As long as I can remember, my father’s 1980 MGB — which he bought two…
The 1966 MGB GT LE is a “price on application” secret car
If you search for “MGB GT LE,” you’ll end up looking at plastic-bumpered Limited Editions launched in 1980 to celebrate 50 years of production at the Abingdon factory and, consequently, the end of it all. A total of 1000 roadster and GT LEs were made, and that’s pretty much all you need to know about these GTs. However, there are other MGB GT LEs out there, peppy sports cars only available in the late ’60s on a “price on application” basis.
Back in 1958 and ’59, MG built 2111 MGAs with its racing-derived 1.6-liter twin-cam engines tuned to 108 hp. Then came the MGB with its 1.8-liter pushrod, and despite being a stylish hatchback designed by Pininfarina, 95 hp just wouldn’t make it as sporty as MGs ads suggested. Luckily for BMC, at half the price of a Jaguar E-Type, that hardly mattered, and MG ended up selling 125,000 GTs until 1980.
However, long before plastic would replace chrome and American headlight regulations would ruin the MGB’s handling, the brains of the British Motor Corporation came up with a rather special GT variant, one only available through special order.
It all started with a 2.0-liter all-aluminum twin-cam revving to 7800 rpm, thanks to a custom intake and exhaust, a special crank, and fuel-injection. In 1966, having over 220 horsepower was a huge deal already, but MG went further. Coilover suspension instead of the leaf springs, four-wheel disk brakes behind 15-inch wire wheels, shorter gearing, a front air dam, and no rear seats to keep the weight down to 2280 pounds.
All this tinkering led to a 1966 MGB GT that reached 62 mph in 5.1 seconds, and kept going until that Smith speedo informed you of speeds approaching 160 mph. Wild today given the power-to-weight ratio, and absolutely insane by 1966 MGB GT standards. Now that’s an LE you want to learn more about, and thanks to Harry Metcalfe, that couldn’t be easier.
Except, you know, this is Harry’s April 1 video, and that mysterious and exclusive ’66 MGB GT is actually a modern restomod called the MG LE50 built by the U.K.’s Frontline Developments, powered by Mazda, and yours for around $80,000. Sorry about that!