Junkyard Find: 1971 MG MGB-GT

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The last model year for MG in the United States was 1980, but that doesn't mean that Morris Garage vehicles have become impossible to find in our car graveyards right now. Far from it! Examples of the Midget and the MGB continue to show up at Ewe Pullets throughout the land, but the Pininfarina-styled MGB-GT hatchback has been a lot harder to find than its convertible sibling. Here's one of those cars, found at a family-owned yard just south of Denver.

For reasons that probably didn't even make sense at the time, I daily-drove a British Racing Green 1973 MGB-GT for several of my college years. While the B was underpowered and unreliable even by the forgiving standards of the late 1980s, I had great affection for it at the time.

Colorado Auto & Parts recently placed well over 100 vintage machines from the 1940s through 1970s in the regular self-service inventory, including today's Junkyard Find. These include a 1948 Dodge, at least 25 first-generation Mustangs and Cougars, a 1951 Studebaker Champion, a 1959 Princess DM4 limousine, a 1958 Edsel Citation, a 1951 Kaiser, a 1959 Citroën ID19, an ex-Army 1965 Ford Fairlane staff car, a 1969 AMC Rambler 440 and so many more.

The MGB first appeared on this side of the Atlantic as a 1963 model, with the GT version making its debut for 1966.

The regular MGB convertible was iconic enough, but Pininfarina made the MGB-GT look so… Italian.

Yes, I bought the emblems for my garage wall.

The heart of the MGB was the antiquated but sturdy BMC B pushrod straight-4 engine, which powered everything from the 1954 Nash Metropolitan to Massey-Harris combine harvesters.

The original engine in the '71 MGB (which might even be this one) was a 1.8-liter rated at 92 horsepower and 110 pound-feet. Those numbers dropped quite a bit in later years, partly due to the switch from gross to net power ratings and partly because of stricter American emission standards. By the middle 1970s, the MGB's 1.8 was rated at just 62.5 horsepower.

An automatic transmission was available for UK-market MGBs, for some reason, but the U.S.-market version had a four-on-the-floor manual from start to finish.

This one has been sitting outdoors for many years, and the interior is in rough shape.

It's here because it had a nasty crash that mangled the right front, probably decades ago.

Nobody will be restoring this car, but it's a treasure trove of good parts.

Your mother wouldn't like it.

Over 1,000 pairs of hands in Abingdon build the MGB.

1971 MGB-GT in Colorado wrecking yard.

1971 MGB-GT in Colorado wrecking yard.

1971 MGB-GT in Colorado wrecking yard.

1971 MGB-GT in Colorado wrecking yard.

1971 MGB-GT in Colorado wrecking yard.

1971 MGB-GT in Colorado wrecking yard.

1971 MGB-GT in Colorado wrecking yard.

1971 MGB-GT in Colorado wrecking yard.

1971 MGB-GT in Colorado wrecking yard.

[Images: The Author]

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Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

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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2 of 25 comments
  • Wolfwagen Wolfwagen on Dec 19, 2023

    Someone needs to save the rear of that car from the b pillar back.

  • Barry Barry on Dec 19, 2023

    I have a 72 GT. 85,000. Miles on the clock. Original engine, still going strong. In France, but originally owned in UK. In better shape..