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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Child seat

Well its happened. The wife is pregnant. Given the MG does not have a rear seatbelt, how do I fit a child seat securely ? Anyone got round this without selling the car ?!
James Read

I installed a GT back seat and seat belts in my roadster and put both my boys back there (5 and 6 years old), but won't do for an infant. My buddy bolted a child seat into his car on the shelf behind the seat. Note we both converted to a stowable frame for the top to maximize space. Becareful the little one doesn't get sun burned.
Bill Yobi

Back in '79 when we bought our 3rd new B, out daughter was 7...the dealer installed the seat cushion from a GT like the factory offered as an option (rear compartment cushion it was called)...snaps in, snaps out...he also installed a 3rd seat belt...we used either the factory hardtop or a stowaway..still have that car...with the seat...& the stowaway...daughter is now 28!!
Anthony Barnhill

My first will be here in about 8 weeks, a boy to help me fix the MG. My wife says no power tools 'till he's 5 tho. I test fitted an infant seat on the rear deck (batt cover) and it does fit in there alright with the top up. I tried setting it in the back zip up window, and it actually sets in there pretty easy. Just will have to keep window up to keep him from getting wind blown !

Good luck
Sean Squires

.........and there is room for the detachable part of a baby's c ? K arrykot.

Roadster? Draw an imaginary line from the top of the windscreen to the top of the rear wings, deduct a little for crush, curbs, low walls and the like and see how much space is left for your child's head...
Paul Hunt

Anyone who would put an infant in an MG is criminally negligent and should be locked up. An MGB, let alone a V8, is no place for that: no ifs, ands or buts. Let's be realistic here. In an accident with an SUV or a truck, an MG will be flattened. A roadster could easily find itself under another vehicle in a crash. This thread really pisses me off, because these kids have no way to tell you what f*cking idiots you are. Infants should not be driven in roadsters, GTs or any other MGs, ever.

Yeah, yeah, I know, many of you have done this for years without an issue. Heck, when you were a baby they carted you around in the back of an MG. Well, more power to you, Sport. That's like saying that you've been smoking all your life and you're not dead yet, so what's the problem?

David Duquette

As I was reading this thread I was shacking my head and thinking of all the weak areas of the MG, two flimsy clips hold the back seat, weak floorboard, etc. and thinking what to say, then I read David's input.

No need to say anymore.

Bill Guzman

David D,
if you are going to worry about all the dangers in the world then your arguments apply equally to the very act of having children. Assuming you have, then you are irresponsible along with the rest of us.( If, on the other hand, you do not have children, then mind your own f***ing business.)
I will add that I have never knowingly flamed an MG BBS poster in the last 4 years, but this sanctimonious attitude from across the pond gets me going ! Some of us have been fighting the 'Ralph Nader' attitudes for years and will continue to do so !
In addition, there is no evidence that the original poster has a roadster, indeed all factory V8s are GTs. There is also no evidence that says 'if an MG is in a collision with a SUV or a truck it will get flattened' - talk about a sweeping generalisation. David then shows his complete ignorance of the modern (post- 1980) MG range over here by not realising there are perfectly normal saloon and hatchback cars which carry MG badges, are owned and used as MGs, and are as safe (or unsafe) as any other UK car.
If however it is the case that David D. did not read that James is from London, and has no personal experience of the totally different roads environment over here then I will accept that his position may (only may) be relevant to certain parts of the USA but is irrelevant to the original question.
it is perfectly feasible to fit a child seat in the back of a B, using locating straps onto strengthened mounting points. I achieved this in a midget 20 years ago and believe it or not both sons survived, and are IMO all the better for it.
David Smith

>it is perfectly feasible to fit a child seat in the >back of a B [...] I achieved this in a Midget 20 >years ago and believe it or not both sons survived, >and are IMO all the better for it.

Well, that certainly proves that.
David Duquette

Thank you, David Smith, for your voice of reason.

