Classic cars and my questions

Within the past year, me and my father rebuilt a few classic automobiles from the 70’s. One of these was a small 1975 convertable roadster, known as the “MG-B” and I love it. I understand that it is called the “b” because there is also an “MG-A” and I now, through much research, learned that MG is possibly standing for “Morris’ Garage.” I’m curious, and hoping you can help, as to if this is correct information, and also as to who exactly Morris is? Was he the founder? Does he have some amazing story to be told? Please, I’m looking for answers about a car that is sitting in my garage now, and I don’t know of anyone else to turn to but this board for answers.

Don’t be so sure there was an MG-A.
When Henry Ford wanted to follow up the Model T, he had several names then was talked into Model A because it sounded like the best (As in Grade A eggs)

The name for DBASE-II was chosen so people would think it had been around a while. There was no DBASE-I

Well, Victoria British is where most of the parts came from and they list a “MG-A” that was listed as a car from 1955-1962. The “MG-B” was from 1962-1980. The “MG-C” was only listed from 1962-1969. The most common sold when I looked now, was a “MG Midget” listed 1961-1979.

Also another question, is MG completely out of business, or are they still making cars? In my time on looking at modified and restored cars, I found pictures of a “200- MG” I forget what year exactly, but it was new. It resembled a Mazda Miata with the MG logo on the front. I would be very interested in these cars if there was a new series such as the one pictured, or is that a modified roadster with just an MG emblem on it?

It’s actually has the “B” designation because of the type of engine it has – a BMC (British Motor Corporation) type B, used in the Austin Healey 100, circa '53. Also, the MG-A was actually released after the B was (not sure why on the out of order lettering though).

And, yes, the MG came from The Morris Garage, in England, although, Morris did not create the MG. I believe the owner of the Morris Garage created the MG (his name wasn’t Morris).

Egads. I’ve packed away my MG books! In any case, my first car was an MGB, and I’m having one restored now. MG stands for Morris Garage.

No, the MGA came out first. I don’t know the years of production, but bradlee_43’s 1955-1962 is about right. The MGB was introduced in 1962 and was last sold in the U.S. as the 1980 year model.

MG was absorbed by British Leyland in the 1970s. I don’t know if B-L are still around.

MG is back and is producing the MG-TF (which is not available in the U.S.).

The MGB had an 1,800 cc engine. It was decided that it needed more power, so they came out with the six-cylinder MGC. There was also a version of the MGB that was powered by a Rover V8.

“The Mazda Miata – The MGB that Works!:smiley:

I suggest you find an MG car club in your area, go to a couple meetings and join if you like the people. I think you’ll find it worth your while.

You’ll also want to acquaint yourself with Moss Motors. They distribute OEM parts, and have just developed a period-looking supercharger for the MGB.

My '66 MGB will be Old English White with a red interior (like my first one was when my mom bought it new – although by the time I got it, it was chalk white with a pinkish interior :eek: ). But I’ve always wanted a rubber-bumper MGB painted up like the Union Jack. (And yes, I wanted one before “Austin Powers”.)

You may also want to look into an overdrive transmission, since one of the '77s I had was so-equipped and it made it much more useable. Fortunately, '67-'80 o/d transmissions are fairly cheap.

I looked at moss motors and several other places for parts. I also have looked for a club around here, and have talked to several owners in my area. I’ve found 3 in the tri-county area where I live, and several others in various places.

Ours is a 1975 with the engine of a 1974. It is painted a darker red/maroon color and has the rubber bumper. It was bought in April of 2003 and finished (mostly) by August. I’ve taken it out to several local shows, it placed in the top 20 at both, but there were only around 40-50 cars at each. We’ve tried to make it look as close to original condition as we could with the budget we were on.

I have only driven it once, as I am 17 and lost my liscence for racing my lil’ import beast. I did like the way the MG felt when driven, but I didn’t go much faster than 60 mph. It felt as though it did need the overdrive, but for as little as we drive it, the 4-speed seems to work ok for now.

The top speed of the four-speed should be about 103 mph, at least for the earlier models. The later ones were pretty gutless after the smog devices were put onto their engines. An MGB can handle legal freeway speeds quite well, but they’re much more comfortable with overdrive.

There was “something” to look out for on the 1975 cars, but I don’t remember what it was. As I said, my books are packed up. Was it the suspension? Something like that. Moss has suspension kits that will make your car handle much better. (And I always thought they handled pretty well. Not as well as the Porsches, which is why I stopped driving them; but they were no slouches!)

Haynes has a restoration book that details some performance mods. you can actually bore out the engine to nearly three litres! Of course, there are less aggressive mods as well. On second thought (re-reading that bit about your license) maybe that’s not such a good idea.

One great thing about MGBs is that you don’t see too many of them on the roads anymore. They were once the second-most popular sportscar in the U.S., but now they seem to be a little scarce. You’ll have one of the coolest rides on campus.

Well, I finally decided to give up racing after my girlfriend and I were involved in a small wreck at a lower speed and talked bout my first wreck of a Toyota Celica going off the road at 110mph and what is actually my second liscence suspension…my first was for going 105 in a 45 and this one for 120 in a 50…not the best moves ever but hey, I won…chalk it up to teenage stupidity…

I think dad has got the mgb to about 85 before, but we weren’t looking for performance in it, just looks mostly. The faster car will always be in the garage, the mr2s is pulling a lot of weight, and if not, my 65 stang does…heheh…

Also, I looked at a 87 Porsche 944, and since you mentioned porsche’s I figured I’d ask…any comments on that car?

