NZ Classic Driver



Over the years Col has owned a variety of MGs, ranging from a 1929 M Type all the way to the 2021 MG3 that currently shares garage space with this Citron MGBGT V8. Other MGs he’s owned include a ’67 MGBGT and a ’96 MGF.

Col’s 1975 Jubilee factory V8 was upgraded with a John Sprinzel tuning kit in England. This improved handling, power and braking, making the MG a great sounding and quick road car that Col reckons is very well suited to open road cruising at low engine revolution­s.

Col and his partner have now owned the car, which they’ve nicknamed ‘Grumpy’, since 2014, having completed many virtually trouble-free car club trips around both the North and South Islands, with the MG’s comfortabl­e driving position and cruisy V8 providing effortless and enjoyable touring. Despite its 3.5-litre V8, the MG is quite economical, recording around 7.84l/100km (30mpg), although around town the benteight is less frugal.

The MG has received a few modificati­ons over the years – eagle-eyed readers will already have noticed that Col’s car has been subjected to a chrome bumper conversion. Under the skin, the Rover V8 has received a fast road cam, electronic ignition, ported and polished heads and re-jetted carburetto­rs. Combined with stainless steel headers and exhaust, engine power was raised from the original 102kW (137bhp) to around 134kW (180bhp).

In order to fully take advantage of this increase in power, the MG has also been fitted with front coil-overs and Koni shocks at the rear along with a Panhard rod, radius arms while the bumper conversion also lowered the car’s ride height. The V8’s power goes to the rear axle via a Rover LT77 fivespeed gearbox – a big improvemen­t on the car’s original four-speed ‘box. Braking is handled by four-pot Austin Princes callipers.

Despite a problem with flooded carburetto­rs during an MG Car Club wine tour to the Hawkes Bay – necessitat­ing a roadside fix – ‘Grumpy’ has proved to be a reliable classic that easily keeps up with modern traffic, plus it attracts quite a lot of attention at car displays with a lot of people unaware that MG ever made a V8-powered MGB. Of course, Col is always happy to educate them on that particular point!

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