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MGB GT - Mission finally complete! Phew.


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#1 OFFLINE   SiC

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 11:19 PM

I've loved the look of the MGB GT (and Triumph Spitfire) for as long as I can remember. I have vivid memories of taking my first car into a tyre shop back in 2004 (and been driving for less than a year) and wandering around the nearby bomb site garage looking at their MGBs. On holidays, back when internet on a mobile phone hadn't really been thought about seriously, I bought with me repair books, test drive reviews and general paraphernalia on them. During my time at uni, I fantasized of ways I could sell my car at the time and run one. Incidentally I ended up buying a MX5 mk1 as a secondcar with the girlfriend (now wife) which I thoroughly enjoyed. That also had rust issues beginning when I sold it!

I know these cars leave people with a wide range of thoughts. However generally speaking it seems to be:
  • Older than 50yrs with little knowledge of cars: great first classics and lovely things.
  • Everyone else older than 40: hated, loathed and a utter joke of a car.
  • Less than 20: Boring ...it's what my dad has in the garage. Nissan (translation: Datsun) GT-R ARE WHAT IS AWESOME MAN.
  • Older than 20 and younger than 40: A cool old car. Yes we know its shit to drive, but anything older than a Nissan Skyline R32/Peugeot 205 is going to be shit to drive anyway.
For me, I fit in the last category. This is backed up from speaking to colleagues (who, a lot are similar age to me) who agree with me when I said I was looking at them around the lunch table. Sporting a beard and a young looking face, I think I can pull off a look that doesn't make me look like the average owner who is part of a MG club... :P

I unashamedly love my moderns, but I do fancy something older and more mechanical. My day job (Software Engineer for Electronic devices) involves cutting edge stuff and understanding fairly advanced concepts. Ive been lacking a buzz in my cars for a while and been searching for something to engage me. So for a change, I like the idea of something that can be fixed on the side of the road with a hammer and an imperial socket set.

Mostly this thread is the continuation on my post in News 24 from falling in love* with what looks like a shit, blown over example of a quick profit generator by a local classic specialist. Link to the post here: http://autoshite.com...28#entry1254787

The thought of owning one has given me a huge buzz - which surely is a good thing? I also can't resist, especially after wanting one for a good while. So I'm going to have a look at the car tomorrow, mostly as a view of the first example I'm going to properly look at.

Reading around it appears the sills are a big rot problem. It also appears pretty much every one would have had them done, or need them urgently.

Questions:
How can you tell it needs its sills doing and how do you know when it's been done properly?
What other rust related issues do I need to look out for? (Rust is my one fear/dread on cars).


* Part of this is probably my love of mechanical things and never have owned or driven a carb car - always something controlled by a computer. Infact I've never driven a car with a choke!
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Current Fleet:
2004 Smart Roadster 80bhp - The fun one that is the last hurrah before kids
2007 Honda Civic EX CTDi - The reliable runner that is like the family pet.
2010 Aldi A4 - Owned to placate the wife on my crap buying


My history: 2003 Clio II 1.2 16v (First car), 2003 Honda Civic 3dr 1.7 CTDi (Isuzu lump), 1992 Mazda MX5 1.6, 2005 Mazda RX8 192bhp, 2005 Saab 9-3 1.9TiD 150bhp, 2007 Honda Civic 2.2 CTDi, 2004 Renault Scenic 1.6 Auto (Now Kiltox FiL), 2004 Saab 9-5 2.3t (Now Hooli), 2004 Smart Roadster 80bhp
Wife history (that she used/owned but I had frequent use of): 2002 Renault Clio II 1.2 16v (Billabong!), 2006 Mazda MX5 1.8, 2004 VW Golf 1.6 FSI, 2005 Renault Scenic II 2.0 (went bad from the drive back when buying it!), 2002 Vauxhall Astra 1.6 16v (now phil_lihp ex-colleague), 2005 Renault Laguna II v6 (Now angle)

#2 OFFLINE   SiC

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 11:21 PM

For reference, this is the car again that is local that has massively reinvigorated and bought to the forefront this love again...
20170626_201821.jpg

Put here mostly so I can oogle at it again.

