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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Price foe decent V8!!!!


I had a 1970 GT for 5 years then bought an MGF - kept that for just over 1 year. Sanity has returned and I am in the market for another B (pref. a ragtop).

I fancy a bit more power this time around - what range of monies can I expect to fork out for a v.good to excellant condition V8GT or converted V8 roadster? Pretty vague I know but....

Also, what should I be looking for over and above the normal 1.8 stuff.



(Good but limited A4 driver - need a decent 2nd car quickly!)

I sympathise a bit as you have a difficult task - prices are all over the place !
There seem to be plenty of optimists who having spent a lot of money on a restoration
or rebuild or conversion, try to get their money back by
asking anything from 7k to 10k and beyond. There also seem to be quite a few reasonable-
sounding cars around the 5 to 7k mark.
But some people are beginning to panic about the threat of road tax on engine size (remember that
all genuine production V8s are post-1973) and for instance I saw a VERY nice and original
V8GT at Highclere castle classic show just 4 weeks ago asking 3500 - such a bargain that if I didn't
already have one I would have snapped it up .....
But also beware of 'not quite finished' or not very well done conversions at around this figure, they
could be a nightmare.
good hunting.

Thanx Dave

Hmm, shows could be the place to get a good buy it seems.

I have been watching the prices of Factory MGB-GT V-8s in the UK for some time (via magazines like Safety Fast, Enjoying MG, and Classic and Sportscar) and they leave me mystified. How come factory car prices seem so low?

The usual prices for a Factory V-8 seem to be between 5,000 UKP and 7,000 UKP ($8K and $11.5K US). These ranges seem awfully low for a rare high-performance MG. Prices on MGAs and Mk1 MGBs are higher than GT V-8s in the UK as well.

Here in the States, when a Factory V-8 comes up for sale (which is extremely rare, since there are only about 20 of them over here) the asking price is around $35K (~22,000 UKP). I will admit that I got my V-8 for less than half that, but I know I will have more than that into it before the restoration is finished.

Call me a fool, but this is the car I have always wanted, and I hope to have the best example in North America when I am done. I'm just curious why there is such a disparity on price between North America and the UK.

Paul Kile
Paul Kile

Besides tax on engine size - leaded petrol at $10.50c a gallon
is another worrying factor - the 137 BHP engines really need up-rating
amd converting (to green)too. I supect a lot of the unconverted cars have
been around the clock twice.

So the lower price cars tend to be original but tired and the
higher priced have a new engines and maybe better gearboxes

Generally you get what you pay for but looking for the bargain
is fun.
Roger in London

I'd agree that given the rarity of the factory V8 average asking price does seem very cheap-having converted my own 71 GT I think that to convert a GT even to a basic specification(say 2-3k+) would cost more than what you can pay for some factory cars.I'd say that the average price ought to be more like 8-9k.
All I can say is that factory car for 3.5k must be a steal because even if it was broken down for bits it might go for some thing like this-

Set of genuine MG v8 Rocker covers(Die cast not sand cast like the repros) Say 300/pair

Inlet manifold assembly-upper and lower manifolds/carbs/air cleaners-600-800

Genuine factory gearbox(with a half reasonable gearset and no splits in the casing-say 300-400+

Propshaft(core unit with a chance of being rebuilt)say 25-50

THE back axle-Every body wants these-esp for conversions(600-700 for any thing which works)

The dashboard-not that different to 74-76 R/B spec but the 80psi oil pressure gauge and the 140 mph clocks ain't that easy to get hold of-say 50-100 complete-maybe more

Steering column-CB version is unique to the beast I believe-Where are you going to get one- 50 any one?

Steering rack-long nose 2.9 turns-early 74-76 is identical-(but eary V8s had a ring rather than a slot around the splines)I had to pay 40 for a core unit when did my conversion.

The shell+V5- I would say that this would probably be worth around 800 even rusty but rebuildable condition.

I make that around 2.8-3.2k-I should add that most of these prices I have either seen advertised or been asked when sourcing the bits for my conversion I'm probably two years out of date and that is probably upwards.....

Given the price of restoring the V8 properly it's amazing that they are still so cheap-I don't care- I love driving mine -there is nothing like the the way that the engine growls (with pleasure) as it awakens from a low rumble in say 3rd or 4th-I never tire of it.......

I'd better go now before they take me away.......

Regards JB

Roger said:
>>>> the 137 BHP engines really need up-rating amd converting (to green)too.

Roger, just for the record it is WELL documented (see archive threads) that the factory BV8s are fully compatible with
running on unleaded fuel. There is no question or quibble about this any more since (a) there is LandRover written confirmation
of the engine spec and (b) plenty of people who have many years and tens of thousands of miles of experience to support it.

Also IMHO a standard engine in well-maintained condition delivers more than adequate performance for driving on
British roads of the nineties....competition driving, track days and continental touring is something else however.

David's comment on the ability of standard valves/seats to cope without lead
is fair although there is also plenty of experience of sticky valves from running
the original engines on green -

my advice on up-rating 'tho still stands - SDI heads + 3.5l capacity = increased fun.
SDI heads + 3.9l capacity = one of the swifter cats on the roads
(with fuel injection, the B also uses little more fuel than the standard
engine - if the car is being D R I V E N.)

