1971 MGB-GT

Illustration for article titled 1971 MGB-GT

Many, many cars have passed through my hands since I first picked up a '69 Toyota Corona for 50 bucks, but only a few really make me feel a twinge of regret when I think about letting them go. One such car is the British Racing Green '73 MGB-GT I owned for a few years in my early 20s; it was slow, handled like a garbage truck, went through $40 carburetor floats like other cars go through oil changes, and proved that all those Joe Lucas jokes are based on painful reality... but I still loved it. Perhaps this is the evil lure of the British Car, but I was finally able to heed the rule posted on a huge sign at the only British-car wrecking yard in Northern California: IF IT RUNS, SELL IT. This beat-to-hell MGB-GT, which could be a '71, '72, or '73, might be my old car, after a couple of decades of neglect. Sure, mine was pretty nice when I sold it, but a lot can happen in 20 years!

Illustration for article titled 1971 MGB-GT

I spotted this B parked while going out to dinner a few weeks back (on the same commercial strip where we saw the '71 Karmann Ghia). The sun was setting and I was using a borrowed camera, but I was able to capture this super-rare machine.

Illustration for article titled 1971 MGB-GT

Yes, MGB fans, I know you can make these cars drive pretty well with huge swaybars, sticky tires, and more power... but in stock form they'll get blown away by your average mid-70s Civic.

Illustration for article titled 1971 MGB-GT

That Pininfarina design sure is pretty, though! These things sold new for about $3,600 back in the early 70s, which was $1,300 more than a Datsun 510 and about $900 less than a BMW 2002.


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Rob Emslie

Full disclosure: I own and dearly love British cars. That being said...

The Lucas Electric motto: "Get home before dark."

Lucas denies having invented darkness. But they still claim "sudden, unexpected darkness."

Lucas—inventor of the first intermittent wiper.

Lucas—inventor of the self-dimming headlamp.

The three-position Lucas switch—DIM, FLICKER and OFF. The other three switch settings—SMOKE, SMOLDER and IGNITE.

The original anti-theft devices—Lucas Electric products.

"I've had a Lucas pacemaker for years and have never experienced any prob...

If Lucas made guns, wars would not start either.

Did you hear about the Lucas powered torpedo? It sank.

It's not true that Lucas, in 1947, tried to get Parliament to repeal Ohm's Law. They withdrew their efforts when they met too much resistance.

Did you hear the one about the guy that peeked into a Land Rover and asked the owner "How can you tell one switch from another at night, since they all look the same?" "He replied, it doesn't matter which one you use, nothing happens!"

Back in the '70s Lucas decided to diversify its product line and began manufacturing vacuum cleaners. It was the only product they offered which didn't suck.

Quality Assurance phoned and advised the Engineering guy that they had trouble with his design shorting out. So he made the wires longer.

Wakka, wakka.