I'm wierd in that I also quite like the Goofy looking rubber bumpers. Yes, not as pretty as a chrome job but still cool looking.

I've also found this great thread on here which I'm reading at the moment, which is always great for a mixed and unbiased view on such matters: http://autoshite.com...cheap-mgb-gt-be
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Current Fleet:
2004 Smart Roadster 80bhp - The fun one that is the last hurrah before kids
2007 Honda Civic EX CTDi - The reliable runner that is like the family pet.
2010 Aldi A4 - Owned to placate the wife on my crap buying


My history: 2003 Clio II 1.2 16v (First car), 2003 Honda Civic 3dr 1.7 CTDi (Isuzu lump), 1992 Mazda MX5 1.6, 2005 Mazda RX8 192bhp, 2005 Saab 9-3 1.9TiD 150bhp, 2007 Honda Civic 2.2 CTDi, 2004 Renault Scenic 1.6 Auto (Now Kiltox FiL), 2004 Saab 9-5 2.3t (Now Hooli), 2004 Smart Roadster 80bhp
Wife history (that she used/owned but I had frequent use of): 2002 Renault Clio II 1.2 16v (Billabong!), 2006 Mazda MX5 1.8, 2004 VW Golf 1.6 FSI, 2005 Renault Scenic II 2.0 (went bad from the drive back when buying it!), 2002 Vauxhall Astra 1.6 16v (now phil_lihp ex-colleague), 2005 Renault Laguna II v6 (Now angle)

#3 OFFLINE   Ghosty

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 12:17 AM

Well, it looks nice...


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#4 OFFLINE   AlabamaShrimp

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 12:38 AM

Honestly I always liked the rubber bumpers better than the chrome ones, makes it look newer*. Still I wouldn't have one as they are the typical classic* car.
Like as when they were brand new each one was bought by a bloke over 50 who owned a flat cap and he would polish it and look all smug.

Saying that if you want it get it and fuck what everyone else thinks :-)

Easy way to tell if the sills need doing is if they're rusty and hit them with something. Filler sounds dead, metal doesn't and look for welding but other than that I would guess it's all the normal stuff.
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#5 OFFLINE   Felly Magic

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 12:46 AM

I think this could be a little too cheap, be wary of fresh paint, and take a magnet with you. Sill repairs properly done are well into 4 figures per side, also with this one, check it still has a floor due to that dirty great hole in the roof. Buying a cheap one can be rather a large world of pain


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#6 OFFLINE   captain_70s

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 01:13 AM

I think they are supposed to be pretty average as a "sports car" of the 1960s.

 

They were never top money cars when new and you won't find top money handling or power there now either! The MGB is more a car for swiftly piloting down country lanes than going flat out in, the "GT" moinker is more than just a bodystyle in my eyes, best for quick cruising. Although most giffers never seem to take them over 50mph...

 

The early roadsters in particular seen woefully overpriced although rubber bumper models can stray in to bargain territory if they are in a naff BL colour. On the flipside parts supply is fantastic, they look the part (I'm partial to the early 70s chrome bumper models with the rostyle wheels), the 1.8 BMC lump is hardy and rorty and can sound fairly fruity down a nice exhaust. They do rot for fun but then so do most 1960s motors and with the B GT you will at least have a lot of choice, there are so many left and kicking about that you'll have the opportunity to check out a few and hopefully end up with a good'un.

 

I'm not sure where prices are at now-a-days, mind. Used to be the case £1500 was a good starting point for rolling resto and £2500+ would get something not needing immediate work, dealers obviously being more dear. Plenty of folk still use them daily so can't be that dire. The only thing that really pushed me away and into Triumphs was the large engine being an insurance problem. Lead me to Spitfires and then Dolomites/Toledos because I'm not cool enough for a drop-top motor.

 

Given that one is at a dealer I wonder if they'd mind you giving it a test drive, see if the Mostin Oxbridge Coupe is the car for you from behind the wheel!

