1974 MGB Roadster

Iain’s ’74 MGB was bought and prepared for a business venture that was stillborn. Although it was a nice old thing, it was one too many and ended up on the transfer list. It now has a new owner. 

If you’re going to get stuck with a redundant hire car, a chrome-bumper overdrive convertible MG isn’t a bad one to get stuck with.

The total lack of interest in the BC driving holidays project was weird, and still baffles me. I discovered that one could rent an MGB and trundle around in UK traffic jams in the rain for 700 quid a week. To drive on British Columbia’s seriously gorgeous mountain, forest and desert  roads, with minimal traffic and no speed tax cameras, is an infinitely better prospect. For around the same price, providing a fleet of rental MGs and TR6s for classic-car driving holidays in BC made reasonable commercial sense, and more to the point, it would involve lots of driving around gorgeous scenery in nice sports cars for me as well.

The MG’s office is comfy and cosy enough, and it makes nice grumbly noises and doesn’t use too much fuel. Not fast, but I can live with that.

The project was publicised in several major UK car magazines, and the result was almost zero – one phone call and one booking. The idea was a dead duck. In the meantime, I’d bought the first rental car, a chrome-bumpered MGB roadster with overdrive, in need of some attention. I didn’t want to pay too much for a perfect car that would be beaten up by renters, and reliability would be the primary concern, so a trailer queen was no use.

This one ran well enough, and apart from rusty sills looked fairly solid. It would have to be gone through anyway to make it safe and reliable. This was done at Octagon MG in Vancouver, and the bill wasn’t too bad.

 

The list of new parts included – Pirelli tyres of a lower profile and wider tread than stock, front wheel bearings, steering rack, one kingpin replaced, new front suspension bushes right side, new ignition leads and coil, an electronic distributor, a new alternator, new brake hoses and hard brake lines throughout, the rewiring of the overdrive unit, the fitting of a roll over bar and an upgrade to lap-and-diagonal safety belts, a total rebuild of the carburettors, a new fuel tank, new rear road springs. There were fairly major body and floor repairs and reinforcements including rockers, lower halves of all four fenders, and a low-budget repaint in British Racing Green.

The total budget was about $8000 including buying the car, and as business idea failures go, that’s not too bad. The MG, was prepared for reliability rather than for sale, and more money went into the repairs than the car is worth – sensible for a rental car, but financially a dead loss as it’s not shiny enough to sell well.

However, as I thought earlier,  boo hoo – I’m stuck with a nice sports car. I can live with that. But when the 1938 TA turned up, I realised that two old MG convertibles is one too many, so the B got the elbow. It’s gone to a good home and will bimble on.

 

After a major service including inner and outer sills, the B was ready for the flood of renters who never arrived.

 

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