I bought a 1971 MGB GT

Last Thursday, I bought a 1971 MGB GT, British racing green with overdrive and Rostyle steel wheels.

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I drove the MGB GT from the seller's house to my house, then my wife Jane drove it back. She told me that I'd like driving her Taurus to work. It was strange driving back home in my Toyota Solara as the only thing we could hear were the tires. There seems to be a lot of mechanical noise produced by the MGB GT. On Saturday, we took a nice drive to Oxnard, then down Highway 1. We ate at a nice little place called the Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market and Patio Cafe. The prices are good and the fish is fresh and the ocean was a deeper blue than usual.

The car does need some work but it has been fun for my wife and I these last few days. Chuck said that I'd get to be very close with All Car Parts Ltd in Canoga Park, CA and I'm already getting to know them. The MG mechanic Darrin that I'd like to bring the car to was on vacation but will be back Monday. Since the car sat for a long time, I think it should get a major maintenance. We did discover that the floorboard can get very warm after driving a while. I may buy a MGB heat shield which is supposed to lower the temperature of the floorboard by about 30°F, making the car more comfortable to drive.

When a co-worker asked why I'd buy a car that leaks oil, with lights that only work in daylight and windshield wipers that don't work when it rains, I told her, “It's my mid-life crisis”, which seemed to satisfy her curiosity. I'm not sure why that explained it just as when people ask me about my name and I tell them that my mom is an artist. They go okay, and don't ask for more information, it just seems to explain it.

11 Comments

Gravatar Image1. Posted at 9/22/2008 4:52:18 AM by Timothy Briley

I'm surprised that you didn't get the modern day version of a MGB GT. It's called an Mazda MX-5 GT. It's all the fun, but none of the mechanical problems. I'm on my second one.

Gravatar Image2. Posted at 9/30/2008 7:59:52 PM by Tanny O'Haley

For those of you interested, you can find the location of the picture at Mugu Rock, California.

As you can see, it is right by the ocean, you just have to turn around 180 degrees.

Gravatar Image3. Posted at 10/15/2008 2:57:15 PM by Tanny O'Haley

Last week I had the timing marked correctly on the pulley, replaced the passenger side fender mirror, one of the backup lights fixed, the wiper blades and arms replaced with stock chrome units, the radio antennae replaced and the front grill replaced with an older style used unit.

Gravatar Image4. Posted at 10/15/2008 3:12:16 PM by Tanny O'Haley

Bad news. On Friday, my wife Jane and I drove up to Oakhurst, CA to visit my mom. Everything went fine until we left my mom's to go to dinner. When we turned onto highway 41, the head gasket blew between the number one and two cylinders. We got down to the 22 mile gas station and then had to have it towed to British Steel in Fresno, CA. The owner, Rick was very kind and came in on Saturday, waited for my car to be towed in and gave me the bad news that there wasn't any compression in the number one cylinder.

You have to see the cars Rick has worked on. The quality of work is amazing and the prices don't seem very high too. I'm impressed with his whole operation. Rick's wife Betty, took me to the airport to rent a car to get home. Originally National Car Rental was going to charge me $190.00 for a two day rental of a Prius but when I delivered the car at the Burbank airport they only charged me $101.00.

We decided to stay for the 2008 Clovis British Car Roundup and stayed the night at the Homewood Suites in Fresno. After finding out how allergic I am to cigarette smoke (actually the chemical that keeps a cigarette lit), they upgraded our room. The room was very nice with a living room, kitchenette, dining area, bedroom with two queen size beds and an LG High definition TV in the living and bed rooms. They served a "real" breakfast with eggs, sausage, waffles..., overall a good experience.

On Sunday at the roundup everyone was extremely nice to us. I can't emphasize enough how kind and generous everyone was and everyone had nice things to say about Rick and his wife. I didn't hear a single bad word, which makes me feel good about him repairing my car.

