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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - What was your first experience like?

I'm in the process of doing a V8 conversion on my MGB but i've never driven a v8 mgb or a any other car powered by a v8.......

So what am I in for?

What was your first time driving a V8 MGB like? did it live up to your expectations?

I added up how much it's all costing me last night, so i'm just hoping it's worth it! but i expect it will be....

Gavin Jewkes

So what am I in for?

The ride of your life!!

What was your first time driving a V8 MGB like? did it live up to your expectations?

I couldn't get over how much torque my Rover has. The black strips on the road in front of my driveway were testimony to that! I didn't know what to expect as I hadn't driven one before either.

I have spreadsheets will all the costs of my project and yes, I'd say it was worth it.

You won't regret it!

Simon Austin

My first experience with a ride in a V8 was with Rob Weatherall in St.Louis in 1993...WOW!

My first experience in driving a V8 was in Mike Moor's Buick 300 powered MGB tourer...WOW...WOW! I had a hard time telling if I had hold of the shifter or my...

I had a grin on my face for a week..and it was this ride that pushed me over the edge..

Better than that was when my wife drove the same car for the first time...and followed it up by driving Bob McClain's V8 MGB tourer....

I was in the passenger seat on one ride...and she scared the bejeebers out of me!

I've since driven a couple of Ford 302 conversions...they were equally exhilarating!

rick ingram

so what are you in for?? if you drive like me 6 to 8 traffic tickets or 90 days in the county jail...

I was visiting a friend in Sacramento in 1990 and went to the local "natter", heard talk about a brit up in the Sierras that had an MGB with a V8 that was for sale. Next day we drove up to meet Bob Yarwood (he raced MGA's all over the west coast and was starting to import the Costello conversion kit). Anyway he took me for a drive in a 77 with a Rover 3.5 on those mountain roads...I will never forget it and decided then and there to purchase that car. Had a blast driving back to Michigan....played tag with some gal in an Jag in the Rockies. From there it began an affair with MGBV8's that continues.

I agree with all the above.
What spec is your car? how far have you got?
I could drive my v8 B forever and still love it.


I hadn't a clue what they were like until I went to buy a Holly and offenhauser from a guy in Northe London who had upgraded to a 3.9EFi.

He took me out in his and then stopped in a layby and said - "your go"

Despite me only having 3rd party insurance he insited I had a go so "I knew what'd be like and not give up on the project"

and yes I was suitably impressed and no I didn't finish it.

Stuart Robson

BOSS,HEMI,SS--Happy Days Are Here Again!
These are the feeling on inital crank up. I had seen Robin's and Ian's cars several years ago,but I knew the 4 cylinder cars were safer. Now I am more mellowed and can withstand the call to "Top End". Really, I don't care. It is the accleration I love! The sound of the EFI 5.0 on steroids in my MGB is the Shelby Corba I didn't have in the 60's. NUFF SAID!
kelly stevenson

The first V8 MG I drove was my own, and it wasn't too refined on that first ride. Open headers, totally un-tuned carburetor, inadequate fuel pump, old gasoline... As I recall it was loud as hell and bucked like a bronco. But sure, it was one of the funnest days of my life.

On the other hand, I'd driven lots of powerful cars. I inherited my granddad's V8 Plymouth when I was 15 years old and it would smoke tires and devour most Ford Mustangs. By the time I built my MG, I'd driven real open-wheel race cars, and owned two motorcycles. My point: I'd imagine that being a virgin to V8 cars would make YOUR first ride in your own V8 MG even sweeter. If the car isn't very polished at first, don't be put off by that. Tuning and refining it is part of the fun.


A thought on making the costs more bearable. What it will realy cost you if you change your mind, is the +v8 selling price of the car less what you've put into it. I.e. if the conversion costs you £3k to do and adds £2k to the value of your car, at most it's cost you only £1k if you throw in the towel.

With a growing family I opted to buy a factory original CB V8, knowing that if I changed my mind I could sell it for equal or probably more.

My 2yr old daughter loves the car and is for ever saying 'Daddy's car is loud.. vroom, vroom, more noise Daddy' who am I to argue as I let the tyre spin... again!

Good luck,
J E G Eastwood 1

Ten years ago, a Towery built 3.5 stroked to 4.7 in a GT from Ponte Vedra, Fl. Car was scary fast.

She was eager, willing and ready. She was always ready for me to push.... the gas pedal hard.

I had never drove a V8 until I install a 215 with a 3 speed trans on a B. That was my first experience with a...V8. It would had been better if it had been a larger V8.

