MGB GT Project Car – British Conduct

My first restomod project car also happens to be the first classic car I’ve ever owned. God help me. Rather than take this daunting task on by my lonesome, I decided to enlist the help of a few experts.

When the project kicked off I was originally after a Datsun 240Z. Since the market for RWD Japanese cars is hot, a close friend of mine suggested I look at modifying a MGB GT. Better known as “the poor man’s Aston”, the B GT is a fun touring car that feels like driving a tractor with some body work on it. British Sports Cars in San Luis Obispo, California provided the perfect specimen for my classic car restomod dreams. As luck would have it, they had received the car the day after out discussion about looking into a B GT as a suitable project car.

The GT needed a bit of attention when it came to the motor and trans. Second gear was missing and reverse was “questionable”. Not to mention the overdrive was a bit glitchy. After taking advantage of an engine freed from its mounts, an APT street/race cam was installed, new hardware, rockers, lifters, a burgundy re-spray and cleaned Weber 45 DOCE side draft carbs were all ready to hum again. The transmission issues were also addressed and the 200+ mile journey home was on.

Did I mention that I lived in Venice, California? Yeah, I took on the daunting task of driving a classic car, I knew nothing about, over 200 miles home. I guess the old saying, “ignorance is bliss”, rang true that day. But the little GT made its way home without a fuss. It even was able to overtake a car or two doing 80 MPH on the highway. All was well in the world. Until the sun set and my faint glowing headlights and interior cabin lights made the final 10 miles home feel more like the overall 200 I’d just completed.

After learning much about the B GT, I knew what needed to be addressed first for the project. Handling. The aftermarket industry has come to the rescue of this glorious little British beast and Moss Motors seems to own the corner of the world where keeping British cars on the road are a way of life not just a business opportunity.  When I reached out to them about supporting the project, they were happy to do so. Since they had EVERYTHING the car would need I had to be strategic about what I wanted.

Frank Monise Motors in Montclair, California provided the elbow grease needed to get the job done. After a few phone calls about what I needed to get the suspension and handling bits sorted, the order was placed and roughly 100 new parts turned up ready for installation. Frank and Greg put in the man hours and, luckily, the whole tear down turned out to be rather boring. It was text book. Even installation of the new parts went smoothly. Making this one of the “easiest” cars the shop had  wrangled with in quite some time. This, of course, made me a happy camper knowing that I had selected the right car to take a crack at.

Understanding that the car needed to sing a new song, hell – the motor had just been rebuilt, I paid a quick visit to the gentlemen at the Magnaflow Exhaust HQ to fabricate an exhaust system utilizing one of their straight through racing mufflers for the car. This proved to be just what the doctor ordered. The original exhaust clung to the undercarriage utilizing only hope and spot welds, so a properly welded and tightly tucked away exhaust system not only allowed the engine to earn a few more horse power but it also allowed the car to breathe properly which made turning the motor over even easier as the car wasn’t attempting to choke itself out through the older, clogged system we just tossed in the bin.

Today, the car sits waiting for me to tend to its knocking/clicking/banging rear driver’s side suspension issue, whatever that may be, and to rebuild the master cylinder pedal box components since they are old, tired and … old.
For now, a bottle of DOT 3 brake fluid in the trunk, new tires mounted (thanks to A&R Tires in Venice, CA) allow me to enjoy a jog around the beach from time to time. What lays ahead of me is a choice between letting the car go to someone with the means and time to finish it or keeping it for another year or two to get the job done the way I have envisioned it since day one.

Stay tuned to see where I land on this one, many drams of whiskey will be drunk in the mean time while I attempt to make a decision.

Photos by: Andrew Maness – The Road Less Driven



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