1967 MGB GT – Introduction

When the MGB was launched in 1962 it was hardly a revolution in terms of new technology, the suspension configuration was nothing new and the engine design had pre-war origins.  However, its pretty styling, reasonable performance, predictable handling and low price meant that over its 18 year production run it had become Britain’s most popular sports car.  The GT version was launched in 1965 and with its innovative hatchback it had a berlinetta-slash-shooting brake profile adding practicality in a sleek coupé design reminiscent of a mini-DB4.  Not all was rosy though, 18 years is a long time for a car to be in production and although the MGB got better in the first decade or so with a more robust 5 bearing engine and more refined gearbox the later years seemed to echo the demise of the British motor industry.  The problem was the downfall of British Leyland and the lack of investment to replace or improve the MGB significantly enough to make it competitive with more modern machinery.  The result of this meant that for many folks the memory of the MGB is of a slow, unreliable and ubiquitous car.  So why have I got one?  Well for starters since the MGB has a certain stigma amongst the classic car community and because they are relatively numerous prices for a decent example are very reasonable, try looking for a better priced attractive sixties coupe part-styled by Pininfarina and you’ll not find anything for the same price that doesn’t need loads of work.  Second of all, if we take the MGB GT in sixties period it was just as good as similarly priced cars and it had class wins at both Le Mans and the Targa Florio.  My white 1967 MGB GT mk1 is my third MGB GT, although not the nicest condition of the cars I’ve owned (also a ’75 and an ’80) it’s certainly the prettiest and has the best interior with period features like the floor mounted main-beam switch, central speaker grill and plunger screen wash button.  It has its problems like the slightly tired paintwork, worn leather and pitted chrome but I didn’t pay top price for it and its driven regularly so perfection isn’t a practical expectation plus it gives it character!  The car isn’t completely standard but it has sympathetic modifications that could be found in period so I don’t feel guilty about leaving them there, for example, the weber carburettor and larger bore exhaust give it a great sound, the driving spot-lamps and mud-flaps add a bit of a rally look and make bad weather driving more bearable!  The tow bar I expect will have to go, I did think of getting a trailer like Mini owners have that looks like the back end of a Mini but I thought I could have the front end of an AA van for the irony…

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