|’80 MGB LE of Ralph Littlefield|
|’79 B of Alan Prentiss from Carson City, Nevada|
|Midget of Lonny Keels from Cornville, Maine|
|’65 B of Al Hagan from Redondo Beach, California|
The March 2009 issue’s Queen B is the ’79 B of Larry Youngblood. Here is his story:
About six years ago, a former high school welding student of mine, called me on the phone and asked if I still had my Midget and if I was interested in another MG. Of course, I had to go look. Drove down to the small town where he lived and there it was outside on the driveway, covered in a ratty blue tarp. Pulled it back and what I saw was rough. Interior basically gone, no top, engine froze up, sill and fenders rusted but other than the top, it was all there. He wanted $700, I offered $500. At the time I had no way of having the car delivered to me so I offered him $20 to trailer it to the school where I work.
Once at the school (end of year), I had my few remaining students (all the rest were out co-oping) start tearing it down. Pulled the engine, removed the head and discovered that the #3 piston was “welded” to the cylinder wall. After removing the crank and other pistons and rods, we took a 2X4 and an engineers hammer to the #3 piston and finally popped it out. We then gave the engine to the Engine Rebuild Class for renewing. Continued stripping the car.
Finally was able to move the car to my home garage and got it up on stands. I then removed the rusty sills, inner panel and castle rail. Welded in all new metal and of course, new dog legs.
Front fenders were gone, so had to find new/used ones. Found a good used fender in Arizona and the other was a perfect NOS item that I got from Matthews Parts in Birmingham, Alabama.
Had some minor rust issues at various places on the floor and footwells. A few patches and good to go.
In the meantime, I was busy ordering new parts, interior components, etc. Got to know the UPS man very well!
After all the welding work was done, I started to do the body work but after working off and on for five years, I thought it might be good to let the Autobody Class at the vocational school work on it. Took them nearly the entire school year to finish the car but they did get it finished and I trailered it home for final assembly. The original color of the car was Pageant Blue. My wife picked the new color of ’02 Ford Mustang Mineral Gray.
As I was assembling the car, I found several flaws in the paint but I wanted a “driver” so I am not too concerned. Overall, I was very happy with the work they did.
The engine rebuild came out nice and has been running for the last couple of years with no problems.
In 2007, I took the car to its first two car shows and a lot of folks really liked the color and various little details that I have made such as the Fiero seats, wood cup holder, Bimimi top/wind blocker combination.
I also own a ’75 MG Midget that I purchased new when I was about 22 years old. The MGB was built to use as a “fair weather” daily driver as it has a bit more room for my old bones and fat belly. In the summer, it gets driven most every day and even in the winter on mild days.
The October 2008 Octagon Queen B is the ’79 B of Donald Hutchens. Here is his story:
My love affair with MGs dates back to the late ’50s and early ’60s with a ’58 MGA and high school days. Quite a story, which also includes a ’63 MG Midget and later my son’s first car, a red ’77 MG Midget in 1984.
Now fast forward to 2007 being married for 42 years to my wonderful and understanding wife and with our kids out of college and on their own, I realized I had not found or owned the car I always wanted, a MGB roadster. Now the story of my find and purchase of a red 1979 MGB.
It is late summer of 2007 that I am reading our local newspaper car ads, which I usually do on a daily basis and this ad appears:
I see this ad and read it daily for approximately 2 weeks, so on a pretty sunny Sunday afternoon I told my son about this ad and we laughed but we agreed to call and see if this car was still available. To our surprise, it was, so we were able to set up a time that same afternoon to see this car. Another surprise was that the car was about 4 miles away, stored in a little building in a new housing development. From reading the ad and the price that was being asked, at best it could only be a project car. Maybe good for parts and not much! We arrived at our appointed time and met the owner at the gate of this gated development. We then go to the little storage building and raise the door. SURPRISE is an understatement as here sat a red MGB roadster with the top down, a little rusty and faded, surrounded by stacks of boxes so close you could not open the car doors. The owner stated that the top was good and a new battery had just been installed.
My son managed to climb into the little car and hit the starter and the roar of the four was music to my ears. With only 2″ of clearance of the garage door, the little red MGB was very carefully backed out of the building. Now we could inspect what we had found. First was the current year license tag and the car was last out for a trip to the beach on July 4th as told by the owner. The owner also told what brand and weight of motor oil that was used and that the original owner’s manual was in the glove compartment. By now the roar of the four was sweet, sweet music. Our inspection was really getting serious as we were under the hood, under the car, in the trunk, under the mats, under the door and in the battery area. We were looking for rust and did not find any. We raised the top and the top was in good condition as the owner had said. The tires were in excellent condition and they were a matched set of Michelins with almost new tread. We found in the trunk an excellent spare tire mounted on an original MG wheel ready to go. Also folded neatly was a tonneau cover and top cover and all original tools and jack all in excellent condition.
Now came the driving test and wow! Great handling, brakes good, straight stops, all lights working even the side lights, brake lights, turn signals, clock and also a nice radio set up. All gauges work, temperature gauge right on target, oil pressure right on line with owners manual when driving and when idling. The clutch and gears were as smooth as silk. One more check as the title does number match, motor body and VIN number, etc. Yes, I offered a price and the owner accepted as he is moving to Texas for a new job and does not have time to complete the restoration. The car had 101,402 miles on it and was owned 11 years by the previous owner.
The only thing done to the car by my son and me, was to wash, wax, vacuum the carpet, dust the seats and dash and drive it! Changes that I would like to make in the near future are to install a European type license tag and MGB original type wheels. I would also like to clean and detail under the hood.
This rare find is now a proud member of our family and is run almost daily, except on rainy days.
My son, seventeen year old grandson and 10 year old granddaughter say this little red MGB is not for sale and are waiting for the car to be passed down to them.
A rare treasure can still be found in 2007 or today. You just have to check them out!
Here are some photos of my recently, completed 1979 MGB. The engine has been detoxed and upgraded. It is bored out 40 thousandths; new parts include: stock cam, pistons and valve train, 2 bbl Webber downdraft carburetor, exhaust header, alternator, Petronix ignition, radiator, valve cover, water pump, fuel pump and gas tank.
The suspension has all new Urethane bushings and a Monroe shock at each corner. The interior is all new done in Autumn Leaf with ealier chrome stripped door panels. The front tag was given to me by a patient from England.
This car was left for trash in a backyard in Tampa Florida, full of leaves, wasps, ants and rats had nested in the driver’s seat. It was ready to go to the junk yard. The engine was left exposed with the spark plugs removed.
It has taken a year and a half to get it back into running condition.
The only major work left is a little body work and a new paint job, probably Brooklands Green. Thanks to Glenn’s MG in St. Petersburg for the engine rebuild and Victoria British and Moss for all the parts and The Roadster factory for the interior and carpet kits. My wife is happy that it’s almost done because I have spent many hours in the garage with my little MG. I still sneak into the garage and rub her headlights every once in a while just to make my wife jealous, especially now during rainy season when we can go out for a ride.