We need to put the MGB into rehab. For years it was polished and preened by old blokes in cavalry twill trousers and became, well, a bit fusty and traditional. If you drove an MGB in the 80s and 90s you were anything but cool. But behind the reputation as cars you detailed rather than drove are fine handling, easy to mend, handsome roadsters and GTs that are much cheaper than they should be. Go for a pre-69 car and you get wire wheels, pleated leather seats, crackle black tin dash, lots of chrome and a massive nautical steering wheel. MGB’s have this unmistakable bassoon exhaust note that on winding country road with the top down sounds glorious. We like MGB’s on The Classic Car Show and reckon they’re one of the few really accessible bargain 60s sport cars on the market today. Five grand buys a nice one and decent usable cars can be bought for as little as £3,000. Makes you think that.
And don’t forget the MGC and MGB V8. The MGC has a lusty 3.0 litre straight six and Buick’s alloy V8 powered version is also a cracker that’s good for 125mph. Both can still be bought for ten grand and are sprightly performers. And if you’re a fan of the 80s (like our Alex Riley) those rubber bumper MGBs with their striped nylon seats and strident colours can be charming too. Purists don’t like the British Leyland plastic but the 80s cars are even cheaper yet still have that famous MGB uncomplicated simplicity. Don’t forget too there’s a massive network of parts suppliers and specialists who’ll fix your MGB or supply any part you need right down to complete brand new body shells. Look on eBay and there are tons of used parts at really cheap prices as well. In fact, if you buy a good MGB in the first place, this is a very inexpensive classic to own run and insure and one that can easily be used as a daily driver. Just make sure you check for the MGB’s achilles heel rust – which if it gets hold of the sills and castle sections can be big money to put right. Most though will have had major body surgery by now, but make sure the work has been done properly with bills to prove.
Best buying comes from those pre-69 cars with their old school cabins and chrome bumpers – they’re the ones that look the best and will hold their value longest. The very earliest ’63 pull-handle roadsters with their three bearing engines are the most desirable of all and well worth snapping up as n investment. And, as I said on the show, the 1965-1967 tin-top GTs have become so rare there are only a few hundred survivors left in the UK. Find a fresh one in Grampian Grey or Old English White and you’ll have yourself a special, charismatic and snug 60s GT that looks a perfect period piece with an opening rear hatchback and a hint of Aston Martin lines. So let’s stop being horrid to the MGB and see it for what it is – a great, under appreciated British classic sports car that’s much more sinned against than sinning.