Updated: Feb 13
When it first rolled out in 1962, MG had replaced the beautiful but outdated MGA. Initially as a roadster, the MGB was powered by BMC's 'B' series engine, was built on a monocoque body and its beautiful styling by Syd Enever. As customery, it featured several parts from the BMC parts bin, however it was very much a sports car in its own right and would become an instant hit and more substantially, a success straight out of the box.
1965, its appeal was bolstered by the arrival of the coupe version, the GT. Pininfarina, the Italian design house gave the car its makeover and helped seal the MGB as an all-time classic, even while it was still in production.
By the end of the 60's, replacement development should have already been in progress but, an all familiar site, parent company BL and its lack of resources and the internal competition with Triumph, the MGB had to soldier on, pretty much unchanged! It receive minor updates, to its engine and suspension, plus the only substantial evolution was the ill-fated straight-six-cylinder MGC, with its short life span of two years (1967 - 1969).
With all that was going on, it hadn't stopped the British specialist industry taking an interest. Ken Costello built an MGB using the Rover V8 engine, with BL's sudden attention. BL tried to smother the supply of engines to Costello and his business, only for them to launch their own version. Oddly enough, it coincided with the energy crisis of 73!
The Following year, BL in order to keep it legal in the US, fitted 'rubber' safety bumpers and raised the height however, keen owners soon learnt to lower the B and retro-fit chrome bumpers. And thats how the MGB soldiered on until it went out of production in 1980. Some mainstream enthusiasts considered it to be past it, however a new breed of classic car fan, had taken to its charms.
A specialist industry had grown to support the MGB, firstly to make it more reliable but, that would soon become a specialist network, that would help upgrade your MGB with bolt-on superchargers to V8 conversion kits, and try to fit them all over the weekend.
As we neared the end of the 1980's, the classic car phenomenon had started, a whole new network of restoration businesses had began, with early MG's exploding in value. New body shells were created from original pressing tools, which opened up a rebirth of the older examples.
Rover group jumped on the bandwagon, briefly introducing the MGB as a heritage body shell, which went onto become the RV8. Two thousand were made and they were instant classics, the moment they left the showroom's.
Through the 1990's and well into 2000, the enthusiast crowd expanded and maintained the success of the MGB. The Club side of the car's popularity exploded and a new wave of fan lauded its charms.
Today, the MGB is the doyen of the classic car scene. Its amazing specialist support and near total parts availability, you could say its the perfect classic car, why? Its not fast enough? Well, tune it! Its not sharp enough? So, lower it! Its not rare enough? Go buy a factory V8.
The MGB, it has enjoyed a fascinating lifestyle, but we suspect, it still has a long time to play out.