Car Catcher: Why Not a Rubber Bumper 1977 MG MGB?

This 1977 MGB comes equipped with the much-maligned rubber bumpers, heavier curb weight, higher ride height and a single Zenith-Stromberg carburetor. The good news? All of those maladies are easily reversed thanks to today's huge aftermarket support, or you can simply enjoy the car as-is. Hagerty values a No. 2 MGB at $15,000, with the best one in the world fetching a little more than $20,000. Find the MG on offer without reserve at Mecum's Kissimmee sale January 2-12.  

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slowbird
slowbird HalfDork
10/18/19 2:22 p.m.

Hmmm...I wonder how it would look with the bumpers painted to match the body color. Might not be too bad.

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
10/18/19 2:55 p.m.

In reply to slowbird :

It's definitely something that's been done. Looks better in darker colors, methinks. White might be a bit much. Also if you go that route, the 1980 (and maybe '79s) have a chin spoiler down below that helps improve the looks just that much more. 

wspohn
wspohn Dork
10/18/19 7:28 p.m.

They are such horrid cars that they have never appealed to me at all, and I am a huge MG fan. To meet North American standards, they went as cheap as possible - need a specific ride height? Don't redesign the bodywork, just jack up the suspension, much to the detriment of the handling. Need to meet smog regs?  Strangle the poor thing by reducing cam timing, using single valve springs, single (horrible) carb with cast iron unitary intake and exhaust manifold, drop the compression and lose 1/3 of the power output as well as the handling.

Spend a pile of money and you can reverse all that, but not easily and certainly not cheaply. Better (IMHO) to start with an earlier twin carb car even if the body has issues. You will spend a bunch on body, but the result will be much more pleasing.

BTW, they used a similar nose on the later MG RV8 and did paint it body colour and it did look much better.

FWIW, the factory US race cars run by Huffaker didn't even try to build a race car using the new chassis - they just took their existing chrome bumper based race cars and grafted a lighweight rubber bumper shell to the and kept on racing, while pretending they were current rubber bumper cars.

PS - to be entirely fair, if you don't care about handling and performance and just enjoy tootling around with the top down, they are just fine.  But they re no longer serious sports cars.

Silver92SVX
Silver92SVX New Reader
10/21/19 2:42 p.m.

A girl in my high school class received a new red '77 MGB for graduation. Little rich girl. My mom's 1971 Opel Manta Rallye w/4-spd manual trans (that I passed my driver's test in & became my first car) outhandled, outbraked, was better looking, more roomy and more fun to drive than the new MGB's and VW Beetles rich kids had. A Weber 32/36 DGV carb and K&N air filter, Ansa free-flow exhaust and 185/70-13 radial tires made the Opel even faster and better handling. Opel also went to Bosch electronic fuel injection by 1975 while the MGB and most other imports were still using carbs. Not that the MGB doesn't have it's attractive eccentric qualities and a place for top down cruising around town or the countryside. The chrome bumper cars were so much cleaner looking.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
10/21/19 2:49 p.m.

In their defense, they do swallow V8 conversions a bit easier than the chrome bumper versions.

They are newer and hence will have the newest chassis updates and since crashworthiness was a thing,  I suspect they MIGHT? be built a bit more solid?

wspohn
wspohn Dork
10/23/19 6:37 p.m.
NOHOME said:

In their defense, they do swallow V8 conversions a bit easier than the chrome bumper versions.

They are newer and hence will have the newest chassis updates and since crashworthiness was a thing,  I suspect they MIGHT? be built a bit more solid?

They are certainly a lot heavier. Huffakers's guys told me how much the correct underpinnings of the front bumper alone weighed. While front and rear complete bumpers of the early cars weighed just under 30 lbs. with mounting brackets, the RBB items totaled around an extra 50 lbs. placed right at the extremities of the car (worst place for handling). 

The RBB was 'solid' alright. It was also sloooowww.....

We got a car I don't think you guys in the US did, the Austin Marina.(voted one of the worst cars ever built back in the 70s), Sadly, using the same engine as the late MGB, it was quicker than the MGB.- because it weighed about 300 lbs. less than the poor MG.

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
10/23/19 7:05 p.m.

In reply to wspohn :

We actually did get the Austin Marina here! I shot a photo of one at a British wrecking yard near Warren Ohio. Let me see if I can find the photo. (It could have been a Canadian import I suppose)

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
10/23/19 7:08 p.m.

wspohn
wspohn Dork
10/24/19 10:16 a.m.

I think you are right, Jordan - think they came into Canada and a handful probably emigrated.

 

Ditto for the Mk 3 Cortinas, which were  good cars (in contrast to the Marinas). Used the 2.0 Pinto engine in a capable chassis. Never sold in the US, just Canada, and for only one year. I owned two of them!

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
10/24/19 2:52 p.m.

In reply to wspohn :

I'd love to find a Mk 3 Cortina in the States. 

wspohn
wspohn Dork
10/25/19 11:48 a.m.

http://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics/they-sold-what-here-1973-ford-cortina-mkiii-in-canada/

Could take awhile to find a decent unrusted one, but I expect there are a few out there.  The engine can be upgraded from 2.0 to later 2.3 form.

Dave Vizard modded an engine back in the day and got up around 300 bhp out of it (for while, anyway) on turbo, so they were decently strong.

And the Cortina (to my eye) looks soooo much better than the other car that commonly used the engine, the Ford Pinto.

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