As an American (albeit without children) I have been appalled by the nation of frightened rabbits that we have become. We follow the likes of Nader, the NHTSA, and the media without question, desperately afraid that there are dangers lurking around every corner ready to kill or maim us or our precious progeny.

David D. has obviously not taken the time to research the crashworthiness of an MGB or Midget. There have been many photos published of these cars after undergoing crash tests into a solid wall, although the cars are markedly shorter after the test, the cockpit area remains virtually intact. And Bill Gs comment about the "weak points" of the MG made me wonder, how are the floorboards any weaker than other monocoque designs? OK, the GT's rear seat back may be a bit flimsy, but if you want to install a car seat there, just take the seatback off! An infant car seat mounted transversely behind the seats of the MGB or GT and secured to the floorboards/trans tunnel (or the GT rear seat belt mounting points) would probably be the safest way to transport an infant. I would retrofit a rollover bar to any roadster that I was planning to put a car seat into, though.

I cannot really fault the above posters for their views, the blame really goes to the awful US mass media networks. Hardly a day goes by that we don't get some TV news report about some horrible substance or situation that is going to sicken or kill us. The disturbing thing is that the media only tell us enough to frighten, rather than a fully balanced and objective report upon which we could make an informed decision as to the validity of the claim. It is because of these incessant "sound bites" that we form our generalizations, like "sports cars are unsafe". If they tell us something often enough, then it must be true, right?

Don't get me wrong, I think car seats are a necessity, just like seat belts for adults. But are we going too far with our protectiveness? I hope that with all this worry and fear, we are not going to inexorably breed out the spirit of adventure and freedom from our children. Freedom is the opportunity to allow your kid to get dirty and scraped up when he plays around the neighborhood or takes something apart in the garage.

Unfortunately, I think that American freedom and adventure peaked on July 20, 1969 - when we as a nation had the cojones to send 3 guys to the moon (with less computing power than a car has today). But we haven't followed through with the greatest adventure that Man has ever attempted. We sit here whining and contemplating our navels, waiting for the next thing to worry about....

Have a nice day...
Paul Kile

Paul Kile

Whilst in San Fransisco last weekend (was it San Francisco? After sleeping in 12 different beds in 16 days it is all a bit of a blur) I caught a TV item related to the death of JFK Junior that went to great lengths to explain that it was much more dangerous to fly at night than during the day and over water rather than land because the pilot couldn't see the horizon! What's the phrase? Dumbing-down?

As for allowing kids to get scratched and dirty, there is a new theory that lack of exposure to germs in kids today is one of the causes of skyrocketing asthma and allergies. New theory? My Grandmother used to say "They've got to eat a peck of dirt a day" 40 years ago.

Paul Hunt

Paul H.,
Yes, I can confirm it was San Francisco - we drove over to meet you folks, and the signs all said "San Francisco". Although we moved the London Bridge to Arizona, we haven't as yet moved the Golden Gate to Fresno! Hope you had a good time on the rest of your trip.

Paul K.
Paul Kile

Paul 12 different beds alone?

Do what ever. I much rather not take the chance. No MG is worth over my kids, and now my Granddaughter.
We can apply all the logic to this thread, but one fact is that no matter what you do for the safety of your kids, is never enough. Calculated risk is ok for us adults, but for the kids.... I would think not.
My sons were expose to everything possible but with safety in mind. I now see my son doing the same with his daughter.
Bill Guzman

James Read ask a question that he needed information on. He got a bunch of flack from some of the people, and some answered his question.
Answer his question, Don't lecture to him...
This BBS I think stands for "Bunch of Bull S**t"

H'mmm a very frothy thread this...........

Can I ask a basic question related to the original posting-James-is the MG a GT or a roadster? GTs have a plate welded over the bulge in the bootfloor area over the differential which is I believe designed to enable a carrycot to be strapped down onto the GT rear seat. When a rear child seat needs to be fitted I have seen a tubular assembly, fitted to some cars, bolted down onto the rear seat belt mounts, on top of the rear arches and spanning between them.This then supports the child seat and the top anchorages of the restraint straps.

