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numbers matching?

Started by march2021, March 28, 2021, 10:52:29 PM

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Hello, I inherited an MGB. Engine 18GA-u-h-6561, tag on fender is body GHN L 67642. I am told the engine is original to the body. Is this correct?  Transmission had been replaced with a 4 speed OD. Thanks,  John


hmm, on the drivers side front fender between the radiator and the firewall, on the fender is a painted over tag with MG 036311.  The vin is ghnl67642 (likely correct as it is only third title in lifetime.  Must be fenders from other cars and did not take off id or?


Figured the mystery. Probably built late March or April 1964?


Per other sites covering this subject, that plate on the inner fender well is in the right location, but the number looks like a commission number, not the VIN.

The VIN for the early MGB, approximately 1962-69, should be found stamped on a plate on the inner right hand fender, just in front of the radiator, where you'r seeing this one. There could also be a plate riveted on the inside of the right front fender listed as the 'Body Number' that should have the VIN.  These both could be lost or from another car done during repairs with used parts.  With parts pretty much interchangeable for early cars, it happens a lot.

In addition to the attached plates, the VIN was also stamped into the right front frame rail on early cars bound for the North American market.  These numbers were stamped on the trim deck at the factory (and after the car was painted, of course).  These should match the number at least one of the plates you see.

Per your number, I think you're missing a digit.  You should have a number between the N and L that gives you the 'Mark' series.  Based on how old you think it is, let's assume it's 3, so the VIN should decode something as follows:

G - MG
H - 1.8L B-Series Engine
N - 2-Seat Roadster
3 - Mark I (62-67)
Car Number - 67642

Just some other questions to help better dial in the year:

- Is the dashboard metal or padded? Only the earliest US bound cars have the metal dash.  Probably about from 62-67, or the Mark I series.
- If padded, does it have a glove box on the right hand side? After the metal dash and prior to about 1970, they had this tufted padded dash commonly called the Abingdon Pillow.  After 70, they had a more conventional look with a proper glove box on the passenger side.
- On the engine, does it have a PCV system (mushroom shaped valve standing center of the intake manifold)?  Early engines had the PCV, later ones had an A.I.R. pump, 2 fan belts and a tube rail system above the spark plugs, though the latter was routinely removed and plugged.  If it was, there should be plugs in the head where the rail connections were.  That would mean there's at least the head from a later engine in there.
- Are the SU carburetors of the HS4 series (side float) or HIF4 (internal float) type?  Easy to identify -  If they have external canisters beside the carburetor, they are HS type; None, they are HIF or some non-SU aftermarket units.  Early cars had HS type, but they were commonly swapped for HIF type or others.

Getting a Moss or old Victoria British parts catalog can help identify these and other parts unique to certain years and series to help you pin it down.  The diagrams are pretty detailed and often very year specific.

Contacting British Motor Heritage would best give you the full history and original manufactured specs of the car.

Hope that helps you.  Let us know what you find out.

Safety Fast!

Art Isaacs
AMGBA Tech Staff


Thank you very much. I had the original registration from 1966 from my father in law. He was supposedly the 2nd owner. He rebuilt once and restored once, and it is likely the front wings were replaced.  It is possible the VIN on the registration was copied wrong years go and maybe it is a commission number.  I will look some more.

The car is metal dash, PCV mushroom, pull handles, HS carbs, no smog. The engine is original 3 baring main, but a later 4 speed overdrive backs it up. I am working on the vacuum solenoid now.


Other than the trans (with the 4 speed OD unit being a very good upgrade!), sounds like you have a very original early MGB that has a long family history.  Very nice!

The 'GHN' number is definitely the VIN.  See if you can identify the missing number that should be after the 'N', but from what you've identified, it is almost definitely a '3' for the Mark I series.

The Facebook site will probably get more responses than here, but please write on your progress with it and post any questions for any of us to respond to.

Hope to see you on the road.

Safety Fast!

Art Isaacs
AMGBA Tech Staff

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