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.
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.