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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Is the investment worth doing.

I am contemplating doing a conversion on a '79 B. The previous owner pretty much did a hack job on parting it out. There isn't much left to restore to original. I am wondering if the idea to make a complete modification is worth the investment or should I just cut losses and junk it. Your comments are welcome.


Come on over to the dark side! The biggest expense would most likely be body work (ie-rust repair) and paint. From there, you can spend as little or as much as you wish.....

Questions to ask yourself....

Do I feel Spurious?
How complete is the car?
How much can I do myself?
How much do I want to do myself?
What will my budget allow me to spend?

You'll probably find easy answers to most of these questions.

Where are you located at in the US? There may be other "converts" nearby who can help you!


1974.5 MGB GT V8 conversion in progress

rick ingram

I have almost all parts needed for the converson. I live near topeka,. and have run out of money!! I can send you a list of what I have and that might give you an idea of what you are looking at .,kevin
kevin steves

Thanks Rick and Kevin S. for your comments.

Rick - To answer the questions;
A. Not troubled by authenticity or validity.
B. The only real parts left to work with on the car is the tub plus some driveline and electical parts. It has the usual problems with floor pans and rockers.
C. I can do most of the labor so no problem there.
D. I am willing to do the work.
E. The budget may not be a problem if it comes in at a reasonable amount. I'm thinking 10K max.

The big question is "will the investment produce a profit, break even or a huge loss if I decide to sell it in the future."

I live in Kansas City, Kansas. Close to Victoria British for parts. Interested in the V6 conversion and have access to a recommended engine builder.
I'm favoring this over the Rover due to, what I believe, as parts availability plus some info that says that the V6 produces better hp and torque.

Your thoughts on this appreciated.

Kevin S. - Thanks for offering your list. I will e-mail you for that info. I would greatly appreciate it.


One seldom recoups his costs from a conversion such as these..

rick ingram

Nor does one recoup their cost for a vacation trip, a movie, a dinner in a good restaurant, nor many of the other things we do with our money in the name of enjoyment. If you decide instead to buy a new car, you will also take great loss when the time comes to sell it. If a prime criteria is return on your investment, then the answer is a resounding NO! You won't do it. A project such as this is only worthwhile if you really want to do it, ie, the pure enjoyment of the process is as important - or more so - than the final product.

Dan Masters

I would have to agree with Dan in regards to making a profit or even getting your money back when you sell. That should not be a concern when building something not stock. There will not be enough of a market to make a profit when done.
R Piccola

You are paying for your "Entertainment" and more.
Bill Guzman

I agree as well with the comments about not building these cars for monetary gains. It will be a long time (if ever) that we see MG's selling for huge amounts of money. That's not a bad thing. Only that it's the sort of car that pretty much anyone can rebuild with help from people who have the expertise to help with tasks best left to the professionals.

I, for one, don't have the expertise or facilites to do body/paint work or engine re-building but I can certainly do the grunt work and even tackle electrical problems if I take my time.

I think the majority of us do this because we just love these LBC's and who hasn't had a car catch their eye (regardless of condition...basket-cases seem particularly appealing) and thought "Yeah, I can re-build that". Sometimes the "Voice of Reason" or our "Better Halves" step in but that doesn't happen very often.

I just got my Rover V8 fired up the other night and still have the grin on my face. That alone makes this 4-year (so far) project worth all the time and money.

Kevin- V8, V6 or the original I4 doesn't matter. What matters is if you enjoy getting your hands dirty and spending time in the garage, it's another MGB on the road. Weigh the pros and cons of the project and you'll find the pros usually win. Especially that first turn of the key!!

Simon Austin

Thanks to everyone for their comments. It appears I will need to think on this further.

hi kevin. i'm in a similar boat to you. i've got a thread going at the moment on the MGB General section. i think i'm capable of doing the work but in the long run will all the time and effort be worth it. it could be much easier (and possibly cheaper) to buy a B that is structurally sound and you can do a relatively simple restoration without the headache of welding and bodywork. after working on my B again today i'm still a bit unsure if i want to really get into the serious bodywork. i think i need someone with alot more experience with these cars to come round, have a look, and tell me what the score is.
J P Connor

Hello everyone. It's been a while since I participated in the forum. My health was down but I'm much better as of this writing.

