Classics World’s Paul Bussey test drives and reviews the 1965 MGB Roadster…
The humble and ubiquitous MGB GT needs almost no introduction, as most enthusiasts will be only too aware of its tremendous success, in bringing sports car motoring to the masses at an affordable cost, both to purchase and run. Launched at the Earls Court Motor Show in September 1962, the MGB was a replacement for the MGA and went on to become a best seller. The new MGB was built using a monocoque structure and was one of the early cars to incorporated safety crumple zones. Power came from the B-Series 1798cc engine with a four-speed manual gearbox.
The MGB was initially offered as a two-seat Roadster, that was joined in October 1965 by a fixed roof two-seat Coupe, with a sporting style glass hatchback, that was extremely practical. The MGB underwent a variety of changes over the years, but none more dramatic than the introduction of rubber impact bumpers in 1974. Altogether 512,112 GTs and Roadsters were built spanning a production of 18 years, with a huge number being sold in America. The MGB is without doubt one of the most popular, hugely successful two-seat sports cars of the era, practical, economic and nowadays still enjoys a fanatical following.
It underwent a number of facelifts during its production, eventually being powered by a V8 engine, but never lost sight of its original concept and nowadays remains one of the best supported classic cars of them all for spares backup, specialists and clubs.
Exterior & Interior
This MGB Roadster is an older model from 1965, which has undergone a great deal of restorative work over the years. The bodywork remains in excellent condition and the British Racing Green paintwork impressively smooth and very shiny, with barely a blemish. A small amount of paintwork rectification has recently been completed, which effectively centered around the offside front wing, to eradicate a scratch and the new paint has blended in beautifully at the front. The chrome bumpers are showing only very light patination, predominently to the overriders. Interestingly the wire wheels appear to have been powdercoated in light grey, which quite suits the green paintwork.
The interior of this Roadster is every bit as good as the exterior and comprises of black leather trimmed seats with white piping, which don’t appear to be that old. However, in amongst the car’s documentation, it states the seats covers are original, but have been rejuvenated, which has worked a treat! All carpets are top quality replacements and there’s a dark wooden Moto-Lita style steering wheel. The boot area is also fully carpeted, including the spare wheel. Protection from the elements is courtesy of a black vinyl soft top in very good condition.
On The Road
This Roadster’s exhaust system features a Cherry Bomb type silencer box, which emits a pleasing, slightly rorty note, but not loud enough that would soon become tiresome. It’s clear from the very first few miles of our test drive, that this is indeed a very well sorted car and one that feels very taut in its handling. The steering is slightly heavy, but provides plenty of feedback. There’s not a jot of wander or wheel wobble and the quality Falken tyres 165-80/R14, which look almost new, grip the road very well. The car does appear to sit slightly high at the back, but this is due to the new springs fitted. It also has the option of an overdrive unit, which is operated via a switch to the righthand side of the dashboard and works perfectly well.
This Roadster is far from being an exotic thoroughbred, with a myriad of luxury appointments, bells and whistles, but to coin a phrase, it does everything it says on the tin, exceptionally well. Vendor Andrew Hebron decided to join us for the test drive. He’ll admit to not being an avid fan of MGBs, but had to agree, on thoroughly enjoying been driven around in this ’65 model, which from a passenger’s point of view, he commented drove and handled extremely well. Indeed, there was absolutely nothing not to like and definitely no annoying rattles or squeaks!
Without a doubt, a good example of an early Roadster, that has had a great deal of money spent on it, with many replacement parts, purchased mostly at marque specialists. There’s quite a large history file, detailing plenty of restorative work completed. The original twin 6V battery arrangement, has now been replaced with a single 12v battery, there’s inertia reel seat belts and most recent work completed includes new rear springs as previously mentioned, new nylon bushes, engine mounts, propshaft, UJs, door locks and a halogen headlamp conversion. The carburettors have also been serviced, with the engine tuned on a rolling road, for optimum set-up and performance. This Roadster ticks plenty of boxes, it’s competitively priced and summer’s here!
Top Speed: 103mph
Gearbox: 4-speed manual plus overdrive