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The history of the MG B

   

The MGB is a sports car launched by MG Cars in May 1962 to replace the MGA and manufactured until 22 October 1980—originally by the British Motor Corporation and later by its successors. MGB production continued throughout restructuring of the British motor industry, and the parent company’s transition from BMC to British Motor Holdings (in 1966) and to British Leyland Motor Corporation (in 1968).
Originally introduced as a convertible ("roadster"), a coupé (the hatchbacked "GT", almost a shooting brake) version, with 2+2 seating, was introduced in 1965. The MGB featured a four-cylinder petrol engine. A derivative model, called the "MGC" featured a six-cylinder engine and a later variant, called the "MGB GT V8" fitted with the ex-Buick Rover V8 engine was made from 1973 to 1976. Combined production volume of MGB, MGC and MGB GT V8 models was 523,836 cars. A very limited-production "revival" model with only 2,000 units made, called "RV8" was produced by Rover in the 1990s. Despite the similarity in appearance to the roadster, the RV8 had less than 5% parts interchangeability with the original car.
The MGB was a relatively modern design at the time of its introduction. It utilized a monocoque structure that reduced both weight and manufacturing costs as well as adding chassis strength. This was a considerable improvement in comparison to that of the traditional body-on-frame construction used on the earlier MGA and T-type models as well as the MGB's rival, the Triumph TR series. The design included wind-up windows and a comfortable driver's compartment, with plenty of legroom and a parcel shelf behind the seats.
The MGB's performance was brisk for the period, with a 0–60 mph (96 km/h) time of just over 11 seconds, aided by the relatively light weight of the car. Handling was one of the MGB's strong points. The 3-bearing 1798 cc B-Series engine produced 95 hp (71 kW) at 5,400 rpm. The engine was upgraded in October 1964 to a five-bearing crankshaft in an effort to improve reliability. A majority of MGBs were exported to United States. In 1974, as US air pollution emission standards became more rigorous, US-market MGBs were de-tuned for compliance. As well as a marked reduction in performance, the MGB gained an inch in ride height and the distinctive rubber bumpers which came to replace the chrome for all markets.
The MGB was one of the first cars to feature controlled crumple zones designed to protect the driver and passenger in a 30 mph (48 km/h) impact with an immovable barrier (200 ton).
MGB Roadster 
Production 1962–1980
399,070 made
Body style(s) 2-door roadster
Engine(s) 1,798 cc (1.798 L; 109.7 cu in) B-Series I4
Wheelbase 2,312 mm (91.0 in)
Length 3,886 mm (153.0 in), 4,019 mm (158.2 in) rubber bumper version
Width 1,524 mm (60.0 in)
Height 1,219 mm (48.0 in), 1,295 mm (51.0 in) rubber bumper version
The roadster was the first of the MGB range to be produced. The body was a pure two-seater but a small rear seat was a rare option at one point. By making better use of space the MGB was able to offer more passenger and luggage accommodation than the earlier MGA while being 3 inches (75 mm) shorter overall. The suspension was also softer, giving a smoother ride, and the larger engine gave a slightly higher top speed. Wheel diameter dropped from 15 to 14 inches (360 mm).
In late 1967, sufficient changes were introduced for the factory to define a Mark II model. Changes included synchromesh on all 4 gears with revised ratios, an optional Borg-Warner automatic gearbox (except in the US), a new rear axle and an alternator in place of the dynamo. To accommodate the new gearboxes there were significant changes to the sheet metal in the floorpan, and a new flat-topped transmission tunnel. All models are rear-wheel drive. To meet US safety regulations, later North American tourers got three windscreen wipers instead of just two (to sweep the required percentage of the glass), and also received a plastic and foam rubber covered "safety" dashboard, dubbed the "Abingdon pillow". Other markets continued with the steel dashboard. Rubery Owen ROstyle wheels were introduced to replace the previous pressed steel versions in 1969 and reclining seats were standardized in 1970. 1971 also saw a new front grille, recessed, in black aluminium. The more traditional-looking polished grille returned in 1972 with a black "honeycomb" insert. 1970 saw split rear bumpers with the number-plate in between, 1971 returned to the earlier five-piece style.
Further changes in 1972 brought about the Mark III. The main changes were to the interior with a new fascia and improved heater.
Early in the 1974 model year, to meet impact regulations, US models saw the chrome bumper overriders replaced with large rubber ones, nicknamed "Sabrinas" after the well-endowed British actress.
In the second half of 1974 the chrome bumpers were replaced altogether. A new, steel-reinforced black rubber bumper at the front incorporated the grille area as well, giving a major restyling to the B's nose, and a matching rear bumper completed the change.
1979 MG MGB (North America)New US headlight height regulations also meant that the headlamps were now too low. Rather than redesign the front of the car, British Leyland raised the car's suspension by 1-inch (25 mm). This, in combination with the new, far heavier bumpers resulted in significantly poorer handling. For the 1975 model year only, the front anti-roll bar was deleted from the standard car as a cost-saving measure (though it was still available as an option). The damage done by the British Leyland response to US legislation was partially alleviated by further revisions to the suspension geometry in 1977, when a rear anti-roll bar was made standard equipment on all models.
