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MG MGB Technical - Air Conditioning GT?

I'm looking at alternatives to keep the temperature down and make the car more usable in long distance.

Moss dosen't supply an AC kit anymore and I suppose that's due to quality and availability of parts?

There are some alternatives like Nostalgic AC and then there's kits on eBay for half the price.

The car is a 1970 and I've got the US style dash so lots of space behind and underneath. I'm looking for a completely hidden unit and integrate the vents into the dash and center console. Question is will it fit and would it look smart. Google have supplied little so has anyone here walked this path before me, is it doable, what should one look out for etcetera?

Alexander Sorby Wigstrom

Hi Alex,

I've been thinking about a similar project for our '74 B/GT for a few years now. Especially for July/August here with the heat and humidity. This link to "Vintage Air" might be of some assistance to you be it for the American Hot Rod group the components look like they could be adapted. Keep us post here.


Larry C.
Larry C '74 B/GT

Clayton Classics offer an Air con for the B.
Allan Reeling

A nicely done kit. RAY
rjm RAY

On the MGCC V8 Register site there is an account of fitting the Clayton kit to an MGB GTV8. See here:
Mike Howlett

I installed parts of the Nostalgic kit in my 1970 US Spec roadster. The car had an older A/C unit adapted and I kept its vents and evaporator. I took the condenser and Sanden-type rotary compressor from Nostalgic and converted the system to R134. I live in the desert Southwest region of the U.S. and make extended long journeys into central Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and other hot spots. Here are my observations, pro and con:

-The fan belt from crank to water pump to compressor is not sufficient and must be constantly adjusted to avoid squealing when the compressor is engaged.

-Air flow is further restricted by the condenser so the car runs hot, especially in ambient temperatures over 35C.

-I had an insulated headliner to reduce heat gain through the black top. This helps with noise and winter cold as well.

-I added a solenoid valve to dump air into the intake manifold when the compressor is running to avoid idle drop. I used an Isuzu valve for this and it works beautifully.

-I used an anti-run on switch from a late model B so that I can start the car with the A/C on. The compressor only kicks in when there is sufficient oil pressure.

-Can't live without A/C. It is worth the investment, belt maintenance and high engine temperatures.
Glenn Mallory

Clayton told me there kit is only suitable for a V8 . Also don't think a USA lhd kit would fit a rhd car
What kit do frontline fit to there cars ?
R Mcknight

I've just had a quote from Clayton to fit A/C to my BGTV8. It came to 1980 for the kit, and 1890 for them to fit it - a total of 3870. That is in UK pounds and includes the dreaded value added tax. Too rich for me.

Living in Scotland I don't need it most of the time, but on a continental tour in 2015 we were fainting with the heat in the car when it was 36 celsius in the shade outside. My water temp gauge is the lower half of a dual oil/water gauge. The water temp needle rose up past the 3 o'clock position and entered the oil gauge sector finishing up at about 2 o'clock. The engine seemed fine and ran perfectly well despite the heat. The passengers were not fine!
Mike Howlett

Remember that adding A/C will increase engine temperatures still further. In the past when concerned about engine temp abroad I've had the heater going to aid the cooling, beggar the occupants :o)

Yes Paul, you are right. When Clayton put the A/C in Gordon Hesketh-Jones' car they also fitted a large and deep aluminium radiator, and used Evans waterless coolant. The A/C radiator sits in front of the engine radiator, so engine cooling must be quite a problem I would imagine.
Mike Howlett


First post in a while for me as I've been working on the Imp and the Robin lately! But, my BGT is next in line for a tear down probably next year....driving the wheels off it in the mean time!!

Anyway, even though I like to keep things stock, A/C is one thing I wanted to do when finally working on the BGT.

The best solution I have found is seen in the link below. It utilizes the in dash air vents (and a couple more). Much less at 1285 GBP (plus shipping to you) and is what I will use if I decide to do the upgrade. A friend of mine in California is restoring completely a BGT for a client of his....and he has just purchased the kit. Not installed yet, but he is impressed with the quality, as it is an all inclusive kit (bracketry, etc... specifically made for the MGB) and comes with detailed installation instructions.

Julian Dufour

That's more like a sensible cost Julian. I wonder if it could be made to fit a V8? I have sent them a message through their contact page.

I have owned a couple of Imp types - I didn't know they made it to the USA. When you say Robin, you surely can't mean one of our glassfibre three wheeled cars?
Mike Howlett


Glad to see you might be interested in the unit! I will be following the restoration of my friend's BGT closely, especially as it relates to the AC install (he is incidentally upgrading the radiator to the aluminium version). Additionally, the company was apparently helpful with supplying some longer lines for him as their kit is specific to LHD cars. The BGT that is being restored is a RHD UK spec 1973 (non V8) version. In any case, let me know what they tell you.

Re the Imp....they did ship Imps over in very small numbers for the first few years of production (65-67 I think). That said, mine is a RHD UK spec 1971 Super Imp, which I imported 9 years ago and restored almost that long ago as I wanted to replicate the very car my mum used to drive (which was that spec car).

Oh, and yes, the Robin is indeed the much maligned but very much fun Reliant Robin. I shipped it over 2 years ago and restored it (well, has maybe a few days left of work on it). It is the mk1 Super Robin Estate, and everywhere I go it is the center of attention.....I could be driving a Ferrari and not get half the interest. I'll post a pic for your amusement :) some time!!


Julian Dufour

Julian, put me down as very, very interested in this project - I too have a '73 BGT and like the look of the RetroAir kit. I'm sure it would be wise here in northern Aus to improve on the standard radiator as part of the deal, even though mine runs at Normal temp even at 35 degrees outside.
I'll look for your progress with interest! Regards, John.
J P Hall


The car belongs to a friend in California who is having it restored by a good friend of mine (who also served as my best man at my wedding using wedding cars sevenoaks!)-a British mechanic who's work is top notch, and who used to service my cars when I lived nearby him. So I have been getting updates when I call and chat with him at home.

The car is actually a rather unusual configuration-at least in the US-a 73 BGT RHD with factory automatic! The owner bought it when it was a few years old, sold it when he moved to the US, and managed to reconnect with the new owner a few years back, bought it back from him, and shipped it over!!!

Will let you know when I know more, but after extensive bodywork, my understanding is that the bodyshell is now being blasted and prepped for paint---so AC is quite a ways off!

Julian Dufour

Check Nostalgic A/C at:

They were great to work with. I suggest using a compressor bracket set up from a Range Rover or Discovery with a rotary compressor. You can have the hoses and fittings assembled as required.

Nostalgic will sell you the entire kit or just what you need. I kept the evaporator from a previous kit that was on the car and used Nostalgic's compressor and condenser set up along with my own adjusting bracket arrangement to provide room for the emissions air pump. I forgot to mention above that you will need to use a high output alternator (I found a 65 AMP Nissan unit that is perfect).

And, the engine will definitely run hotter since the heat from inside the car will be dissipated by the condenser in front of the car's radiator.
Glenn Mallory

This thread was discussed between 03/12/2016 and 30/01/2017

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