1967 MGB

In many ways, 1967 was the peak year for MGBs. They still had the classic styling of the early cars, but had a 5-main bearing engine for smoother and more reliable power. Federal safety and emissions regulations still hadn’t come into effect, so the interior was still classic–low-backed leather seats and the beautiful metal dashboard.

This car was, until Reggie, my all-time favorite MGB. I bought it for $700 from someone on Bainbridge Island…come to think of it, not too far from where I recently picked up the used MGB motor. Coming to me on the heels of the disastrous Mercedes of Doom, it was a breath of fresh air. Well, musty old British car air, which is even better.

I had to change the fuel pump to get it mobile, but once that was done, it fired right up, despite a prolonged lay-up.

Mechanically, the car was a gem, with a sound, willing motor and nice tight suspension. It remains perhaps the most original MGB I’ve owned, though Reg is a close second. Even the original BMC radio was in it, and the fuel pump I replaced was the original, pretty remarkable considering the car was 25 years old at that point.

Sadly, it was also the rustiest MGB I’ve ever seen still on the road. It looked OK, but only because someone had done a bodge-up Bondo-and-chicken-wire job on the sills. Everything below the doors was either gone or paper thin. Even places that normally don’t rust, like the support members inboard of the transmission, were so much dust. It’s a bit of a miracle that the car hadn’t actually started sagging in the center.

I broke a rear spring at an autocross, and I couldn’t replace it because there was nowhere solid enough to jack the car up! I still have a restoration guide the previous owner included with the car, and in retrospect perhaps the fact that every passage about how critical the understructure of an MGB was having been highlighted should have clued me in…

In any case, I enjoyed the car, though once the rear spring was broken, it was bordering on a deathtrap (if it wasn’t already). I owned it concurrently with the 1969 MGB, and I ended up using that car more often, even with its knocking rod. In the end, I sold the 67 and ’69 together with the parts ’68 GT to a gentleman from Shelton named Fears. I wonder if he was able to do anything with the ’67.

I’m just glad I got a chance to enjoy this MGB on perhaps its final fling, before Fe3O2 caught up with it–condemning it to a fate as a donor car, or perhaps quiet disintegration behind a shed somewhere. R.I.P.