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MGB Center Console
Q: I just bought my 3rd B a few weeks back. It is in storage for the winter but I would like to start on some projects . One of them is to get the center console and radio squared away. My previous 2 Bs were '67 so the radio/console configuration were quite a bit different. I am not that familiar with the my '74 Bs configuration and switch arrangement so I hope I can get some help. The radio is a Kenwood AM/FM/Cassette which will go.
It is the switches below the radio that I am trying to figure out. Going from left to right the first switch panel has two small switches. The top one is mounted so the switch goes up/down and has a white lever. Just below it is a smaller switch that goes left/right. To the right of this the lap belt warning, hazard light and switch. Next over is another switch with a green jewel light. The last one is the cigarette lighter but just below it is a cut out for what looked like a potentiometer. Looks like the locking nut came off that pot is behind the console. Obviously I have the hazard light switch and cigarette lighter figured out but the rest I am at a loss.
I've attached a picture so if anyone has any ideas I would certainly appreciate a reply.
- AMGBA Member on the website message board at https://mgclub.org/smf/
A: I have a '73, which is virtually identical to a '74 (picture attached) and your switches are not all original.
Someone has done a bit of modification and added non-spec aftermarket switches.
I bought mine from the original owner and it seemed unaltered, down to the factory British Leyland AM radio. This matched the layout in the Moss or Victoria British catalogs with the exception of the hazard lamp switch and indicator light, which are off to the left side where the Moss catalog and your car have them placed center of the console.
The order I have is as follows:
Hazard (4-way flasher) switch, red indicator Lamp, seat belt warning light (same as yours), fog lamps (rocker style illuminated switch marked "lights", as the original fog lamp switch is out of production) and then a blank, which is the position for the rear window heater (defroster) switch for the GT and finally the cigarette lighter. There's also a blanked indicator light hole (where your hazard indicator light is) which you have similarly one space to the left. I suspect that was for the window heater or fog lamps, though the original heater switch had an orange indicator center of the rocker switch.
You didn't mention if this was a B roadster or GT. If a GT, one switch might be the rear defroster. If a roadster that wouldn't be included. Looking at your photo, I would have to guess what the added toggles represent. Here's some suggestions:
I would think one might be for the fog lights, if your car is so equipped or it may have been at some point. My money would be the one with the green gem in it, which would serve as an indicator lamp.
Another could be a shut-off of the very annoying seat belt alarm that would not allow the car to start without the belt being buckled. The system was removed on many cars by the dealer, as they were ruled unlawful. Many of us chose to either put in a switch to shut it off or just cross-wire it to bypass the function. I did the latter.
Still another could be a "kill switch". This is a rudimentary security device that just cut the tachometer wire, which kept the car from starting. Many of us, concerned our prize could be easily stolen, added them in plain sight and unlabeled. We later found the original Lucas ignition did a better job of keeping the car from starting, so the application lost popularity.
Other than some aftermarket functions, like a catastrophe switch for an auxiliary cooling fan (bypass the thermostat and run constantly) or an alternative overdrive switch (the original on a 74 is in the wiper stalk, but often failed), I'm not sure what all of those switches might control. If lights or things do not go on and off that you can see, you may just have to trace them to find out what they are connected to.
The hole beneath the lighter could be anything, though that might have been for a flexible map light of some kind. Especially if the owner had rallied the car. Easier for the navigator and less annoying to the driver than using the large central one at the top of the console.
By the way, that aftermarket stereo/cassette player looks somewhat period correct. If it works, maybe just find or fabricate a better bezel and it will look like the dealer installed items. I went with a later DIN mount AM/FM/CD system with additional speakers. Sounds great standing still, but you really can't hear it over the engine with the top down and at speed without the volume cranked. That gets annoying to have to lower the volume so you don't blast everyone around you at lights. And while a neat installation, it looks very much out of place. I do remove the faceplate and cover it with an MG radio blank plate at shows.
I hope that helps you. Let me know if you have any questions and definitely what you find. I'm curious to see what modifications others have done over the years.
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