Sorry, posted the wrong year…a 1983 porsche 944

My first was a '77-1/2 924. It was faster and handled better than the MGBs, was more reliable (usually only two of the three MGBs were running at any given time), and was more confortable. The 924 suffered because is was sold as a Porsche. It was originally designed as a VW, then they thought about selling it as an Audi. Since it wasn’t a “real” Porsche, everyone hated it. But on its own merits it was a good car. The 944 was an improvement.

My other Porsche was a 911SC. Better than the MGBs and 924 put together. Much more power, much better handling (I had Bilstein sport suspension put on), and much more fun.

But around here, it seems everyone has a Porsche. I decided to get the MGB because I wanted another sports car, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. (That last part didn’t quite work out, since I’m having it restored from the ground up.) I wanted something with a little “class”. MGBs are relatively slow. Even though they handle exceptionally well, handling has improved over the decades so they may seem not as good by modern comparison. They’re drafty. They need “tinkering” (like all British cars seem to). But compared to the cars on the road today, they have character. They look different, sound different, and even smell different. Not as fast as a TR6, and not as exclusive as an Austin Healy; but they’re sure nifty little cars!

Lots of noise here about MGs.
MG does stand for Morris Garages.
From here

Cecil Kimber is considered to be the “founder” of the MG sports car as old number was produced under his watch.

Americans became familar with MG during WWII when GIs stationed in England became familar with these funny looking little sports cars that handled unlike any thing they were familar with from the states.

After the war MG produced a car that had been designed before the war a MG TC Midget.
As the ads for MG used to state this is the sports car that America fell in love with first.
In about 1950/51 the TC was replaced by the MG TD Midget. The TD was a more modern car, but it does not have the mystic that the TC had.
In 1953 came the MG TF Midget. (My favorite of the T series) Raditor grill was changed, and headlights were flared into the fenders.

By 1955 MG had flogged the T series as far as they could. They introduced a full envelope bodied sports car the MGA. There was also a coupe version Sporting the 1500 CC engine from late TF it was a modern car (for 1955).

In 1962 it was time again for a new car. The MGB was introduced. [This picture shows both an eary crome bumper B (a few years news than Johnny’s) and a late model rumber bumper B] Engine displacement was now 1800CC and as has been mentioned had a top speed of over 100 mph. In 1975, federal safety and smog regulations caused a major overhaul of what was now an outdated car. Increased ride height, tighter somg controls dropped both the performance and the handling of the B. The B lasted until 1980. At the very end there were some MGB V-8s (powered by the Buick/Rover 3.5L aluminum V-8)

What is commonly refered to as an MG Midget is actually a bit of “name badge” engineering by British Motors Corp (BMC) the owners of MG. They took an Austin Healy Sprite swapped the mane badges (and a few trim items) and sold it as an MG midget. The midget also got rubber bumpers in 1975, along with a 1500 CC engine from the Trimuph Spitfire. They also went out of production in 1980.

Trying to sort out who owned / owns MG is a great debate over beer.
Morris owned it,
Then ownership went to BMC (British Motors Co.)
The on to British Leyland (IIRC about 1969ish)
British Leyand became Leyland and in 1980 the company went out business. I know that here in the US for a while warrenty was covered by JRT (Jaguar / Rover /Trimuph)
I think that BMW wound up with ownership after their purchase of Land Rover. I think that the production of the MG-TF was under their watch.

Thanks, Rick. It all comes back upon reading it. A nitpick, though:

That photo is actually of a 1959 MGA. Here is a 1966 MGB roadster.

Damn it I previewed, but I didn’t double check the links. :smack: :wally :smack:

Here is the correct link for the MGB

A shred of MGA folklore: The little brightwork vents over the engine bay were meant to let out hot air. In fact, they worked the other way.

A shred of MGA folklore: The little brightwork vents over the engine bay were meant to let out hot air. In fact, they worked the other way.

:dubious: I’d have to see a cite for that. Not that I don’t think that you heard it; but I’ve never heard that, and it doesn’t make sense that air would be blown into the oncoming airstream.

(FWIW, some Honda motorcycles blow air forward at speeds less than 15 mph. The fan’s rotation is electronically controlled.)

Morris was of course the maker of the Morris Minor. But prior to that Morris Garages was already what might be considered a “coachworks,” or maker of their own models of cars based upon the Morris Cowley. The two makers diverged and recoalesced throughout the 20th C. (If you think that’s complicated, try and draw a line from the Morris Mini to the BMW Mini Cooper S. It’s not a straight line.)

It is a very confusing story even today. MG lives in the form of MG-Rover. MG-Rover was spun off by BMW for ten pounds to an investment group appropriately called Phoenix. Apparently BMW acquired the marque when it bailed out the Rover Group five or ten years ago. Ford also has a hand in keeping the British automakers afloat.

The new MG ZT V8 uses the modular Ford 4.6L powerplant.

Other interesting MGs from years gone by are the MGC, which featured a much-needed in-line 6 but which fell short of anticipated performance and handling; and the rare and retro MG RV8 of 1992-95.

One final note: thanks to Joseph Lucas, Prince of Darkness, the MGB is one of the few cars out there in which you will find sales ads advertising a rebuilt electrical system.

“If Lucas built ammunition, wars would not start, either.”

“Lucas does not take credit for creating darkness. Sudden and unexpected darkness, however…”

Why do Brits drink room-temperature beer?
Lucas makes their refrigerators.