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I first bought my current MGB as a very poorly GT in 1989. She came home on a trailer as a rolling shell with all the seats and several boxes of bits in the tow car. She had to be dragged out of a lockup with a winch on the trailer as all four brakes had siezed. As well as this the engine was siezed but the gearbox and rear axle moved so allwas not lost.

The car was advertised as stripped, repaired and ready to paint - not even close! It took six months of hard work just to get it running with a view to having an MOT test done to see what else needed doing.

Surprisingly she passed, just. So I decided to drive her for a while and do a rolling restoration. A few months later she was very badly damaged in an accident, thanks to a rapidly stopping HGV.

At this point once the wreck was returned home a decision had to be taken, scrap or restore. needless to say the restore option prevailed.

I restored the car over a three year period using a heritage roadster shell, painted BRG with a black interior. I really wanted a tan interior but as my better half pointed out, it wasn't a very practical colour with two small boys climbing in an out. How right she was!

Having finished the car, I drove it over the next for the next 6 years with no problems whatsoever. However, despite building the engine to a good stage 2 spec I found I was using the car less and less and contemplated selling it because of a (comparative) lack of performance. After discussions with the boss I decided to keep the car. I'd invested a lot of time, effort, money and blood in it! This included building a brick garage to do the restoration in.

The reason for keeping it was to do a V8 conversion. I started gathering bits and pieces together and storing them in the garage. The plan was to have all the bits I needed before taking the car off the road for the conversion. The ultimate plan was to have the car off the road for a short a time as possible. Soooo, off we went for a fresh MOT, telling Gary, the tester, that by the time he saw the car for its next MOT it would be a V8.

This goal was achieved, just. Accomplished without rushing anything - good planning prevailed.

The work entailed removing the original engine and gearbox, re-fabrication and re-painting in the engine bay, installing new engine and gearbox, new crown wheel and pinion in the axle, uprating the braking system and fitting my original wish of a tan (biscuit) interior. Sounds easy when you say it quickly, doesn't it?

The end result is a 3.6 rover V8, built with real steel timing chains and wheels, Ross pistons, a 'Stump Puller' cam, anti-pump lifters, JWR inlet manifold and a 600cfm Webber - jetted back to suit the engine.

Final figures just after the car hit the road were 210Bhp and 224ft/lb torque! I'm told that with a couple of thousand miles under its belt, we should be able to get slightly more out of it.

 

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V8 marginal cooling finally solved? Click here to find out what I did... When you've finished reading the article, click 'back' on your browser

 

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