When they get too big for that....well that's your ideal excuse to get hold of a 2.0i Maestro and fit that with an M16 unit or maybe even a ZB Magnette fitted perhaps with an M16 engine.......


John Bourke
John Bourke

It would be difficult for you and your wife to ignore Duquette's message on this BBS even setting aside its unpleasant tone.

Look back throught the archives here and you will find evidence of the strength of the MGB. Those of us who were driving MGBs in the early 60s remember the car for the many things including memories of friends who walked away from accidents who would have been killed or seriously injured in another car. The MGB was then and remains one of the strongest of its size. Properly maintained it is also stable, unlikely to turn over but, more capable than most of the defensive manoeuvre which from time to time is necessary.

It is inevitable that an an enthusiastic vibrant association such as ours will attract the attention of the anti-car lobby. One can only hope that duquette and other subscribers of his temperament and philosophy are never seen near an MG

Can the outlawing of motorcycles be far behind?

Throughout our lives we face degrees of danger. Here in the States, I have heard that the odds of dying in a car wreck (not just MGs) is 1 in 2000. Yet we continue to take that risk. I would rather have a crash in an MGB than in a number of these compact econo-boxes.

Secure the child, drive with care, use defensive driving techniques, and enjoy!

Life is fatal, but don't stop living until it is.

Bill - no.
Paul Hunt

Paul, that is good.

Child seat. My final comment.
The fact is that the MG safety standards are good for the 60s/70s technology.
Many times I heard people said The other car came apart, the MG had minor damage.
Hurrah! New technology mandates the cars to come apart to absorb the impact.
In any country the safety of cars has increase specially here in the US. Some European cars do not pass the US test and can not be sold in this country, yes some are border line.

The MGB-GT has its weaknesses in the floor boards, if hit on the side would collapse.
The rear pan next to the rear section of the floorboard flexes. Yes some will disagree, and that is ok.

I am not trying to convince anyone not to use the MG for the newly born or older child.

I guess that if you drive a metro in the UK the safety standards are higher than the 70s MG. If there are not, oh well

I am glad that we have safety in mind in all areas. GMs Montecarlo has an approved built in car seat on the rear seat, car manufactures are aware of the dangers of not having the proper protection for an infant.

If I had to take my newborn on the MG, I then would choose the front passenger seat with an approved child seat. The rear seat of the GT sets too high for any safety in mind.

Sorry if I offend anyone.

r/ Bill

Bill Guzman


How's this: when the Brits can put a man on the moon, I'll put my 3-year old in the back of my GTV8 and put the pedal to the floor.
David Duquette

Oooh, snide. Paul who? I was the one who suggested measuring the headroom, or lack of it, between an upturned roadster and a child in a rear seat, if you recall...

Paul Hunt

If you feel that strongly about it, why would you chance depriving your child of a parent by driving an MG?
George B.


Call Kwik Fit. They have a seat belt centre somewhere in London that can professionally fit rear seat belts or harnesses in the back of a GT. Cost is about 230.
Richard Saunders

Generally, there appears to be an attitude difference on either side of the Atlantic. This stems from alot of things. First, try and get a driver's license in England vs. ..say.. New York. Big difference. Stand upright, draw breath, take a three (now five) hour class and don't screw up the paralell parking too badly and your RIGHT to drive in New York is assured. On my drive to Manhattan every day I see two-handed cellphone dialing, Newspapers on the steering wheel, make-up repair (sorry ladies), high-speed tailgating, improper unsignalled lane changes with coffee cups held high... the list goes on.

In my admittedly brief experience driving in Europe, I have not seen this kind of stupidy. In most European countries, it is illegal to eat and drive(no cup holders), cell phone and drive... A first alcohol violation results in a lifetime license conditional anything. Can someone from the other side of the pond please elaborate on your licensing requirements. I know in Ireland it is administered in stages, including a highway stage. My road test never exceeded 30 mph and never left quiet neighborhood streets.

