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CATEGORIES (articles) > Donor vehicle information > MG > The MGB Story

The MGB Story

1966 MGB
Manufacturer: BMC
Production: 1962-1980
Class: sports car
Body styles: FR 2-door roadster
FR 2-door coupe
Predecessor: MGA
Successor: MGF
Production: 1962-1980
Engines: 1798 cc B-Series I4
Production: 1967-1969
9,002 (4544 MGC, 4458 MGC GT)
Engines: 2912 cc I6
Production: 1973-1976
Engines: 3532 cc Rover V8
Production: 1992-1996
about 2,000
Engines: 3946 cc Rover V8
1967 MGB GT

The MGB was Britain's best-selling sports car. It was produced by the British Motor Corporation and sold under the MG marque. Available in both convertible and coupe ("GT") forms, it was launched in May of 1962 to replace the MGA, and produced through October 22, 1980. A later run of updated MGBs, the RV8, was produced in the 1990s.

The MGB was designed (according to the original specifications) to cruise at 100 mph (160 km/h) - matching other far more expensive sports cars of the time. Unlike the A, and earlier T cars, the MGB used unibody, rather than body-on-frame, construction for lighter weight and cheaper manufacture.

At the time of introduction, the MGB out classed many far more expensive rivals in performance and handling. Although the 3-bearing 1798 cc "B-Series" engine of the original British models were quoted at just 95 hp (71 kW) at 5400 rpm, performance was brisk with a 0 to 60 mph (100 km/h) time of just over 11 seconds. US (export) models were considerably less powerful, especially as emissions-equipped models were introduced after 1968.

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).

Even today, running on tyres of the same generation, a 1962 MGB will corner better than a 2005 Ford Mustang, with a maximum turn rate of 0.96 g (9.4 m/s²) versus 0.85 g (8.3 m/s²) for the Ford Mustang.


The fixed-roof MGB GT was introduced in 1965. It used a hatchback body and was, for a time, offered with a V8 engine. The 1973-1976 MGB GT V8 used the aluminum 3532 cc Rover V8 engine from the Rover P5B and later Rover 3500 high performance saloons - in the latter substituting for a gas turbine design which had originally been planned. In MGB form with restricted inlet and exhaust manifold configurations the engine originally produced 137 hp (102 kW) (vs 180 hp in Rover forms) with full emission controls. This engine was later used in the RV8 in fuel injected form producing 190 hp.


The MGC was a straight-6 version of the MGB sold in the late 1960s as a replacement for the Austin-Healey 3000. The engine was a drastically revised version of the Healey 2912 cc six being accomplished for the new Austin 3-Litre 4-Door Sedan. This revision included converting the design to accommodate 7 Main Bearings, but also resulted in an engine that was shorter, enabling it to fit into the MGB's engine bay. It featured a distinctive hood bulge to accommodate the relocated radiator, and a teardrop for carburettor clearance. It got different brakes from the MGB and special torsion bar suspension. Like the MGB, it was available as a coupe (GT) and roadster.

The heavy engine (209 pounds heavier than the 1798 cc MGB engine) changed the vehicle's handling, and it got a mixed press response. The MGC was cancelled in 1969 after less than two years of production.


Interest in small roadsters increased in the 1990s following the introduction of the Mazda MX-5, and MG (now owned by Rover Group) capitalized on this by producing updated parts and body panels for the original MGB cars. In 1992, the company used these parts to introduce a new updated version of the old car. The suspension was only slightly updated, sharing the old leaf sprung rear of the MGB. The bonnet, 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.

Performance was good, with 190 hp (142 kW) at 4,750 rpm and 0 to 60 mph (100 km/h) acceleration of 5.9 s. The RV8 was a moderate success and paved the way for the introduction of the modern MGF a few years later.

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

Achieved overall or class wins

The MGB was highly successful in international road competition events such as Rallye Monte Carlo, Sebring and Le Mans beating more powerful expensive cars regularly.

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