's Great British Cars – MGB

Sun 30th Sep 2018

Great Britain, great cars. The UK motor industry is respected the world over, and though many of the vehicles are actually owned by foreign manufacturers, there can be no doubting of the fantastic heritage of the British motor.

To celebrate Britain’s famous history is launching a series looking back on some of the most famous vehicles the UK has ever seen.

The mark of a great car is its ability to span generations and the success of the MGB certainly lives true to that brief. Launched in 1962, the British Motor Group had been developing the successor to the MGA for four years and when it was revealed it was praised for its innovative monocoque structure, which broke the mould of the traditional body-on-frame construction concept. The unique design made for reduced manufacturing costs and added extra strength to the vehicle structure.

With a six-cylinder engine and later eight-cylinder variant, the MGB saw a number of changes during its 18 year production run, predominantly to the engine, whilst the only major design changes accounted for a soft-top, which meant that with more than half a million sold through the 1960s and 1970s the MGB was one of the most recognisable motors on the road.

Such was the popularity of the car, that in Rover resurrected the car’s design for a limited run of 2,000 MG RV8 roadsters in the mid-1990s, though the look and feel was all MGB, in reality the engine had only 5% of interchangeable parts with the original.

Though BMC had been working on a successor to the MGB as early as 1964, it proved to be so popular in terms of sales and critical acclaim that the original project was cancelled. British Leyland looked at a replacement in 1968, but they too decided against calling time on what was becoming a true sports car classic, both at home and abroad. The MGB fought on till the very end of British Leyland’s time at their Abingdon factory, which was closed in 1980, and with it the very end of production of a real legend of British motoring.

Years of manufacture: 1962-1980 
Price when new: £849
Price now: £1,000-£30,000
Engine: 1,798cc 4cyl petrol, 95bhp
Top speed: 105mph