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1980 MG B GT 'V8'

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1980 MG B GT 'V8'

Background

RESERVE LOWERED

In production for nearly twenty years, the MG B was first introduced to the world in 1962, and remains one of the most iconic and best-loved British sports cars to ever hit the road. The B GT was introduced in 1965 as a 2+2 sports coupé, and remained in production for 15 years until 1980, offering additional practicality and all-weather motoring.

While the standard B GT models were powered by a B-series inline-four engine, the most exciting variant was undeniably the 3.5-litre light-alloy V8 variants. Offering 137bhp on tap, the V8 model was able to complete the 0-62 sprint in a respectable 7.7 seconds, and go on to a quoted top speed of 125mph. Most importantly, despite the additional power offered by the V8 engine, the weight was almost identical to that of the six-cylinder models, making the B GT V8 a true classic ‘pocket rocket’ in all senses.

With over 500,000 MG Bs produced in their various guises, the availability of parts, knowledgeable ownership clubs and enthusiastic fan base ensures that the ‘B’ in all its variants is an excellent way in to classic car ownership. It is also this abundance of knowledge and parts that allows owners to customise their MG B to their taste, which is exactly what has happened with this gorgeous, restored and highly customised example.

The Vehicle

First registered in 1980 and out-shopped as a later rubber-bumper variant, this MG B GT has been extensively backdated, overhauled and transformed into a full V8-spec B GT, with the work carried out to an extremely high standard and with a specification that would make bona-fide V8 owners blush.

With the build beginning on 29 September 2013 and culminating on 02 January 2019, it’s safe to say this was a real labour of love, and no stone has been left unturned by the expert who carried out the re-build work.

Such is the depth of the rebuild, that all running gear has been replaced or rebuilt, meaning the odometer was reset to 0 at the completion of the build, and the car has only chalked up 1,861 miles since completion.

Alongside the fitment of the Rover 3.5-litre V8 engine, an injection camshaft has also been fitted, new timing gears and chains, honed bores, undersized (10 thou) crank for both main and big end bearings, new piston rings, high-capacity oil pump, 13-row oil cooler, mallory distributor with electronic ignition conversion and sports coil, high-torque starter motor, Edelbrock carburettor, low-rise manifold and low-profile air filters have all also been fitted. The exhaust system is a stainless steel item, with ‘block hugger’ manifolds to help keep things tidy.

The carburettor has been correctly set up and jetted, a facet fuel pump helps keep the engine fed, and a pressure gauge has been fitted on the carb inlet to help monitor the car’s behaviour.

In order to keep everything cool, an MGB GT V8 radiator has been sourced and a set of electronic cooling fans fitted, which are activated automatically and ‘4 Life’ coolant has been used.

Underneath, the LT 77 five-speed gearbox has been rebuilt and fitted with an SD1 clutch. The rear axle is an MGC item with a 3.07:1 ratio, servo assisted brakes with Aeroquip flexible lines and drilled front discs keep everything under control, and Moss coiler front suspension also keeps the car planted. The rear brakes has also been refurbished and fitted with Cunifer brake lines and new wheel cylinders, whilst a rear anti-roll bar has also been procured.

The bodywork has also been completely refinished and re-sprayed in CDE Cardinal Red, with the body shell back-dated with correct V8 badging and chrome bumpers, a Webasto sunroof with double duck outer cover, and all arches and undersides coated with clear Waxoyl after being sprayed in body colour.

Inside, the correct V8-era dashboard and switchgear has been fitted, along with a new set of Smiths gauges and USB charging points. A battery master switch is located behind the driver’s seat to preserve the battery during long standing periods, and a trickle charger has been fitted in the boot for easy charging. Safety-conscious viewers will also be happy to know new seatbelts were fitted during the restoration process.

With such extensive work carried out, the previous owner’s intention was to drive the car on a European road trip, but with everything that happened in the world last year, this never came to fruition, and hence our vendor snapped up the car in December of 2020.

Having enjoyed the car for a number of months with no issues, the vendor is somewhat of a serial car buyer and seller, meaning the time has come to shift this gorgeous MG B GT V8 and look for his next driving experience, which would make - by his reckoning - his 49th car!

On the Outside

The Cardinal Red paintwork is in excellent condition throughout, as you’d expect from a car that has been recently restored. The chrome bumpers, too, are in wonderful shape and retain an impressive mirror-like shine, whilst the V8 badging is all present and correct.

