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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - A newbie (sorta)

I'm new to this BBS. I am a 30 year long owner of an MGA 1600 on which I did a frame up 2 years ago. Also a long time rider of Triumph motorcycles-Bonnies and Trident triples.
I'd like to start a new MG project and I really like the idea of an MGB GT V8.
I'm hoping that people will be kind enough to offer advice on generally what I should be looking (and not) looking at or considering. What works and what doesn't.
Right now I'm thinking of a sound 1972-74 GT body, 3.5-4.0L Rover 215 ( I went to the RPi Engineering site), 5 spd gearbox-possibly Borg-Warner, MGC rear end, perhaps front coil overs, rear tube shocks.
Any advice along these lines including cooling, carburation, brakes (any source for rear discs?) would be gratefully received. Any sources I can turn to, especially in the States would be very helpful.

Really anything would be helpful-I'm just in the planning stage now. My thanks to all in advance

John Hays


Welcome to the fold!

Forget the MGC differential...they are becoming too scarce....go with an 8" to 9" Ford...your selection of gearing is almost unlimited. Your stock differential (3.9) will last for a while, depending upon how you drive the car.

If you go with a Rover...go at least 3.9 litre. (My opinion.)

Think outside of the box...Ford 302 conversions are becoming more popular...and while there are not many "aftermarket" parts available at this time to ease the actual installation, there is a multitude of engine parts currently on the market to make as mean or mild powerplant as your heart desires.

Come up to Michigan in August to the V8 meet in Grand Rapids (August 11-12-13-14)... you can can get some hands-on experience and talk with a lot of fellow V8ers.


rick ingram
1974.5 MGB/GT V8 Conversion

rick ingram

I like the idea of the 302, but I have a rover, and will probably stick with it for a while. (It's done, I'm happy, why fix what isn't broken?) If you go the 302 route, you'll do some engine bay cutting to get it in a GT shell. If you go the Rover, I doubt you'll have to do much, if any. For sure use the T5 transmission. Rovers work, but there's a never ending supply of T5's. Ford 8.8" rear end is a great way to go. Moser Engineering in Indiana can shorten to whatever length you want, and trucks like the Ford Explorer came with disc brakes, and 8.8" rear axles.

If you go the rover route, fuel injection off of the trucks is easy. (especially if you choose a 3.9 or 4.2L motor) the 4.0 and 4.6L rover V8's are a different system, and requre a lot more work to get them in MGB's. You can, however, use the rover 4.0/4.6L motor and retrofit the buick 215 timing cover, and stick a carburetor on top and be happy. (I wouldn't bother with a buick 215 motor, or a rover 3.5L motor. The 3.9-4.6L motors are now more prevalent than in the past.)

There are SO many variable it's crazy. Ask lots of questions. We've all been there and can help you!




In UK I would go for following front and rear suspension

Front is obtainable in US from Doug Jackson

There is a lot of choice engine wise, in UK I would go for 5.0l with Wildcat heads which should give 340bhp.

Cooling- As big Ali rad you can find and decent electric fans.

Brakes prob Wilwood say 300mm at front.

With above suspension you can prob go 16in wheels so possible bigger brake upgrade if required and car as low as possible.

If GT I would add the Sebring flares or equivalent which allows a good wide tyre to be fitted

Paul Wiley

John, Glad to see your still active with the MGs. I was redoing my A at the same time as you and sent you some tail lite wiring that you were short. I also did a B conversion. I know this is a V8 board, but you might also look at the Chevy V6 site for some more food for thought. The site is While the Rover and Ford will fit in the chrome bumper car, they are TIGHT. The engine compartment was not enlarged for the V8 until the intro of the rubber bumper cars. Just give it serious thought as there are lots of choices. Also D&D has an an S10 rear modified to fit the B, with and without limited slip, in your choice of ratios. Good luck with it and keep us informed of your progress.
J Davis

The factory V8s used the same ratio as the MGC in the Salisbury axle, innards commonly available from the likes of FWIW.
Paul Hunt

You will get help from lots of help and advice as long as you go with a Rover or Ford. Not many around here attempt the Chevy V8 conversion. I believe I'm the only one right now doing one? Good Luck. Jason.
JWK Kerr

Fast Cars (Michigan?) sells a very nice front suspension, suitable for 302 conversions and the only coil over unit I am aware of that is actually an improvement on the stock suspension. Tube shocks in the rear are no advantage and ride rough.

Jim Blackwood

John, I am also a Wisconsin resident and have done an MGA restoration and also a MGBV8 conversion in a 1973 MGB-GT. I used the Buick 215 with a SD1 gear box. I would be happy to share my experiences with you and save you some time. Let me know if you're interested.
Paul Schils

Lots of advice available on this list, but you need to find basic direction. You thoughts are sound but more info may make you change your mind in some areas.

Most of us have used the 215 Buick/Rover in some size up to 4.9L. Currently, the tranny of choice is a T-5 Chevy- cheaper & stronger than the Rover 5 speed. Couple this with a hydraulic throwout bearing to simplify linkage.

Rears are an open question as 8 & 9" Fords get harder to find, & more expensive. The 8.8 Ford is a good choice as is the Chevy S-10. Anything you use will have to be narrowed except the MGC rear which has become VERY hard to find.

I put a 300 Buick in a chrome bumper car with room to spare, including A/C, so don't worry about room.

Cooling is always a problem but oversized aluminum radiators & 3000 cfm electric fans solve the problem whern all else fails.

