NZ Classic Driver
PHIL LE GROS’ 1962 MGB
Phil’s MGB roadster is believed to be car number 3321 of MG’s production line and one of the first right hand drive cars and was built on 26-30 November 1962. Delivered from the factory on December 12, 1962, this MGB was first sold at a list price in the UK of £949 (including purchase tax). It was fitted with the optional heater (£17) and ashtray (£1/7s/6d) and was originally painted in Chelsea Grey with red trim and a packaway hood.
Alas, the MG’s initial history in New Zealand is largely unknown, with earlier registrations ceasing in 1981. Phil acquired the car in 1990 at which time he described it as a “rolling rust heap.” The MG’s 1.8-litre engine was also in bad repair with a broken crankshaft.
The car’s restoration began in 1991. As the MG’s body was slowly stripped down to a bare shell – exposing lots of rust in the lower body – an entire rainbow of previous paint colours was revealed from the car’s original grey through to red, blue, yellow and green. Once the old paint had been stripped away, the rusty panels were replaced with new items, with Phil choosing to finish the car in white but retaining the MG’s original trim colour.
As part of mechanical rebuild, Phil added in an oil cooler and an anti-roll bar, which were originally optional extras.
The MGB was returned to the road in 1995 in time to be entered for that year’s Ellerslie Intermarque Concours, where the car was part of the MG Car Club’s second-placed display team.
Once the old paint had been stripped away, the rusty panels were replaced with new items, with Phil choosing to finish the car in white but retaining the MG’s original trim colour.