Junkyard Find: 1975 MGB
As the former owner of a daily-driver MGB (plus some other British Leyland steel that still causes me Prince of Darkness PTSD), junked MGBs always catch my eye. The strange thing is that you still see plenty of Bs on their final stop before The Crusher, more than 30 years after the last one clattered off the assembly line. Here’s one that I found in Denver, parked a few rows over from the ’71 Fiat 850.
This black-bumper Malaise MGB might be the most depressing car of the entire decade of the 1970s, and that’s including the Vega. While most car companies selling in the United States had a struggle to meet new emissions standards, headlight-height rules, and 5 MPH bumper requirements, British Leyland simply fished a few shillings out of the couch cushions and made their modifications on the super-duper-cheap. They turned an iconic sports car into a 62.5-horsepower turd (the need to claim the half-horse speaks volumes), with pickup-truck-grade ride height and build quality that probably shamed even the drunkest, hammer-wielding British Leyland line workers.
Not that the MGB in its prime was particularly quick or well-built, but the pushrod BMC B engine was pretty tough and a few easy suspension upgrades would make the B handle as well as its Italian competition. They’re lovable cars.
But nobody bothers with the black-bumper cars these days, except as a source of parts for the earlier models. I’m sure the back yards and driveways of the country still have tens of thousands of never-finished MGB projects, nearly all of which will be heading to The Crusher at some point.
Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.
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