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1970 MGB Roadster

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Seller

dwsv

1970 MGB Roadster

  • Location: Kennington, London
  • Odometer Reading: ~35K
  • Chassis Number: GHN5/205780G
  • Engine: 1800
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Color: Midnight Blue
  • Interior: Black

Background

Introduced in 1962 and still in production almost twenty years later, the MGB is probably the definitive classic British sports car. It started life as a lightweight, rear-wheel-drive, back-to-basics sportscar – and ended its life in much the same way.

Yes, it gained a little weight over the years but then don’t we all? And yes, the later rubber bumpers - fitted to meet impact legislation – might lack the clean, elegant purity of the chrome originals but at its core, the MGB remained true to the original concept of providing maximum fun for minimum investment.

Its 1800cc engine might not be the last word in power and economy, but it is as strong as hell and a good one reminds you of just how civilized and sweet a well-fettled four-cylinder engine can be.

It’s a more versatile car than you might imagine, too. If you fit the optional hardtop and a set of steel wheels with winter tyres - and make sure that the heater is on top of its game, then you have a viable all-year-round daily driver. Then, in the Spring, simply switch to alloys or wire wheels with decent rubber, remove the hardtop, and give it a wipe over with an oily rag and you are all set to enjoy the classic car show circuit, track days, and runs to the beach in the very same car you’ve just slogged through all that snow and ice in.

Pop in an overdrive gearbox and it makes a fine long-distance cruiser - and everyone loves a classic British sports car, so city and motorway driving is a doddle as other drivers will be falling over themselves to let you out of junctions, and into another lane.

With more than half-a-million having rolled off the production line, few cars offer the same ease of ownership as the MGB either thanks to a huge network of suppliers, marque specialists and a plethora of owners’ clubs that exist to help you keep yours 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. No, the 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 Vehicle

Recorded as first registered in the UK in July 1981, this UK spec 1970 MGB is understood to have been kept for a time in Paris prior to being returned to the UK. The previous owner kept this much-loved car for around 30 years, reportedly attracting his future wife with its classic looks.

The subject of significant restorative activity over the past four years by the current owner, this handsome wires and chrome MGB Roadster in a distinguished Midnight Blue has the characteristic “fishmouth” recessed grille of the build period, further enhanced by the absence of overriders.

Kept largely original with just a few performance improvement modifications and a full colour change from Trafalgar Blue to Midnight Blue, the owner took the car on the ferry to Bilbao in northern Spain last year and then drove it back to London to celebrate his 50th birthday. The trip was completed without issue except for a slight thirst for oil at motorway speeds. The vendor reports that the car handled the heat and the beautiful roads through the Pyrenees perfectly. In the last few years it has covered around 10,000 miles, has been kept garaged when not in use and where possible only used in the dry.

The vendor is no stranger to classic cars; he has five in the UK and is also the founder of London’s Waterloo Classics event and co-organiser of the Belgravia Classic Car Show. He is well known in the classic scene and now needs to sell the car to make space for either a ‘66 Mustang or a Fiat 124 spider that he wants to bring over from his native California.

On the Outside

This MGB Roadster presents in a lovely condition, with straight panels and good shutlines all round.The boot lid sits a little high and would benefit from some fettling to allow for the recently renewed boot seal rubbers.

The elegant Midnight Blue paintwork also appears in good shape; free of rust and significant issues. There are a few small blemishes but nothing significant as the paint is less than three years old. The chromework presents very well and is largely free of any surface pitting - the front and rear bumpers are new and come without overriders which forms a cleaner line to the “fishmouth” recessed grille. Rear number plate illumination is provided by some neat LED units attached to the plate.

The packaway soft-top is in a fair condition, although there is a tiny crack in the lower back corner of the plastic where it folds and the hood is creased and rather tight fitting having stiffened in storage. It may be possible to rejuvenate the hood with treatment and gentle stretching but new hoods are readily available from just a few hundred pounds so a new owner may well choose to replace it. A top tip for soft-top owners is to always store your car with the hood up and properly secured in place to keep it wrinkle free and tensioned to fit the car.

The car sits on painted wire wheels with knock-off centre chrome spinners and matching Dunlop tyres, all of which are in good order. Matching tyres are an infallible sign of a car that has been owned by a mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the money to keep the car in the very best condition; as such, we use them as something of a ‘shortcut’ when assessing a car’s likely overall mechanical condition – and they’ve never let us down.

In this time of restricted travel, we cannot encourage arranging an inspection in person to see the car’s condition for yourself, but certainly take some time to study the detailed photos in the gallery and why not use the ‘Contact Seller’ option above to arrange a video call with the vendor to look a little closer at the key features and general condition.

On the Inside

The interior presents very nicely and the dash is in good order and largely original save for a 12v “cigar-lighter” socket added to the extreme right. In UK spec, this vintage of roadster was only mildly “Leylandized” and so retains much of the look of the earlier cars’ instrument panel.

