Underrated, affordable ’73 MGB roadster

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MGB
The MGB roadster was recently restored, the seller says

One of the most underappreciated postwar classic sports cars, at least in my mind, is the MGB.  Although fun, rugged and stylish, and with enough old-school mechanical bits to keep you occupied, MGB roadsters and MGB-GTs have labored forever in the bargain basement of the collector car market.

One reason, there were just so many of them sold in the U.S. and, as they say, familiarity breeds contempt.  That commonality also kept them in the lower tiers of ownership, where many were neglected, abused and eventually became scruffy used cars, further damaging their allure.

MGB

But for those who know and admire them, MGBs are charming little beasts that drive well with decent power and handling. And they are easy to own, repairable with just a modicum of know-how and with excellent parts availability from a number of vendors.  Club support is strong just about anywhere in the country.

But if nothing else, an MGB presents an affordable entry into the world of British sport cars, an addictive habit that most never regret.

(Full disclosure: I have owned a 1970 MGB roadster for the past 40 years.  I guess it’s a keeper.  That happened because it has never been worth any money, and why would I sell a perfectly good MGB for pocket change? So I kept it.)

 

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MGB

The Pick of the Day is a 1973 MGB roadster in classic British Racing Green with a tan interior, a car that has been freshly restored yet still offered for less than a used Camry.

Just 3,412 miles have been put on this MGB since it was completely refurbished, according to the Spring Valley, California, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com, with “lots of restoration receipts” to confirm the work that was done.

Included in the restoration list, according to the seller, “new paint, most chrome new, new convertible top, new DLX honey-tan interior seats, carpet, tires, full tonneau cover, new suspension, new clutch, new hoses/belts… new fuel pump, rebuilt starter, new brakes.”

MGBFor 1973, MGB was heading toward the end of its glory days, just before DOT regulations forced the imposition of ugly rubber bumpers, a raised suspension and revised carburetion that sapped power from the 1.8-liter pushrod engine. Production soldiered on through 1980, by which time MGB’s luster was totally tarnished.

But in 1973, the engine was still making close to 100 horsepower, and the original look was intact, with some stylistic and regulatory revisions made over the years. Plus, the electrical system had been greatly improved, increasing reliability, and the engine had been made fairly bulletproof with a five-bearing crankshaft instead of the original three.

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MGBNow, I might be prejudiced but I’ve found the MGB to be durable and reliable, requiring  just the amount of attention you’d expect for an old car.  Actually, it wasn’t such an old car back when I bought it, and I used it for years as a regular driver without complaint, before it was relegated to plaything status.

This fresh-looking ’73 MGB offered on ClassicCars.com is priced at just $14,850.

(More disclosure:  Read my colleague Andy Reid’s multi-part series about his adventures in restoring an MGB-GT) 

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

 

Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

9 COMMENTS

  1. I had a 1972 MG Midget. It was a good learning experience. I did all of my own repairs. I spent a lot of time under the bonnet. The throwout bearing went out twice, which meant pulling the motor and transmission to replace an inexpensive bearing. The starter and alternator went out several times each. It had Lucas electronics. I understand the Brits drink warm beer because they have Lucas refrigerators!

  2. I’d love to have your mgb, I had a 73 , dark green, yes ago an I’ve always missed it, the 2 greens, to me, hold
    the entire British stories,
    Also, I’ll try some other truths about me,
    I’m a disabled vet,
    I have 2 honorable discharges, naval intelligence, an army corporal,
    and I recently found out my parents hid from me he was american indian,
    Carl Easterling,
    Central fl

    And I live off of my 100% service connected disability,
    Navy seals brought me barrels of agent orange for safe keeping, for a later spray mission, being in naval intell I new wat that a o was doing to us, besides killing leaves to see the enemy, so I put it away alright, right in my burn pit,
    It came out yes later, after I was tormented by best friend openly on fb that I was a liar, after I got agent orange leukemia from burning 12 barrels, that I saved 1000,s of Americans, and the spray missions were NEVER re sprayed, ty, carl

  3. I own a 74 1/2 mgb with ugly rubber bumpers. I found hew coil springs for the front end and lowering blocks for the rear. Along with new bushings for the front. It looks good being lower and handles like the older ones. I bought the car in 1979 and it has been a labor of love since. It had 57000 miles when I got it and it just turned 60K. I would not sell it for anything. It is our 4th MG and I wish I had them all back,

      • The bumper has been modified — over-riders removed and the grill is definitely not 1973… maybe late 60s. Other than that, the car looks fairly original… the color of course is not stock. You could upgrade to an electronic ignition and fuel injection for about 1K if U can do the work. Converting the so-called hydraulic dampers (shocks) is more involved and expensive. Still — a serviceable car for the right person.

  4. This article caught my attention because I, too, have owned a 1970 MGB roadster for over 40 yrs. After rebuilding the engine, It was my daily driver for a number of yrs in Texas, then in Tennessee. It was a blast to drive in the East TN and Western NC mountains. I stored it in my basement when I bought a new 1988 RX-7 GTU. That was fun to drive as well. I started disassembling the B to restore interior and paint. It is still in that state with primer because I became distracted with a 1982 Corvette and more recently a 1968 Vette. I love the split rear bumper on the ’70 MGB because it’s similar to the early chrome bumper C3 Vettes. I am going to get the B back on the road someday soon, I hope.

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