Thursday, October 04, 2007

1977 MGB GT

My nephew in New Zealand asked my opinion of this MG which is for sale near his home in Wellington. This is my reply:

I'm a fan of the MGB GT. It's 200lb or so heavier than the convertible B, but I think it looks much better with its taller windscreen and hatchback body. And it's a little more practical with the small back seat and the storage area under the hatch. Though, as you know, no one would buy an MG for its utility.

A few years ago I considered buying a GT. A friend who already had a Lotus 7a ("a" for America), was selling her late 1960's GT. The car sounded great, and drove well. But it had rust under the seam on top of the rear mudguard (quarter panel), and one broken leaf on the rear springs. The spring would have been easy to fix, but the rust concerned me. So I looked through a book on MGB restoration, and more than half the book was dedicated to rust removal! I think rust is not so much of a problem in NZ because I see so many old NZ Minis in San Francisco, and they're all in good unrestored condition.

Here in the States, the older chrome bumper MGB's are more desirable. The rubber bumper models here are handicapped with a single carburetor and horsepower restricting anti-pollution devices. Also, the rubber bumper model has an awkwardly high ride height to meet US federal bumper laws. But I would guess that the New Zealand version has the proper twin carbs and correct ride height. And, in my opinion, MG did a notably good job of integrating the plastic bumpers with classic MGB styling. So, what I'm saying is, a NZ market MG with rubber bumpers is probably just as good as the chrome bumper cars!

As far as the mechanicals go, the car is a pretty simple monocoque design, with a live rear axle located by leaf springs. The front suspension is double A-arm with unusual lever dampers.
I don't know much about the engine, except that it's a push rod design, and it was also used in the Morris Marina, so parts will be easy to find.

For $NZ4000, I'd buy it! But I'd ask the seller for receipts for the work done to it. Also, and I can't emphasize this enough, have a mechanic give the car an inspection!


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