 

 


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#7 OFFLINE   UltraWomble

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 01:22 AM

6285922039_e264e83ffd.jpg

 

Plenty of people like them

Plenty of companies offering spares ( everything from trim to oily bits)

Fun to drive

Plenty of enthusiasm for them

Plenty of resale opportunity for a good one

 

Would I want one? No, probably not.


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#8 OFFLINE   RobT

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 01:47 AM

Saying that if you want it get it and fuck what everyone else thinks :-).


I'd normally advocate this route, hence why I run unfashionable Vauxhalls and like them no matter what others say. But in the case of the particular example you're looking at I'd say avoid, and perhaps save a few more quid towards a chrome bumper example that hasn't been welded on the cheap (that's my assumption seeing as a dealer is selling it).
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#9 OFFLINE   trigger

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 02:12 AM

Stick the plate in the DVLAs MOT computer and have a long hard think. Untaxed 7 months and it took 3 months to sort the massive list of problems found on the mot. There's no records at all for any mots before that.

Personally I'd leave it alone for these reasons alone. It does look quite smart in that colour and with that chin spoiler mind you.
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#10 OFFLINE   Cheezey

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 06:09 AM

I'm in the last category like you.

They are appealing to me as well on the basis that they are classicy, cheap, plentiful and loads of bits available.

I keep on thinking about something like you've posted with MX5 or E36 running gear, an interior freshen up and maybe chrome bumpers.

#11 OFFLINE   mercrocker

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 06:11 AM

MGBs are a bit like Morris Minors....

 

Hundreds about, some cheap, some look nice and are not and there is no end to the number of Internexperts all telling you what you should look for, not buy, and then laugh at you for getting it wrong. 

 

You like/fancy/need one of these and have seen one that looks nice. 

 

You could spend the next three years trying to find a better one or the next three hours finding reasons not to buy that one. 

 

Classic cars get speedos changed, engines swapped, VIN plates changed and MOTs allowed to lapse for often very completely different reasons to moderns.   Yes, that two and a half bagger is Resale Red with shiny rims and may trigger alarm bells.  On the other hand it might just be a good'un.  

 

Sills are almost impossible to determine structurally on these without an endoscope but as posted above, at least check the outers are metal.  Look inside the door shuts and if possible compare to a known good car but even then they can be repaired "differently" to "Factory" without necessarily being unsound.    

 

£2500 is a lot of money but you can lose an awful lot more buying the wrong car, especially a Classic. 

 

Don't worry about the beard and real ale Morris-dancing polish brigade, they wouldn't put me off buying a car I like. 

 

Verdict - buy it.  Enjoy it (after filling all the cavities with Dynax or Dinitrol) and have some memories.   


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#12 OFFLINE   Tamworthbay

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 06:30 AM

I drove one as a Daily for four years. Only negative was that the GT isn't a four seater in any shape or form for anyone over the age of three. They are quick enough to be fun (by70s standards), cheap enough not to be exclusive in any way at all and ridiculously easy to work on. Rust is the obvious issue and the complex will structure can be a novices nightmare, it other that thatbthey are straightforward. Some people don't like the interior and the steering wheel is slightly offset but it's my second favourite car to be in after the MX5. It just feels right to me. I had loads of fun in mine, probably the best was a trackday full of Japanese R stuff. Got some weird looks that day but surprised a few of the less skilled drivers.
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#13 OFFLINE   Tamworthbay

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 06:31 AM

Oh and don't drive it like a granny, they do like to be thrashed and sound great when you do. Handling is predictable if wayward rear end wise at times (good tyres help, crap ones are hilarious).
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#14 OFFLINE   NorfolkNWeigh

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 06:33 AM

I am 53, I remember when they were seen as quick proper sports cars then I remember them being a joke that pretty much every Capri ( maybe not a 1300 ) could beat, I remember them , along with Mk2 Jags and 1600Es becoming the first mass market Classic* cars.
I even looked at a couple with the intention of buying in the early 80's , but they were full of wob and newspaper(35 years ago) and drove like a Marina, at a time I had a £200 R17 Gordini and was looking to spend a £1000 Lombard loan. Didn't seem much point- so I bought a V8 Land Rover.
My advice: do want you want but the backstreet dealer shiny paint and odd ride height would make me check this one very carefully.
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#15 OFFLINE   Mally

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 06:55 AM

Had a couple, try to get one with an overdrive that works, avoid those with stainless over sills. Mine was tax exempt which is a bonus.

