Rover V8 Conversion: 1974 MG B

I love the idea of owning a classic MG with an upgraded power plant and I love the look of this next car…and I’m not afraid of the price…but this next advertisement leaves a bit to be desired. Where are the photos of the engine bay? How clean was the installation? And what is up with those seats? A few interior shots would let us know if the interior is mostly stock or converted to those nasty Dakota digital gauges that was all the vogue in the early 90s. So if I were selling this car, I’d ditch the photos of my sister in her dress and my best fried laying on a rock, and instead show some detail under the hood. Find this 1974 MG B offered for $18,000 in Hollywood, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!

From the seller:

1974 MGB
condition: good
cylinders: 8 cylinders
drive: rwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 55000
paint color: orange
title status: clean
transmission: manual
type: convertible
This is an unrusted V8 conversion that has been very fun and reliable for the last few years. It’s a turn-key MGB…depending on your definition of “sorted”. It’s a blast, and I wouldn’t sell it if I wasn’t already the 2nd owner of a ’67 in my favorite color.

The car is titled, registered, and insured in my name in California, sitting in my home garage. It is a US car with no smog requirements. I have a stack of records and notes, mostly from my stewardship for the 5,000 miles over the last three years.

THE GOOD

It’s a near rust-free chrome-bumper MGB with a carbureted Rover V8 that drives well. The whole front suspension and wheel bearings are fresh. I believe the engine is from a Defender 90, and it runs well. It always starts, idles fine when hot or cold, and pulls happily to a 6k redline. The car is calm and composed at 75mph. I drove it from LA to Pebble Beach and back on the PCH in 2019. Great trip! The only time it has ever left me stranded was due to an invisibly-blown fuse that I couldn’t figure out in the sun on the side of the road. I’ve driven it in 90°+ sunny weather, and it never overheats. Tires are pretty fresh Michelins with plenty of tread. Brakes stop firm and straight. The rear diff is reportedly from a Chevy S10 and the transmission is a T5 5spd with good shifting. The seats are from a Fiero and are very comfy, but they don’t seem to move forward or back. Stereo has Bluetooth/phone support. I have a soft top, hard top, tonneau cover, and full-size 15″ Minilite spare. It gets driven regularly, mostly up Angela’s Crest, along Mulholland, and around Malibu.

THE BAD

It leaks (like a proper Brit). Not a lot, but after a drive you’ll find oil on the ground in a few spots, as well as coolant. I believe it’s coming from more than one place. Coolant is leaking slightly from the lower hose, near where it was questionably plumbed to avoid the oil filter. The interior driver’s door latch broke a clip, so I’ve been using the outside door handle like a gentleman. Basically, it needs the TLC that a smart seller would do before listing it, and I’m simply not that diligent a seller.

THE UGLY

There is a small (hidden) dent in the chassis inside the front wheel well that was there when I bought it. It causes no issues, and the car drives straight at all speeds. The car used to be green, but was repainted prior to my ownership. It looks smooth and shiny, but there are a few spots that are lifting. The steering column is not perfectly aligned; it had to be squeezed into the U-joint a bit (I wasn’t the one who worked on it). The stripes are vinyl tape; they don’t come with the car! 😀

If you know MGBs, and you’re looking for a V8 roadster, let’s chat!