The MGB was a two-door sports car manufactured and marketed by the British Motor Corporation (BMC), later British Leyland, as a four-cylinder, soft-top roadster from 1962 until 1980. Specially tuned MGBs were successful in international racing and rallying events. Amongst the MGB's successes were scoring a Grand Touring category victory in the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally. Circuit racing wins included the Guards1000 miles race at Brands Hatch in 1965 and the 84-hour Marathon de la Route at the Nürburgring in 1966. MGBs also won the GT Category in the 1966 Targa Florio, the 1966 Spa 1000 and the 1967 Spa 1000.
The MGB was, until the advent of the Mazda MX5/Miata, the world's most popular sports car. It is catered fro by one of the biggest "one make clubs" in the MG Car Club and both mechanical spares and body parts are so easily available and in such plentiful supply that one can in fact build a "brand new" MGB today if one wanted!
If you are looking for a beginner's classic car, look no further. The MGB Roadster is the quintessential British sports car that never attempted to be the quickest thing on four wheels, rather it focussed on being enjoyable to drive, to tinker with, and to own.
The humble MG is a good example of what made the British car industry a dominant force in the world of sports car manufacturing in the ‘50s and ‘60s. The body is a monocoque structure engineered to ensure it’s stiff and dependable. The engine is an old fashioned iron push-rod overhead valve unit. The transmission is simple and solid, and the steering is traditional rack and pinion. The MGB was made to be very easy to maintain.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY:
Work on creating what would become the MGB Roadster had already begun by 1956 with initial designs based on the existing MGA chassis. Early development work in the late fifties determined that in order to get significant improvements to the luggage and passenger space that the old MGA chassis would need to be abandoned and work was begun on creating the new car with a monocoque body. As this was to be the first MG with such a construction the framework of the car tended towards over engineering which was to stand the MGB in good stead as the cars aged to become much loved classics. The monocoque body was based around combined inner and outer sill sections with a deep centre tunnel.
The front suspension was essentially taken from the MGA with unequal wishbones but with the front suspension assembly with brakes mounted on a cross member that could be removed. The original design was for a new rear suspension design using coil springs with trailing arms and a Panhard rod. However once the early prototype car got to road testing stage it was found that there was a steering effect from the transverse Panhard rod which was unacceptable, so the design was changed to conventional semi-elliptic leaf springs suspension for the live axle.
The engine chosen for the MGB was the same BMC B Series in-line four cylinder OHV as used on the MGA but bored out to increase its capacity to 1,798cc. In its new form this three bearing engine produced 95bhp @ 5,400rpm. The gearbox was a standard four speed with synchromesh on the top three gears in typical sixties British style.
The car made its debut in 1962 and by the time production ended in 1980 it had outsold its predecessor five fold with over a half million MGB’s being produced.
MARK II, SECOND SERIES (1967-1969)
The Mark II cars appeared in 1967 fitted with the original four speed gearbox and rear axle. The electrical system was changed from traditional British positive earth to more conventional negative earth and the generator was upgraded to an alternator. The twin 6 volt batteries of the earlier cars that were wired in series to deliver 12 volts were replaced with a single 12 volt battery. These cars also featured reversing lights on the rear valence panel.
For 1968 the MGB Roadster was fitted with a full synchromesh gearbox based on the gearbox used in the 3 litre MGC and also on the later V8. This gearbox is very rugged and over engineered for the four cylinder engine. Also in 1968 the “banjo” rear axle inherited from the MGA was upgraded to the tube type Salisbury axle used on the six cylinder MGC. Thus the entire transmission of these cars is significantly stronger than that of the early cars. For 1968 an automatic transmission was offered as an option although not for the US market.
In 1968 the brake hydraulic system was upgraded to dual circuit.
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