It’s similarly V8-powered and as such runs essentially the same engine as the TVR-engined car in the shape of the evergreen Rover V8, but is in rather less aggressive tune.
Essentially a standard version of the Range Rover-spec engine it’s a 3.9-litre unit with the benefit of the standard fuel injection. This in fact is very similar to the version of the engine that was used in the MG RV8 and has several advantages over the carb-fed version of the V8, which was used for the original factory MGB V8 cars. For one thing, cold starting and running are much improved by the injection, meaning there’s no need for a manual choke, while general driveability and economy are all improved too.
Manufactured in 1972 and first registered early in 1973, this example sits neatly between the early chrome-bumper cars and the ‘rubber-bumpered’ generation, featuring the recessed black grille inserts, which to my mind is the neatest front-end treatment applied to the MGB over the years. A front spoiler and a set of Minilite wheels hint at the car’s performance potential, while the metallic blue paintwork isn’t an original MGB colour but looks superb and the car is clearly very solid.
On the inside the dash has gained a neatly fitted wood trim kit, while the original-spec black vinyl seats look much nicer than the ‘deckchair’ trim of later cars, which look so poor when they age.
ON THE ROAD
I probably shouldn’t have tried this relatively tame MGB V8 straight after the TVR-powered car but as I set off from Moto-Build’s yard they commented what a nice driving example this was and, sure enough, they were right.
It may not have quite the sheer power of the five-litre car but the 3.9 engine’s 190bhp is in truth plenty to be getting on with in an MGB and with the manual ‘box it feels just as lively at lower speeds. The injected V8 has a nice response and it adds up to a nice controllable package. We tried the car on a dry winter day but the roads were still damp and a tentative experiment on a wet roundabout showed the car to be superbly predictable – the tail only wanting to come out when provoked.
The V8 sounds superb too through the chunky stainless exhaust and the car has impressive pace in a straight line too.
If you like the idea of the RV8 but the newer car’s styling and high-set seating position put you off then this is an ideal alternative for much less than the cost of the RV8. The older car mixes classic style with a less cramped cabin, yet still offers serious performance with a V8 soundtrack to match.
ENGINE: 3948cc V8
TOP SPEED: 135mph
GEARBOX: 5-sp man