A Classic / The 1980 MGB Roadster

MG got it's name from "Morris Garages Limited which was established in 1910 by William Richard Morris. This Oxford England operation began producing the popular MG automobiles in 1920. In 1935 Morris folded the MG brand into his holding company and then decades later in 2005 the Nanjing Automobile Group purchased the rights to the MG brand and the assets of the MG Rover Group.

mgb roadster

The MGB Roadster

The Successful MG MGB

The MGB was one of the longest lasting MG  models being produced from 1962 through 1980. Some refer to the MGB's as the last real MG's produced.

The engine employed was a 110 cubic inch Inline four cylinder engine delivering as high as 95 horsepower. The engine was essentially an MGA engine bored out to 1.8 liters.

The MG MGB series were known as solid engineered automobiles that were quite sturdy and simple to maintain. In addition to this, the MGB's were relatively inexpensive to buy and operate.

The MGB was introduced in September of 1962 and was the successor to the MG MGA. British Motor Corporation, which also built Austin-Healeys as well as MGs, saw  no reason  to make more than minor modifications to the MGB for many years. Most of the changes had to do with the car's engine which for example utilized a five-main-bearing engine in 1965 that replaced the three-main-bearing design that had come from the earlier MGA.

1980 mgb roadster

1980 MGB Roadster

The MGB was truly a success for Mg. If anything the series stayed around a bit too long since competitors were updating their models since the late 1960's.

The 1980 MGB Roadster

The 1980 MGB Roadster was the last model year for this series. Eighteen years was a long and successful run. MG sold a total of 500,000 of the MGB's over it's very long run. For today's MG enthusiast this means there's plenty of spare parts floating around.

1980 MG MGB Roaster Specifications

As mentioned above, not a lot of changes to the MGB over it's 18 year production period other than with the engine and transmission. The MGB engine continued to be a BMC 100 cubic inch Inline four. The 1962-64 models had three main bearing engines with five main bearing engines coming out in 1965.

A Mark II version of the MGB starting in 1968 had an all synchronized four speed gearbox. The previous MGB had a non-synchronized first gear. The MK II body style was introduced in 1967 and ran through the end of the MGB series in 1980.

Brakes were disc in the front and drums in the rear.

MGB interior and dashboard

MGB Roadster interior and dashboard

MGB specifications were altered much more to meet U.S. safety regulations in the early 1970's. This included a dashboard overlay which hid the glovebox and wasn't really stylish. The engines were detuned which dropped horsepower and torque just about every year thereafter. The U.S. models also got rubber bumpers which didn't help with styling and suspensions were lifted to have the headlights conform to U.S. height standards.

MGB's dimensions include a wheelbase of 91.0 inches, a length of 153.3 inches and a weight of about 2,300 lbs.

See the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

The 1952 MG TD Roadster

 The 1974 MG BGT V-8

Two good reads regarding the MGB includes...MGB: The Racing Story by author John Baggott and MGB: The Complete Story by Brian Laban.

mgb roadster 1980

MGB Roadster

MGB Collector Cars

Formed in 1973, the MG Owners Club is the World's largest single marque car club and is located in the U.K. There are several MG car clubs all around the United States and in Australia. There are a total of about fifteen MG car clubs in Australia alone.

Out of all the MG's produced, one of the very rarest collector MG is the MG K3 Magnette, which can claim to be the most successful of all the MG automobiles. The already popular Magna series was complimented by the addition of what was to be known as the K series Magnettes. There was a K1 and a K2 model but neither appeared at the same time as the MG K3. The K3 was designed at MG's racing department and prototypes were put together there. When production began two of the K3's were entered in European competition. The K3 was produced from 1933 through 1934 and only 33 were built. Obviously a very rare car.

The MGB is a great car for starter collections in as much as they are relatively inexpensive. The values are said to be creeping up as more collectors enter the market. As years go by less expertly restored models are for sale thereby pushing prices up. 1980 MGB's will likely be priced in the $6,000 to $12,000 range depending of course on condition, degree of restoration, exact model and whether rust is a factor.

(Articles and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)




MG’s TD Series / The 1952 MG TD Roadster

The MG TD Series from 1949 to 1953 were a more modern version of the TC models. The 1952 MG TD Roadster featured in this article is a beautiful representation of the wider and lower design. They were also considered to have better handling than the TC''s and a major selling point for this automobile was that people liked the way it looked. Add to that the fact that most buyers liked the way they looked driving it.