Now I like V6's. It feels like a younger....CAR!!
Full of energy, nimble and fun. LOL :-)
Bill Guzman

Wow. Turn back the clock! 1988 was the year, a '71 with a hopped up Buick 215, 130mph across the New River Gorge bridge from a dead stop and backed out of it halfway across. Wouldn't want to go airborne 900 ft up you know. (The bridge is 4200ft long btw) Well, it wasn't really the *first* ride, it was a show-off ride for my buddy. *Very* impressive. Living in the mountains, we had a penchant for burying the throttle on any moderately straight stretch of road. Let's just say that after the V8 I had to modify my driving style. More power than should be legal. You'll undoubtedly be captivated by it.

Jim Blackwood

A pale metallic green 1969 Pontiac GTO in California. I have been in love with V8s ever since. The bottomless well of torque, the effortless feel due to the rotational balance, oh yes, and the sound. A big block car like that is indefensible on environmental grounds now but everyone should get to drive 10 miles in one once in their life. I also once got a 1978 Dodge Magnum as a no cost increase substitute for the Group A car I had reserved in Fla, thank you Avis. That was powder blue with a white vinyl roof complete with opera windows, oh the 70s! What conversation piece a car like that would make today.
Stan Best

My first non-MG V8 was in high dad owned a Buick LeSabre with a 300cid V8...

Then, all of my buddies and I all went out and bought 1957 Chevies...I had a 150 four-door sedan that I pulled the six-banger out of and replaced it with a 283cid V8 with Muncie 3-spd on the floor with a Mr.Gasket shifter. It was quick..and got *about* 10mpg!

ric ingram


I did a DVD of the 'parade laps' at MGCC Silverstone 2004,

Peter Wallis from MGCC Nottingham has it at the moment, when it eturns you can have a loan....not brilliant video quality....but stuffed a mike into the over-rider above the a good idea of what you can expect.

M Barnfather

You mean first V8 engine experience?
1955 Plymouth with a 273 ci which it was replace with a 413 ci Chrysler engine mated to a torqueflite trans. 7 inch slicks solid mounts, traction bars made from 2x3 steel and made it's presence at the lions drag strip. Won a few.
Bill Guzman

First V8 swap experience? 1959/60, put an olds J2 engine (for those not old enough to remember, it had a factory tri carb setup on an olds V8)into a 1930 chevy roadster...with a hydramatic shifter coming up through the floor...took it to Bowling Green for my sophomore year...used to cruise the local hamburger stands looking for chrysler powered "T" cups and vettes...won some...lost some..but always had a great time...sure wish I could find that car today...
Mike Maloney


I went to see Geoff King in Banchory a few years ago when he had his car under construction. I went back in November 2004 and he took me out in it. This is not a highly tuned car - it has a 3.5 Rover SD1 engine with fuel injection and the LT77 box. It may have had a little head work done, but little else. Geoff has the Hoyle IRS fitted.

We sat at the end of one of those long straight Scottish forestry roads and he planted his foot on the loud pedal. The acceleration has to be experienced, together with the sound track. It isn't the fastest car on the road, but by God it felt like it. The rear wheels were snaking side to side as they fought for grip. It was electrifying, and I just thought, "I gotta have one of these".

I building it now.

Mike Howlett

As I am older than most of you, flat head '41 Ford buisness coupe, followed by a '54 Olds Rocket 88, '56 Merc Custom Convertible Y block police special, '57 Chevy Bel Air hardtop with a built 283 & modified powerglide.

All but the '41 Ford were mine, & I drove the wheels off them. Some boring cars followed along with marriage & kids. My first MGV8 was 1980 & I have never looked back, I am driving my 4th, & fastest, Buick 300 GT.
Jim Stuart

Like Jim Iím a little older than most of you.

My first V8 experience was in a Ford V8 Pilot Ford Dagenhamís first new post-war model, which I drove, illegally, in my early teens, probably aged about 14.

The next, soon after I passed my test was an older friendís J2 Allard again powered by a (modified) Ford V8, then in the early 60's a Daimler SP 250 ďDartĒ.

Probably the next V8 was a Costello MG B V8 which lead to my buying the MG B GT V8 which I still own in August 1974 - I was in love with it then & I still am after 31 years.
Nigel Steward

Mike (Barnfather),

Is there any chance you can put that movie online?
Alexander M

I've seen Mike B's movie. What is interesting, apart from the sound track, is that although Mike doesn't drive like a fiend round the track, and he does get overtaken on one or two occasions, when he opens it up coming out of a corner, the other vehicles all seem to have suddenly selected reverse gear. Why did they do that?

Mike H
Mike Howlett

Alexander....Flattered but it 'aint so good (my first attempt a track video). When it comes back I can send it to you for you to decide for yourself.

Mike.....Looks even more impressive through the rear view the incredible shrinking cars !!!

M Barnfather


If you'd want to send it, drop me a line please.


Alexander M

This thread was discussed between 12/01/2006 and 19/01/2006

MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical index

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