The advice for the buyer who wants to keep up on the road still has to be; choose
the engine and drivetrain that suits your style of drivingou and pay accordingly.
Surely $15K is not too much to pay to make 328 owners sick !

Happy hunting

Roger in London

Roger says "SDI heads + 3.9l capacity = one of the swifter
cats on the roads"
The heads need to be properly flowed a la David Eales, then and
only then will you reap the full benefit from this combination.
Forget the injection, pop a big Holley double pumper on top, filled
by a Facit fuel pump and what do you get?
My barely run-in factory 3.9l gave 210 hp at the wheels on Sigmas
rolling road. Roger Parker will tell you from his extensive
experience that the engine wont really loosen up until it has about
20k under its belt. Prbably get about 230 at the wheels then Rog.
Bear in mind though, that when you start playing with this sort of
power, you should give some consideration to the suspension and brakes!
I have ventilated 4 pots, having followed Roger Parkers advice. The suspension
has had a number of iterations - but now I think we are all reading the same
book on suspension dynamics! (When are you going to fit the Panhard John??)

The differential between the US and England is totally due to
supply and demand. As stated, there are probably only 20 or so in the
states. I may be wrong, but if memory serves, only four or five were
legally imported. The rest have come in somehow. There may actually be more,
since a lot of people who have brought in a car may be reluctant to advertise the fact,since it
is likely that the car will never be legal to own, and the EPA has taken active measures
against individuals (remember the Lotus 7 which was tested by R&T and got the owner
a huge fine?) At any rate, the cars are really not legal to import with the original engine. This shortage
will likely result in permanently high prices, due to location. The cars in a reimport situation would
not be worth any more than a normal British specimen. Bottom line is probably that from an investment standpoint,
an original car makes the best sense in the UK and a conversion is likely the only game in town in the US, but is still
only worth what a conversion car is worth. Generally, in all the special interest classes, converted/customised cars rarely bring
anything like their investment value. Someone spending that much would rather
do it themselves and personalize a car. Conversions generally have to be justified based on entertainment, not value.
Arthur Shaffer:Grayson KY


A fellow clubmember has a Land Rover on the way from England. My understanding from him is that a vehicle that is over 25 years old from date of manufacture can be imported into the U.S.

Maybe Roger and Bob P. could round up some nice factory cars and send them our way. :)
Carl in TN

I would be careful with blanket statements about importing non-complying cars to the US - the process can be incredibly complicated and much of it appears to be based on the whims of the Customs inspectors on a given day.

When my 1974 Factory GT V-8 was brought into the country in 1984 (three or four owners ago) there was much more emphasis on DOT safety compliance than on EPA emissions compliance. The importer (an individual in Colorado) had to upgrade the car to meet 1974 DOT standards, including installation of a dual circuit brake system, US spec collapsible steering column, different front windshield glass, US taillights and headlights/side marker lamps, and such seemingly inconsequential items as lighted switches and heater controls, and the addition of a sticker in the glovebox showing recommended tire pressures! I have a 50-page customs application that documents all these changes. All this to allow an importation certificate from US Customs. When my car was brought in, NOTHING was required to be done to the engine or emissions systems. This makes sense when you realize that EPA compliance has been delegated to the individual States and Air Resources Boards, but there is no
State agency that monitors DOT compliance in vehicles on an individual basis.

Where it gets interesting is talking with other Factory V-8 owners here in the States. Some cars got in without all the modifications that mine had, and it all seemed to be based on how the local Customs agents were feeling that day. Most other owners say that they didn't have to do all the mods that my car has, only some things like the side marker lights and dual brakes, others got by with the original brake system. One guy had to remove his windscreen and reinstall it using US approved sealer!

Most of the Factory cars over here came in in the early to mid 1980s, when the grey market was going strong (remember all those euro Benzes and Beemers that came in back then?). Since then, the US Gummint has introduced legislation to stem the tide of grey market cars. Now someone who wishes to import a non-complying car cannot do the conversion work himself, you have to post a surety bond equal to 1.5 times the net worth of the vehicle, and have an authorized importer do the conversion work. That magic 25 year old car exemption (I belive) only applies to DOT compliance, today you may still have to meet EPA emissions specs even if older than 25 years (this has tightened up in the last few years).

A couple of years ago, I heard that one well-known V-8 guy (Robin Weatherall, I believe) was bragging that he had a warehouse filled with 10-20 Factory V-8s in England, just waiting for the 25 year old exemption to kick in. I have not heard anything more about this since then. There may be several reasons for this. The EPA compliance may be getting in the way, requiring the engine to be Federalized - there were only seven prototype Federal MGB-GT V-8 motors built, which makes parts availability a bit thin. The other problem could be that Weatherall's business in St. Louis went under awhile back. That may have thwarted his plans to bring the cars in.

In any case, I would be very wary of someone importing numbers of older British cars - I would go over the bodies with a fine-tooth comb. I wouldn't wish the amount of rust that my car had on ANYONE, and my efforts on restoration will totally exceed the value of the car. But hey, it's a Factory V-8 - the car I have always wanted, so who cares about price?

Paul Kile
1974 Factory MGB-GT V-8
Paul Kile


A number of us attending the MGV8 convention last year had the special treat of driving a factory V8. The owner legally imported it from England (not through Canada) about 6-7 years ago. Yes, it was a hassle, but it can be done.
Carl in TN

This thread was discussed between 06/09/1999 and 10/09/1999

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