1966 FRONTLINE MGB LE50View vehicle description
The MGB is probably the definitive classic British sports car. Built in the tens of thousands, few cars offer the same ease of classic ownership thanks to a huge network of suppliers, marque specialist and a plethora of owners’ clubs that exist to help keep them running sweetly and looking wonderful at little cost.
But please don’t mistake familiarity with contempt; the MGB is also the definitive front-engine, rear-wheel-drive roadster, offering everyday practicality alongside a genuinely sporting drive. No, an MGB is not especially fast but a well-sorted example handles so beautifully that they serve as a constant reminder that you don’t need a lot of power in order to have an awful lot of fun.
The MGB GT also forms the ideal basis for a variety of interesting conversions, modifications, and upgrades. Frontline Developments have been restoring superb modernized interpretations of the MGB (as seen on Top Gear with Chris Evans!), including the LE50 you are looking at here, which is a million miles away from the vehicle that left the Abingdon factory back in 1966…
The Frontline Developments LE50 is famous within MG circles for being probably the ultimate iteration of the MGB GT. Even though it had a list price of more than £60,000 for the basic car, few left the workshop in anything like standard form.
And this, car number 19 out of only 50 ever built, is no exception. Bought for one of his wife’s significant birthdays, they wanted something that looked like a classic car but drove like a modern one.
The MGB GT Frontline LE50 fitted the bill perfectly. As it was a gift, he didn’t stint when it came to specifying it, and the final bill came to an eye-watering £73,918.80. Yep, this is a £70,000 MGB. And yet, for those who refuse to compromise and for whom the best is only just good enough, the LE50 is an amazing machine; the Singer 911 of the MGB world, if you like – and looked at in that light, the list price is something of a bargain…
This example has covered fewer than 22,000 miles since being restored by Frontline Developments in 2014. Used as a daily driver in central London for a couple of years, it was also used for a pan-European summer trip, where the well-heeled locals in the south of France paid far more attention to it than they did more modern exotica.
Only used sparingly since then, it has been beautifully curated and is still very nearly as good as new and yet will sell for only a small fraction of what it would cost you to commission one to this specification.
The owner describes the MGB GT LE50 as a ‘mini Aston Martin’ - and he should know as he ran a DB7 Vantage V12 alongside this…
On the Outside
Finished in Old English White, the owner paid the extra to have Autoglym ‘Life Shine’ paint protection. It might have cost her almost £300 but we think it was money well-spent given how fabulous the car still looks.
Other than that there really isn’t a lot to say. The panel fit is to Frontline’s usual high standards, and the paintwork is pristine and almost completely flawless. Anyone who doubts the value of a £70,000 MGB should really come and take a look at this one; hundreds of hours went into the coachwork alone, and every single hour is reflected in the quality that is still evident all these years later. This is just one aspect of the work Frontline do that most armchair observers do not realise.
The painted spoked wheels add a delightful retro look to the MGB – and they are painted, you note, not chromed. When Frontline Developments does a job it does it properly…
That they are shod with matching tyres, all of which have good tread, goes without saying.
On the Inside
The Caribbean Blue interior has been impeccably finished by the guys at Frontline Developments who’ve spared no expense and left no detail unconsidered.
Take the seats, for example. High-backed sports seats, they’re taken from a Mazda and stripped to a bare frame. They’re then rebuilt and trimmed in Caribbean Blue Connolly hide (colour number 7607 blue…) with matching stitching and a twin-flute centre panel. The leather is the same quality Bentley uses, and the phrase ‘a work of art’ is overused but utterly appropriate in this case. They’re heated too, as is the windscreen; these items comprise the ‘winter pack’ that the owners specified when they ordered it.
The dashboard, dash crash rail, instrument binnacle, door cappings, secondary instrument panel surround, and carpet edging is all navy blue Alcantara (colour code 9980), while the corner pieces on the carpets, centre transmission tunnel, and the door cards are trimmed in the same Caribbean Blue leather as the seats. Neat, huh?
The headlining is grey Alcantara (colour code 2934), as are the A, B and C posts. The dashboard is a black crackle finish, and even the underfloor compartment in the boot is trimmed…
Even the little details like the seatbelts have been carefully considered. While no-one would ever have objected to plain black, Frontline Developments has used silver and blue ribbed webbing with aircraft buckles. This attention to detail ensures that you get a little shiver of appreciation every single time you buckle up – and that sort of everyday thrill is something that is, quite literally, priceless.
The boot has the luggage pack comprising leather luggage straps and rubber-lined aluminium runners. And a Bluetooth, high-power, 400W head unit. Plus additional soundproofing to make an already highly refined car even quieter.
The steering wheel is, of course, a Mota-Lita polished alloy with a wooden rim. Oh, and it’s got air-conditioning fitted, a nigh-on £3,000 optional extra. Yes, that’s right; you can now drive an MGB GT with air-con. Pretty neat, huh?
Of course, it’s been fitted with a top-end immobiliser as well as a hidden tracking device.
The owner ticked a few of the optional extra boxes, despite the fact that the standard LE50 is a very well-specified car. So, you’ll find a limited slip differential in the back axle, as well as chromed wheels with three-eared spinners, power steering, and keyless entry.
Other than that there’s nothing much to say. The two-litre, fuel-injected Mazda engine develops 214bhp and 175lb/ft of torque, so is much, much quicker and more civilized than the original. How much faster? How does 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds sound, along with a top speed that comfortably exceeds 160mph?
It’s more reliable too, and cheaper to run and Frontline has done its usual thorough job, which means that the view under the bonnet looks like it was always meant to run this motor.
The exhaust has been changed to a bespoke item that is quieter than the original. We haven’t heard the old one but can say that this one is wonderfully civilized but still retains a fruitiness to it that hints at the car’s performance.
One point to note; the extra electronics will drain the battery if it is left unattended for a couple of weeks. For this reason, the car comes with a trickle charger which will ensure that it’s always fully charged and ready to go.
The online MOT history shows nothing of concern whatsoever and confirms the car’s low mileage. The car comes with a number of expired MOT certificates plus a current MOT certificate that expires in July of this year.
Frontline Developments kept a photographic record of the car as it was being restored, and this album will be supplied with the car. The MGB also comes with a sheaf of invoices and bills to confirm the servicing work that has been done to it in the past five years.
Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been maintained to the very highest standard.
What We Think
Bought new in 2014 for £74,000, we estimate this low-mileage example should sell for between £35,000 and £45,000, which is stunning value given the engineering and craftsmanship that has gone into it. No-one does better MGB than Frontline Developments and the new owner can look forward to forging a fulfilling relationship with the team there.
Barely run in, the MGB GT LE50 is running perfectly and all set to provide its new owner with many, many years of faithful and elegant service.
Viewing is always encouraged, and this car can be seen here at The Market HQ in Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car, AnyVan for transporting it, and Footman James for classic car insurance.
If needed, please remember we have a network of suppliers we work with regularly including: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance, Classic Concierge for storing your car plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
Want to know how The Market auctions work? Take a look at our FAQ'sView FAQ's