Best to buy from an owner, would join owners club first. They ask a lot, but not as much as a dealer.

Check the sills and back plates carefully. Castle rail welding can cost thousands.

Electrical contacts can be dodgy but easy fix, bullets corrode.

Parts easy to obtain and cheap.

Good to drive, usable as every day car, sold mine much too cheap and had interest from France and Germany.


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#16 OFFLINE   alf892

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 06:59 AM

Buy it if YOU like it........


If it turns to shit flog it........ a new shell isn't that much though

#17 OFFLINE   SiC

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 07:02 AM

Thanks for the advice and pointers, I'm using it to chew over my thoughts on this.

I'm very much in two minds on this one. Part of me thinks I should spend a little more and certainly look around more, to get an example that is more likely to be better. Also that if it's badly repaired it could be a death trap on wheels.

The other half of me says that I can blast around in it for a year and then shift it on if it doesn't get an MOT and needs loads of work - I.e. almost like treating it as a disposable toy (not very AS I know). Also, that half tells me that even at, say 4k or even 6k-8k, it's likely that it'll need welding and the sills probably haven't been done properly anyway. What ever I get will be left outside and in the weather anyway.

Interesting note about the chin spoiler. I couldn't figure what made it look different! Also heavily suggests to me it was the same one that I looked at with a dodgy bodykit on. I really wish I took pictures of it now! Instead I was a bit too fixated taking pictures of an allergo on the road nearby...

I've just realised I never posted a link to the advert at the garage either. This certainly is at the bottom price of their classic cars they have in stock, but they do stock plenty of much more expensive and finely restored stuff. This kinda gave me confidence that it might not be so bad. Possibly falsely placed. Linky: http://www.allsports...xTOFAuYGBgCmAK/

I ought to get out in a minute so I can take some pictures on the way to work. Shame it's peeing it down out there at the moment too!
Current Fleet:
2004 Smart Roadster 80bhp - The fun one that is the last hurrah before kids
2007 Honda Civic EX CTDi - The reliable runner that is like the family pet.
2010 Aldi A4 - Owned to placate the wife on my crap buying


My history: 2003 Clio II 1.2 16v (First car), 2003 Honda Civic 3dr 1.7 CTDi (Isuzu lump), 1992 Mazda MX5 1.6, 2005 Mazda RX8 192bhp, 2005 Saab 9-3 1.9TiD 150bhp, 2007 Honda Civic 2.2 CTDi, 2004 Renault Scenic 1.6 Auto (Now Kiltox FiL), 2004 Saab 9-5 2.3t (Now Hooli), 2004 Smart Roadster 80bhp
Wife history (that she used/owned but I had frequent use of): 2002 Renault Clio II 1.2 16v (Billabong!), 2006 Mazda MX5 1.8, 2004 VW Golf 1.6 FSI, 2005 Renault Scenic II 2.0 (went bad from the drive back when buying it!), 2002 Vauxhall Astra 1.6 16v (now phil_lihp ex-colleague), 2005 Renault Laguna II v6 (Now angle)

#18 OFFLINE   BorniteIdentity

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 07:05 AM

Just an idea: Could someone who knows the cars to with SiC to see it?

Help out a brother etc.

To me these are the most stereotypical classic car you could buy; probably what a kid would draw if you asked them to make an classic car picture. That said, it's nice that we all like different things.

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#19 OFFLINE   colc

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 07:08 AM

Had a few of these.....all of the above comments have merit. As long as it's not rotten, everything else is cheap and easy to repair. As mentioned above, take a magnet with you, although you're bound to find some filler, as long as it hasn't got polystyrene sills, you should be fine. Don't expect MX5 levels of grip and handling though.


