|’71 Midget of Royd Roberts from Lemont, Illinois|
|’80 B of Jim Lunsford from Murfreesboro, Tennessee|
|’71 B of Jim Fox|
|’77 B of Jennifer Golden|
by Jan Brunk
The beat up MGB on our U-Haul trailer was getting a lot of “looks” as we drove I- 90 out of Spokane during rush hour in August of 2020. It wasn’t only the MGB getting looks, but the five extra wheels riding in its passenger seat and the bed of our Ford Ranger filled with broken-down cardboard boxes of old parts, three more “spare” wheels, an extra engine and a black hard top lopsidedly strapped over all. We were on our way back to Montana with our latest “find” and next project, a 1967 “B”.
The story of my affection for MG’s really started 54 years ago. It was 1967, I was an 18 year old graduating from high school in Gardiner, Montana. A friend of my family loaned me his MG to drive to baccalaureate. That night, driving that family friend’s MG, suddenly escalated my status on the popularity scale. One thing about that car I clearly remember is parking in the church parking lot, turning the key off and sitting there (embarrassed and clueless as what to do) as it continued to run!
Thirty years later my husband and I were sitting in our back yard one afternoon thumbing a Hemmings Motor News looking for MGBs after a conversation earlier in the week that went something like this: Ron, “I think I’d like to fix up an old car.” Me, “I’ve always wanted an MGB.” Ron, “Really. Why?” I thought I’d already told my husband about the dieseling car that raised my social standing and birthed in me a self- confidence based on the fact that an adult had enough confidence in me, an 18 year old, to trust with the keys to his MG! It was that conversation that prompted us to buy a Hemmings and begin looking for an MGB we could afford and find nearby.
There weren’t many MGB’s listed in Montana; the one we found a few hours away had a hole in the passenger floor under the carpet. That hole indicated probable body repair that we weren’t ready to tackle so we kept looking. Summer faded into fall without an MGB to park in our garage. Winter came and then melted into spring. One Sunday my Dad noticed an ad in the Denver Post classifieds for a 1972 MGB in Boulder, would we like a ’71 Midget, email him to look into it? Our hunt for an MG became a family affair. The car was a teal blue metal bumper, three windshield wiper “B” with 21,366 miles and a pile of work orders and parts receipts to go with it. It seemed to be a “good deal” to Dad, and as he said, all those receipts told him, “there has been a lot of good things happen to this little car.” We said, “buy it!”
There were a few days delays in completing the transaction; the owner was suspicious of a cashier’s check and wanted it exchanged for $2895 cash, and Dad was uncomfortable driving the B home in a March snowstorm even though it came with a set of snow chains. How we were going to get the car to Montana was a puzzle, but in excitement we began cleaning out our 1930 era garage – the perfect size for a B. Meanwhile it took up residence in my parent’s garage and their pickup moved out into the weather.
A few months went by and it was decided a trip north pulling the B on a U-Haul was the best way to get it to us. Meanwhile my husband had been doing due diligent research and read that you should enjoy driving your new car before you start tearing into it. A good suggestion! The ‘72 was definitely a driver so the first four years we drove it, motoring to dinner with neighbors in their ’52 TD; through Glacier National Park over the Going To The Sun road; to church on Sundays; on fun winding roads around the valley and longer jaunts around the state. During that first summer Ron re-built the brakes with the help of his Dad after a close encounter with a deer on one of those winding roads.
At that time my husband was a bike mechanic, not a car mechanic, but with the help of Good Neighbor Bill the owner of the ’52 TD, his millwright knowledge and supply of automotive tools, the full restoration of the B began with a valuable observation. Immediately after beginning to cut out a floor board, Bill stopped the sheers, looked at Ron and said, “some people are perfectionists. Its not that they never get anything done, it’s just that they’re never satisfied with it. I just do it…” Then he shrugged and resumed cutting. With that statement the pressure of perfection was gone and the fun of fixing up began. At times there was a hundred feet of air hose running from Bill’s compressor down his driveway across the alley into our garage. If there was a tool needed that neither one had, Bill bought it or borrowed it from work. When the person who was to repaint the B left town with our down payment and the B sitting in his yard, Good Neighbor Bill turned his garage into a ventilated paint shop and Ron re-painted the car himself. The full and complete restoration took one summer and five winters. We added chrome wire wheels and a wooden steering wheel, new upholstery and a Weber carburetor. It was a driver again!
On one of our longest trips around the state, something came loose in the carburetor. Ron was able to limp the B home, but afterwards once the car heated up, it was difficult to restart. Gone were the short trips around town. The joy of driving it was replaced by hope that if you stopped, you could get started again. After several years of that, Good Neighbor Bill suggested that Ron should put the original SU carburetors back on the car. So after rebuilding the carbs and many attempts at adjusting them, a call to John Twist at University Motors gave Ron the tip he needed to get them going. Now the B starts, runs and restarts reliably every time! Since the “complete restoration”, there have been a lot more good things happen to the little ’72 B and the receipts prove it! New halogen headlights one year, new windshield the next, new fuel pump, new alternator, new radio console, new starter and electronic ignition.
Ron is a fairly competent MG mechanic now and a retired bike mechanic. We have a double car garage and Ron has extra time. What better than to look for another B as a retirement project. The “find” was the beat up 1967 B that we hauled home from Spokane a year and a half ago. Currently, its restoration seems more like reconstruction, but headway is being made. While the ’67 is under construction, we continue to drive and enjoy the ’72 B. Our AMGBA membership started back in 1994 and we continue to look forward to each issue. Thanks for all the technical help over the years. I don’t think my MG mechanic could have done it without you! Happy motoring!