Kevin, if your car is done in very good taste where it can be sincerely appreciated by a majority of onlookers chances are you can recoup 90% of your investment if you keep the car for 5 years and in good shape. An investment now will be less then it will be in 5 years and more than likely you will attract someone who would rather buy than build. There might be a point in which to stop investing for your own pleasure. I always build as close to perfection even if it is a customers car. I have taken a loss a few times because I saw a nicer and better way of doing something. I go nuts on my own stuff knowing I'm investing more then I had originally planned.

I know of a car and Dan Masters and Jim Blackwood probably saw it too, at a meet near the 2003 V8 meet in Tenn. It was an outrageously gorgeous black roadster with a 4.3 engine. It was perfectly done inside out and everywhere. I couldn't get the owner to fess up about the cost but he nodded his head and smiled when I ask if had more then 30,000 invested. I doubt if he could ever get 20K out of it because it could probably only attract toy buyers with bucks. Anyway we would certainly appreciate you doing a conversion no matter what engine you chose.

Dann BCC
Dann Wade

glad to hear you're better dann. how can you invest 30,000 into an MGB? must have some serious custom parts made.
J P Connor

Don't know what it's like in the US, but in Australia a V8 conversion sells for anything from $22K to $45K. Contrast with my purchase price of $7.5K and spending $15K on the conversion, that includes a new set of wheels, tyres and brakes which may not have been necessary. I also wasted about $5K through one thing and another. Thats Australian dollars. I figure if I were to do it again it would cost about $10K cause i'd know what I'd be doing. It should be cheaper in the US where your auto bits cost far less.
Actually you only very rarely see a MGB V8 conversion for sale as their owners tend to hang onto them like grim death.
They are just magic to drive. Easy, fast, powerful, economical (EFI), reliable. They even sound better .There is no bad.
Infact I'm going to drive mine home through the summer evening right now. If only you could do the same Kevin!
zoom zoom!

JP, thanks, it's good to be up and about. Believe it or not the guy actually had more then 40,000 in the car. It was painted underneath very meticulously and all small removable parts were chromed or made from stainless steel. He said he never drives it but trailers it to all the events. It was to much to comprehend as you looked at it. To me it was a foolish thing to do but to him......well I guess that was the way he wanted it I don't know.

Regards, Dann
Dann Wade

where's the fun in that?! i cant see the point in spending that much on a car and then not using it. i would have told him he was an idiot, waste of money. sorry but i feel quite strongly about people wasting their money just cos they can. just think what sort of a car 40,000 could get you?! crazy fool.

J P Connor

Dann--I believe I saw this car at Glen Towerys when it was in for service. It sure is a lovely car but way over the top for my thinking.
My Ford V8 conversion was done for a reasonable sum by hunting down parts etc at the best possible cost--but still probably was over what I had estimated and since driving it now for 1-1/2 summers and doing about 20K miles I am still tweaking things and changing things so it never ends. Body and paint will be done next.
All said --its a TON of fun !!!
Gil Price

The fun is 2 part for me, first the build, then the driving.

This is a full blown hobby, & I spend what I can afford, plus, same as the photography nuts, those involved in radio controlled model planes, gun nuts, & so on.

Those who know me know I drive the wheels off my cars. My roadster has gotten me to work 5 of the last 7 days, & will do so agin tomorrow. I drive them year around, in 8" of snow, rain & 100' summer days. All days are good days to drive a V8 B.

If you enjoy driving a 4 cyl MG, your smile will be twice as wide with a V8, 1 3/4 as wide with a V6. If you don't enjoy your stock MG, there is no guarantee that more power will make you love the car. Buy a Miata, or other modern car. The extra power does not change the basic nature of the car, it just enhances the good parts & makes it safer ( & more fun) to drive in higher speed traffic.

I know of $2500.00 conversions by a couple of mechanics with great parts sources & those over $30,000.00 by 1 or 2 with big checkbooks. The average conversion involves more than just the conversion & usually includes interior, & paint & bodywork, al well as suspension upgrades, so the actual cost of conversion is often lost.
Jim Stuart

This thread was discussed between 26/10/2004 and 03/11/2004

MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical index

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