Look up the V8 Newsletter on the web & buy all the back issues. Best $50.00 you will spend on the conversion. The current newsletter is "British V8 Newsletter" is online. Cantact Dan Masters for a link. I don't have a link to the early newsletter by Kurt but someone else is sure to post it.

The only real V8 conversion parts catalog is from D & D. Give Dan a call 810 798 2491 to get a copy.

Jim Stuart
Jim Stuart

For fuel injection fuel pumps, MG's don't really need a swirl pot I believe but having said that, get an access hatch made and put the pump into the tank. All these pumps work much better when submerged in fuel and "in the tank" will work out cheaper and easier than messing around with swirl pots and their attendant feederpumps and plumbing. If you intend to stick with the EFI gear the car comes with then I suggest a 92-94 with the tune resistor in the loom, which is a plastic coated resistor plugged into the loom near the relays.
Don't get a 3.5 no matter how cheap, the blocks were prone to cracking around the main bearing bolts. They really strengthened up the block for the 3.9's. If you can, get the later engine with the provision for the cross bolting.
So far I've had not the slightest trouble with the diff' and with the supra box the 3.9 makes second gear ideal for accellerating from standstill. I use first gear for manovering around cars parks etc.. However keep in mind my motor is straight from a 3.9 range rover and is not hotted up in any way asside from the extractors. Extractors-go for through the guards type like the RV8, there are heaps of benefits.
eg. engine compartment cooling, power increase, ease of installation etc
Radiator-don't penny pinch here, get an alloy one and if you use the front part off a mid to late '80's Range rover motor with the offset water pump, there should be room to get a big electric fan behind it.
Brakes-most people stick with the drums at the back.

ps-you need to obtain an earlier style front for your 3.9 block anyway, because it has the split style of oil pump so you can use the MG remote filter adapter.

pps-You might not be aware that the rubber bumper MG's (post '75) have all the engine compartment bulkhead and transmision tunnel mod's already set up for the V8. Also the steering rack and engine mounts are V8 style. You might find it easier to buy one of these and change the bumpers to chrome.

Make sure you read that as "post" 1975. My 75 RB Roadster looks just like my 73 CB Roadster in the engine compartment, except that the engine mounts are different.

Wayne Pearson

You must have an extreamly early rubber bumper, perhaps the first!. Mine is a '75 and it has all the mods except for the radiator brackets, which happened in '76 I believe.
I should say "used to be" a rubber bumper, now it sports lots of shiny new chrome has been lowered an inch or two and looks a different car.
John, this reminds me that the '75 didn't have the antisway bars, while the later RB's did. They took them off for the first RB for some deranged Leyland reason. I think they wanted to kill the car off.
I would suggest buying Roger Walker's book "how to give your MGB V8 power" and or possibly "How to give your MGB,MGC,MBV8 more power" (I'm not sure of the exact wording of the second title). They are just the thing for someone still looking at options, and are an interesting read with many photo's and diagrams.
Roger Parker has also (possibly prior to Walker) put an exellent article on this site, log on to the archives and find your way from there.

I agree that the show in Michigan is supposed to be the place to see it. It will be tied in with John Twists summer party if i am correct and should be a fun thing to go to, plus very informative...

If you are ever over in Minnesota, north of the twin cities, take a look at the V6 conversions done here. Very fun, fast, easy and reliable.
BMC Brian McCullough

John Wisconsin WROTE:

>>Also a long time rider of Triumph motorcycles-Bonnies and Trident triples. <<

See, some 'muricans got good taste! lol.

AND an MGA 1600 .... way to go...

Can't help you with much direct experience of the GT V8s, but a careful search of these archives should provide lots of stuff on the subject. Good Luck!

Few years ago, 2000 IIRC, attended one of the MGF meets at Sudeley Castle here in Glos., UK. Present were two V8 conversions ... an MGA and MGB tourer both to a very high standard.

John McFeely

Lots of good advice here - a 1974 or later shell has room for everything up to a V12 jaguar motor so there is scope for whatever you can find. The Ford is a very good alternative to the Buick/Rover - both will be supportable for a good few years. The latest Range Rover engine (BMW) is also a very good piece of kit and would make an unusual and interesting project. A couple of points:

In good order the B suspension will give a safe steady ride at 100 mph - even 115 in a straight line above that the risk increases exponentially. You only need 200 + BHP for acceleration - best to spend money on the gearbox and suspension rather than power.

Cooling is not a problem provided the fans work - if you do long journeys - you need redundancy - two is better than one. Space/Choice of timing cover will be important. Remember when choosing an exhaust system that you will have to change it - from time to time if your roads are anything like ours.

If you are looking to buy in the UK - be careful - the glossy website may be a trap !

Good luck



my mistake, that book is by Roger WILLIAMS, not walker. Part of the "speed pro" series and the second book is called "How to improve you MGB, MGB or MGV8" and in some respects is the better book.


I'm suprised no one has mentioned Glenn Towery to you. He has been involved with putting the Buick/Rover V-8 into MGB's for longer then i've been alive. He has probably forgotten more than most of us will ever learn. Anyway, Glenn has no website as yet but his number is 302-724-1243. Give him a call and he can give you any information you need and supply you with anything.

Glenn and I have also been known to install the Rover EFI into the MG. His personal car is a 72 GT with a 4.2l Rover with the Rover EFI system and A/C. My car is currently under construction but will have a 3.5l Rover, Megasquirt EFI, rear disk brakes, and possibly an ABS system.

More than anything else, have fun with you car.

Have fun,

This thread was discussed between 14/01/2004 and 23/01/2004

MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical index

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