An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’75 B of Lewis Faberman from Scarsdale, New York. Here is his story:
I purchased my 75 B from Classic Auto Mall without driving first. Always loved the MGB and have long wanted one. Used my kids learning to drive as an excuse since I want them to learn to drive stick.
Lewis Faberman, Scarsdale, NY
|’78 B of Nick Leviton from London England|
|’70 B of Chuck Hamilton of Allentown, Pennsylvania|
|’72 B of Casey Schlachter from St. Charles, Illinois|
at Chicagoland British Car Festival and AMGBA Meet 2021
|’80 B of Timothy Schafer of Lombard, Illinois|
at Chicagoland British Car Festival and AMGBA Meet 2021
The 1st photo (B roadster) is named Morris and is a tribute to the early race cars run at Sebring. Supercharged .040 over built motor with Ford 5-speed transmission. The 2nd photo (B-GT) is named Myrtle and is currently under construction to pay tribute to the Harrington MGB factory GT; however, for road use. It has a L32 GM V6 which is a built motor and a Borg Warner 5-speed transmission.
I purchased the car in 1982 when it had approximately 35,000 miles on the odometer. I drove the car quite a lot, and by 2005, the odometer read 114,404. By then, the car had gone through one engine rebuild, two repaintings, and was on its third type of carburetor/manifold. The car started with a Zenith/Stromburg, then on to twin SU carburetors, then in 2004 to a Weber carburetor. The car never ran correctly with the Weber carb, and, because of other numerous smaller issues, and a larger issue of impending necessary body work, the car has been in storage since 2005. My girlfriend and I have decided to get the car back on the road, no matter what the cost.
An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’74 B roadster of Robert Mullen from Martinsburg, West Virginia. Here is the story:
My MGB Story
I am a retired foreign car specialist. After working full-time, easing down slowly into retirement was recommended and I took the advice. So I cashed a C.D. and bought 19 MGBs and MGB-GTs in various states of disrepair. In October 2019, I was able to construct 10 cars. This is my story about the last one, number 10.
Car #10 was a 1974 MGB roadster which I found at a body shop liquidation sale. All of the body work had been completed using metal replacement panels and only minimal bondo skim coating. It had been sanded using 400# grit and was in yellow primer. All bright work was removed and the interior stripped to bare metal. There was little interest from other bidders because all the items removed from the car had been stolen. My ace-in-the-hole here was that I had everything needed to put this car back together. Sometimes you just get lucky!
I began by painting the car in a nice burgundy single-stage enamel just as it was done at the factory. I installed all new interior parts and a new deluxe top. The best of my collection of bright work was used to complete the cosmetic restoration. I powder coated the wheels and installed new period correct radial tires.
I rebuilt the brake system, clutch hydraulics, both SU carburetors, tuned up the engine and adjusted the valve clearances. With new fluids in everything, I was ready to put this one on the road.
I was soon to discover that my good luck had run out. On the road, the car was sad. It smoked like a cheap cigar, had little power on hills and dripped copious amounts of oil out of the rear main seal. Also, it seems that previous owners had succeeded in tearing out 2nd and 3rd gear synchronizers out of the transmission which made shifting gears exciting to say the least. There were also disturbingly high pitched whining noises coming out of the gearbox at speed. I parked the car.
I knew that I could not quit now. Fortunately, I had some options. At the time, I has a 1971 B roadster with a very nice engine and transmission for sale. Buyers seemed uninterested because the car was rusty. Even thought it ran well, it seemed to be too much of a project for others to handle. I decided to cannibalize it.
So I did the old “take two and make one” story. After many hours and some more new parts, the 1971 drivetrain had a new home. Finally my car ran as good as it looked.’
|’72 B of Thomas Tyndorf from North Barrington, Illinois|
|’74 Midget of Roy Finch from Algonquin, Illinois|
|’70 B-GT of John Stumph from Pelham, Alabama|
An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’73 MGB-GT of Peter Hallett from Chester, New Hampshire. Here is the story:
In 1975, when I was 36 years old. I did all my own maintenance. My wife called it my $80 fix-up car since it seemed that just about any fix cost $80.
Now I am 81 years old and have trouble getting in and out of my lovely toy so I may have to part with it.
I bought this MGB in October 2019. I was not in the market for an MGB, so I knew nothing about them. That is not my style for buying. I normally do a great deal of research.
The gentleman selling the car was in very poor health. He had the car partially restored, and my main concern was rust. He said there was none. I have since found a small amount in the floor pans, and repaired that. I didn’t know much about Lucas electric systems when we bought it, but I have learned a lot in the last year. He had the engine rebuilt with 38K original miles and new paint and did some front suspension work. He pulled the engine to rebuild, but did not redo anything else under hood. The car was white and he repainted red, so engine bay and rear trunk are still white.
Some of my projects in the last year include:
1. Got original radio working and replaced the antenna. (While we don’t listen to it (use iPhone with Bluetooth to a portable BOSE speaker), it is nice that it works.
2. Replaced courtesy light and door switches.
3. Replaced cigar lighter.
4. Replaced several gauges.
5. Replaced turn signal and High Beam headlight dimmer.
6. Installed relays for high beams, low beams, electric fan, all running tail lights, running lights, horn.
1. Rebuilt rear suspension (new shocks, leaf springs, bushings).
2. Replaced exhaust hanger
3. Pulled heater and rebuilt and repainted it. I haven’t reinstalled it, but as hard as it was to remove, I read that it is harder to install.
1. Sealed floor pans.
2. New carpeting.
3. New door cards and front and rear panels
4. New leather cover for steering wheel.
5. New wind blocker
Projects in the future:
1. Repaint engine bay.
2. Repair vinyl seats.
3. Install a new front anti-sway bar.
4. Rebuild the Weber Carburetor that came on the car. (I think jets are incorrect).
5. Refurbish master cylinder.
6. Reinstall heater.