1952 mg td

1952 MG TD Roadster

The TD's outsold their predecessor TC's by about three to one. It's estimated that 29,664 MG TD models were sold. More than three-quarters of these were shipped to the U.S.

For U.S. imports these cars of course were built with left hand steering and they sold very well. In addition, the they were raced fairly regular in the U.S. although the car's aerodynamics were not the best for racing.

The MG T Models

The first of the MG T automobiles appeared in 1936 when the TA model replaced the PB model. The TA model was both wider and with a longer wheelbase than the PB. Similar to the PB's it replaced, the MG TA was a two seater with a steel body on an ash frame. In 1939 MG unveiled the TB Midget which was followed immediately after the war in 1945 with the TC. The MG TC was very similar to the prewar TB which was normal since almost all immediate postwar automobiles were basically 1941 and 1942 models rehashed slightly. Some will say that it was the MG TC model that did the most to get Americans interested in British sportscars. The MG TD introduced in 1949 was at the time that most automakers were unveiling their true new postwar models.

52 mg roadster

52 MG TD

The MG TD Design

The MG TD was said to have been designed with the American sporstcar buyer in mind. Design credit for the MG TD models goes to Syd Enever and Alec Hounslow. The story here is that both of these designers built the mock up for the TD Series in just two weeks. They cut up an MG YA chassis and set a TC body on it. By doing this the TD was able to keep the basic MG appearance but technical improvements and some dimension changes were worked in to the mock up. Part of the appearance change from the TC models were smoother more modern lines.

The MG TD kept the same engine and transmission as the TC and a good amount of the TC body with the exception of the widening as mentioned above. Also added on the MG TD's were larger front and back bumpers for the U.S.

1952 mg dashboard

1952 MG TD dash

The MG TD featured a stiffer welded chassis that was taken from the MG Type Y saloon with box-section side rails, a fully independent front suspension and precise rack-and-pinion steering.

The MG TD such as the 1952 MG featured here is an "open car". Driving your MG TC or TD in inclement weather conditions could be daunting. Some owners wouldn't take them out if a chance of rain was 30 percent or greater. A soft top did fit over a metal frame along with snapped in place curtains. These curtains were in place of windows. It's been said that if you're driving your TC or TD and it rains you have to be able to act fast.

The MG TD Mark II

In 1952 there was also a MG TD Mark II model available that offered a higher compression engine with two fuel pumps delivering 60 horsepower (some sources report 57 HP), slightly more than the standard model. The MG Mark II was in response to British competition (mainly the Triumph TR-2 with it's 105 MPH top speed) that was offering higher performance engines. Top speed for the MG Mark II models was claimed to be 83 MPH. The MG Mark II was marketed as the sportscar for the buyer that wants just a little bit extra.

mg td grille

Classic MG vertical grille

1952 MG TD Specifications

The 1952 MG TD was considered state of the art for it's period although the engine wasn't high horsepower. . The car was built with a 1.3 L inline four cylinder engine delivering 54 horsepower but with the car's light weight this was considered enough to offer a lot of zip. Top speed was claimed to be around 70 MPH +.

Transmission on the 1952 MG TD was the normal four speed manual gear box.

Front suspension was coil and wishbone independent with rear suspension comprising semi-elliptic leaf springs with a sold axle.

Brakes on the 1952 MG TD were four wheel hydraulic drum.

Wheelbase came in at 94.0 inches and the overall length was 145.0 inches. Width was 58.625 inches.

The MG TD used 15 inch tires which was a result of the lower stance. This was in place of the former 19 inch tires.

New car price for the 1952 MG TD was about $2,000.

See the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

1974 MG BGT V-8

The 1955 AC Ace

1954 Austin Healey 100/4

The 1980 MGB Roadster


A Service Manual for the MG Series TD is a 1952 publication that was published by Scientific Publishing Company Rockdale Australia. It will occasionally be seen for sale on the internet.

mg td design

Classic MG open car design

MG TD Collector Cars

Today there are replica kits available for the MG TD built on a VW frame. You'll find several of these on the market today at a variety of prices, as of this writing many seem to be in the $10,000 to $14,000 range with some depending on the kit quality up into the high teens. The MG TD's can also be reasonable cars for restoration with relatively low  asking prices for non restored models. Parts are fairly easy to locate among several suppliers.

