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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - 1973 BGT V8 - Complete Rebuild or New Engine ?

Could do with some 2nd opinions please.

Have an original '73 BGT V8 which is showing its age. Went to the garage yesterday and saw my engine on a block in bits while the bodyshell sits outside, I have 2 choices a) go for a complete rebuild or b) put a new engine in.

Cost difference is about 300 more for the new engine, total around 3000.

Is 220 +VAT +labour a good price for a new engine, not recon ?

Will I affect the value if I go for the new engine ? I'm not intending to sell her (she's been with me for 6 yrs now), and I only do about 2000 miles a year in her.
Always wanted to keep her original, now not sure.

If you're not interested in originality, then I'd suggest the new engine. If you do the complete rebuild, the only original parts may just be the block anyway.

An original engine really only matters to Concours Judges and Purists.

I had a Rover 3.5 rebuilt earlier this year, cost about $5000 CDN. It's going into a '77 mgb roadster so authenticity isn't my concern, just something different.

Value? If you're happy with the car and still having fun, the car is priceless!

Good for you for getting another one back on the road.
Simon Austin


Been there, done that.

Without a doubt I would go for a new engine & ancilliaries from John Eales; might as well go for a 4.6 with a cross bolted block, as the price is effectively the same.

John Eales
Claybrook Mill
Frolesworth Lane
Claybrook Magna
Lutterworth Leicestershire LE17 5DB
Telephone 01455 202909

No connection otherwise than as a delighted customer. John has supplied me with three engines two for Range Rovers and one for my BGT V8.

Although I sold the car years ago one of the RR engines has now done over 280k miles.

Nigel Steward

I'm in a similar situation except that the cooling system problems I have recently started getting *might* be due to a porous block, rebuilding of which would be a complete waste of time and money. I have been given a 10.25 SD1 short engine as an unknown quantity which is tempting. But if your engine is the original as quoted on the BMIHT certificate (as mine is), and unless you want to increase its power output, then a rebuild of the original would have more value at a resale. I've been recomended to go to Peter Burgess but they don't do a standard rebuild, Stage 1 is their minimum.

Where are you getting the 'new' engine and what spec is it i.e. MG? SD1? Something else? Are you sure it really is brand-new and not someone elses rebuild?
Paul Hunt

Denise, I asume that the 3000 includes the body rebuild. If so it sounds good value/cheap depending on what needs doing. The 220+ for the engine alone sounds equally cheap and would raise my suspicians as to whether it was actually new. I personally would prefer to rebuild the original engine, especially as it is the one which belongs to the car. Aside from this issue I would then know what actual condition it is in. New is not necessarily better than old where engine rebuilding is concerned as a properly rebuilt engine is at least as good as a new one if done by someone who knows what they are doing. The only downside to rebuilding is time.
ian thomson


A number of websites you can check prices and spec
John Eales
Abbey sportscars

If original engine is sound then I would go for originality but I doubt if it adds any value unless showcar. For a new engine I would go for 3.9 as its in keeping with an original car and will add some horses and should not give any hassle insuring car.


A new engine - or recond engine - is very often not the whole story. A short engine normally comes wihtout the timimg cover - containing the oil pump, heads, sump and other bits. I think that essentially what you may get is a new block, pistons and crankcase with a lot of your own original and maybe tired bits being used back on your new unit.
You porbably need also to check exactly what you are being offered. 220 seems extremely cheap for a new - unused engine - short or long.

Hi All

Thanks for all your comments.

No wonder the engine looks cheap - I dropped a 0 off when I was typing - should have been 2200, not 220, Oops !!

The engine's a brand new Rover SDI.

Looking at all your comments, I think I may have to go with the new engine rather than rebuild the existing engine.
The body's solid and I'd rather be back on the road driving than thinking ahead to when it might need work again.

Thanks again

Just keep your old engine in case you sell the car to an originality analret.
George B.

Hi Denise,

Have a look at They'll sell you a complete long engine for 1,450 or have a look at their offers page where they've got some ex MOD rebuilt engines for 950. Call Chris and ask him what he's got in stock.

Philip Shingler

Marc makes a good point that I emphasise - a new engine is going to need the MG-specific bits fitted from your current engine, and the different compression ratio of the SD1 unit means the final built unit will need re-tuning, possibly new carb needles etc. Personally I think it more straight-forward and less likely to produce pitfalls to rebuild your existing engine. But you should be able to get it done for considerably less than 2200 and at only 2000 miles per year it should see you through to retirement at least :-) Retaining the 'correct' engine may not increase the value as such, but it should make it easier to sell, come the fateful day, as it is at least an indicator of an original 'un-mucked-about-with' car.

Good decision Denise, because you need to be careful about rebuilding these engines. If the block is not cracked OK. If the block is cracked then the cost of rebuilding can be nearly the same as a new short 3.9 motor (at least here in Australia). The crankshaft bolts sometimes work loose and when that happens cracks form in the block around them. These cracks are expensive to weld up and some times impossible, and your engine rebuilder might adopt a "what you don't know won't hurt you" approach. Achording to a local wrecker two in three rovers have this problem. If you take the sump off you can often see these fine cracks.

This thread was discussed between 01/12/2002 and 05/12/2002

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