Cheap and Cheerful: the MG MGB GT
In an attempt to highlight something a little bit classic and retro, compared to some of the more modern cars I usually showcase, today I've got something really special. In this week's ‘Cheap and Cheerful’ segment, I'm highlighting a future icon in the making. If you love your classic cars and you're a fan of old British relics, then you'll certainly love this: the MG MGB GT.
Built and designed as a 2-door sports car by the British Motor Corporation between 1962 and 1980, the MGB is one of the most popular cars to come out of British Leyland. It was offered in several different variants, including a convertible, but this particular example I'm highlighting today is the MGB GT, a 2 + 2 coupe.
This excellent-looking specimen is a 1975 model with just 53,000 miles on the clock, and it looks to be in amazing condition. Obviously, it’s got the original engine in it which is mated to a manual gearbox, but I'll talk more about that in a bit.
This example has the correct Jubilee colours with a green finish. The owner says that even though the paintwork needs a bit of TLC, the car still has the correct seams on the top of the front and the rear wing, as well as a clean underside.
If you're looking to get an older car which you can enjoy over the weekend, or perhaps are looking for the next future classic, the MG MGB GT is an excellent choice by any measure.
For me, old British Leyland cars will always look incredible and stunning. I know people like to make fun of them because of their slightly compromised build quality and less than ideal reliability record, but on looks alone, they surely got to be some of the most jaw-dropping cars ever built.
Take the MGB for instance. It's got a traditional coupe design with an elongated bonnet and a cabin that sits nearly on top of the rear axle, but it's wrapped in a clean design with smooth lines, which perfectly embodies the 60s and 70s.
I love the round front headlights and the amazing chrome trim pieces around the windows, but I'd probably swap out the front plastic bumper for something else, as I'm not a massive fan of it. That being said, the gold stripes running along the side of the car perfectly complement that classic British racing green colour and make the car really stand out.
The wheels look amazing too. I love that they match the accent colour of the stripe but they've also got black accents of their own to really accentuate the small spokes. Being a 2 + 2 coupe and not a roaster, this example has a hatchback-like rear end, which to my eyes makes it look like an early version of a shooting brake, albeit a really tiny one.
Inside, the MGB is quite spartan and bare by most modern standards, but for some reason, it still doesn't look outdated to me. I love the dashboard design and how and square the centre console is.
You won't find any large entertainment displays or digital instrument clusters here. Everything is operated with the push of a button and you only get minimal information such as the speed and the revs.
Although this is a pretty small car, the cabin feels really spacious, especially in the front. It isn't too bad in the back, but it isn't suitable for taller individuals, especially on longer journeys.
That being said, the driving position is superb. The seats do lack side bolstering support, but apart from that, I can't find many faults with it. You sit it nice and low in the car, the steering wheel is the correct size and shape, and the location of the gear stick feels spot on.
Engine and Performance
Powered by a 1.8 litre B-series 4-cylinder engine, because this is a 1975 model, it produces 85 horsepower and 100 pound feet of torque, instead of the 95 horsepower MGBs produced in 1971.
Power is obviously sent to the rear wheels through a 4 speed manual gearbox. The interesting thing is that the gearbox uses a non-synchromesh, straight-cut first gear. Driving this car therefore requires some knowledge and quite a bit of finesse. When you get it right, you’ll feel like a driving god, but when you get it wrong, everyone else will think you're a newbie.
Obviously, this was never designed to be ridiculously fast car, but the MGB GT is still quite fun to drive. The chassis feels neutral and balanced, so you can feel the car moving underneath you, but it isn't scary or dangerous.
Rather, it feels a lot more playful and confidence inspiring than its looks might suggest. The engine loves to be revved out, and because it isn't particularly powerful, you can have fun on the public highway without risking anyone's life or losing your driving license.
The brakes do feel a little bit underpowered if I'm honest, but then again, which car built in the 60s and 70s has brakes which we'd classify today as anything other than ‘just adequate’?
Model: MG MGB GT
The MG MGB GT isn't a great daily driver. It's far too old and undefined to be used every day, at least in my opinion. It is, however, an amazing weekend car which, I think, will hold its value rather well in the next few years. Make sure you check the DesperateSeller.co.uk website for great deals on used cars for sale
View the car here: 1975 Mg Mgb Gt - £5,450