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#20 OFFLINE   wuvvum

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 07:16 AM

I liked my shonky old BGT.  They're not shit to drive at all, just a bit old-fashioned - personally I regard that as a good thing.

 

Mine was bought for a 3-figure sum and though scruffy to look at actually turned out to be structurally bloody solid - although that was more by luck than by judgment.



#21 OFFLINE   SiC

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 07:26 AM

eBay advert with better pictures: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/382133737212

If this is a good one or a complete turd, I don't think it'll hang around at this price either. I just don't want be the sucker that bought it just because it was cheap and was a big turd!

I have every intention of not being a garage queen. Which also makes me think that if it's not done a lot of movement for a while, using it regularly may kill/break very quickly...

But then looking at the MOT history of a lot for sale on CCS, they all only seem to do a maximum of 500-1000 miles between MOTs!
Current Fleet:
2004 Smart Roadster 80bhp - The fun one that is the last hurrah before kids
2007 Honda Civic EX CTDi - The reliable runner that is like the family pet.
2010 Aldi A4 - Owned to placate the wife on my crap buying


My history: 2003 Clio II 1.2 16v (First car), 2003 Honda Civic 3dr 1.7 CTDi (Isuzu lump), 1992 Mazda MX5 1.6, 2005 Mazda RX8 192bhp, 2005 Saab 9-3 1.9TiD 150bhp, 2007 Honda Civic 2.2 CTDi, 2004 Renault Scenic 1.6 Auto (Now Kiltox FiL), 2004 Saab 9-5 2.3t (Now Hooli), 2004 Smart Roadster 80bhp
Wife history (that she used/owned but I had frequent use of): 2002 Renault Clio II 1.2 16v (Billabong!), 2006 Mazda MX5 1.8, 2004 VW Golf 1.6 FSI, 2005 Renault Scenic II 2.0 (went bad from the drive back when buying it!), 2002 Vauxhall Astra 1.6 16v (now phil_lihp ex-colleague), 2005 Renault Laguna II v6 (Now angle)

#22 OFFLINE   carlo

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 07:34 AM

I've always liked the shape of the MGB fastback, much more than the convertible.  Remember seeing one in solid grey with wire wheels recently and it looked superb.

 

Reckon the 'buy one cheapish and run for a while then flog' idea has merit.  If you pay a lot more for one you'll have to put right whatever goes wrong with it.

 

By the way why don't dealers put interior pics of the cars for sale in the ad?  Drives me mad.



#23 OFFLINE   cros

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 07:56 AM

Ive had an MGB since 2007. It's not a GT but they're probably similar. I bought it in good condition and its now worth 3 times what I paid for it and has needed hardly anything doing to it despite year round regular use. That means long trips abroad or towing a trailer load of scrap to the tip. It is dependable and reliable and enjoyable to drive; I think the non servoed discs and steering are fine, people coming from modern cars think they're awful.
I've never driven a Honda S2000 but I'm pretty sure it would be better in every way, cost the same, and actually be a sports car as opposed to a lowered Sherpa. The only thing stopping me from buying the Honda is fear of the cost when something goes wrong, and of being unable to fix it myself.
Many MGBs are full of faults, an accumulation of years of not being fixed properly. Modern cars, even modest ones will outperform them. That said I greatly enjoy mine. I loathe the whole MG scene, and that's the biggest reason not to have one. One last thing, if the 'b' was Italian and existed in tiny numbers it would be much better thought of.
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#24 OFFLINE   Six-cylinder

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 08:13 AM

It is obvious the desire is there so it is only is this the right car!

 

The price is now bottom end for a BGT so it will not be perfect. It is how well the repairs have been carries out and how much of the advisory list has been sorted properly. King pins are a fair sized job on there own, what else will be needed in a years time? I would want the car on a lift to look at the underside myself and maybe take somebody with you who has experience.

