "MGC" featured a six-cylinder engine and a later variant, called the "MGB GT V8" fitted with the ex-Buick Rover V8 engine was made from 1973 to 1976. Combined production volume of MGB, MGC and MGB GT V8 models was 523,836 cars. A very limited-production "revival" model with only 2,000 units made, called "RV8" was produced by Rover in the 1990s. Despite the similarity in appearance to the roadster, the RV8 had less than 5% parts interchangeability with the original car.

The MGB was a relatively modern design at the time of its introduction. It utilized a monocoque structure that reduced both weight and manufacturing costs as well as adding chassis strength. This was a considerable improvement in comparison to that of the traditional body-on-frame construction used on the earlier MGA and T-type models as well as the MGB's rival, the Triumph TR series. The design included wind-up windows and a comfortable driver's compartment, with plenty of legroom and a parcel shelf behind the seats.

The MGB's performance was brisk for the period, with a 0–60 mph (96 km/h) time of just over 11 seconds, aided by the relatively light weight of the car. Handling was one of the MGB's strong points. The 3-bearing 1798 cc B-Series engine produced 95 hp (71 kW) at 5,400 rpm. The engine was upgraded in October 1964 to a five-bearing crankshaft in an effort to improve reliability. A majority of MGBs were exported to United States. In 1974, as US air pollution emission standards became more rigorous, US-market MGBs were de-tuned for compliance. As well as a marked reduction in performance, the MGB gained an inch in ride height and the distinctive rubber bumpers which came to replace the chrome for all markets.

The MGB was one of the first cars to feature controlled crumple zones designed to protect the driver and passenger in a 30 mph (48 km/h) impact with an immovable barrier (200 ton).

See: 1967 MGB 30mph frontal impact into a concrete block, Abingdon in 1967 (scroll down)

MGB Roadster

The roadster was the first of the MGB range to be produced. The body was a pure two-seater but a small rear seat was a rare option at one point. By making better use of space the MGB was able to offer more passenger and luggage accommodation than the earlier MGA while being 3 inches (75 mm) shorter overall. The suspension was also softer, giving a smoother ride, and the larger engine gave a slightly higher top speed. Wheel diameter dropped from 15 to .

Mark II

MG MG B Roadster
In late 1967, sufficient changes were introduced for the factory to define a Mark II model. Changes included synchromesh on all 4 gears with revised ratios, an optional Borg-Warner automatic gearbox (except in the US), a new rear axle and an alternator in place of the dynamo. To accommodate the new gearboxes there were significant changes to the sheet metal in the floorpan, and a new flat-topped transmission tunnel. All models are rear-wheel drive. To meet US safety regulations, later North American tourers got three windscreen wipers instead of just two (to sweep the required percentage of the glass), and also received a plastic and foam rubber covered "safety" dashboard, dubbed the "Abingdon pillow". Other markets continued with the steel dashboard. Rubery Owen ROstyle wheels were introduced to replace the previous pressed steel versions in 1969 and reclining seats were standardized in 1970. 1971 also saw a new front grille, recessed, in black aluminium. The more traditional-looking polished grille returned in 1972 with a black "honeycomb" insert. 1970 saw split rear bumpers with the number-plate in between, 1971 returned to the earlier five-piece style.

Mark III

1975 MG MGB (North America)


Further changes in 1972 brought about the Mark III. The main changes were to the interior with a new fascia and improved heater.

Early in the 1974 model year, to meet impact regulations, US models saw the chrome bumper overriders replaced with large rubber ones, nicknamed "Sabrinas" after the well-endowed British actress.

In the second half of 1974 the chrome bumpers were replaced altogether. A new, steel-reinforced black rubber bumper at the front incorporated the grille area as well, giving a major restyling to the B's nose, and a matching rear bumper completed the change.

