At $13,000, Would You Weekend Warrior This 1974 MGB GT?
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At $13,000, Would You Weekend Warrior This 1974 MGB GT?

Oct 21, 2023

For anyone looking to get into the classic car hobby, one solid choice is the MGB which has an excellent support system and is a lot of fun to boot. Let’s see if today’s Nice Price or No Dice MGB GT is priced for that hobbyist and not for extra hours of work.

While not something that would necessarily impress the neighbors, having a cool 30-valve V6 engine and a standard five-speed stick made yesterday’s 2003 Volkswagen Passat wagon a car that any of us might personally appreciate having in the driveway. A modest $4,995 price tag sealed the deal earning the Passat a pass and a 68 percent Nice Price win.

There are three pieces of advice I give to people asking me how to get into owning and enjoying a classic car. To begin with, don’t spend a lot of money. Make sure to get something with a strong support structure. Finally, get the best example you can find in your price range. Oh, and I usually recommend that they start with an MGB.

Founded over 100 years ago by Cecil Kimber, the M.G. Car Company was an offshoot of Morris Garages an automotive service and sales business, founded even earlier by William Morris in Oxford, England. The company made a number of sports and sporting cars before WWII but only became well known in the U.S. after officially starting exports across the Atlantic in the post-war years.

The most recognized of those models is the MGB which MG sold in the U.S. under the auspices of at first the British Motor Corporation, then British Leyland, and eventually, the Rover Group, running from 1962 until its 1980 swan song. Those were tumultuous times for the British auto industry with almost all British carmakers facing labor unrest, financial peril, and unfavorable exchange rates affecting exports. Through it all, the MGB soldiered on.

Today it enjoys both robust club support and extraordinarily good parts availability — so good in fact, that one could be completely built out of a shell and a Moss Motors catalog. Through all that, however, the MGB has never really taken off in the collector car market.

This 1974 MGB GT offers no evidence as to why that is the case. While the original MGB was an open-top two-seater of modest but useful proportions, the GT morphed into a capable tourer with added luggage capacity and a comically small and admittedly useless back bench seat. The shooting brake roofline is the work of Pininfarina, and that venerated Italian design house created in the GT what is arguably one of the most timeless and painfully handsome mainstream sporting cars ever conceived. These are as nice to stare at as they are to drive.

This 72,000-mile example has been fully restored, featuring a respray in single-stage gray and the removal of the massive rubber-baby-buggy-bumpers U.S. regulations saddled on the car. It looks all the better for the change, although the blackout paint on what was formally brightwork is perhaps less successful. The car rolls on Minilite-style wheels with MG crest center caps, which I think also would look better if unpainted.

Things are better in the cabin, which looks to have been fully re-trimmed in black with red accents and offers a modded center console with a double cup holder add-on and a modern stereo head unit. Another notable addition is A/C which blows through vents on either side of the dash and seems to be an unobtrusive update. A bit more obtrusive is the stereo woofer which sits on top of the battery box under the rear seat/shelf.

Under the bonnet lives the MGB’s 1.8-liter B-Series OHV four. In stock form, the MGB got 78.5 (yes, point-five) horsepower out of the engine. With some light massaging, though, there’s lots more to be had.

The A/C compressor has been integrated cleanly below the alternator, appearing at home along with its relays and condenser ahead of the aftermarket aluminum radiator. Fitted dual electric fans help everything stay cool.

The engine bay and motor itself appear show car clean with tidy wiring and no indication of leaks or blow-by. Both the air injection system and original S.U. carbs have been eliminated, with the latter having been replaced with a less daunting Weber two-barrel fitted with an electric choke. Per the ad, all the original intake hardware will come with the car in the sale.

That sale will require $13,000. That gets a clean title and what’s basically a turn-key classic that can be enjoyed pretty much year-round. Does that seem like a deal to you? Or, at that price, is this old MG totally DOA?

You decide!

Lakeland, Florida, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to RevUnlimiter for the hookup!

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