The British have always been known for their two-door, small size, low displacement sports cars. It is an excellent combination that provides good road manners and a fun driving experience at an affordable price. When the British Motor Corporation introduced the MG B in 1962 it once again ticked all the classic British roadster boxes in a fantastic manner.
With the MG series getting a little long in the tooth and old in technology, BMC (later British Leyland) decided that it was time for something new. What they introduced in 1962 was the MG B, utilizing a monocoque structure instead of the body-on-frame contraction that had been the standard until that point. Engine, brakes, and suspension were essentially carried over from the A to the early B’s although the engine was slightly enlarged to give it a slightly more punchy 95 bhp. The early cars used the same 3 bearing engine as the MGA but this was later switched to a more robust 5 main bearing design in October of 1964. The space within the car was designed to give the driver and passenger more room while still providing ample space for storage of luggage etc. The MG B is one of the most popular roadsters to come out of Britain and enjoyed an 18-year long production run with 523,836 cars being sent worldwide.
This particular MG B, chassis number GHN3L/51533 and engine number 18GB-RU-H3197, is a numbers matching example per the included BMIHT certificate. It was built from November 5th to the 9th of 1964 and dispatched on November 9th, 1964 to the United States. Being as it was produced in late 1964 it is a highly desirable “transition car” meaning it has the later 5-main bearing engine but physical features of the early cars like pull-type door handles. The car is in extremely original and in unrestored conditions, wearing the same finishes as when it left the factory in 1964. According to the Heritage Certificate, factory fitted accessories include wire wheels, heater, red tonneau cover, parkway hood, ashtray, overdrive, mph speedometer, and an oil cooler. Believed to have been sold new to a resident of California, the car was bought in 2007 by Mr. Michael Bunney, from the original owners family. It was thoroughly mechanically sorted by Collins Classics in Bulingame, Ca and receipts for all systems total close to $20,000. A new top was fitted to the car in 2009 as well. For the next 5 years, the car spent its life in a climate controlled and well cared for storage. In 2012 the little MGB was sold to the late Robert Koons, an avid and renowned collector in the classic car world. It remained in the Koons collection for the next 6 years, lovingly maintained with special consideration being given to the astounding originality of the vehicle. As the car sits it currently has 73,000 miles on the odometer, retains much of its original paint and still wears its original black and yellow California license plates. This car represents an iconic “transition car” MGB with excellent history, superb originality, finished in desirable colors.
Included with the sale of this car are the BMIHT heritage certificate, jack, owners manual, and records.
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Body And Paint
This MG B is astoundingly original and wears much of its factory paint to this day. It is believed that the rear half of the car was resprayed at some point and body seems that run vertically along the rear of the car were lead filled. However it must have been a very long time ago as both the paint as well as the patina in these areas meshes very well with the rest of the car. The body itself is overall very straight for being almost 55 years old. Panel and body gaps are very respectable and are better even than some more recently restored vehicles. Given the original nature of the car, there are imperfections throughout that give the car a fantastic patina. The front area, as well as the hood, have some stone chipping with a few larger sized paint chips especially along high wear areas such as where the hood and cowl meet. There is heat bubbling in the paint throughout the hood. Down the sides, there is patina in the form of small knicks and scratches but nothing that takes away from the fantastic charm of the vehicle. There is a small dent in the hood on the driver's side. In the area where the soft top is held down to the rear cowling, the paint has been rubbed away, indicating that the car spent a good portion of its life with the soft top up.
Glass And Trim
It appears that the glass is original to the car. The windshield has some very minor pitting from stones and road debris. The side roll up windows and wing windows are in good condition with only very minor imperfections. Chrome trim appears in good original condition with some scratching and minor pitting but still remains overall very smooth and bright. The rubber trim is dried and cracking a bit in certain places but is still held in place firmly throughout and presents no concerns.
The factory fitted wire spoked wheels show some imperfections in their painted surfaces but align perfectly with the original condition of surfaces found throughout the rest of the car. They appear well kept however and structurally very sound.
Being as this car is excellent original condition and retaining much of its original paint, small imperfections can be found throughout that simply serve to add character and patina to a much loved the car.
Seats And Surfaces
The interior of the car, much like the exterior, has rampant patina and character throughout. The red door cards show some scuffing and age but remain tight. The seats contain an immense amount of character with beautiful aged creasing throughout with some fading to the color of the leather. There are some minor cracks in the drivers side leather but as long as one is careful with how they sit its nothing to concern oneself over. The carpets retain good color but show wear in high traffic areas such as the center transmission tunnel area and the driver's side footwell. The black trim dash top remains tight and in excellent condition. The dash face is in likewise good condition with its crinkled black finish consistent across. The gauges are still bright and colorful, with clean clear glass cob bring them. The steering wheel has the stereotypical cracking where the spokes meet the rim but the rim is in good shape, the spokes are bright and shiny and central horn button is colorful and free of cracking.
Functionality And Accessories
This MG B has been well cared for throughout its life and as such most of the interior pieces function well. The switch for the headlights brings on the gauge illumination lights, the windshield wipers function as they should, the heater blows air and the radio still functions. All gauges display their respective readings as they should. Door handles and window winders function flawlessly. The parking brake holds the car firm and the shifter moves easily though out its range of motion.
The interior, again, is extremely original and such contains some imperfections that display themselves as character and patina throughout. There is a small split in the side of the driver's seat which might be the only area of real concern and as long as care is taken it is nothing to fret over.
ENGINE BAY AND TRUNK
Painted surface of the engine bay display patina and character aligning with the rest of the vehicle. The engine itself was thoroughly gone through back in 2007 and has not seen many miles since then and because of this is clean and tidy. All hoses, clamps, wires, and cables appear to be of the correct and proper type and all remain in fantastic functioning condition. There are no leaks or seeping to speak of. The oil cooler has been upgraded to a more modern version to assist with cooling of the engine but everything else remains in good stock looking condition.
The trunk area shows also as being very original with chipped and knocked paint from a lifetimes worth of carrying things. The metal however is very solid and shows no signs of ever having any issues. The spare wheel is held in place with its appropriate tie down and the straps used to the jack and other accessories in place are still present.
The car was thoroughly mechanically sorted and although it was over 10 years ago, it has been well kept and maintained since then with minimal miles put on it. The engine fires right to life with a little help from the choke and settles in a clean and smooth idle. Throttle response is good. A few slight stumbles in throttle were experienced in our minimal driving of the car, most likely due purely to sitting and not being driven.
The clutch engagement is good but perhaps a bit on the high side. The transmission holds power well and shifts through gears without any issues.
Brakes And Suspension
The brakes are a bit underpowered but do manage to bring the car to a smooth controlled stop with vibration or squealing present. The suspension feels compliant and showed good road manners during our minimal testing.
The tires are Mastercraft A/S 175/75/14 on all four corners with plenty of tread life and no aging showing at the time.
The magic of this car first begins as you approach it, your eyes glancing over every inch, taking in the years of stories that the patina and character could tell. Stepping into the car is just as delightful, with the interior having the feeling of comfort that only decades of being loved and cared for could manufacture. These are not fast cars by any stretch of the imagination and nor were they ever meant to be. They are more about experiencing the motorway in a low slung roadster as you wind your way through the countryside. That feeling combined with the boundless character that this car displays presents something truly special. This car is something that is impossible to replicate and it would be the highlight of any motoring event or warm summer drive.