Pick of the Day: 1964 MGB roadster that has been restored and improved

Credit: Original article published by Classic Cars Journal.

Until the advent of the Mazda Miata, the MGB was the top-selling two-seater sports car in history, with more than 500,000 built during its 18-year production run of roadsters and GT coupes from 1962-80.  Most of them were left-hand-drive models sold in the US.

The Pick of the Day is an early example, a 1964 MGB roadster that has been rebuilt and upgraded in beneficial ways that take little away from its basic restored originality.  Among MGB fans, these early cars are preferred and known as “pull-handle” cars for their simple exterior door handles, later changed to a push-button design.

Chief among the improvements is a conversion from the original 4-speed manual transmission to an English Ford T9 5-speed as used in the Sierra, providing full synchromesh, smoother shifting and, crucially, an overdrive fifth gear for more-relaxed highway cruising.  The transmission is freshly rebuilt, according to the Stratford, Connecticut, dealer advertising the MGB on ClassicCars.com. 

The 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine also has been rebuilt and upgraded with an aluminum cylinder head allowing higher compression, an alloy valve cover, Deves piston rings, performance camshaft, reconditioned connecting rods and new SU carburetors. 

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An aluminum cylinder head replaces the original cast-iron head

Not mentioned in the ad is whether the engine is the original 3-main-bearing unit or has been replaced by one of the later improved 5-bearing MGB engines, which are considered to be more durable.

Overall, the convertible is in spectacular restored condition, the seller says, with excellent paint and chrome, a redone interior and show-quality refurbishment under the hood.  The engine compartment does look brilliantly detailed in the gallery of photos with the ad.

“This car is truly incredible and can offer performance, reliability and general use of a contemporary sports car,” the ad says. “And in most ways, just about the best MGB we have had in 46 years of operation.”

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MGBs are more-civilized roadsters compared with the MGAs they replaced, with such amenities as roll-up windows and unibody instead of body-on-frame construction. Rust can be an issue with the unibody and any MGB purchase needs to be examined carefully for signs of dreaded tin-worm infestation.

But unlike the MGA, MGB has never hit the mark in collector car value, largely because they were once so common and there are still so many available, although many of those are in less-than-ideal condition.  The modest asking price of $24,000 for this apparently excellent car reflects that lagging value. 

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MGBs are simple cars, easy to maintain with abundant parts availability and a vibrant community of clubs and enthusiasts. They are a great way to step into the collector car hobby if your tastes run toward little sports cars that are totally fun-to-drive.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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