The odometer has not worked since before the current owner purchased the car - this is often due to grease from the cable working its way into the gauge - but he has added around 10,000 miles over the last few years. See the History Highlights section for a more forensic mileage investigation.

Whilst the wiper motor is new, the wipers do not function so it is believed a new switch or wiring may be required. Also the passenger door needs to be pulled hard to close.

The Moto-Lita steering wheel is showing some wear to the wooden rim, which the vendor has chosen not to address in order to retain some classic patina in an otherwise renewed interior.

The black vinyl seats are in good condition and a pair of headrests will come with the car (although removed to allow the tonneau cover to fit) - blanking plugs can also be bought very cheaply to cover the holes in the top of the seat backs if a more open look is preferred.

The door cards and carpets appear like new and in good order, with additional rubber floor mats giving a further layer of protection. Under the carpet in the rear, the bodywork and battery compartment cover are sound and rust free. The grey folding roof frame looks recently repainted and in good order.

Underneath

Under the bonnet, the very clean and tidy engine bay presents extremely well with the engine block painted in a period-correct maroon colour with an aluminium rocker cover. The twin-SU carbs are fitted with K&N performance air filters. Whilst not concours standard the engine bay would stand up very well to scrutiny at any car show or club meet.

As can be seen in the accompanying photos, the undersides of the car are fairly clean and tidy with good underseal where necessary and no signs of rot, structural issues, or any of the other nasties that can plague poorly maintained examples that have been bought and cheaply ‘restored’ in order to flip a quick profit. The inner wheel arches too are clean and intact, one being a recent replacement. The exhaust system also appears in good condition. The replacement Spax dampers and new rear springs can clearly be seen.

Inside the boot, all is clean and well presented, the floor is sound and recently painted and houses the full size spare wire wheel. Carpets and linings were replaced in late 2016. The car also comes with a full length tonneau cover for the cabin with longitudinal centre zip should you wish to take a drive with the hood removed completely.

History Highlights

Prior to the vendor’s ownership (in 2005) the engine head was overhauled and converted to unleaded fuel by Oselli engineering and, back in 2014, over £4,000 of bodywork repairs were carried out to the sills, underfloor, door and bulkheads.

In current ownership, the last few years since 2016 see invoices rapidly accumulating for numerous new or replacement ancillary parts as well as interior trim, inertia reel seatbelts, clutch, full colour change respray and wheel refurb, water pump and hoses, seals, fuel pump and hoses, carbs and alternator. The rear suspension was also upgraded to Spax shocks with new hyperbolic springs to give the car a smooth and firm ride. Only last month, a new electronic ignition system was added.

The vendor reports a few niggles remaining with the MGB that have not previously been mentioned including slight weeping from the off-side front damper and a little play in the off-side kingpin as well as the increased oil consumption at high motorway speeds which doesn’t occur with normal driving.

While the online MOT history for this car is rather short, the documents in the history file give a little more clarity. The paper MOTs record a mileage of 94,647 in 1989 - then it appears the car went “round the clock” around 1990 before climbing again up to 25,797 where it has sat unmoving (forgiving the occasional misread by testers in a poorly lit garage) since 1995. Given reported usage since that time, it would be safe to assume that the true mileage on this car is closer to 150,000 miles.

The car’s last MOT certificate expired a year ago and while it is MOT exempt by virtue of its age, we would strongly encourage the new owner to prepare the car for testing at the earliest opportunity. The cost of an MOT is a small investment when offset against the purchase and upkeep of any classic car, and it gives an independent, third-party assessment of the car’s condition, which not only provides reassurance to the owner and any subsequent purchasers but is also invaluable in the event of a bump when negotiating with the police and any interested insurance companies.

What We Think

The vendor reports that he is impressed with the car’s performance, the tuned engine sounds great and has a lot of torque. He further says that the car drives well, handles amazingly and runs reliably and consistently with a firm but smooth ride. The two videos in the gallery give a tiny flavour of this.

Along with its rival, the Triumph Spitfire, the ‘B’ might seem something of a ubiquitous classic, and we have sold many of them, but their popularity means that they are simple to maintain with parts easy to come by, making ownership fun and usually trouble free. There are MG clubs everywhere running numerous events and whether you join or not, you will always be eligible to give and receive an ‘MG wave’ when passing others out enjoying the country roads on a sunny day.

While asking prices on chrome-bumpered MGB Roadsters vary hugely depending on the recency and extent of their restoration, we estimate that £10,000 - £14,000 is a good range for this good-looking and very usable example with still a few small jobs to do to achieve a “fully sorted” status.

This particular car is located with the vendor in Kennington, London; please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing to get in touch. 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, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and AnyVan for transporting it.

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.

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, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 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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