MGB-GT Gets Totally De-Leylandified During Ford V8 Upgrade, We Feel Great Envy

Illustration for article titled MGB-GT Gets Totally De-Leylandified During Ford V8 Upgrade, We Feel Great Envy

I came across this SR20DET-powered MGB-GT on and thought it was pretty cool, and likewise this CA18DET. However, sometimes it becomes necessary to put absurd power in your little British Leyland fastback, and that's where the Ford small-block comes in handy. This conversion by Fast Cars involved much, much more than just shoehorning a big ol' V8 into the engine compartment, and the article does a great job of documenting what was involved. This one definitely gets the Jalopnik Stamp-O-Approval™![]


My friend was planning to do something like this. He had a 1971 MGB that he had bought for $500 and eventually sunk 10 times that in 7 years, then as if he hadn't been physically and mentally scarred from his Abu-Ghraib-rivaling experience, he went and bought another MGB, this time only a bodyshell and a few greasy cardboard boxes, as well as a spare 350 motor. He must have seemed like a savior to the poor wife that was holding her husband at gunpoint to get rid of that crap.

Now with two MGBs, he set about trying to maintain one "restomod" (read: broken, but with a new head unit) MGB and one bodyshell MGB of which he was still evicting termites and doe-eyed chipmunks out of the recesses. He had rebuilt and repainted most of the 350 motor, bending a few valve stems in the process, and straining the relationship with his father who used to own an MGB back in the college/full head of hair days, who thought he knew more than his footstep-following son. His father raced Formula Fords at Lime Rock and had a hell of an ego, so like father, like son...

And then, a Puerto Rican woman in a minivan plowed into his right front fender at an intersection, so that had to be sorted out first. He was out of work for a few days while he had to figure out how to bend the gaping hole in the frame, which necessitated taking off the hood, bumper, both fenders, windshield, door bolts, wheels, manifold, and firewall, then to use his limited welding skills to make sure the gaping hole in the frame wouldn't get any larger and rip the car apart next time he flew down a sweeping rural Connecticut with all four wheels off the ground, as he bragged to me multiple times. And then he had to hammer the fender back into place. And mount it back in. Along with the hood, bumper, both fenders, windshield, door bolts...

And as a result, he lost his job because of losing his only form of transportation, as if he had never questioned the ability for a 30-year old British roadster to reliably carry his lanky 6-foot-5 tall frame to work. After he patched up the fender, he had to deal with a busted wiring loom, a faulty starter, DOT-unapproved turn signals, and bizarrely, malfunctioning windshield wipers. That wasn't even including the oil leak in the engine that wasn't getting enough air from the badly-jetted SU carbs, because he had planned to strap on some Webers instead. A move his father had disapproved, so that led to more shouting and dramatic tension...

So eventually he ditched the blue MGB frame and shoved the 350 into a corner. Maybe it would make a novelty work bench or coffee table if his mother would let him haul it inside the house. He had run out of money to not only build a firebreathing V8 MGB but with the fiberglass body kit he had talked to me often about. And he had to place the '71 on sale too, degrading it to a parts car and running through a laundry list of Malaise-era maladies when I told him that I could take it off his hands for 1500 bucks. His girlfriend had broken up with him so he had really no need to fly around corners anyway, and he needed something more reliable, something like a Miata, perhaps...?

Who wants to buy an MGB?