The Mazda Miata is still one of the most affordable convertible sports cars on the market. But it owes its success to several classic British roadsters, such as the Austin Healey-Sprite. However, there’s one model in particular that the Miata pulls inspiration from. And it’s this week’s Bring a Trailer bargain: an MG MGB.
The MGB was the most popular convertible sports car in the world for a reason
The MG brand’s history is full of fun, affordable open-top sports cars. In the late 40s and early 50s, for example, there was the TC, which helped kick-start Carroll Shelby’s career. And after the TC came the 1955-1962 MGA, which competed with contemporary Triumphs, Autoweek reports. But it was the later MG MGB that truly cemented the British roadster formula’s popularity.
The 1963 MG MGB borrows some parts from the MGA, Silodrome reports, such as its front suspension and powertrain. However, unlike the body-on-frame MGA, the MGB has a modern-style monocoque chassis, which was fairly rare at the time, Silodrome reports. Another contemporary rarity is its built-in crumple zones. But even though some of the MGA’s base parts carry over to the MGB, they’re not exactly the same.
The MG MGB has an enlarged version of the MGA’s four-cylinder engine, MotorTrend reports. It’s a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 95 hp and 110 lb-ft, sent to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual. That’s more power and torque than the MGA has, and it’s enough for a 1920-lb convertible, Road & Track and Hagerty reports. Plus, the MGB’s front suspension is revised compared to the MGA’s suspension, and it comes with front discs, not drums, Hagerty reports.
Due to its new suspension and chassis, the MG MGB handles better than the MGA, R&T reports. And as a result of its styling and affordable price, the little roadster was extremely popular, Automobile reports. So much so that, until the Miata came out, the MGB was the highest-selling convertible in the world. By the time production ended in 1980, MG had sold over 500,000 of them, Hagerty reports.
The 1965 MG MGB on Bring a Trailer
The MG MGB received an upgraded version of the 1.8-liter engine in 1965, though after this particular example was built, Bring a Trailer reports. However, this particular car does have a rebuilt engine and recently-replaced dual carburetors.
The entire convertible underwent a full refurbishment that took over 10 years, in fact. Plus, in preparation for the sale, the current owner replaced the fuel tank, fuel pump, thermostat, and performed a tune-up and oil change.
Besides the mechanical work, this 1965 MG MGB’s interior was also refurbished. That means tan leather seat covers, tan vinyl door panels, and replacement cushions and carpeting. Plus, this particular MGB has an Alpine CD radio with MB Quart speakers.
Admittedly, this 1965 MGB isn’t perfect. The tires are fairly old, and both the hood and right-side quarter panel have some scratches. However, while the paint color isn’t factory original, the convertible’s body was media-blasted and its floor panels were repaired during the repaint.
What makes this car a bargain?
As of this writing, this 1965 MGB is listed at $6400 on Bring a Trailer with 3 days left in the auction. Given its age, that’s slightly below the average market value, Hagerty reports. On Bring a Trailer the roadster hovers in the $10,000-$20,000 range.
While this particular example isn’t perfect, MGBs have a reputation for being simple to maintain and run. Plus, MG made so many that spare parts and owner’s clubs are plentiful. If you’ve been interested in getting into classic cars, it’s one of the best ways to do it, MT reports.
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