A restored original 1952 MG TD might have a price tag in the low $30,000 to $40,000 range.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

The Powerful 1974 MG BGT V-8

The 1974 MG BGT V-8 is a rare car today in the United States. The automobile featured in this article is a V-8 that was built between 1973 and 1976 in a coupe model only.

1974 MG BGT

British Leyland, formed in 1968, announced in 1973 that this new Pininfarina designed body offering would be powered by a lightweight aluminum Rover 3.5 Liter V-8 engine that would have a top speed of 120 MPH with 137 horsepower.

This powerful aluminum engine weighed about forty pounds less that the previous cast iron four cylinder. This was a big move in as much as the engine would deliver about twice the power of the current model and with less weight. What was created was a new high power sports car.

It should be noted that a V-8 in an MG was showing to work out quite well based on earlier engine conversions done by mini racer Ken Costello. There is little doubt that this success led MG themselves to come out with their own V-8 product using the Rover engine. MG's engine however didn't deliver the 180 horsepower that Costello's did.

1974 MG BGT

1974 MG BGT

With the addition of the new V-8 British Leyland also made adjustments to the suspension, body and brakes and had to make adjustments as well to the inner wheel arches and engine bulkhead. The suspension changes were not major and had to do with the increase in torque. Most suspension modifications went to the rear.

New to the MG V-8's

The company promoted the comfort offered in the V-8 BGT in as much that they installed nylon upholstery which was to help keep a driver from sliding around. Also added to the car was a collapsible steering column which was for safety. Because U.S. law called for impact absorbing dashboards, the V-8 MG's had smaller tachometers and speedometers to fit in the larger steering column. This was not an issue at the time in the British home market.Other than the reduced size gauges on the dashboard, the interior changes from the MGB model were indistinguishable.

1974 BGT

1974 BGT

An optional item for the BGT's was a sunroof. This would have been installed at the dealer level.

The MG Evolution

A good many people believe that the MG BGT Roadster shown here had it's origins all the way back to a Belgian coachbuilder who produced the Berlinette MGB 1800 in 1964. It's thought that this automobile was used as the prototype for the factory GT's built afterward but it appears that the factory had a similar model on their drawing boards.  Only a bit over fifty of the Berlinette models were built therefore they didn't affect the factory's ongoing project.

1974 BGT right hand steering wheel

1974 BGT right hand steering wheel

The MG BGT model was discontinued in 1976 apparently because of a conflict with the Triumph Stag also produced by British Leyland. Reportedly, it was felt that the MG BGT was overshadowing the Triumph model.

Whether this was a good decision is arguable as were some other decisions made by the company. A case could be made that the Triumph Stage was not appealing to the same market. When the BGT was taken off the market the car was still very popular with the sports car public.


1974 BGT

1974 BGT

1974 MG BGT Specifications

The 1974 MG BGT was produced with an aluminum cylinder block and heads Rover 3.5 Liter V-8 engine. As mentioned above, this new engine in the MG was a significant move for British Layland and had it's origins in previous non-company conversions.

This MG has a wheelbase of 91.125 inches, an overall length of 154.75 inches, a width of 59.94 inches, a height of 49.96 inches and a weight of about 2,400 lbs.

Front brakes are disc with fixed caliper. Rear brakes are hydraulic drums. Standard equipment on this 1974 MG BGT included a remote power brake servo and oversize rotors.

Front suspension are independent coil springs. Rear suspension is a tube type axle with three quarter floating drive shafts.

The links below are to a few more of our articles that you may want to compare this MG BGT to...

 1973 Porsche 911T

1959 MGA Convertible

 1974 Porsche 914

The 1980 MGB Roadster

The 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000

IMG_25751974 MG BGT Collector Cars

This car was manufactured by British Leyland Motor Corporation Ltd prior to it's many reincarnations. The company was formed in 1968 with the merger of British Motor Holdings and Leyland Motor Corporation. The company in 1986 became the Rover Group and then later the MG Rover Group. Today the MG is part of the China's SAIC.

The 1974 V-8 MG shown here is significant because it was MG's first consumer V-8 and it was built by the original British Leyland. Today it is a rare automobile and popular with collectors.

You'll find some of these cars in the $20,000 plus range but don't be surprised to see a $50,000 plus asking prices for these model in original  mint showroom condition. As always, the asking price will have a lot to do with the car's condition and originality. Heavy modification will bring the price down.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)