Looking closer, there are a few signs of wear to the paintwork such as larger stone chips and minor marks around the doors from use, along with an area of cracking paint ahead of the offside door, as seen in the extensive gallery of photographs below.

There are also a couple of what we’d call ‘car park’ indentations on the nearside door, though these are incredibly minor and hard to see.

The glass all appears to be matching and in good condition with no major damage, though the offside front window is lightly scratched which can be seen in certain lights. We would recommend replacing the quarterlight rubbers as these are beginning to perish, and the seal around the boot is significantly cracked and deteriorated, though there does not appear to be any moisture ingress.

All four wheels - 15” Minilite replicas - are in excellent condition with no kerbing or notable damage, and are shod in matching period-look 185/65/15 Avon tyres - an excellent sign of a fastidious owner!

There is also a MG branded cover which comes with the car to keep the paintwork in tip top condition.

On the Inside

The good news continues inside, with the back-dated V8 dashboard in excellent condition with no cracking or sun damage, and all of the new Smiths gauges working perfectly.

The leather seats are in fantastic shape with minimal wear, as are the door cards, carpets and headliner, with the latter only showing some minor staining around the a pillars and above the doors, though we imagine this would be easily remedied.

Typically high-traffic areas such as the inner edges of the doors, gear knob and Moto-Lita steering wheel all show varying levels of commensurate wear, though this is in keeping with the car’s condition. The only other issues noted were that the catch for the armrest is broken, and the choke does not lock correctly, however, this is now superfluous, as our vendor explains the starting position for the car:

“From cold, turn the ignition on to the red light for fifteen seconds. You’ll hear the fuel pump working, then after fifteen seconds press the accelerator pedal twice and then a half press, then start the car. From hot, simply start the car - no choke needed.”

Up above, the Webasto sunroof is in excellent condition and works perfectly, with no sticking or resistance noted, nor any sign of moisture ingress or other waterproofing issues.

In the rear, the boot is in very good shape, and underneath the carpet the Jack, spare wheel (with new tyre) wheel nut spanner and inflation aerosol can be found, present and correct.

Underneath

Underneath, this MGB is almost as clean as it is up top, with the underside of the body and the suspension components remaining in excellent condition, largely due to the low mileage covered since the restoration took place. Being very picky, there is some wear beginning to show on the outer edges of the sills, though this has not been of any concern to the MoT examiner.

Speaking of which, despite being correctly registered as a historic vehicle, this V8-converted MGB GT has been examined annually since the restoration was completed, with the most recent inspection dated 10 September 2021 showing a pass with advisories for play in both steering rack inner joins, and both rear hub seals leaking.

During our test drive, the car behaved fantastically, with the engine coming up to temperature and then being regulated as needed by the electronic fans. On the road, we noticed no untoward behaviours or noises, though the gearshift action is somewhat vague and we’d suggest the fitment of new bushes or some adjustment to the cables.

History Highlights

Included with the car is an extensive history and paperwork trail spanning no less than three large ring binders, so make sure you pop a brew on if you decide to work your way through this car’s paperwork.

The first folder is the most important, containing all of the invoices for parts and work carried out to the vehicle during the restoration process, old MoT certificates, the V5 showing 16 former keepers, and numerous other documents.

The second and third folders contain a custom workshop manual (based off the MGB V8 item) a parts list, and other miscellaneous handbooks and documents.

When the vendor purchased the car in December 2020, the car was serviced with the invoice in the folder, showing an oil and filter service, carburettor tune and the aforementioned MoT exam.

What We Think

Resplendent in Cardinal Red and back-dated to the earlier (arguably more attractive) chrome-bumper specification, this MGB GT has been comprehensively converted to V8 specification, boasting numerous attractive upgrades that not only increase performance but also enhance the driving experience significantly.

Presented in excellent condition throughout with room for some minor aesthetic and mechanical fettling should the next owner wish to do so, we estimate this 1980 MG B GT V8 conversion to fetch somewhere in the region of £15,000 to £23,000.

Viewing is always encouraged, and as stated this car is located at THE MARKET HQ near Abingdon; we are open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing to make an appointment. 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 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.

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Seller

dbm

  • Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Odometer Reading: 1800
  • Chassis Number: GVGEJ1AG507868
  • Engine: 3500
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Steering position: RHD
  • Colour: Red
  • Interior: Black Leather
  • Estimated Price: £15,000 - £23,000

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