In his defense, David has reason to be concerned. Americans are no longer responsible for their own reckless actions. Smoke yourself to death..sue tobacco companies. Drive as fast as you want in the biggest environmentally unfriendly 6000lb. behemoth money can by while redialling your cell phone. The reason people buy these SUVs is supposedly safety (and vanity, "mine's bigger", etc...) The real negligence is allowing anyone to buy one of these things: 6000lb SUV v. 2000lb compact in an intersection accident... Here in the US, we have resigned ourselves to the impact and focus on how to survive the inevitable crash rather than stringently train all our driver's to respect their fellow motorists and avoid most accidents.

To say that riding in the back of an MG is criminally negligent is simply to acknowledge and resign oneself to the careless, recklessness of our fellow motorists.
I submit that an infant in the back seat of an MG is a far riskier proposition in the US than in England. Life is dangerous. Exist inside a giant foam NERF ball, or take the risks to do the activities that make life exciting and interesting, but don't preach in absolutes (leave that to me).

dismounting the regards,

Brian Corrigan
Forest Hills, New York
72 MGB (still slightly rusty and risky) GT


But, I also agree with another post....Taking David's line of reasoning to its farthest extent: HE is negligent if he gets behind the wheel of his MG..he's taking a chance of leaving wife and children behind because he got in an unsafe car!! Same as putting an infant in the front or back seat of an MG with him driving! Where does the idiocracy end?
Anthony Barnhill

mmm... it's interesting to hear about training licensing in the states.... Over here were a little more stringent in our requirements, but I *still* feel we're sadly lacking....

I have a full UK driving license (I won't go into the exclusions for HGV's etc for those unfamiliar with the UK vehicle classifications...) which also includes a full category A motorcycle license.

The level of training for those learning to drive a car compared to that required for a full motorcycle license is shockingly disparate. With a car license, very little , if any, time is spent teaching defensive driving, but with m/c training, most time is spent teaching defensive riding. There is less emphasis on obeying the rules, than with riding intelligently, and reacting to driving conditions in a practical manner. Clearly, the highway code forms the basis of safe driving, but there are times when you *have* to bend the rules. It's little comfort to argue that the other driver was breaking the rules, as they scrape the poor motorcyclist/pedestrian/driver from the road with a shovel. Too late.

At the end of the day, the scariest drivers are those who blindly follow the "rules" without ever taking the responsibility upon themselves to THINK about the conditions and they way they react to them.

I ride my bike to work every day through London. NOTHING surprises me anymore.

(footnote... when I was a small boy, my folks were shipping me to and fro in a Triumph Spitfire. With my 2 elder brothers in back..... safe? or lunacy? )

My personal objection to putting a child in the back of a roadster has less to do with 'simple' impacts with other vehicles than a rollover. Front-seat occupants are relatively well protected behind the windscreen) although someone I once knew overturned a Morris 1000 convertible and got his head trapped between seat and road whilst skidding along upside down - not a pretty sight) but a child strapped in to a seat sticks out like a sore thumb, and will get more than a sore head.

Paul Hunt

Fair point Paul - but all risks should be quantified. How many cases are there of convertible cars rolling over in RTAs on British roads in, say, the last 10 years. Or 20 years if you like. When compared to the overall number of RTAs I'l lay money it's what I call insignificant, ie stupidly small. Just a thouhgt...
David Smith

Back to the point.
Moss Motors put out an articile in Moss Motoring several years ago on installing a GT seat and seat belts to a roadster. (with pictures). You may be able to get a copy from them. The stow away top is required.
As for saftey, I've seen child seats mounted in Bs where they fit under a roll bar. Looks like a sensable alternative to locking the child in a foam room with filtered air for the rest of their life.
Enjoy your car and share it with your family.


This thread was discussed between 13/07/2000 and 28/07/2000

MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical index

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