1979 MG MGB (North America)


New US headlight height regulations also meant that the headlamps were now too low. Rather than redesign the front of the car, British Leyland raised the car's suspension by . This, in combination with the new, far heavier bumpers resulted in significantly poorer handling. For the 1975 model year only, the front anti-roll bar was deleted from the standard car as a cost-saving measure (though it was still available as an option). The damage done by the British Leyland response to US legislation was partially alleviated by further revisions to the suspension geometry in 1977, when a rear anti-roll bar was made standard equipment on all models.

US emissions regulations also reduced horsepower, and by the time of the B's demise in 1980, performance was decidedly lacklustre.

MGB GT

The fixed-roof MGB GT was introduced in October 1965 and production continued until 1980, although export to the US ceased in 1974. The MGB GT sported a Pininfarina-designed hatchback body. The new configuration was a 2+2 design with a right-angled rear bench seat and more luggage space than in the roadster. Relatively few components differed, although the MGB GT did receive different suspension springs and anti-roll bars and a different windscreen which was more easily and inexpensively serviceable. Early prototypes such as the MGB Berlinette produced by the Belgian coach builder Jacques Coune utilized a raised windscreen in order to accommodate the fastback.

Acceleration of the GT was slightly slower than that of the roadster due to its increased weight, though handling improved due to significantly increased chassis rigidity and perhaps slightly better weight distribution. Top speed improved by 5 mph (8 km/h) to 105 mph (170 km/h) due to better aerodynamics.

This model is also the subject of a song, 'MGB-GT', by the British singer-songwriter, Richard Thompson

MGC

The MGC was a 2912 cc, straight-6 version of the MGB sold from 1967 through to 1969 with some sales running on into 1970, and given the code ADO52. It was intended as a replacement for the Austin-Healey 3000 which would have been ADO51 but in that form, never got beyond the design proposal stage. The first engine to be considered was an Australian-designed six cylinder version of the BMC B-Series but the production versions used a 7 main bearing development of the Morris Engines designed C-Series that was also to be used for the new Austin 3-litre 4-Door saloon. In the twin SU carburettor form used in the MGC the engine produced at 5250 rpm. The body shell needed considerable revision around the engine bay and to the floor pan, but externally the only differences were a distinctive bonnet bulge to accommodate the relocated radiator and a teardrop for carburettor clearance. It had different brakes from the MGB, 15 inch wheels, a lower geared rack and pinion and special torsion bar suspension with telescopic dampers. Like the MGB, it was available as a coupé (GT) and roadster. An overdrive gearbox or three-speed automatic gearbox were available as options. The car was capable of 120 mph (193 km/h) and a 0–60 mph time of 10.0 seconds.

The heavy engine (209 lb heavier than the 1798 cc MGB engine) and new suspension changed the vehicle's handling, and it received a very mixed response in the automotive press. The MGC was cancelled in 1969 after less than two years of production. Today the car is considered very collectible and the main causes of the poor reputation relating to handling have in the main been overcome by better tyres and subtle modification of suspension settings. Simple tuning of the under developed straight six is also common and simple modifications to head, exhaust and cam release aprox 30% more power and torque than orgininalAt the time of the car's launch the manufacturers stated that the Austin-Healey 3000 would continue to be offered as a parallel model, but priced on the domestic market at £1,126 at a time when the MGC came with a recommended sticker price of only £1,102. The statement seems to have been made in order to avoid having to sell off slow moving inventory cars at second hand prices, since Austin-Healey 3000 production ended with the launch of the MG MGC in 1967.

In 1969 HRH Prince Charles took delivery of an MGC GT (SGY 766F), which he passed down to Prince William 30 years later.

