MG Cars - Part 2
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If asked to name a model that typified the classic sports-car, then the chances are that the majority would suggest one or other of the T-series MGs. The T-Series, with their sweeping winglines, fold-flat windscreens, cut-away doors and headlamps hung on the radiator, were for many a glorious introduction to open two-seater motoring. Production of the M.G. TC began just five weeks after the Second World War had ended. Offered at a basic price of £375 the model ran until 1949 by which time some 10,000 TCs had been assembled. Fitted with a 1250cc four-cylinder engine producing 54bhp, the model's top speed was around 77mph (124km/h) with 0-60mph (0-96km/h) coming up in 23 seconds.
It was a proud day in Abingdon's history in March 1962 when the 100,000th MGA was produced. Total MGA production of all types amounted to 101,081 of which 2,111 were Twin-cams. The 100,000 mark of "pushrod" cars was missed by a mere 1,030 units. The MGA Mk2 was introduced in June 1961 at the same time as the Sprite - based on the MG Midget. Styling changes included a new grille with near-vertical bars and inside the car a new padded facia added to the safety of the MkII MGA. Behind the engine bay outlets the legend "1600 MkII" also appeared to identify the model further. Replaced by the MGB in 1962, the MGA remains as one of Abingdon's finest creations. Its smooth lines and seductive shape make it one of the all-time classic British sports-cars.
From the MGB's introduction in 1962 right up until 1980 when it was finally discontinued, the MGB underwent a number of styling changes to bring it up to date and in line with the competition and styling trends. The first major external restyling to the model took place from October 1969 with the introduction of the recessed type grille and the addition of pressed steel Rostyle wheels (wire wheels remained an option). Still designated the Mk2, atitle which was applied to post Autumn 1967 MGBs by virtue of their mechanical improvements the "Leylandization" of the model had begun and the MGB, like the other models in the range, had started to lose some of its original identity.
In 1974 the MGB and Midget received their last major facelift when they were fitted with massive polyurethane black bumpers dictated by the latest American regulations. Their appearance was so drastically altered that there was a storm of protests from MG purists. The Midget still designated the MkIII underwent major surgery in the engine department too, as the A-Series 1275cc Cooper based engine was replaced by a 1493cc Triumph unit coupled to a Morris Marina all-synchromesh transmission. Power was up to 65bhp @ 5500rpm with better torque, raising the top speed to a little over 100mph (161km/h), and acceleration from 0-60mph now took 12.3 seconds. Unfortunately through, changes to the suspension and the extra weight had a detrimental effect on handling and the car had lost some of its crispness.
MG MGB GT LE
Although the last MGB's rolled off the production line in October 1980, the launch of the Limited Edition (LE) models was delayed by British Leyland until the January of 1981. There were just 1,000 of the Limited Edition models divided up as follows: 420 open Tourers in metalic bronze with gold LE side livery and 580 GTs in metallic pewter with silver LE side livery. Centre-lock wire wheels were fitted to 208 of the open cars while all the others were given five-spoke cast alloy wheels were fitted to 208 of the open cars while all the others were given five-spoke cas alloy wheels and shod with 185/70 SR - 14" tyres. Prices new in the UK were £6,445 for the Roadster LE and £6,937 for the GT LE. The very last cars off the line were in fact a MGB Roadster and a MGB GT in LE livery and both of these went straight into the care of British Leyland Heritage.
MG MGB GT V8
Launched in August 1973, the MGB GT V8 replaced the MGC as the "big-engined-B" and took the model into a different league. With the lightweight 3.5 litre Rover V8 engine nestling comfortably in the B's nose, 124mph (199km/h) was possible and 0-60mph (0-96km/h) took 8.6 seconds, a far cry from four cylinder's bare 100mph (161km/h) and 12 seconds to the yardstick 60, and faster than the MGC's 10 seconds and approximately 120mph (193km/h) top speed. Built between April 1973 and September 1976, a total of 2,591 V8s were produced. Distinguishing features of the V8 were the attractive alloy wheels and of course the discreet V8 badging to the tailgate, front wings, and in the case of the chrome bumper models, on the front grille.