US emissions regulations also reduced horsepower, and by the time of the B's demise in 1980, performance was decidedly lacklustre.
MGB GT 
Production 1965–1980
125,282 made
Body style(s) 2 door coupé
Engine(s) 1798 cc B-Series I4
Wheelbase 2,312 mm (91.0 in)
Length 153 inches (3886 mm), 158 inches (4019 mm) rubber bumper version
Width 60 inches (1524 mm)
Height 50 inches (1238 mm), 51 inches (1295 mm) rubber bumper version
The fixed-roof MGB GT was introduced in October 1965 and production continued until 1980, although export to the US ceased in 1974. The MGB GT sported a Pininfarina-designed hatchback body. The new configuration was a 2+2 design with a right-angled rear bench seat and more luggage space than in the roadster. Relatively few components differed, although the MGB GT did receive different suspension springs and anti-roll bars and a different windscreen which was more easily and inexpensively serviceable. Early prototypes such as the MGB Berlinette produced by the Belgian coach builder Jacques Coune utilized a raised windscreen in order to accommodate the fastback.
Acceleration of the GT was slightly slower than that of the roadster due to its increased weight, though handling improved due to significantly increased chassis rigidity and perhaps slightly better weight distribution. Top speed improved by 5 mph (8 km/h) to 105 mph (170 km/h) due to better aerodynamics.
Nearly half a million MGBs were produced from 1962 to 1980 and about a third of them remain today on the roads and in the garages of their owners)
MGB GT V8 
Production 1973–1976
2591 made
Body style(s) 2 door coupe
Engine(s) 3528 cc Rover V8
MG began offering the MGB GT V8 in 1973 utilising the ubiquitous aluminium-block 3528 cc Rover V8 engine, first fitted to the Rover P5B. This engine had been used in the A-body platform Buick Special and Oldsmobile F-85 and was the lightest mass-production V8 in the world, with a dry weight of only 318 lb (144 kg), and was about 60 lb (27 kg) lighter than its 4-cylinder counterpart by the MOWOG (Morris-Wolseley Garages) foundry. Some improvements were made by MG-Rover, and the engine found a long-lived niche in the British motor industry. These cars were similar to those already being produced in significant volume by tuner Ken Costello. MG even contracted Costello to build them a prototype MGB GT V8. However, the powerful 180 bhp (134 kW) engine used by Costello for his conversions was replaced for production by MG with a more modestly tuned version producing only 137 bhp(102 kW) at 5000 rpm. But 193 lb·ft (262 N·m) of torque helped it hit 60 mph (97 km/h) in around 8 seconds, and go on to a respectable 125 mph (201 km/h) top speed.
By virtue of its aluminium cylinder block and heads, the Rover V8 engine actually weighed approximately forty pounds less than MG's iron four cylinder. Unlike the MGC, the V8 that provided the MGB GT V8's increased power and torque did not require significant chassis changes or sacrificed handling.
1975–76 MGB GT V8Only GT versions of the V8-powered MGB were produced by the factory. Production ended in 1976.
MG never attempted to export the MGB GT V8 to the United States. They chose not to develop a left-hand-drive version or to seek US air pollution emission certification of the MGB GT V8, although the Rover V8 engine was offered in US-bound Rover models throughout the same period and beyond. British Leyland Motor Corporation management cited insufficient production capacity to support anticipated demand for the V8 engine in MGB GT, so they priced the MGB GT V8 high.
The MGB GT V8 was very warmly received by the automotive press, but British Leyland Motor Corporation was reportedly concerned that the MGB GT V8 would overshadow their other products, including the more expensive and less powerful Triumph Stag.
MG RV8 
Production 1993–1995
2000 made
Body style(s) 2 seat sports/racer
Engine(s) 3946 cc Rover V8
Interest in small roadsters increased in the 1990s following the introduction of the Mazda MX-5, and MG (now owned by Rover Group) capitalised on this in 1992 by producing new body panels to create an updated version of the old car. The suspension was only slightly updated, sharing the old leaf sprung rear of the MGB. The boot lid and doors were shared with the original car, as were the rear drum brakes. However, the engine was the 3.9L version of the respected aluminum Rover V8, previously used in the MGB GT V8. A limited-slip differential was also fitted.
The interior was built to luxury standards, featuring veneered burr elm woodwork and Connolly Leather.
Performance was good, with 190 bhp (142 kW) at 4,750 rpm and 0–60 mph (96 km/h) in 5.9 s. Largely due to the rear drum brakes and rear leaf springs (perceived to be too old fashioned for a modern performance car), the RV8 was not popular with road testers at the time. However, this did not prevent the RV8 from being a moderate sales success, and it paved the way for the introduction of the modern MGF a few years later.
It also capitalised on an appreciation for superior British products in Japan. A sizeable chunk of the limited MG RV8 production went to that country- 1579 of the 2000 produced.
For ten years the MGB was assembled in Australia, during which time approximately 9,000 were sold. The cars were assembled from ckd kits shipped from England. The arrangement ended in 1972 when the government issued a requirement that to enjoy favourable tariff treatment locally produced cars should feature 85% local content. At the time the local content of the Australian assembled MGBs was evaluated as just 45%.

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