1974 MGB GT V8
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. Whilst 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 models 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 Twin Cam was built in limited numbers and only 2,111 examples left the Abingdon factory before production ceased in mid-1959. The breakdown of the 2,111 cars is 1,788 were roadsters (1,331 left hand drive & 457 right hand drive) and only 323 were coupes (125 left hand drive & 198 right hand drive).
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. 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. Only 2,591 MGB GT V8’s were built in just over 3 years of production and 2,584 of these were destined for the home market and only 7 were exported. The MGB GT V8 was never sold new in Australia.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a rare and rather cool factory black on black 1974 MGB GT V8.
The British Motor Industry Heritage Certificate on file confirms this MGB GT V8 is a matching numbers factory right hand drive example that was built between 29th November 1974 and 16th December 1974. It was despatched on the 23rd December 1974.
Unlike most new cars this car wasn’t despatched to a dealer, instead it stayed with BMC UK and was used as a company car by one of the British Leyland managers. The car was first registered in the UK as GOM79N. The car was delivered with the following factory options: cast alloy wheels and overdrive.
A UK registration check confirms the car was first registered in the UK in January 1975. The registration check also mentions the date the last V5C (logbook) was issued as 17 December 1979.
Not much more is known about the early history of this car, however, it is most likely that the car found its way to Australia not long after that.
In 2010 the car was advertised for sale in Taree, NSW. At that time the car was advertised as; “1974 MGB GT V8 gold badged anniversary model, midnight black, 6,397 miles since total nut & bolt restoration by professional, no expense spared”.
The car was sold and made its way to Dundowran Beach in Queensland. Being a real MG enthusiast, this owner entered his MGB GT V8 into the 2013 MG National Meet concours in Toowoomba and he finished first in Class R, MGB GT V8 and Costellos. Unfortunately, he only got to enjoy the car for another two years before he passed away. The car was subsequently sold in August 2015 and it found its way to Kingaroy in Queensland. At that time the odometer read approximately 16,000 miles. Being an automotive air-conditioning consultant, the owner decided the MGB GT V8 would be much nicer to drive and far more useable in Queensland if it had air-conditioning. He also decided to fit electronic power steering in the car. After having enjoyed the car for 5 years it was sold by Oldtimer Australia to the current owner in 2020. At that time the odometer read 31,545 miles.
The current owner grew up in the UK and ‘back in the day’ he owned an MGB GT in exactly the same colour combination, also with a Webasto sunroof. When he saw this car, he just had to have it and it joined his eclectic classic car collection. Having used and enjoyed this car throughout his two years of ownership, he has decided to move onto the next classic car on his bucket list! So it is now time for this MGB GT V8 to find its next keeper.
Today the odometer reads 33,110 miles and despite carrying an older restoration, this car still presents really well. Overall, the black paint is still in good condition and it has a deep gloss finish to it. However, on closer inspection you will see a few paint defects, most noticeably some blistering along both swage lines along the car. The rubber bumpers, which tend to fade and crack when exposed to too much sunlight, are in very good condition. Whilst some people prefer the earlier chrome bumper cars, the rubber bumpers blend in on this black car. All the chrome work and badges on the car are equally in good condition. The glass is all good on the car with no damage to any of the windows. When the current owner purchased the car the first thing he did was to fit new tyres. The car is currently fitted with Dunlop SP Sport LM705 tyres which are date stamped week 30 2020.
Inside this MGB GT V8 is just a nice place to be. The seats are comfortable and provide ample support. The fabric on the seats is in good condition with no rips or tears. The bases of both front seats are showing some signs of wear and there is also some discoloration caused by the sun. It actually looks worse in the photos than in the flesh. The dashboard is exactly what you expect in an MG B. It’s simple, yet functional. All the instruments are clear and in good working order. The previous owner did a nice job installing the air conditioning. It fits really well and blending in with the rest of the interior it could easily be mistaken for a factory fitted unit.
The MGB GT is a rather functional car. If needed two people can sit in the back, but if you need more luggage space you can tilt the back seats forward to create a spacious luggage compartment which could easily fit a set of golf clubs.
Driving an MGB GT V8 is not like driving a standard MGB GT and that has everything do with that thumping V8 engine under the bonnet! A normal MGB GT weighs 1,079 kg and its engine produces 84 bhp. An MGB GT V8 actually weighs only slightly more, 1,083 kg but its engine produces 137 bhp. That’s 62% more power than the MGB GT and that is what makes the V8 a lot of fun to drive. What is perhaps surprising is that the car handles the massive increase in power really well.
When you get behind the wheel first impressions are that the car is not that different to any other MGB GT. You turn the key and forgetfully expect to hear that all familiar sound of the 4 cylinder B engine . . . but instead you hear that wonderful V8 burst to life. It brings back a touch of deja vu with the Sunbeam Tiger! The engine certainly has a V8 rumble, but in a refined way and it almost immediately settles into a smooth idle. Quickly, you are good to go. It only takes a few short miles to get a good impression of this car. And that impression is really positive . . . the car is wonderful! It is certainly not an Aston Martin but it almost could be! It is not a sports car, but more a surprisingly nimble GT cruiser. The power is a given but it is usable as this is really quite a small car that sits firmly on the road. Whether you are cruising in suburbia or out on the motorway if you accelerate with gusto through the gears you quickly hit the speed limit. The car loves to stretch its legs, but it is equally at home driven around town at low speeds. This car drives well and on our recent test drive it handled, steered and stopped as one would expect. The addition of the power steering and air conditioning, which works well and blows cold air, makes this MGB GT V8 a very usable classic.
The MGB GT V8 is a rare car with only 2,591 examples built (Ferrari built just over 3,500 246 GT & GTS’!) and we think a real sleeper. Quite frankly this is a lot of car for the money.
Anoraks will love the fact that this car is included in the book – MG V8 by David Knowles published in May 2013. There is a photo of the car and it was then registered in NSW as MG 495.
- Rare factory right hand drive MGB GT V8.
- Finished in its original and desirable colour combination of black on black.
- An older restoration that presents and drives exceptionally well.
- Creature comforts of power steering and air conditioning.
- MGB GT V8
- 33,110 miles