Toybox: 1968 MkII MGB

By: James Secher – Unique Cars magazine

P1020134 copy Toybox: 1968 MkII MGB P1020134 copy
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P1020267 copy Toybox: 1968 MkII MGB P1020267 copy
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P1020365 Toybox: 1968 MkII MGB P1020365
P1020190 Toybox: 1968 MkII MGB P1020190
P1020288 Toybox: 1968 MkII MGB P1020288

Easy-to-live-with and ultra-low-mile classic


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Launched in 1962 the MGB open top roadster was a runaway sales success, manufacturing over half a million units in its 18-year lifespan. The MGB offered sports car fun to the masses at modest price point.

Built to a simple yet sensible formula the MGB was a more refined version of the MGA. With an updated engine, refined interior and improved driving experience. The MGB enjoyed success not only in the UK, but the international market as well, with three quarters of production making there way to the US at the height of sales.  To avoid hefty import tariffs, MG cleverly created CKD (complete Knock Down) versions for local assembly in other counties, with Australia building more than 9000 MGBs from 1962 to 1972.

The MGB engine was updated from the out-going MGA 1600cc four-cylinder to a robust and torquey all iron 1800cc OHV B-series. In late 1964 the three main bearing B-series engine was substituted for a smoother five main bearing 18GB engine running twin SU carburettors developing a gentlemanly 73kW. Mated to either a three-speed auto or four-speed manual with over drive, torque was delivered from a very low rev range making for a pleasurable driving experience.

With a modern monocoque body opposed to a traditional body-on-frame construction at the time the MGB tipped the scales at a spritely 980kg.  The pulled-back-to-the-firewall engine layout kept weight as far down and rearward as possible, coupled with a coil-sprung independent front end and simple leaf-sprung rear end, the MGB had decent handling. Although the MGB was putting out a modest 70kW, it was not to be underestimated on tight windy roads. This was where the MGB came alive offering a smooth yet robust driving experience, all the way to a top speed of 170km/h.

The "MKI" plate was never an official MGB designation, but this first generation of MGB was manufactured from 1962 to 1968. The MGB MKII was the first and only official MK designation for the MGBs and was manufactured from 1967 to 1969.  The unofficially designated "MKI "MGB received gradual updates through the early 60s with the new and smoother five-bearing 18GB engine, push button door handles and minor changes to the trim and gauges. In 1967 the MKII was born, with an extensive interior makeover, padded dash, new switches and gauges, modern safety features such as collapsible steering column, front anti-roll bar and crumple zones. While the out-dated generator based electrical system was replaced with a modern alternator.

The MGBs represented extremely good value for money back in the day and that lineage has continued with pricing nowadays still reasonable for a quintessentially iconic 60s sports car.

There is a wealth of knowledge and parts support available for the MGBs; so long term ownership is not wrought with the exorbitant upkeep of some other classic European sports cars.

This particular red MKII roadster rolled off the assembly line in 1968 and has only travelled 10,300 miles. You could argue the car has barely been run in and presents an opportunity to own a practically new MKII MGB. In immaculate condition the only change to the car has been the upgraded horn and leather steering wheel; however the current custodian mentions the original steering wheel will be sold with the car along with all it’s original documentation.  

If you’re looking for a drop top British sports car for spirited drives through the hills or a centre piece in the garage you’d be hard pressed finding a better example. It’s available by auction at Collecting Cars online.   

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