MGB GT V8

MG began offering the MGB GT V8 in 1973 utilising the ubiquitous aluminium-block 3528 cc Rover V8 engine, first fitted to the Rover P5B. This engine had been used in the A-body platform Buick Special and Oldsmobile F-85 and was the lightest mass-production V8 in the world, with a dry weight of only , and was about lighter than its 4-cylinder counterpart by the MOWOG (Morris-Wolseley Garages) foundry. Some improvements were made by MG-Rover, and the engine found a long-lived niche in the British motor industry. These cars were similar to those already being produced in significant volume by tuner Ken Costello. MG even contracted Costello to build them a prototype MGB GT V8. However, the powerful engine used by Costello for his conversions was replaced for production by MG with a more modestly tuned version producing only 137 bhp(102 kW) at 5000 rpm. But of torque helped it hit in around 8 seconds, and go on to a respectable top speed.

By virtue of its aluminium cylinder block and heads, the Rover V8 engine actually weighed approximately forty pounds less than MG's iron four cylinder. Unlike the MGC, the V8 that provided the MGB GT V8's increased power and torque did not require significant chassis changes or sacrificed handling.

1975–76 MGB GT V8


Only GT versions of the V8-powered MGB were produced by the factory. Production ended in 1976.

MG never attempted to export the MGB GT V8 to the United States. They chose not to develop a left-hand-drive version or to seek US air pollution emission certification of the MGB GT V8, although the Rover V8 engine was offered in US-bound Rover models throughout the same period and beyond. British Leyland Motor Corporation management cited insufficient production capacity to support anticipated demand for the V8 engine in MGB GT, so they priced the MGB GT V8 high.

The MGB GT V8 was very warmly received by the automotive press, but British Leyland Motor Corporation was reportedly concerned that the MGB GT V8 would overshadow their other products, including the more expensive and less powerful Triumph Stag.

RV8

Interest in small roadsters increased in the 1990s following the introduction of the Mazda MX-5, and MG (now owned by Rover Group) capitalised on this in 1992 by producing new body panels to create an updated version of the old car. The suspension was only slightly updated, sharing the old leaf sprung rear of the MGB. The boot lid and doors were shared with the original car, as were the rear drum brakes. However, the engine was the respected aluminum Rover V8, previously used in the MGB GT V8. A limited-slip differential was also fitted.

The interior was built to luxury standards, featuring veneered burr elm woodwork and Connolly Leather.

Performance was good, with 190 bhp (142 kW) at 4,750 rpm and 0–60 mph (96 km/h) in 5.9 s. Largely due to the rear drum brakes and rear leaf springs (perceived to be too old fashioned for a modern performance car), the RV8 was not popular with road testers at the time. However, this did not prevent the RV8 from being a moderate sales success, and it paved the way for the introduction of the modern MGF a few years later.

It also capitalised on an interest in British products in Japanmarker. A sizeable chunk of MG RV8 production went to that country.

Racing performance

Overall or class wins

The MGB was highly successful in international road competition events such as the Monte Carlo Rally. In 1964 it won the GT category, Sebring, the Spa 1000 km and the 1963, 1964 and 1965 Le Mans 24 hourmarker beating more powerful cars in the process.

Today

The MGB survives in great numbers, thanks to interchangeability and availabilty of parts from the main MG specialists such as 'Moss Europe' and 'MG World Uk', mass appeal, and a supportive owners' club. Pricewise, MGB MkIIIs tend to be the cheapest, with MGB GT V8s being the most expensive on the market.

Gallery

Image:Mgb-mgguru-web-332-300x225.jpg|1967 MGB Roadster US Version – Last Year of Pos GroundImage:MGB Roadster 1972 Interior left.jpg|MGB Roadster 1972 InteriorImage:MGB Roadster 1973.JPG|MGB Roadster 1973 UKImage:'79 MG MGB Roadster (Hudson).JPG|1979 MG MGB (North America)Image:'80 MG MGB Roadster (Hudson).JPG|Early 1970s MG MGB (North America)Image:'77 MG MGB Roadster (Hudson).JPG|1977 North America-spec MG MGBImage:'73 MG MGB Roadster (Hudson).JPG|1973 MG MGB roadster (North America)

References

  1. http://www.mgcars.org.uk/mgcc/sf/990906.htm
  2. Presenting the MG RV8 at mgrv8.com




External links


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