By on December 2, 2015

1967 MGB

The familiar, yet disconcerting sound of a medium-duty diesel was our first clue. It was the early ’90s, a time before ubiquitous cell phones, and my dad and I had been waiting for several hours for my stepmom to arrive in her MGB that we were putting away for the winter. She arrived eventually, in the cab of a rollback.

The engine decided to pop about 10 miles from our storage facility, a garage at my stepmother’s childhood home about 90 minutes from our house. The plan had simply been to keep it there until spring, but it would be a couple years before the old MG would see daylight again. Along the way, I learned about engine rebuilding, the importance of a good engine hoist (ours was crap), proper placement of jackstands (my toe still hurts a bit when it rains), and what happens when a Lucas distributor gets installed 180 degrees out of phase.

What sucks the most? I never got to drive it, as it was sold before I turned 16.

Naturally, I turn to eBay, and there is no shortage of ‘Bs to tempt me. Too many wear the ugly rubber bumpers required by the late-1970s federal safety regulations, choked even more by emissions equipment.

An early car, like this 1967 MGB featured today, is light and powerful by comparison. Some say the ’67 is the ideal model year, as it is the last year before emissions hoses began to clutter the engine compartment, and the first year of the five main-bearing engine block, rather than the earlier three-bearing unit.

This one is absolutely stunning and is priced nicely at $16,500. I’ve seen some cars trading closer to $30,000, so this might even be a bargain. There are dozens of good photos top and bottom, front and rear, inside and out, so I’d be rather confident flying out to California and driving it home — come spring, once the salt is washed away from our roads.

I loved that old MGB. I put a good deal of work with my dad restoring it, and I’d love to get the chance to own one. My Miata is a reasonable substitute, I suppose, and I’ve had plenty of adventures keeping her on the road, but there is a personality to old British cars that cannot be replicated.

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20 Comments on “Digestible Collectible: 1967 MGB...”


  • avatar
    -Nate

    1967 was the last year of the MKI series .

    It was a good car .

    I can’t imagine $16K but then you can’t build/restore on for that $ so maybe it’s worth it .

    I had over 410,000.00 into my nice 1967 MGB GT MKI when I sold it on Flea-Bay for $4,500 , the guy and wife who flew in from Arizona called me when they arrived home telling me they’d never imagined they could get such a nice car so cheaply….

    Some times I miss it .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Are you certain you typed that number correctly? $410,000?

    • 0 avatar
      tylermattikow

      41,000, I assume ouch. It happens all the time though. When I read bring a trailer with all the flippers and people commenting on how much such and such will be worth in 3 years. It’s a hobby, it’s like playing golf you pay your money and get pleasure back. I’m currently refurbishing a 1992 Range Rover which if I continue my run of good luck with will be worth more than I have into it, my MGB is probably about even, my Scout was at least 10k over what I spend but they have gone up quite a bit, the lost a few thousand on TR6 project I got tired of last year, and sold MG Midget for 2200 that I have 12k into.

      I very careful with numbers, find ways to get parts as cheap as possible, keep speadsheets etc, and do almost every bit of work myself and work quickly. 90% of people don’t know what it costs and get in over their heads. Wheeler dealers and the other TV shows give the impression that you can buy a project and flip it two weeks later to double your money.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Funny, last night I watched an MGB buying guide from old Top Gear! If you can stand to listen to Quentin Wilson ponce around and roll his R’s, give it a watch. The video agrees with your assessment of this 67. It’s got the last of the sighted MG badge on real metal grille at front, and wire spokes at the corners.

    Needs a new bumper though.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwS6IMsnwYQ

    I like the hatchback MGB GT, which was considerably more rare in the US, though I’ve seen one!

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      I have an odd fascination for the MGB GT as well… not the V8 but the old 1.8 non crossflow pushrod nail.

      It has too many oddities for me to ignore like the 4 spd + 2 spd overdrive manual box.

      And of course Lucas blue smoke. What’s not to like? Of course you need a Toyota Corolla as your daily but what a nice Sunday ride.

      • 0 avatar
        tylermattikow

        BTW there are only 4 fuses in them, the electrical problems are greatly exaggerated. Wiring is a bit ugly under the dash, but it’s pretty easy to track and rewire if anything stops working.

    • 0 avatar
      rcx141

      Terry Waite who talks about his car in the video talks about being captured. He was held chained to a radiator for about 4 years in Beirut during the 80s.

    • 0 avatar
      tylermattikow

      BGT’s are pretty common, they sold in similar numbers to the Roadster when they were offered here. When the rubber bumper conversion happened they were no longer bought over to protect the sales of the soon to be released tr7. It was amazing that it sold well till end, even with loss of power, gain of weight and handling destruction of the rubber bumper models. Only explanation is the general badness of everything else offered at the time.

  • avatar
    tylermattikow

    I think 16,500 is top money for a decent early MGB but not completely insane. Keep in mind this is a dealer, I would expect to buy the car for less than 12,000. It does not appear to have overdrive, which really is needed at that price.

    For instance this one, with OD from a private seller, is starting at 14k with no bids. http://www.ebay.com/itm/MG-MGB-B-/121828596048?
    forcerrptr=true&hash=item1c5d8cd950:g:A18AAOSwbdpWUjTC&item=121828596048 The 20 and 30k MGB’s are anomalies at auctions and dealers where the are taken home as a consolation prize because they are cheap relative to everything else in inventory.