Yesterday Rick told me that the head was okay, though he did have it checked and surfaced. They are putting the car together now and I've asked Rick if he could check out a vibration in the drive train when driving above 70 mile per hour. If it's not too much, I'll see if he can repair that too.

Gravatar Image5. Posted at 10/30/2008 5:06:05 PM by Tanny O'Haley

I got the car back last Friday. Dollar Rent a Car had a deal from the Los Angeles airport to the Fresno airport for a dollar a day. With the LAX facility fee that brought the price up to a little over $10.00 plus gas. The car drives fine and even though I had the bad drive shaft and u-joints replaced I still get a vibration at 70 miles per hour. I was told see if the wheels needed balancing and found out the rims (at least the two we looked at) were bent. I wanted to put Panasports on the car so I ordered and they were installed today. The car drives very smoothly up to 70 MPH and then the vibration comes back. Not sure what to check next. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

In any case here's my MG with the older style grill and new Panasports.

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Gravatar Image6. Posted at 11/7/2008 4:52:49 PM by maurie garza

Very nice ride... I have a 73, same color and I put the panasports on too. I don't have the overdrive though. I've had mine for a couple of years. I had a 66 roadster that I put together myself but I came to really like the GT better. I live in Morro Bay and drive mine often. People just love these car's as you know... Drive on and enjoy,

Maurie

Gravatar Image7. Posted at 11/8/2008 11:22:26 AM by Tanny O'Haley

Maurie,

I drive mine every day and always get a good comment from people who see the car. The only place I see other MGs is at car shows or the repair shop. Maybe that's not a good thing seeing them in the repair shop.

I have to replace the water pump as it is making a lot of noise and appears that the bearing is gone but I've already spent too much money these last two months. Darrin said to drive it until the noise becomes unbearable then bring it in.

Gravatar Image8. Posted at 7/7/2009 4:26:49 AM by Fred

Hi,

Nice to read your story.

I have a 1974 MGB GT V8 and I'm very curious about your vibration problem since I have the same.

Wheels are balanced, geometry is ok. I can't find from where it's from.

If you have the solution, please tell me!

Gravatar Image9. Posted at 7/7/2009 10:11:25 PM by Tanny O'Haley

Hi Fred,

This has been a long road for me. I've replaced the drive shaft and U-joints, wheels, had the bearings re-packed, checked the differential, the exhaust moved away from where it was rubbing the cross member, the front U-joint again, points with electronic ignition and finally had the Weber DSV carburetor rebuilt. For each item that was done, the car got a little better, but never took away the vibration until the carburetor was rebuilt. I had the carburetor rebuilt because the car had sat for a very long time before I got it and the carburetor was dirty. It was rebuilding the carburetor that made the vibration go away and I don't know why, but I'm glad it's gone.

This probably doesn't help you much. You didn't say what area in the world you live in and whether or not this is an original MG V8 or a conversion. I don't know when they started making the MG with a V8. If it is a conversion, I would check the pinion angle between the drive shaft and differential. If not that, you're going to have to get someone with more knowledge than me. Have you tried the MG Experience MGB V8/V6 Forum?

Gravatar Image10. Posted at 7/26/2009 9:32:16 PM by Matt Delaney

Currently restoring a 1975 MGB. If I ever finish, a GT is next on the list. I love that "shooting-brake" body style. So elegant. Best of luck!

Gravatar Image11. Posted at 10/8/2009 4:41:43 PM by Charles Dyer

I have a 1969 MGB-GT in BRG which I have owned and driven since new. It has been repainted and had a few body panels replaced over the years, but otherwise is original, including alternator, starter, distributor, except for things like brushes. The engine was redone at about 100,000 miles, and at about 160,000 miles is excellent. Except for the engine rebuild and the paint, it has not been in a commercial shop for more than 30 years, so I know it inside out. It has surpassed all expectations for durability and for a truly enjoyable driving experience. Victoria British has been a great supplier of almost any part when one was required.

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