The MGB series was one of the most popular cars for MG. It was manufactured and marketed by the British Motor Corporation (BMC), and later by the British Leyland. During its 18 years extended run starting from 1962 to 1980, it was definitely a trendsetter, and when on to establish the concept of two-door open-roof-top British sports car for fanatics all around the globe.
It was in the year 1962, a year later after Jaguar E-type came into the market. Although not so modern and providing only a bit of the performance and beauty of that of the Jaguar, MGB survived in the market because of its accessibility and price. And guess what? It went on to became a huge showroom success. Not only in the UK, but also in overseas with a large number of units being shipped to the United States. This iconic car by the time it became a classic in 1980, had sold over half a million units!
Now coming to the specifications, the car’s monocoque construction was an improvement over the separate chassis construction of concurrent rivals like the Triumph TR4. In 1962, when it was launched, it had the up-to-the-minute specification which meant the drive was a pleasure when compared to its opponents. This advancement was also a step ahead from the MGA. If you are a fan of Dominic Toretto then you must be knowing how important is power for your sports car. So here we have the 1.8-litre B-series engine which was an upgrade and a delight for the enthusiasts. It produced 95 hp (71 kW) at 5,400 rpm and was upgraded in October 1964 to a five-bearing crankshaft. Now coming to speed, the MGB clocked 0-60 mph in just 11 seconds. Now it also comprised of the Four-speed gearbox having overdrive available, rack-and-pinion steering, independent front suspension, and disc brakes. So it was a perfect package from the start. The MGB was one of the first cars to have “controlled crumple zones” which was designed to protect the driver and passenger in a 30mph (48km/h) impact with a static barrier weighing 200 tons.
In 1965, the MGBs appeal was skyrocketing with the arrival of its GT variant. Commonly referred to as the “Poor Man’s Aston Martin” because of its handsome looks, tidy handling, and excellent performance. Now speaking of the mechanical changes, additions were limited to a front anti-roll bar and Salisbury type rear axle. The rear seats were not so spacious, suitable for luggage and small children! So speaking of that, the GT was a pure Roadster.
1967-1969 saw the up gradation of B to MK2 specification. Characterized by the synchromesh of the 4-speed gearbox and an optional Borg-Warner automatic gearbox. In 1970, the BL-style front end was applied to the Mk3 and it was not that much a success. Consequently, the new look failed to thrive in the market and was cast away with but additional improvements kept to coming to keep MGB alive.
In 1974, North American regulations enforced certain standards. A raised ride height along with the polyurethane-covered bumpers was applied onto the MGB. Although hated by the fans, but later it turned out that this Federal improved version was a success when compared with its Italian rivals, notably the X1/9 and the FIAT Spider.
Later on, modifications of the engine in North America resulted in the once a very fast car to be one of the slowest cars of North America.
In 1980, the production of the MGB series of cars came to an end. The announcement of closure was an untimely one because it was just insensitive to announce closure during the celebrations of 50th anniversary of MG cars.
Once Great Britain’s most omnipresent sports car, today is on the list of popular Classic Cars.