1972 MG MGB Mk III

2dr Roadster

4-cyl. 1798cc/78.5hp 2x1bbl

#1 Concours condition#1 Concours

#2 Excellent condition#2 Excellent

#3 Good condition#3 Good

#4 Fair condition#4 Fair

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Model overview

Model description

British Motor Corporation (BMC) had two dragons to fight in 1967. One was external – the imposition of U.S. emission and safety regulations. The other was an internal reorganization that created British Leyland. That doomed Riley and Wolseley as separate marques and the Austin-Healey 3000 was out, leaving the corporation without a flagship.

The MGB was going from strength to strength in America, its biggest market, as its reliability and relative comfort became appreciated. Pininfarina’s MGB GT coupe with its child-sized jump seat now represented about 30 percent of the 30,000 MGBs sold each year.

When the MGB Mk II was launched in late 1967 with an all-synchromesh transmission, the U.S. version changed significantly from its British relative. The 1968 U.S.-spec MGB still had the 1800 cc engine – now with five main bearings – but emissions requirements meant that U.S. cars had a smog pump to blow air into the intake ports and hopefully disperse any unburned fuel. Removing the smog pump meant that cooling air was no longer pumped into the cylinder head, causing overheating and cracks.

Inside, the classic dashboard lost its glovebox to a padded safety dash on the passenger’s side. Fragile rocker switches replaced the characteristic toggles and the fuel tank filler cap now sealed, so that gasoline fumes could be piped away to a carbon canister under the hood. More welcome was the installation of an alternator – albeit a Lucas unit – to replace the old generator, and changing the electrical system to use negative ground like everybody else. A dual brake system was fitted, and the roadster got triple wipers.

Late in 1967 an MGB GT Special was created to use up leftover stock, featuring name plaques, woodrim Moto-Lita steering wheels, wood shift knobs, a racing mirror on the left front fender and wire wheels. These cars were the last with the handsome original interior. An automatic transmission was offered, but only about 5,000 examples were sold by 1973, when it was cancelled. The 1969 model year brought tall headrests on U.S. MGBs, which almost prevented rear seat access in the MGB GT coupe, but sales rose to 31,030. The Rostyle steel wheels also arrived.

The first real facelift for the 1970 MGB MK III featured 20 detail differences. The chrome-barred grille was abandoned for a recessed one, the back bumper was divided and the overriders got rubber inserts. New red/amber taillights were introduced. A smaller, three-spoke, leather-covered steering wheel debuted with stalks for the horn and optional overdrive, along with reclining seats.

1970 was the last year for the roadster’s non-folding top frame, which had to be dismantled and put in the trunk, though some cars do have collapsible frames. 1970 also marked the introduction of a clumsy mirror arrangement where the driver’s door had one mirror (which often caused the door to crack, while the other mirror was halfway along the passenger fender, such as might be seen on a right-hand drive car. Sales rose again to 36,570.

For the 1971 MGB, rhe split rear bumper was dropped, there was now a steering lock and several new colors were introduced. The shift lever got a vinyl boot. Production dipped slightly to 34,680.

The 1972 MGB was the last year of the recessed grill, and the MGB got center console with an armrest. Fresh air vents were added to the dash, and a better heater was introduced. Sales hit 39,393, the best year ever for the MGB.

The recessed grille was replaced in the 1973 MGB by a plastic honeycomb, which was rather fragile. The wipers were now matte black and a tonneau cover was standard. Rubber blocks made their first appearance as bumper regulations were stiffened, and the blocks became even bigger in 1974. 1973 sales slipped to 29,783 and again to 28,547 in 1974.

British Leyland expanded to 26 colors in the late 1960s, but the results were hit-and-miss. All paint colors now had a black convertible top. Interiors could be black or tan. Roadster seats had vinyl weave inserts, whereas BGTs were fitted with brushed nylon. Available options included wire wheels, hardtop, overdrive, AM radio, AM/FM radio, woodrim steering wheel and gearshift, electric clock, and air-conditioning (dealer installed).

Performance remained about the same until 1974, when the rubber bumper cars were introduced. The cars were raised to meet bumper regulations in the U.S. and the twin S.U. carburettors ditched in favour of a single Stromberg and catalytic converter. 1974 was also the last year for importation of the MGB GT to the U.S., though the model continued to be sold in Europe until 1980.

Speaking of European models, from 1973-76 a number of MGB GT V8s were built with the Buick-Rover aluminium V-8 engine. It was lighter, more powerful and fit better into the MGB engine compartment than the MGC’s six-cylinder engine, but could not meet U.S. emissions and never sold here. A few genuine V8 MGBs have made it across the pond since, but it remains a popular and relatively economical conversion that gives an MGB a ton more punch under the hood.

Equipment

Additional Info
Shipping Weight: 1920 lbs
Vehicle Length: 153.2 in
Wheelbase - Inches: 91 in
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