Bringing MGs back from the dead

Riley Riley

Rust in cars is virtually a thing of the past.

But owners of classic vehicles know all too well about rust which has been likened to cancer in cars.

Panel beaters once did a roaring trade cutting out and welding in new sections of sheet metal to replace the diseased, rusty sections.

Cash-strapped owners often resorted to “bog” or body filler to get their car through registration. You could find the bog by running a magnet over the surface.

Old British cars of the 1970s were probably more susceptible to rust than most. Jags and Triumphs and of course MGB which happens to be celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

The MG might not be around anymore if it wasn’t for outfits such as British Motor Heritage (BMH) in the UK.

BMH has been actively supporting the MGB since 1975, with replacement body panels and shells built to the original specification on the very same tools that brought the cars into being all those years ago.

In fact, it’s just announced the completion of 30 complete new bodyshells – 16 GTs and 14 of them roadsters – ready to transform your old banger into a brand new car — well almost.

This is the biggest single production run for four years and underlines enthusiasts’ ongoing determination to enjoy their MGs for many years to come.

It brings the company’s total number of MGB roadster and GT replacement shells created to date to 2244.

To this one can add thousands of individual replacement panels that have also contributed to keeping these much-loved classics on the road — not to mention a further 2009 complete bodies constructed for the 1990s RV8 program.

To put this in perspective, of the 500,000 or so MGBs built between 1962 and 1980, it is estimated that over 38,000 remain in the UK alone.

Hundreds are retained specifically for competition use, thereby adding new chapters to the MGB’s already illustrious race and rally records.

A grid of no less than 30 will line up for the Lavant Cup, one of the feature races at the upcoming Goodwood Revival meeting (September 16-18).

BMH’s Graham Payne said the company very proud of its contribution towards keeping the MGB flame alive.

“This not only means keeping abreast of the never-ending demand for existing parts, but introducing new ones, resurrecting old ones, and constantly investing in the maintenance and refurbishment of the historic tooling that allows us to be the only manufacture in the world able to make parts to the exact specification of the originals,” he said.


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