Wednesday 27th March 2019,
Inopian

MG B Roadster 1962 – 1980

A straight replacement for the excellent MGA, the MGB arrived in 1962 in roadster form. It bore no resemblance to the MGA though it did use suspension and steering components from the MGA stockpile. The MGB was well received at a time when many British makers were producing medium-sized sports cars.

It was very well engineered and competed well with the Sunbeam Alpine, it`s main competition. The Alpine was prettier and better upholstered, making it a favourite with hairdressers but by comparison the MGB was a sharper handling car and generally more `hairy`. To pre-empt the `reader criticism` of my sweeping remarks I should say that the Triumph TR2 was a much superior car but cost a lot more money and the Austin-Healey 3000 was from a different planet. You know we do not indulge in hyperbole at Inopian!

So… the MGB was a generally a good machine. It`s biggest drawback was the weight of the B series engine. Later in the MGB`s life the unit was replaced with the Buick/Rover V8 to make the MGB GTV8 variant. The V8 motor was 60 kg lighter than the all-iron B series engine. Speaking from personal experience I can tell that with all moving parts removed the bare engine block is extremely difficult to carry very far!

This was a pity because the new monocoque design with front and rear crumple-zones was quite light, sadly spoiled by the heavy lump in the front. It went very well and handled superbly. The brakes were deadly unless the previous owner had had the sense to fit a brake servo. MG got around to fitting said servo a few years later. With the servo the brakes were impressive. In later life the MGB was modified and spoiled by the demands of the US market. Big, heavy rubber bumpers were the classic example.

The author has owned a lot of sports cars in his long life and it must be said, in retrospect, that the MGB was one of the best of them… It`s all-round performance and very cheap parts-supply make it a great classic to own. Both the GT and the roadster had their batteries fitted under the rear floor, not very accessible but excellent for weight distribution and keeping the bonnet line low. Early cars used two six-volt batteries in series, later cars had a single twelve volt battery. Even more difficult to change!

I will interrupt myself and advise the reader that if you are looking for MGB GT, MGC or MGB GTV8 you are on the wrong page! Those three cars will appear in their own chapters later.

Back to the plot; The specifications and upgrades of the MGB are manifold. I will try to get them all but it will take a lot of writing/reading. Nevertheless in true Inopian tradition I will grind it all out.

MGB MKI (1962-1967)

The 1962 MKI was a bit primitive but here we go: Three main-bearing crankshaft. Little shelf behind the seat which if in use the soft-top would not fold away. Wind-up windows with quarter-lights. Very small boot. Steel disc wheels (14 inch) with chrome hubcaps. Gearbox was 4-speed, no synchromesh on 1st gear. Simple dash, steel with black-crackle finish. Single stalk with little green light on the end worked the indicators and headlight flasher only. The dipswitch was foot-operated.

In 1964 the B-series motor was re-engineered. Five main-bearings were fitted to improve reliability. No appreciable difference in the MGB’s performance. Optional extras were overdrive on 3rd and 4th gears (not popular because of the dash-mounted switch.) Most owners fitted a sliding switch into the gear-knob, a practice that MG copied later. The MGB now had an option of wire wheels, either chrome or silver painted which really complemented the classic looks of the B.

MGB MkII (1967-1972)

The MkII had the all synchromesh gearbox with revised ratios. A Borg-Warner automatic was an option, not many owners availed themselves of that! A new tube-type rear axle was fitted and an alternator replaced the dynamo. The car was now negative earth. The steel wheels were replaced by Ro-style sculptured wheels and in 1970 reclining seats were fitted. In 1971 a matt black radiator grille was fitted and in 1972 the last cars received another change with new chrome grille with black honey-comb insert.

MGB MkIII (1973-1980)

In 1973 the fabulous design of the MGB received a facelift to align the car with US spec in form of hideous rubber bumpers looking like a bird’s beak. The interior also received new plastic and foam `crash-dash` with rocker switches. Headlights were too low for US so the ride-height was raised. This ruined the handling which was further affected by the removal of the anti roll bar due to cost. From here it just went down the hill all the way.

Mechanical Specification;

The MGB used BMC’s B-series engine, water-cooled with push-rods. This was a 1.8L 4-cylinders inline with 5 bearing crankshaft from 1964. Twin 1.5 inch SU side-draught carburettors fed the air to produce 95 bhp, 110 ft/lbs of torque and a compression ratio of 8.8-1 all of which resulted in 0-60 mph time of 12 seconds.

Chassis;

The MGB’s front suspension was of independent coil and wishbones and anti-roll bar. Rear suspension; live axle on semi-elliptic leaf-springs. Lever-arm Armstrong dampers. Rack & pinion steering was pointing the MGB into the right direction. Brakes were Girling discs (11 inch) on the front, drum brakes on the rear. The suspension originated with the Morris Oxford saloon by way of MGA. Unfortunately BMC insisted on staying with the horrible lever-arm dampers which were very high maintenance. Also the Oxford prop-shaft was used, resulting in long-term unreliability. The banjo rear axle (Oxford & MGA) was later replaced with a tube axle.

Overall the MGB is one the cars that the British automotive industry can be well proud of. It was a beautiful and much loved car not only in the UK but also US and now EU as well. It is a timeless classic that deserves it’s place in the motoring hall of fame.

MGB 1962-1980
 
 
Body Type2 seater roadster
Engine PlacementFront
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
Brakes
FrontDiscs
RearDrum
Dimensionsmminches
Length3893153.3
Length (1973-1980)4021158.3
Width151659.7
Height125549.4
Wheelbase231191
Cargo Volume249 L8.8 cu. Ft.
Engine1.8 B-Series BMC OHV (1962-1964)
CylindersInline 4
Displacement1798 cc109.7 cui
Power71 Kw95 bhp5500 RPM
Torque142 Nm105 ft. lb2500 RPM
Power/weight103 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed166 km/h103 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph11.8 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban10.427.2
Extra-urban7.836.2
Combined8.732.5
Gearbox4 speed manual+overdrive3 seep automatic (from 1967)
Weight920 kg2028 lb
Engine1.8 B-Series BMC OHV (1964-1980)
CylindersInline 4
Displacement1798 cc109.7 cui
Power72 Kw97 bhp5500 RPM
Torque141 Nm104 ft. lb2500 RPM
Power/weight100 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed166 km/h103 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph11.8 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban10.427.2
Extra-urban7.836.2
Combined8.732.5
Gearbox4 speed manual+overdrive3 seep automatic (from 1967)
Weight971 kg2141 lb
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MG B Roadster 1962 - 1980, 10.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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About Bev Roberts

Speed, the smell of hot oil, the roar of a straight-through exhaust and the scream of an engine at max revolutions. They have all been a large part of my life for almost 50 years. It is time to share my experiences with you, dear reader. Do you want to know more? Read on through my `Full Bio` and many articles.

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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.

In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.

As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.

At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!

When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.

I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.

Enjoy Inopian… it is constructed and written for you.

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