MG MGB (1962 – 1980) Review

MG MGB (1962 – 1980) At A Glance


+Good to look at, fun to drive, amazing parts availability, the archetypal classic roadster and coupe

-They're not uncommon - if you like to be different, an MGB is not for you

The B was an epochal car for MG. During its 18-year production run, it became the world's best-selling sports car, and went on to define the concept of the open-topped British sports car for enthusiasts across the world. And since it went out of production in 1980 (by which time, it was already a classic), an entire support industry has grown up around it.

When launched in 1962, a upto-the-minute specification meant it was a delight to drive compared with its rivals, as well as being a significant step forward from the MGA. There was plenty of power on tap, thanks to its recently upgraded 1.8-litre B-series engine. Four-speed gearbox (with overdrive available), rack-and-pinion steering, independent front suspension, and disc brakes were standard fitments right from the start.

In 1965, the B's appeal was considerably widened with the launch of the GT. Its fastback roof, designed by Pininfarina, followed conventional GT styling cues but resulted in disarmingly good looks. The raised windscreen height and side windows meant that there was a realistic amount of headroom for those in the front, although the rear-seats were really only useful for luggage. Under the skin, the GT was pure Roadster, and that meant tidy handling and excellent performance.

In 1967, the B was upgraded to Mk2 specification. The four-speed gearbox received synchromesh on all forward ratios, and an optional Borg-Warner automatic gearbox became available. In 1970 the Mk3 was given a (not universally popular) BL-style front end, which did away with the chrome grille and slats. The new look didn't last long, and the return to chrome ushered in the Mk3, which received a number of further improvements to keep the MGB looking fresh.

In 1974, North American regulations forced a raised ride height and polyurethane-covered bumpers onto the once-delicate looking MGB. Although condemned at the time by fans, the federalised MGB was actually a successful styling job compared with its Italian rivals, such as the Fiat Spider and X1/9. Later B-series engines in North America were reduced to a single Zenith Stromberg carb, emissions equipment and a catalyst - leaving the poor MGB as one of the slowest cars you could buy new in the USA.

In 1980, the MGB came to an end - and its second life as the world's favourite classic car began in earnest.

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Ask Honest John

How much is my MG B worth?

"My MG B has been valued by my car insurance for £8,000. Can I sell it above this price? And if yes, how do I value it?"
The valuation provided by your car insurance company is the amount they would pay you in the event of a claim for the whole vehicle, and does not necessarily reflect what the car would sell for. You are free to sell the car for any amount you like, but it depends on what someone is willing to pay for it. The best way to judge this is to look online for similar cars for sale to get some idea of current values.
Answered by David Ross

How much should I pay for a classic MGB (rubber bumper)?

"What is the going rate for a solid but not perfect MGB with rubber bumpers? Car in question has solid sills, no rust and decent paintwork. Interior is decent with new full leather seat covers. Engine bay coated in waxoyl which is unsightly but has protected the metal. Probably needs a new hood (windows slightly clouded and repaired cracks in quarter lights). Overall it runs well and is sound but is no concourse winner."
A really good one is about £7500 (closer to £10k at a dealer) while a solid one that needs a bit of work is around £3000-£5000. It's always a good idea to have a look for similar models for sale and price yours accordingly. And don't forget prices for soft-tops can be seasonal.
Answered by Keith Moody

When will my 1981 MGB become classed as a historic vehicle?

"My MGB Roadster was registered 01-01-1981. What date will it be eligible to be classed as a historic vehicle?"
The Historic Vehicle taxation class is a ‘rolling’ system, which means that a vehicle that’s 40 or more years old can be reclassified as ‘historic’ and eligible for free car tax (VED). In this instance, it applies to the vehicle’s production date rather than the date of first registration – an important point because your car was mostly likely built in 1980. If you'd like to check the build date of your car, contact the British Motor Museum ( The rolling system updates occur each April. So, for example, in April 2021 all vehicles built prior to 1 January, 1981 will become eligible for Historic Vehicle car tax. Find out how to reclassify your vehicle's tax status as historic here:
Answered by Keith Moody

How can I find out the build date of my classic car?

"My MGB Roadster was registered in August 1979 and is about to be tax-exempt, dependant on its date of build. How do I obtain the build date? "
The Historic Vehicle taxation class is a ‘rolling’ system, meaning that a vehicle that’s 40 or more years old can be reclassified as ‘historic’ and eligible for free car tax (VED). The rolling system updates occur each April. For example, April 2019 saw all vehicles built prior to 1 January, 1979, become eligible for Historic Vehicle car tax. For your car to qualify, you'll need to prove it was built before 1 January, 1979. The build records for MG are held by the British Motor Museum at Gaydon, so you'll need to purchase a heritage certificate ( - this will show the production data, original colour and options.
Answered by Keith Moody
More Questions

What does a MG MGB (1962 – 1980) cost?