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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - putting a rover V-8 into a '63 MGB

For my 18th birhday my dad gave me his '63 MGB and after having it for a while I heard about the Rover V-8 and,being a kid and all, I was wondering if it is worth the money to get one installed or if there is a better way to make my car go as fast as possible. And if the rovers the way to go how would i go about getting one. I hope I didn't waste your time with this question and thanks to all who can help

Mike, soon after I bought my mgb roadster I heard about the V8 conversion and decided I wanted to do one. I bought books on it, a video about it and spent lots of time on the internet gathering information. I checked eBay every day untill I found a nice 69B with a good body and bad motor with intentions of doing the V8 conversion on it. After one year, the project just wasn't getting off the ground so I sold it. I was able to get back the money I had spent on the car because it was in good shape. Now I am spending time doing things on my four cylinder car like fixing up the interior and things to get a little more power out of the engine. I am sure that anyone who has done one of these conversions will tell you they take lots of time, money and hard work!

Mike, the Rover V8 in a CB car is a match made in heaven. You can save yourself considerable strife if you can have someone perform the necessary bodyshell mods beforehand. Someone who has done a few conversions before will know just what to do. I'm talking about dimpling the inner fenders, installing the dropped steering cone, welding in the new motor mounts, installing the late-type radiator diaphragms, and in your case especially, enlarging the tranny tunnel -- a '63's tunnel will need to be substantially enlarged, of course depending on your choice of tranny.

If you are able to get someone skilled to do this -- which shouldn't be expensive, although you'll of course need to have the engine bay re-sprayed, the job is very doable. The tolerances in a CB are quite tight and there is not much room for error, if you want to keep the car as stock as possible and, e.g., retain the heater and keep the bonnet un-bulged. But it can certainly be done, and done very well indeed. The only difficult part, IMO, will be getting the steering sorted -- certainly possible, but requiring a bit of expertise.
Bill Withum

If I had a nice 63 MGB that was in good condition with a solid body converting to a V8 would be the last thing I would want to do. First,a 63 is a very early mark one and is the most desireable of all the chrome bumper cars. Second, the work and the cost involved to do a conversion on a early car is not practicle.I would do a rolling restoration on your car and enjoy the hell out of it. then if you want a V8 buy yourself a rubber bumper car and just do it. It's a lot easier to convert a later car and add chrome bumpers to it.


Your age may be against you insurance wise certainly would be if you lived in UK, and converted cars can be more difficult to insure, worth checking cost.

The best book on subject is How to give your MBG V8 Power by Roger Williams.


For Gods sake, dont do it! Not an early car like that one. You will get more money for an original early model B then one that has been heavily modified for the fitment of a V8. Buy a different one and do the mods. Leave the early ones be. They are the most desirable.
Jarrod Hills

I must agree with Jarrod. Keep that gem as reversibly stock as possible. There are well researched bolt on go-fast goodies for the stock MGB engine and suspension that won't break your education budget. MGB's raced very succesfully in the '60's. One could get 140+ bhp (?$$) with a tractable engine, and the value of your rare '63 will be retained. Pull your engine and tranny, and store them well. Then shop around for a 5 main bearing engine and overdrive trans from a newer modle. Raise the compression ratio via pistons and skimming, add big valve heads (cross flow if your wealthy), roller rockers (wealthy?), a high lift cam, webber carbs, headers and free flow exhaust ect. Check out the factory race tuning manual and Peter Burgess' "How to Power Tune MGB 4-Cylinder Engines" by Veloce Publishing Plc. You'll end up with a rare and desireable Mustang eater and shock Porche wanabe racers around town. The MG guys got over 180 bhp out of 4 cyl racing engines (not great for around town) without cross flow heads and rollers! Bottom line, keep your car as stock (reversibly) as you can and don't dent it!
Thanks Dad! Cheers, Angus

and will end up costing you more than a V8 conversion with less's your car Mike, knock yourself out.

David Staines

Sheez Stainzy,
It's a '62. The kid's got all the time in the world. Modding the '62 is a ton of work considdering the trans tunnel and banjo. T'would reduce the body "originality" value to that of a non orriginal '76, maybe worse in the future. Early cars fetch the equivalent of $25,000 US in the UK (even LWD) for a "condition four" restoration. Who's to say what that means in 10 years when the rest of us are driving converts. It's murder! Mike, the easiest route for V8 is a post '75. Replace any rusted body bits, and convert to chrome with lowered suspension when you can afford it. A tired post '76 can be had for a song if your patient and vidulent. A 130 bhp B (no expensive cross-flows nor rockers) with propper suspension tuning on a chrome height car will give even modern rice rockets a real run and is comperable in cost(much cheaper that 3.9 Rover) of build to a post '75 with a rebuilt 215 and reliable drivetrain. Value that '62 with matching numbers! Stainzy's right though, It's your baby. Hmm...
Angus again

Oops, Mike,
The OD trans will riquire the later trans tunnel! Damn.
Angus yet agan!

Don't do it, Mike!

My dad still drives his '63 MGB that he bought brand new. When I was in high school I daydreamed about putting a Capri V6 in it. I'm sure glad that never happened. It's a sweet LBC that has much more character than the later Bs. I V8ed my '79 B.

Look around, how many "pull handle" MGBs do you see left?

Don't do it.

Hi V-8ers,
I have a '70 4-banger myself, no v8 but someday..., and normaly I'd say "do what you want, it's your car."
But, when I go to shows and meets, etc. here in the Chicago and Illinois area I see VERY few steeldash cars, and even fewer '62-4 cars. It seems that the ratio of 4-synchro CB cars to steeldash cars is about 10-20:1. On the other hand, '70s cars are all over the place and a hell of a lot cheaper; these won't be missed so much and from what understand the conversion is incredibly easier.

This thread was discussed between 06/01/2002 and 25/01/2002

MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical index

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