 

For some reason MGB get a lot of stick, don't forget you have to budget for buying a flat cap etc, but I think they are one of the best  60s 70s cars to own, they look lovely, everything is available at reasonable prices and if you want to trundle round in a worn old car like mine or make a whole hobby out of upgrading one like a friend of mine then then you can. 

 

I would not buy one without overdrive as the cruising is revy without. For a GT a full sunroof is lovely even if the cover has to be changed every 10 years or so.

 

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#25 OFFLINE   skoda_fan

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 08:20 AM

I can fully understand the dilemma here and would feel the same if I saw it near me. I used to hate them for all the obvious reasons, but fell in love with them as soon as I'd driven one and had to have one. I bought a soft top from a seemingly reputable local dealer for £3k. It was similar to this one, ie blown over and tarted up to sell, and I fell for it. When it was going ok it was fantastic fun and everything I'd hoped for and I loved it. However it developed running issues to the point of total unreliability and I had to be rescued a couple of times. Also electrical faults causing random loss of lights/wipers despite my changing the fuse box and various other bits. The sills soon started showing signs of bubbling/wob. In the end I cut my losses and sold it for £1k as needing work. It's been on SORN ever since. I'd have another, better one like a shot.

Verdict: I suspect the subject one is very similar, and you need to go in with your eyes open. Either decide you can afford to lose £2.5k and get rid at a loss when it inevitably becomes a pain, or face the fact that despite looking superficially good it will basically need restoration and several thousand spending on it. Either way I hope you go for it as it'll be fascinating to read your experiences on here. As you say, it won't hang around long at that money.
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#26 OFFLINE   dollywobbler

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 08:20 AM

Go and take it for a test drive and see if you like it. You don't have to buy it. MGBs do have the most remarkable exhaust. They sounds a lot more sporting than they actually are. Whether it's your cup of tea or not, only a drive will tell. Personally, I just don't find them worth the ridiculous attention they get, but then I'm happy trundling around in a Proton, so my judgement may be broken.


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#27 OFFLINE   hpi_matrix

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 08:22 AM

Surprised you didnt buy one in 2004, they were dirt cheap around then and I had one as my first car.

 

They are great cars to learn on, when the headgasket blew I decided to change the engine for a 1950cc version I found on ebay.

 

1929417_78336907744_4509467_n.jpg?oh=d0f

 

Not sure id have another one though at their current prices....much more interesting stuff to be had for £2.5k


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#28 OFFLINE   busmansholiday

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 08:55 AM

Skoda_fan is correct.  I've got three of these at the moment but only one is tested and there's a story to tell about them all.This years test finally showed up all the body filler that the 'professional restoration' had used on the floor pan before the nice paint job on the bodywork. Needless to say, I'm getting quite handy with a MiG welder.

 

If you can afford it, buy it and enjoy it, they are quite fun to drive and you'll get lots of envious looks.



#29 OFFLINE   Luxxo Waftybarger

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 08:58 AM

Will never drive one after a colleague had a shunt in one, steering column hit his chest and killed him. He left a wife and kids.

I'm not saying don't drive any old cars or that any other old car would be safer but the thought of being turned into a shish kebab puts me off.

Still see lots about in Devon. My brother in law had one as a first car but the rot, shit brakes that never worked and looking like a giffer made him get rid. Genuinely think a well looked after MX5 or MR2 is a better idea.

#30 OFFLINE   The_Equalizer

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 09:35 AM

My Grandad bought a 1972 roadster new and it's remained in the family since. I've got a real soft spot for them and, as mentioned, the early GTs are very pretty. Dead simple to work on, but just make sure the body is in reasonable nick. I would imagine most on here know that if a body looks 'iffy' it will be. I'd avoid cheap respray/ripple paneled cars. There are so many about there's no need to subject yourself to the pain.

 

I'm not sure I'd want to use one daily on a long commute, but fun to drive and relatively tame. As pointed out, do keep in mind that they are old cars and if you're only used to 'moderns' then cars of the period will come as a shock.

 

I also owned a 1971 USA spec lhd roadster with mad crash impact dash and triple wipers (which let me pretend I was in an E-Type).


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