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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Red Cap Errors?

Saw Red Cap on TV yesterday...for abut 30 seconds

there was a young bloke trying to impress some girl with his BRG V8 B roadster. Looked nice to me

Said girl was being disparaging about the V8 saying did he fit the Buick V8 or "that Rover Dog" V8?

Now I was under the opinion that the Rover "Dog" was THE engine to have. the Buick being a rather dodgy Iron version that couldnt be made to work properly even by the Company. That's why they sold it cheaply to Rover in the late 60's.
Rover made it work and become the icon it is...

Now am I wrong or has the BBC got it wrong yet again?

Of course if you point it out to them they'll call you an anorak!

Neil - you really know how to win friends and influence people -

The BOP --Buick-Oldsmobile-Pontiac engine was developed by GM and it was an aluminium engine. They did have lots of production problems with high percentage of rejects in the streel cylinder liners in aluminium block. They sold the engine to Rover who took the time to perfect and overcome these problems.
Gil Price

Neil you are quite right though. It was a load of cobblers; both Buick and Rover were the same (both alloy) engines. And if it were a newish one could have had lots of modern refinements and hundreds of bhp. Load of cobblers.
But did you hear it? It sounded like a stock 4 cylinder engine to me!!
Nice looking car though

"has the BBC got it wrong yet again"

Probably just an excuse to knock a British product rather than simple ignorance. When Richard Noble started his Thrust SSC project 'Tomorrow's World' got all breathless and excited on how they were going to bring us progress reports on Nobles attempt to 'regain' the World Land Speed record ...
Paul Hunt

BBC wrong and sounded like stock, but obviously saving license fees 1) not to research subject and 2) to find a real V8.

Paul Wiley

In another technical tour-de-force the BBC last night had Andy Dalziel breaking down on a lonely night-time moor due to total electrical failure. Then when he gets out to peer uselessly under the bonnet ... the interior light comes on.
Paul Hunt

The original post said "Rover made it work and become the icon it is..." Wow. That couldn't be much farther from the mark!

The engine's reputation was well established long before Rover touched it. For one thing, Jack Brabham used the Buick engine (obviously with heavy modifications) to score back-to-back Gran Priz championships in 1967 and 1968. It had appeared in many diverse, high-profile projects including home-built aircraft, racing power-boats, hot-rods, and even custom-built motorcycles BEFORE Rover bought the design.

The later-model Rover engines are popular... but that's after years and years of production when Rover made precious few improvements. The early Rover 3500's are nothing to get excited about.

By contrast, GM in the late 50's was doing some marvelous engineering. Way ahead of their time. If they deserve criticism it's only for being too ambitious... Who else would develop an aluminum V8 expressly for a modest economy car like the Buick Special? The reason the 215 was discontinued was that an iron V6 was more economical.


I don't know that much about the core-shift problems they might have had at the foundry. Occasionally you might find a bad BOP 215 but by now the bad ones have practically all been culled out. What you do see some of is water jacket corrosion because it took a long time to educate people about not putting tap water in the radiator. GM's single largest problem with this engine though was timing. Gas was dirt cheap and nobody cared about gas mileage, but everyone *did* want more power. In America at that time, a V8 the size of a six was an oxymoron, even worse than Honda's ill fated 400/4 motorcycle in the 70's. So regardless of the potential of the engine it simply was not going to be accepted. However, the perormance enthusiasts knew a good thing when the saw it. For instance, Dean Moon (Moon Equipment Co.)ran a series of dyno tests in which he ultimately got over 300 hp of sustained output with the help of a Paxton at 7 psi, and was considering a GMC blower. (F-85 Oldsmobile by OCee Ritch, Hot Rod Magazine) So clearly power potential was not the issue, and reliability was pretty much on par with other production engines of the era. Let's be clear about this, Rover did not buy a "Fixer-Upper". They could not aford to, they desperately needed a solid, dependable, and powerful (by current British standards) engine for their top of the line models, and the very last thing they could afford was a rash of design or manufacturing related failures. One thing they were able to do however to improve an already good product was to modify the casting method somewhat to reduce foundry scrap, thereby reducing production costs. But as for taking a loser and turning it into a winner? Never happened.

Jim Blackwood

"That's why they sold it cheaply to Rover in the late 60's.
Rover made it work and become the icon it is..."

Baloney. GM produced 750,000 of these motors in three years and stopped because the market demanded a bigger engine.

Or for a different opinion on the Buick engine and what changes Rover made see 'MG V8 21 years on' by David Knowles:

"... (in America) bad servicing led to engine waterways becoming heavily silted, to engines overheating and heads warping. Furthermore GM had run into serious problems with porosity of the engine castings, due to their use of adapted transmission-casing die-casting machines. What worked well enough for a bell-shaped casting cast vertically on end was not so effective when casting a V8 engine on end.


"The 'Roverisation' of the engine involved a number of significant alterations ... the blocks and heads were revised to allow them to be conventionally gravity diecast. A further important change was the improvement of the engine's revving capabilities, for despite the strong five-bearing crankshaft ... Rover discovered that there were unacceptable stresses induced in the pistons and valve gear at engine speeds above 4800rpm.


"In the process of revamping the design, new pistons and different materials for valve train (although it retained the American camshaft and hydraulic lifters), bearing inserts and crankshaft were adopted ..."

The quote goes on to basically say that where Rover refined the engine in terms of reliability the Americans would bung in more sound-proofing felt to quiet the noise.

That was written 10 years ago this year, and the engine has only recently ceased production.
Paul Hunt

And in yet another gaffe from the BBC 'Rough Science' last night made a commendably effective water-cooled 'moon suit' from a couple of toilet roll tubes and a roll of sticky-backed plastic. Walked out with it into the middle of a salt-pan to plant the Union flag ... upside down.
Paul Hunt

To state the case in it's most simple terms, you can always improve anything. A 20+ year look back is bound to be rife with hindsight. Had GM continued production of the engine, what improvements would they have made in those 20+ years? Well let's see, what improvements did they make to the small block chevy engine? Wouldn't this be a rational basis for comparison? So I think you brag overmuch about Rover's highly touted improvements. Those improvements would have been made regardless, and probably more. (And just exactly what was this deficiency in the valvetrain? Different springs? Pushrods? Big deal.) Did the UK have a comparable engine in '61? I think not. Nuff said.

Jim Blackwood

Thanks for clearing it up for me, I didnt think the Buick engine was very different to the Rover "slightly modified" version, and it is an Icon and my comment was on the lack of research by the BBC...again..but Ooooh we are a touchy lot arent we?

>Did the UK have a comparable engine in '61? I think not. Nuff said.

Bo11ocks we had better ones...Daimler V8, or how about the XK engine...


This thread was discussed between 16/01/2004 and 21/01/2004

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