1971 MGB MkII (with O/D)
MG is one of the world’s most iconic motoring brands. Founded in 1924 by Cecil Kimber, MG (which are the initials for Morris Garages) produced some fabulous cars pre-war and enjoyed much success in motoring racing. A milestone for the company occurred in 1933 when an MG Magnette K3 became the first non-Italian car to win its class at the Mile Miglia.
Today when someone mentions MG you immediately think of ‘the affordable, everyman’s sports car’, and particularly the MGB. It was, however, post-World War II that MG really brought the sports car to the people with the MG TC. The MG TA (built from 1936 – 1939) and MG TB (built from 1939 – 1940) were well regarded sports cars, but sold only in relatively small numbers. Introduced in 1945 the MG TC was in fact a very similar car to the MG TB, both visually and also mechanically sharing the same 1250 cc engine but with a slightly higher compression ratio. Although only built as right hand drive, America fell in love with the MG TC and many cars were sold to American serviceman serving in the UK and Europe at the end of the war. In fact everyone loved the TC and cars were sold to all points of the globe! Over six years of production MG sold 10,000 MG TC’s.
The MG TC was succeeded by the MG TD in 1950 and circa 30,000 cars were built before being replaced by the MG TF in 1953. Just under 10,000 TF’s were built of which one third had the 1500 cc engine. The T Series MG’s were replaced by the MGA in 1955.
The MGA was introduced to compete with the new and very fresh Austin Healey. This model was a completely new design which proved to be another great success story for BMC. In total just over 100,000 MGA’s were built from 1955 through until 1962. When introduced the MGA was powered by a 1489cc four cylinder engine and the first MGA’s were often referred to as MGA 1500. The MGA power plant went through a number of improvements through the model’s life, including an increase to 1588cc in 1959 (MGA 1600) and then to 1622cc in 1961 (MGA Mark II). MG also introduced a high performance version of the MGA, the MGA Twin Cam in 1958.
The MGA was replaced by the MGB in 1962. The MGB was a totally new car and it featured a unitary structure rather than the traditional body on frame construction used by the MGA and T series cars. MG initially planned to use a 2 litre V4 engine, however, the high development cost meant that plan was quickly abandoned. MG further developed the engine which had powered the MG ZA since 1953 and the MGA 1600 since 1959. The biggest change was an increase in capacity to 1798cc.
BMC got the formula right and the MGB was an outstanding success with in excess of 500,000 cars built through 18 years of production. MG built 386,961 roadsters and 125,282 GT’s. The majority of the MGB’s were powered by a 1,798cc 4 cylinder engine, however, in 1973 MG offered the MGB GT with Rover’s 3.5 litre V8 engine.
BMC Australia built the MGB between 1963 and 1972 from CKD (complete knocked down) kits imported from England. This was done to avoid the duties and tariffs on imports imposed by the Australian Government to protect the domestic car industry. From 4th April 1963 till 6th November 1972 MGB’s were assembled at the BMC plant at Zetland in NSW. When these CKD kits arrived in Australia they were not painted, had no trim and no hoods. All these items were sourced locally. It is understood about 9000 MGB’s were assembled in Australia.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale an Australian built 1971 MGB MkII.
The compliance plate indicates this car was built in April 1971 and the original Berger paint sticker confirms the original colour as Camino Gold HM5961. Little is known of this car’s very early history. There is a thick history file with the car which dates back to 1988. This confirms that the car has had 4 owners since then and that the car has been impeccably maintained.
In June 1989 the car was re-trimmed, except for the door cards & the dash pad and in October 1989 a new soft top was installed. In November 1989 the car was taken off the road for a cosmetic restoration and other miscellaneous works. At that time a new bonnet was fitted, the car was given a full respray in its original colour, the bumpers were re-chromed and a new steering wheel was fitted. All this work was completed in April 1990. At that time the odometer read 80,168 miles. The car was fitted with 5 new Dayton wire wheels in July 1990. This fabulous MGB was then used and enjoyed for some time.
