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Home Pick of the Day Pick of the Day: MGB Limited Edition came only in black

Pick of the Day: MGB Limited Edition came only in black

Offered here is a 44,000-mile example with all its accessories

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If you are making your first classic car purchase and have always wanted a British sports car, my answer as to what to buy is always the same. Start with an MGB. 

The reason is that despite some people’s opinions to the contrary, the MGB was always an extremely well-built car for the era and they are the easiest classic British sports car to own. The parts are inexpensive, the mechanicals are simple, and they are easily able to cope with modern roads and traffic, having adequate performance and enough comfort to use as a daily driver. 

They were so good that from 1962-1980 MG built 512,243 of them. This represents the world record for production of a British roadster.

The Pick of the Day is a car from the end of the fun of the MGB, a 1980 MGB Limited Edition.

The Limited Edition MGB was a marketing idea dreamed up by British Leyland and its American MG distributorship in Leonia, New Jersey, to boost slipping sales in the North American market. The advertising campaign, as well as such details as the side stripes on the car, were dreamed up by Marce Mayhew, the creative director of Reach McLinton, MG’s advertising agency. 

The production period of the North American version “LE” was only 1979 and1980. And all of the cars were black in color.

But why black cars? 

Apparently there was an agreement between Leonia and the MG dealers across North American that the “LE kit” would be only installed on black cars and to buy a black car of that time period, it could only be a Limited Edition. 

The car was introduced at the 1979 New York auto show and was slated to have a production of only 5,000 units. However, 6,668 were produced during the two-year run.

The MGB Limited Edition were offered with Champagne, Beige, Autumn Leaf or black interior. In addition, they all featured a leather-covered steering wheel, silver side striping, a Limited Edition plaque, rear luggage rack, GKN alloy wheels, and a front spoiler.

Heritage Trust certificate

The Pick of the Day is offered by a dealer in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The dealer says the car has been driven only 44,000 miles from new and has its original paint and interior. It adds that the paint is exceptional, the underside is rust free, and that the interior looks like a time capsule, as though the car was never used.

The only change to the car is the addition of a Weber 2-barrel side-draft carburetor replacing the anemic Stromberg it had when delivered. This should make up for some lost performance and if you want to go back to the original carb setup this would be an inexpensive thing to do. I would not, the Stromberg robs performance from a car that can use the performance boost.

This car also includes all of its original accessories, including a matching alloy spare wheel, original full tool kit, and original tonneau and boot covers. It also has a British Motor Heritage Trust certificate which certifies the specifications of the car as being correct.

As an added bonus, this is also an overdrive-equipped car which makes for a much nicer driving experience on the freeways. 

The asking price for this 1980 MGB Limited Edition is $17,900, very reasonable for a car this original and well preserved. I would have a good detailer work on the car and then I would drive it to shows in 2021 and enjoy the last of the classic MG sports cars.

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

Hagerty
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

5 COMMENTS

  1. How much would it cost to transport a car of this to the city of São Paulo, Brazil. The sea port is the port of Santos which is very close.

  2. Thanks Andy, my still driving 1980 MGB at 140,000 miles is an (almost) daily driver. I and my friends perform most of the repair myself with the readily available parts here in the USA. The motor is cast iron so with regular oil changes I will drive it until the wheels fall off. It brings smiles to the faces of others. Its valued at $10,000, and will never rise from there and I’m totally OK (as are all MGB drivers with their monitory value), the smiles achieved are the true worth. Thanks for your articles.

  3. You know, Healys are out of reach, Triumphs, are almost out of reach, Sunbeams are expensive and MG’s may be next.
    I would exchange a chrome bumper kit and drive around town like a dog who just found a bone.

  4. If it wasn’t the LE I would do a chrome bumper conversion, lower the suspension to match the earlier cars, do a few other mods to it to improve performance and reliability and then drive it and have a blast. However with this being the Limited Edition I’d leave this car alone and preserve the originality of it. Although I’d still drive it, that’s what these cars were built for. I love MGB’s for all the reasons mentioned above plus they are one of the more reliable British sports cars ever made! If you ever do wear out the original 4 cylinder then a Ford V8 is a popular upgrade.

  5. I learned to drive on a 1966 for which I obtained the OEM performance tuning booklet. After shaving the head to increase compression and porting it and changing the SU needles to meter more gas it would pull away smartly in second gear from a stop. It did require premium gas but the performance boost was well worth it.

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