1973 MGB Roadster
Commission #: GHN5UD303941G
(Click Photos For Larger View)
Bought my "Black Beauty" 73 B roadster in 1989 for $300.00. It was a real "project" car. It was then white with a blue right front fender and a rusted brown hood. It had at some time been last repainted with a paint brush. The interior was navy, with all the stuffing's showing. None of the tires matched. Bought it from the original owner, who had given it to his young geeky son, who eventually trashed it. Didn't ring it out, just didn't take care of it. Barely ran. I almost made it home with it. Drove it 15 miles to within a couple of blocks of the house then had to tow it the rest of the way.
It had very little rust other than the hood and was solid otherwise. Since then I have done one full 2 year restoration project, used it as a daily driver, wore it out again, and have just completed (if you ever complete and MG) a recent refurbishing. It is fully updated, including appearance and mechanical. While my B is not original in every respect, it has been updated trying to keep as much of the flavor and period appearance of the vehicle as was possible while still increasing the performance and reliability and improving the appearance as much as possible. I have done ALL the work, including engine overhaul, body painting and interior myself. The only exceptions are the transmission innards and sewing up the seat covers. I'm not a perfectionist and though nice, this is not a concours car. I think I enjoy it more than if it was a concours because I'm sot so worried about everything being just right. I just drive it when I want to, have a lot of fun with it and get a lot of compliments. Don't ask how much money I've spent.
The body has been completely refinished down to bare metal in most areas with multiple coats of hand rubbed black lacquer with clear coats applied, too many coats to count - and now twice repainted over the last 12 years. For more info on the paint work, click here on - "Black IS Beautiful".
Bumpers were rechromed and all body and fittings (except for the windshield hardware) were removed and either replaced or refinished when painted.
Convertible Top: Have put on two of them. The current one is a Crown black semi-dull English style vinyl.
Interior: The interior has been updated and refitted with heavy gauge camel colored vinyl over the original door and trim hardboard panels. New webbing was installed in the seats and they have been recovered. Plenty of thick insulation was used under the carpet to reduce heat and noise and deep pile carpet was installed. New 3 point seat belts have been installed. A smaller sized Mountney black 14" leather steering wheel has replaced the original its great looks and to increase leg room. A dash "Coverlay" was installed to cover the cracks in the padding. An updated 30 watt per channel stereo has been installed with 4 speakers including two big 6 x 9 jobs mounted in encasements that sit on the rear shelf. Good sound for a B! Other than refinishing all the other interior fittings, the rest of the interior is stock.
Running gear: Everything has been rebuilt or refurbished except for the differential which is in great shape but has been resealed. Front suspension has been completely rebuilt and rebushed. Front shocks were replaced, rears were refilled. The engine has only approx. 5000 miles on it since complete rebuild including machining. Bored .60 over with a reground crank and a fresh, careful valve job. I rebuilt the SU's, installed a Petronix electronic module in the distributor, a new vacuum advance unit, 8.8 mm spark plug wires, added a big five blade nylon fan and an additional supplemental 10" electrical fan with adjustable electronic thermostat. Installed a cast alloy valve cover, chrome pancake air cleaners and polished the SU carb's dashpots. The transmission was replaced with a rebuilt from a reputable local MG shop. The exhaust is stock. The radiator was replaced with an American style upright core. This is one of my few mistakes so far. Needs a cross-flow with larger core for more cooling capacity. Sometimes gets hotter than I'd like in the heat of the summer. I understand that this is typical though of many B's.
Electrical: Converted from the two six volt batteries that come standard to a single 12 conventional volt battery. Replaced the alternator with a remanufactured one. Replaced most all of the electrical push-on type connectors throughout the wiring harness (about 30 to 40 of them). Added halogen fog lamps. Other than that and cleaning and tightening up connections and replacing a few cracked/frayed wires, the electrical system is original and stock. Works very well. Shhhh!! Don't tell anyone. Lucas, the Lord of Darkness (the manufacturer of most of the electrical system parts), hasn't discovered THIS British car yet.
Brakes: Everything replaced/rebuilt - a couple of times.
Clutch: Everything replaced/rebuilt - a couple of times. Replaced the OEM carbon type throw-out bearing with the roller type and is/has been working very well, thank you. I have had NO problems for a few years now with the roller bearing installed, as some MG enthusiasts have reported. I don't "ride" the clutch and I have the return spring correctly installed to relieve the pressure from it so that it doesn't stay engaged all the time.
Wheels/Tires: New Minilite 14"x 5 1/2" replica alloy wheels w/ 195/60 x 14" B.F. Goodrich Competition radial TA tires. Yup, they do fit and they don't rub, - just barely though! For more on this, click on - "On Tire and Wheel Choice".
Everything on the car has been gone through, to at least some degree.
In addition to loving MG's, I also am an old, died-in-the-wool American muscle car hot-rodder. I really NEED a 60's era American hot rod to completely fill my automotive desires!!! However, I only have time and space for the B, and the B is even more important to me, so I guess it'll just have to do. I have started thinking about "supercharging" the B to fill my "hot rod" needs. I've even looked into it to some length. Judson and Paxton each made a unit for the MG while my model MG was still in production and that would still be in keeping with keeping the theme of keeping my car "improved of the era". Other even better units are also now manufactured and available, such as what you'll see at http://www.hi-flow.com/super.html. They say that this unit produces approx.180 HP on a solid stock engine, which mine is, except for being bored .060 over, and as a result, should produce even more HP!
While I DO already feel exceptionally good when I pull up to a stoplight next to a Miata, a Z3 or something like that, because my B is the original and the other car is a pretender and a copy cat, I would still love nothing better than to also just "blow away" those other pesky fakes when the stoplights turns green!!!! Costs lots of money though to purchase a supercharger for a B - and I don't know about the return on the dollar for resale. However, if anyone comes across a real deal on one, let me know. I'm a definitely a good prospect!
The folks on the list at firstname.lastname@example.org have been an inspiration and a lot more help than they could possibly know with my 73 Black Beauty MGB. - Thanks you guys!
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You can e-mail Jerry with any comments on Black Beauty - Click here.
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