The car changed hands in 1994 when it was purchased through the House of MG in Woolloongabba (Brisbane) by a well known local MG enthusiast who traded in his MGB MkI.
The next major job on the car was a mechanical refresh which was completed in October 1998. At that time the engine was completely rebuilt with +60 oversized pistons. The block and the cylinder head received a chemical clean prior to the engine being rebuilt. A new clutch was also installed. At that time the odometer was c92,000 miles.
The car remained in single ownership through until June 2016 at which time it was acquired by its current Brisbane based owner. At that time the odometer was c43,500 miles. The car has been sparingly used over the last 5 years for Sunday drives and occasional MG Car Club events. It has been religiously maintained by classic car specialists Automotion, based in Enoggera and more recently MG Automotive in Brendale. In May 2018 MG Automotive re-cored the radiator with a high-performance core and in February 2021 MG Automotive replaced the engine mounts.
Today this MGB presents exceptionally well. It is hard to believe that this car was repainted around 30 years ago. The ‘camino gold’ paint work is in very good condition with a consistent depth of colour and nice gloss finish. There are a few blemishes and imperfections here and there, most notably some small stone chips on the front of the car and some light scratches & small cracks around some of the studs which hold down the tonneau cover. The chrome work on the car is in a similar condition to the paint. It is very good, with some light scratches evident on the bumpers and some minor pitting in the chrome on some of the overriders. There are also a few very small dents in the chrome strip on the right rear panel. Most of the paint and chrome defects are relatively minor and easily overlooked. We are being pretty fussy, but they are there on close inspection. The Dayton wire wheels are in beautiful condition and look to have been hardly used. They are a real feature on this car! The soft top, which is easy to raise and lower by one person, appears to have had very limited use and is in very good condition. There are no splits or damage evident and all the windows, which often deteriorate when exposed to sunlight, are clean and clear. The car has a split tonneau cover which is also in very good condition. The zipper and all studs are in working order.
The interior on this car is ‘just lovely’. The black upholstery is in excellent condition, showing some light patina consistent with overall condition of the car. The dash is also in excellent condition and even the carpets are neat and tidy! You slide in behind the steering wheel and can’t help but to feel right at home . . . everything feels ‘just right’. The seats are comfortable and provide ample support. The steering wheel is in excellent condition and all the instruments are crisp & clear and look to be in good working order. The devil is in the detail and things like the gear knob, boot & surround, speaker cover, ash tray and the floor mats are all in really good condition to complete the package.
The car presents really well, but would we be disappointed by the drive? Most MGB’s tend to be a ‘rattly’ but after a few short miles it is apparent that this car is incredibly tight on the road. It’s a good’n!
From cold this MGB is like all cars which has SU carburettors . . . you need full choke to start. This car starts easily and you can back the choke off almost immediately and it will settle into a smooth idle. The engine has that typical raspy exhaust note that encourages you to get moving.
Driving this MGB is a real pleasure. As noted above this car is very tight on the road, however, it also handles well and the brakes are more than adequate to pull the car up safely as and when required. MGB’s are often criticised for a lack of power, however, the engine in this car feels really strong. It pulls surprisingly well through the rev range and it is beautifully complimented by its gearbox which is precise up & down and very easy to use. The overdrive works and it gives the legs required for comfortable motorway cruising.
All in all, this car is ‘just fabulous’. You won’t win the concours with it, but it will be admired everywhere it goes . . . MG Car Club events, British car days, the local cars & coffee or even a Sunday drive and lunch. The choice is yours!
The car has a spare wheel, jack kit, the original steering wheel as well as a discretely installed CB radio.
Today the odometer reads 47,364 miles.
- An Australian built MGB.
- Finished in its original and rather cool period colour of ‘camino gold’.
- Well cared for and maintained example.
- Just a beautifully presented car that is lots of fun to drive.
- MGB MkII
- 47,354 miles