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1978 MGB Roadster

SOLD JULY 2004 - The man who bought the MGB hopped in it and took off for Kentucky the next day.  Apparently he made it OK, as I never heard anything more from him.  It was a really nice car, but I had my fun with it and got my money back plus a little extra.  Can't ask much more than that from a hobby.   
This Inca Yellow roadster was bought in 1983 by a Navy man who used it as his only car - it already had been converted to a Weber carb /header setup, and the engine was rebuilt at about 65K miles. The car was laid up in 1996 when a clutch job got sidetracked due to a bad clutch fork.  He got a boat for Christmas 2001, and decided to get rid of the MGB. 

Local charities would not take the car because it was apart.  So he hit the internet looking for local MG enthusiasts and found me!   Not only was he close, the car was free!  It was in my driveway two days later.  At left - the car as I found it - the rest of the parts were in the garage, including a new clutch set. 

Of course, the car needed a lot of work.  All of the hydraulics were shot and had to be replaced, as did the tires, exhaust system, and a lot of the electrical switches.  A Coverlay fixed the dash, and I rebuilt the collapsed driver's seat.  The tires had been new, but were dry-rotted too badly to use.  I replaced them with a nice set of 15" alloys and tires from an earlier parts car.  The engine just needed cleaning and new gaskets, and I rebuilt the Weber carb. I added a new electric cooling fan, and replaced the radiator. Again - most items were in my garage from earlier projects.  New wiper blades, hoses, a battery, tune-up stuff. The car was very dependable from the start and I used it as a daily driver to and from work.  There was just one little problem - it lost a quart of oil every 80-100 miles!  No smoke, no plug fouling, and I had replaced the rear main seal.  The bellhousing was dry, and so was the tailpipe.  What was going on?
It wasn't until I actually pulled the engine and tranny that the oil leak became obvious - from the clutch fork seal back the transmission looked like it had been dunked in 10W-30!  Turns out the new rear main seal was defective.  I had just picked up a rusty 1980 MGB roadster with 46K original miles.  Just before I was going to swap it out, I got a rebuilt 1969 MGB engine which I installed instead.  Only to have an even bigger oil leak.  Another bad 'new' rear main, though this was was easier to understand when I found out the engine had been rebuilt 15 years before.  For the third engine swap, I decided to use the 46K engine - it was correct and I made sure the oil seal was perfect.

  As they say, the third time is the charm.  The 1980 engine is smooth and strong, with no unusual oil usage.  The hood was rotted on the front edge, so I did a quick and dirty fill with fiberglass and shot it with black paint.  The self-rebuilt front calipers didn't hold up, so I got lifetime warranty units from Advance.  Then the alternator quit - Advance also had a lifetime unit for that.  The end result is a very reliable and fun car.  I took the MGB on a long tour with the antique car club and got 32 mpg - not bad for a 25 year-old sports car with no computers and a carburetor. 
May 20, 2003 - A friend who bought my 1971 MGB roadster a while back was given a hardtop that he didn't want.  So he gave it to me!  It fits great and looks nice.  Although I prefer the convertible top, the hardtop will be welcome come wintertime.  I replaced the fuse box and Weber Air filter for the upcoming Brits on the Bay car show. 
February 8, 2004 - A big jump here - busy with other projects and activities.  Plus, the MGB hasn't needed anything.  I drove it most of the summer with no trouble.  The convertible top finally started to go bad, and I put the hard top on.  I have a new AMCO top to install now.  About two months ago, I had a new hood painted to match the car and installed it.  Last weekend, the fuel pump began to fail, so I have a new one on order.  Looking back over what I have done to the car, it appears there isn't much left of the original 'free' 1978 MGB but the body shell!
April 6, 2004 - The parking brake cable has been overstretched since I got the car, but it finally got to the point that even tensioners wouldn't take up enough slack to keep the car from moving. Amazingly, a new one was only $16 from Moss Motors - as with most things, it took a little longer than expected to install, but I now have an emergency brake that works!  Also put in the new fuel pump.
April 12, 2004 - The starter decided it was time to die - happily, she quit parked in the driveway.  I have a large selection of good starters, so it only took a dry day and an hour to replace it.  Car is running great again.  I am reluctantly considering selling her, though - too many cars, and I have the TD convertible - of the MGBs, I prefer the GT.
June 25, 2004 - Well, I made the decision to sell the beast.  Although this is the best-driving MGB I have ever owned, I already have the TD as a convertible, and I really prefer the body style of my 1973 MGB-GT. 

The first person showed up, and of course, the car wouldn't start.  Turned out that the battery cables had corroded badly in the inside - this was the problem before - so I put the first starter back on, got new cables, and cleaned everything up - Would have saved myself a lot of work if I had checked the cables properly the first time!

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