Welcome back everyone to our vehicle of the month series. This May we're feeling celebratory vibes and will therefore introduce you to a story of a certain MGB Roadster in line with the upcoming 100 years of MG!
The story of this beautiful vehicle is still being written. Her current owner, Chris, is continuing to keep this 47 year old lassie running happy, though as you'll learn from reading about her - she's had some serious work done over the years!
From new engine, to gearbox and beyond - Enjoy Guys!
First registered 1st January 1977 in California USA. Imported to Great Britain on 7th July 1997 at a cost of £2100 by Jeremy Crisp in Louth, North Yorkshire.
This is how it looked when it arrived in the UK.
It still has its Californian number plate, high ride height and rubber bumpers!
US spec cars from 1975 used a single Stromberg 1.75-inch (44mm) carburettor which can be seen still in situ.
These were mounted on a combination intake-exhaust manifold. This greatly reduced power and created longevity problems as the (adjacent) catalytic converter tended to crack the intake-exhaust manifold.
US spec emissions pump. A legacy of this can be seen in later pictures of the strange shaped bracket on top of the water pump.
All original floor panels (This car has never been welded)
Steering removed ready to put back on the right side of the car :)
Steering and pedal box moved.
Rover Tahiti Blue. Not native to the MGB, but was later used on the MG TF.
Twin Electric Cooling Fans.
Rear Axle reconditioned.
Chrome Bumper Conversion.
Brake servo powder coated and moved to drivers side.
Car ready for engine and gearbox fitting. Engine standard 1800cc. Cylinder head standard with non-hardened valve seats, so leaded petrol or fuel additive required.
Gearbox 4 speed non-overdrive unit as supplied in the States (This is worth remembering as the infamous gearbox crossmember has 2 sets of holes, 1 set for overdrive vehicles and another set for non overdrive vehicles)
Walnut veneer on dashboard.
New luxury carpet set.
Seats re-upholstered in grey leather with blue piping. New vinyl roof.
This is the last photo I have of Jeremy's restoration. He did retain some of its American heritage, which is seen in its three windscreen wipers and side repeaters. He kept the car for 10 years and on the 7th March 2009 sold the car to his friend Stuart Neve, also from Louth.
There are no photo records of the work carried out by Stuart, but during his ownership, on the 25th February he upgraded the gearbox to a 4 synchro unit with Laycock overdrive.
Wheels were changed to Minator 8 spoke alloys in black, and the ride height lowered by 1" to improve the handling and give it the authentic chrome bumper look. He also added a Moto Lita steering wheel.
These photos are how the car looked when I bought it on the 18th May 2021.
It looks good but had a serious clutch judder.
The car promptly went to Mechspec MG centre for a full service, new clutch and flywheel. This was engine pull number 1.
Only minor cosmetic changes were made in 2021. After a 5 month wait an MGOC Windstop in grey was fitted.
Period black and silver number plates fitted. Panel lights upgraded to led. They have now gone from very dim to nonexistent to dim or nonexistent 🤣
On 17th March 2022 Mechspec Fast Road unleaded engine installed.
Whilst it is now not possible to buy a new MG engine, all Mechspec engines are rebuilt as close to new specification as possible.
1. Engine block re-bored, honed and fitted with new .060 pistons.
2. Crankshaft re-ground and fitted with new main big end and thrust bearings.
3. New oil pump fitted.
4. New Piper HR285 camshaft and cam followers (tappets) fitted.
5. New timing chain and tensioner fitted.
6. Peter Burgess Fast Road unleaded cylinder head with all new valves and springs fitted.
7. Reconditioned rocker shaft assembly fitted
8. All new seals and gaskets.
Now producing approximately 100 BHP at the wheels.
Out with the old!
In with the new!
After all this work I expected to sit back and just do some polishing and attend various car shows in the area.
Ackworth Steam Fair.
Ackworth Steam Fair
Next to my friend Mark Scott with his Mk1 Escort estate, also displaying a Facts Disc if you're interested.
Locke Park, Barnsley
Can you find my car?
Doncaster Eco Stadium with the Unofficial Yorkshire Classic car club.
Wortley Hall, Barnsley.
Wortley Hall, Barnsley.
Greenhead Park Huddersfield
First Prize Winner. Sports cars 1977-2003
During the summer season the overdrive stopped working. I started with the easy fix and changed the overdrive switch on the gearstick. It worked again! I thought "Yes!" a nice cheap repair. How wrong could I have been?
It was suggested to me by my friend Mark Scott it might be a good idea to service the overdrive unit after it hadn't been working. With his help this was found in the overdrive sump.
The good news! These washers can be bought for £12.95
The bad news!! The engine and gearbox has to be removed and the overdrive split from the gearbox to fit it.
We decided, as the engine and gearbox was coming out "again", a complete reconditioned gearbox and overdrive unit would be the best route to go down, so as to not have any more problems in the future and not have to go through engine pull.
New gearbox and overdrive built by Overdrive Repair Services Ltd Sheffield, bought and then we began the task of swapping it over.
Engine out with old gearbox.
Shiny new gearbox and overdrive unit ready to be fitted.
New Gearbox on!
Engine going back in.
The big smile on Mark's face is probably because of the amount of money he manages to persuade me to spend!
It didn't last long however!
Do you remember picture 22 with the reference to the gearbox crossmember?
One set of holes for overdrive vehicles and another set for non overdrive vehicles.
This is a difficult job to refit, especially when the car is only high enough to squirm under.
After a good amount of time and some colourful expletives, Mark managed to get the crossmember fitted in the overdrive set of holes.
Unfortunately, I remembered too late that this was originally a non overdrive car and it had to be taken off and refitted.
I'm now not allowed to mention crossmembers ever again!
Back in and temporary Rocker Cover swapped back to Alloy.
During the gearbox and overdrive swap the carburetors were overhauled and electronic ignition was fitted.
After the carb rebuild she was running, but a bit rough, so I decided to call on the services of Andrew Grabowski
AG Classic car tuning Tel: 07500 103227
He gave the car a thorough health check and tune up.
This is now the best the car has ever run!
Finally this year, I hope, in at CC Car and Commercial, Ackworth for the paintwork sprucing up a bit.
I have not uploaded any pictures of the finished car, because it will probably never be finished.
It is as you see it today.
I have more plans for the winter and will update as they are done.
She's not perfect and by no means original, but at 47 years old she still looks good.
"She may not be perfect" but she's a beauty Chris! Thank you so much for letting us share about her with our readers. Your ability to pull an archive of her lifetime and bring her restoration stories to life from her previous owners in just a few snap shots and sentences is what made us fall in love with her story.
Information like that, is precisely what drives THE passion towards classic cars, wouldn't you agree everyone?