    I have a British Racing Green 1972 and it’s actually a great little car, I’ve gotten it past 90 and it’s fast enough in town, surprisingly comfortable with a decent ride and a trunk that can swallow gold clubs. I recommend one with overdrive, weber carb, electronic ignition and upgraded coil, and poly suspension bushings. Mine has all and I’ve added a wooden steering wheel and leather seats. I thinking I may sell mine in the spring, but I don’t think it will pass 10k.

    One of the great things about these is that parts are cheap and easy to obtain, perhaps more so that any other car except a Mustang.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Early December is a lousy time to be selling an LBC.

      I think quibbling about a few thousand here and there on a car like this is silly. Just buy the best one you can find and afford, and call it a day. You can’t make an average one nice for what a nice one costs, other than inflated auction prices.

      If you are selling in the spring, start high. I’d want $10K to start if I was ever to sell my Spitfire (which is rather more breathed on than your MGB). All it takes is one nut who really wants it. Or two if it is an auction!

      • 0 avatar
        tylermattikow

        Very true. My midget was very breathed on, over 100hp, cam, webers, headers, exhuast, roll bar. Full on nutso. I happened to need the space for a Jensen Healey my dad wanted so I got happened to not have the right nutso come out to play in that ebay auction. A dealer in California bought it, he spent close to the auction price shipping it back. That was a couple months ago, I’m guessing it pop up for sale for some crazy amount from that dealer.

        I really like my B, if I sell it, it will be to free up space and funds for something like an E-type. I’ve been trying to limit my car collection to 3 classics, still too many, as it gets overwhelming. It’s probably has around the max factory HP (about 95) for a B with a ignition, weber and ansa exhaust. I have powder coated wire wheels I’m going to put on this winter.

        https://scontent-lga3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xlt1/v/t1.0-9/12115950_899612633462719_2012189548915622671_n.jpg?oh=c5af2db9ac1591ea0f361c1fca42599b&oe=56DEB7F2

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    The last year of the good MGBs. Despite their charm, your Miata is a better car. In fact, your Miata is a better car than a Lotus Elan which would have an MGB for lunch.

    That’s an unavoidable problem with old cars. You must appreciate them for their character and historical significance because modern cars are better in just about every way. Early in 1985, I had a chance to buy a decent XKE coupe for $10k. Having just bought an RX-7 with the fuel injected 13B engine, I turned it down. I have never been able to decide whether it was the wisest automotive decision of my life or a golden opportunity lost.

    • 0 avatar
      tylermattikow

      Not really the last good year. Really aren’t major changes in performance or features till 73, when the compression ratios started to fall of a cliff. The emission smog pumps (starting 68) cost maybe 5hp, and are easy enough to remove. The metal dash is prettier, as is the lack of marker lights. But fundamentally what wrecked them was the weight of the sabrinas, later rubber bumpers, lowered compression and smaller carbs, and raised ride height. All of which were done in 73-74.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You don’t want a BL built car, which was 69+.

        • 0 avatar
          tylermattikow

          The MG Abington factory escaped the worst of the BL downfall. They didn’t have the labor unrest and kept quality much higher than other BL cars. They were shocked when they were shut down in favor of Longbridge. Very early ones 62-65 are bit neat, but ultimately any chrome bumper MG is great. Sadly the steel dash came without synchromesh on first, so your choice is easier with an ugly padded dash 68-70, a slightly less ugly one with a glove box in 71-73 or the much prettier metal dash up to 67. The values of all chrome bumper cars are pretty close with only a slight bump for pre 67 cars. For instance a 71 overdrive model is going to fetch more than 66 without. Buy the one that has the features you want and in condition you want.

    • 0 avatar
      pbr

      Eh, not quite. A Miata is lower-stress (and possibly lower-cost) than the old Brits, but “better” is not a 1:1 equation. An older car will involve you in operating and owning in ways a modern car likely never will. Not everyone knows in advance what it is they really want. A reliable, efficient, accessible daily companion? Miata. A talisman of a bygone time, with unusual (for today) sounds and smells? MGB. They’re both inexpensive enough, why not one of each, at least once, in your car-owning career?

      (Disclosure: I’ve never even sat in a B, but owned a series of raggedy Spridgets in the early 90s. No regerts, but not going back, either. Once was enough for those, for me. Never owned a Miata either, but long since lost count of the ones I’ve driven, ridden in and worked on. Perhaps the time is coming, I like the new ones quite a bit.)

      • 0 avatar
        Funky

        I’ve had one of each (and, still have the MGB, a 1980). The Miata/MX-5 (a 2009 with power hard top) was driven often (including using it to drop-off my kids at their schools each morning). The MGB mostly sat in storage. It still sits in storage (unregistered and uninsured). The Miata/MX-5 was sold. I did not feel “attached” to the Miata (this is the reason it was sold to make way for a new toy). I do feel attached to the MGB. But, not attached enough to bother to get the thing registered, insured, and properly maintained. If I do, once again, feel the desire to drive this type of vehicle, I will most likely purchase a new Miata/MX-5 since it would be the easier of the two with which to live on a daily basis.

    • 0 avatar
      tylermattikow

      Miata’s were released in almost 30 years after MGB so improvements should be expected. However MGB’s are much prettier than Miata, have more cabin space and a bigger trunk. I find the Miata a bit claustrophobic. But it comes down to whichever makes you happiest on the occasions you drive them. The Elan was a different creature, much more exotic than an MGB and priced like an E-type. Most have been rebuilt, just like an e-type, to a much higher standard than they came from the factory.

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