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MGB V8, a symbol of British automotive excellence

Written by Terry Lucas.

This isn’t just any vintage ride; it’s a symbol of British automotive excellence.

But before you get swept away by its allure, it’s crucial to understand its legacy, mechanics, and what truly makes it tick. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a newbie with a passion, here’s a comprehensive guide on what you need to know before making the MGB V8 your next prized possession. Let’s shift gears and delve deep!


MGB History - Bespoke MGB - CCHL Hull

A Short History

The MGB, manufactured by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and later by its successors, first graced the roads in 1962. It was an evolution, a modern successor to the MGA, and quickly became a symbol of the 1960s British sports car boom. Sleek, affordable, and with a performance that appealed to the masses, the MGB was an instant hit.

Here’s the timeline: From its inception in 1962 to the roaring V8 introduction in the ’70s, the MGB’s journey is a thrilling ride through automotive history:

  • 1962: The MGB Roadster was first launched at the British Motor Show at Earls Court in London.
  • 1964: A five-bearing engine supersedes the original three-bearing unit, a big improvement.
  • 1965: The GT is launched with the same mechanical components as the Roadster.
  • 1967: The MkII MGB arrives with an all-synchro gearbox, negative earth electrics, and an alternator. There’s even an automatic gearbox option.
  • 1973: The MGB GT V8 is here! The Buick-derived Rover V8 provides the power; sadly, it was only produced until late 1976.
  • 1974: Rubber bumpers replace chrome, but the raised ride height hurts the handling and the look and feel.
  • 1980: The last MGB was built on 22 October, the final 1000 were special edition LE models.
  • 1988: British Motor Heritage provides brand new MGB Roadster and GT body shells in LHD and RHD format.
  • 1992: The MGB is offered as the V8-powered RV8; only 2000 were produced in a three-year period.
  • 1992: CCHL is launched, and the dream is kept alive.


The original MGB GT V8 was launched at the beginning of the fuel crisis, production ran from 1973–76 with just 2,591 examples rolled out of Abingdon before production ceased. The fact that so few were built is now pushing prices up today as they become scarcer.

Even by today’s standards, it was quick with an 0-60mph in 8.6 seconds and 125mph capability, it competed well with the E-type Jaguar and Big Healey’s but with a much lower price tag.

The weight saved at the front also meant that the V8 retained the MGB’s natural balance, although the combination of the additional power and slightly wider tyres means that it didn’t feel quite as sharp.

When launched, it cost £2293, much less than some of its more prestigious rivals, but it was seen as a hefty price tag for an MG compared to the more mass-produced modern cars of its day. It was £746 more than its four-cylinder MGB and £642 more than a 3.0 litre Ford Capri, which was its closest rival.

The sale was steady, but it never really ignited the world, and after a few short years, the end was in sight, and the MGB GT V8 production ceased in 1976 in the UK, fortunately, you can now buy an MGB V8 built to your own individual specification with a fully rustproofed body shell from CCHL in RHD or LHD form in any colour of body and type of interior you desire.

The MGB GT V8 boasted the following equipment as standard –

  • Laycock overdrive
  • Brake servo unit
  • Alloy wheels
  • Twin electric cooling fans
  • Tinted glass
  • Twin exterior mirrors
  • Hazard warning lights
  • Head restraints

What you should be aware of when buying an MGB V8

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After more than 40 years the dreaded rust is almost certainly going to be found in a car using a Monocoque design. The biggest areas prone to corrode are the sills and the inner castle rails, which are the main strengthening components.

Other vulnerable places are under the wings and along the sills and floor areas. These are not all easy areas to investigate either, so Buyers beware.

One simple and easy way to check for the body strength is by looking at the door gaps, which should all be equal, if when using a trolley jack to lift front and rear alternately causes doors to be difficult to open and close, this is a sure sign something is badly wrong!

Severe MGB's rust examples - Bespoke MGB - CCHL Hull

V8 Engine

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Do not be dismayed if, when viewing V8 oil pressure, the normal range is 30 to 40psi whilst tick-over is 20psi these are both within the original design parameters. Look for any blue smoke indicating worn engine components or any unusual knocks and rattles.


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The original gearbox was not the smoothest or easiest to operate. This was a great pity, as the V8 engine made such a positive difference.

Orginal Gearbox

5 Speed Gearbox

Restomod brief: gearbox - Bespoke MGB - CCHL Hull

Electrical System

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Ensure all electric items function adequately or try and determine why some items do not work, as they should.

The V8 engine transforms the traditional MG MGB GT into something wonderful and exhilarating to drive.

British Leyland began the planned V8 in 1972, but they only produced a GT version, they considered it to be a better seller than the Roadster, how wrong they were!

The MGB GT V8 was often thought of as the right car, at the wrong time, many believed it was obvious to fit the V8 engine with detailed engine bay into the MGB, it made the car much more fun, and with its epic exhaust note with tubular manifolds, it was a great pairing.

CCHL’s 4 litre V8 is a great option to buy a new MGB V8, it has a better power-to-weight ratio, is coupled to an improved gearbox, brakes, back axle and suspension are all upgraded too, other custom parts are also available.

MGB Colours

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Paint code

Aconite Purple, easily confused with Black Tulip BVLC 95
Black Black BK 1
Black tulip Dark purple, easily confused with Aconite BVLC 25
Blaze Orange BVLC 16
Braken Bright Orange, with a deep gloss BVLC 93
BRG / Gold Jubilee colours
Bronze Yellow Yellow Ochre BVLC 15
Brooklands Green Mid to dark Green, but it is not BRG BVLC 169
Chartreuse Pale primrose BVLC 167
Citron Vivid greenish yellow BVLC 169
Damask Red Burgundy BVLC 99
Ermin White White, used on 2902, the last but one V8
Flame Red GD2D” 100G is finished in Red Flame
Flamenco Red Scarlet, with a hint of orange BVLC 133
Glacier White White, with a bluish tinge BVLC 59
Green Mallard Dark green BVLC 22
Harvest Gold Golden beige BVLC 19
Limeflower Beige with a slightly greensih hue BVLC 20
Mirage Pale grey BVLC 11
Police white Plain white
Sandglow Sandy beige BVLC 63
Thaiti Blue Bright mid blue BVLC 65
Teal Blue Mid blue BVLC 18
Tundra Olive green BVLC 94

Bespoke MGB

29 Bankside, Hull

East Yorkshire, HU5 1SY


Tel: + 00 44 333 022 0135