The big story
The MGB’s popularity shows no signs of waning, yet it remains very affordable
MGBs: Still going cheap
‘I even ran a window-cleaning business from one’
Most classic sales will contain an MGB of some description: chrome- or plastic-bumpered, GT or Roadster, concours or project, a ’B will always find a new owner.
There’s no getting away from their popularity and in some cases that might work against them. Turn up at a classic meeting, and chances are a ’B will appear, even if only in the spectators’ car park. So what’s the secret of the ’B’s enduring popularity?
H&H’s head of sales, Damian Jones, cites many reasons for the ’B’s longevity, ranging from its appearance to its ease of running. ‘It’s a good looking design, it’s fun to drive, it keeps up in modern traffic and there’s a great support network,’ he says. ‘For some older enthusiasts who have owned veteran and vintage cars it makes a great retirement choice, and for others it can be made into a great tourer or something quicker.’
Jones says ’B parts prices and their availability, as well as the car’s simplicity, adds to its popularity – along with one distinct characteristic: ‘It has a characterful sound that most enthusiasts can pick out. Just like an E-type, they still enjoy super popularity and that shows people are still enjoying a love affair with British sports cars.’
While the ’B’s reliability has been a major part of its popularity, today it can be surprisingly useful in less obvious ways, as Historics’ Edward Bridger- Stille explains: ‘The MGB – and Triumph Spitfire – represent the most fun and great value when entering the classic car arena. The exhilarating driving experience, performance and ease of maintenance make it an obvious choice for young at heart.
‘The fixed-head MGB GT offered built-in practicality as well – I even ran a window-cleaning business from an orange one during the holidays, many years ago! Club back-up is also the most comprehensive in the
industry… which is extremely useful on occasions.’
Good MGBs start from around £4000, although with patience and detective work it’s possible to buy a good-running, sound but scruffy GT for around £2000-2500. Roadsters always command a premium but as Charterhouse’s £4700 1972 example shows, the path into MGB ownership needn’t be overly expensive.
Fine examples will always sell for strong money, with a restored 1966 GT selling at Bonhams’ Goodwood members’ Meeting in March for a healthy £18,975.
There is something very British – and very affordable – about enjoying summer in a ’B.