MGB V8 Convertible Driven

Large capacity engines placed into a relatively small chassis rarely fail to deliver anything other than a compelling driving experience and this MGB V8 is no exception.

The MGB V8 is quintessentially British after all; this one particularly so given its leather upholstery and original dashboard complete with Smiths dials. Quite a shock then when the key is turned and the retro-fitted Rover engine stirs into life barking loudly at the morning sky through its single exit large bore exhaust.

The MGB V8 is an MG with some TVR red blood cells running through its veins. The five speed gearbox that accompanied the engine transplant only helps with the illusion by delivering a seriously fast cruising capability. Couple that with an inspiring soundtrack and with even just a few thousand rpm dialled in, this car totally rocks.

MGB V8
V8 motor delivers decent pace and rousing soundtrack (Pictures: Julia Nichols)

In fact the only clues that you are not in one of the North West of England’s finest exports are the suspension, crashing over larger road defects. Plus the steering which despite the absence of power assistance feels oddly disconnected from the action. Other than that this MG V8 is easy to place on the road, being very predictable with hardly any body roll when cornering.

MGB V8
MGB has always set the benchmark from which other classics are judged

Eighty miles of glorious black top spread across the English Cotswolds is enough time to know that as a still relatively entry level classic car, the MGB V8 is right on the money. Look at it from the outside and it appears to be of a reasonable size. Sit inside and the tiny windscreen and closeness to your passenger make it feel far snugger and a great place to be. OK the handbrake presses on your upper thigh and the instruments make little sense in terms of their position relative to function.

MGB V8
Great with the roof down, even at night

But the fact remains an MGB is the ‘Ronseal’ of the classic car world, doing precisely what it says on the tin, and an MGB V8 takes that to the next level providing an affordable fun British sports car that is still easy to maintain. Also despite concerns to the contrary by MG at the time the body shell and chassis is easily capable of dealing with the extra power and torque from the Rover 3.5litre V8.

MGB V8
MGB V8 on the straight and narrow

Rover engine lifts the MGB V8 up a notch to threaten bigger brands.

How does this car make you feel?

In one word: Impressed

As a favourite meal: Jamie Oliver restaurant standard spaghetti bolognese

Anything Else: Slightly smug, a V8 sports car that won’t break the bank

Key Ingredients: Back to basics ppen top motoring, retro-fitted V8, 5-speed gearbox and simple mechanicals

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With thanks to Great Escape Classic Car Hire.

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