MGB V8 - Diary













Other Bits






May 2006

When trial fitting the radiator I have discovered that the radiator panels don't appear to be fitted properly by Heritage. Either that or the work done by the MGB Hive to convert from rubber to chrome bumper has created the problem. They appear to have welded in a section from the bottom of the radiator support panel to the main front leg that isn't there on other chrome bumper cars. By cutting this link on one side I managed to fit the radiator but was still not happy with it. So I ordered two replacement panels and have now welded them in place to my satisfaction. See Bodyshell for more details.

Now having the radiator in the right place I can try and finalise the position of the electric water pump. I want to get it as low as possible in the bottom hose. See pics with front cross-member, and radiator all now fitted. I did also fit the anti-roll bar but removed it before I got round to taking pics.


March/April 2006

Spent some time fitting various bits that needed holes drilling - best to do it before the paint! These included the controller for the electric water pump, clifford alarm control boxes, Hotwire ECU. Also did some seam sealing on the underside.


August 2005

Trial fitted the Rear suspension sub frame. Discovered another interference fit resulting from using components from different sources! With the suspension at full extension the lower wishbones sit heavily on the exhaust. I think it will be easier to leave this until the car is built and then take it to an exhaust specialist and have the pipes adjusted!!


May 2005

Trial fitment of the Fuel Tank. Supplied by MGOC to go with the twin exhaust system. Not a cheap solution but at least I get a bit more fuel in!

Also spent lots of money this month! Finally bit the bullet on the suspension system and despite having bought some parabolic springs and a 3.07:1 CWP from Clive Wheatley for the rear axle I splashed out on complete front and back Hoyle independent suspension kits. Not cheap but very well engineered and put together and I am told I will not be disappointed!

April 2005

Trial fitment of the Power Steering setup from MGOC has raised a few problems! When trying to fit the modified cross member I have found that I have 3 interference points. The top of the rack is contacting the bottom of the front cover, the steering rack bottom UJ is catching in the engine mount and the hydraulic pipes from the rack.


Similar problems with an up rated heater from MOSS. The top mounting hole does not line up with the hole in the chassis (2 old heaters I have are perfect!) and it either mates with the vertical face or the horizontal face - but not both together. Contacted Moss and they said the would get back to me........


January 2005

Finished fitment of the exhaust. Involved welding on a new rear bracket for the twin exhaust, putting a second cut-out in the rear valance and drilling and attaching the centre brackets. Also welding on the nuts so they are captive.


Also started to choose locations for electrical equipment. Have decided to build my own loom as it is quick and cheap as converting a standard loom and I am dubious about MG/Leyland's habits of not fusing things like headlights!! So on of the vital components is a Relay and Fuse board now fitted in the top of the passenger foot well.


October 2004

Visited the National Restoration show and spent lots of money! Most significant purchase was a Chassis Turner from CJ Autos. It is a fantastic piece of kit. It is not cheap but I have found it of immense value. It came with two mounting brackets  but without specific bracketry to fit it to the car. I made these up - at the front from a set of bumper irons and at the back from some square tube.


October 2003

It took a it of courage to start taking chunks out of a nice new heritage shell! That is until you have got an angle grinder in hand............!! I now see the point of measure twice, cut once. Fortunately I did, well I probably measured 4 or 5 times actually! Anyway the holes for the headers were duly cut and strengtheners welded in place.


August 2003

Finally fitted the Gearbox cross-member. Involved drilling new holes for fixings and four 30mm holes in the floor pan for access.


June 2003

Radiator trial fitted but found that radiator panel was out of alignment preventing fitment. Eventually cut the bottom of the panel to allow to flex to fit radiator, and will need welding up.

May 2003

Gearbox and empty engine block fitted to check clearances etc. but found that Gearbox cross member was not an easy fit!

2001 & 2002

Unfortunately I have spent many months getting the garage fully kitted out. Finally completed it during early 2002 with the following: 

  • A ceiling which means its warmer, lighter and there is a loft to keep spare parts
  • Floor painted with International Garage Floor paint
  • 8 fluorescent tube lights
  • Compressed Air piped around the garage from a 3 hp SIP compressor
  • Dura Cabinets – an excellent buy if somewhat pricey!
  • 4 - 1800 watt electric bar heaters
  • Bench grinder, pillar drill and de-greasing bath.

October 00

 Moving House again!! This time to a double garage with a house attached!

June 00

Moving house!! But only to temporary accommodation as new house is not ready.

Shell was moved in the back of a 7.5 ton Tail Lift wagon, lifted in by many friends!!

January 00

Some months have passed and I have not been recording the minor events.

At some stage I spent a load of money on engine and gearbox. I have purchased from RPI Engineering a short engine 3.9 V8 and an ex MOD recon SD1 5 speed box!

During the summer I removed the front wings to expose the stone chip that MGB Hive applied. The primer that the Heritage shells get painted in at the factory is quite glossy, and I suspect that the surface was not roughed up sufficiently for the stone chip to get a good key, and as a result the stone chip paint was peeling off quite badly. At the time I had a half hearted attempt to remove the paint with a scraper. Just before Christmas I had spent a couple of hours removing all the loose paint

Today, I have finished removing all the paint, roughed up all the surface and applied a coat of etch primer.

February 99

A trip to the MG spares day at Stoneleigh gave rise to the purchase of a windscreen frame.

Finally cleared the garage at my sisters of the old shell. Got £1.80 for the remains!

Removed the rear bumper, treated and painted the exposed metal on the body and on the bumper brackets as made by MGB Hive. Also wire brushed and painted the steering column bracket removed from the previous shell.

December 1998

 Jenolited the metal exposed by the transmission tunnel. Painted with Davids Zinc Primer. Also treated and primed areas around front bumper mountings after having removed the front bumper and grill.

November 1998

Shell delivered on back of trailer, and with the help of Sandra & Nigel's help we carried into the garage and sat it on some stands.

Now it feels real!

September 1998

Visited MGB Hive, and discussed my plans with Sandra. After about an hour I could string the discussion out no further and placed an order for a Rubber Bumper Heritage Bodyshell. Shell to be modified to accept Chrome Bumpers, transmission tunnel raised to accept SD1 gearbox, Filter housing bracket to be welded in. Left a deposit. It has really begun.


The New Year brought new determination to make a start on the vehicle. Finances looked as though they may allow the job to be done. Also my sister moved into a new house  with a double garage. A deal was struck whereby I could make use of half the garage in return for clearing it out and painting the floor. Needless to say the deed was done before they had even unpacked their stuff.

Stripping of the old vehicle began in earnest. After a few hours it is now looking like an abandoned project.


Nothing really happened to the car during 1997. It sat under the carport for most of the year and drove me mad. Having only a single garage and single width drive I had to push it out of the drive every time I wanted to use my Caterham or do work on another vehicle in the garage.

Bought a couple of bits with the conversion in mind, most notably an RV8 gearbox crossmember to facilitate easy fitment of an SD1 5 speed box.

9th November 1996

Engine and Gearbox were removed and transported to other bloke.

3rd November 1996

Returned to Balsall Common with a towing trolley borrowed from a friend. Loading the car proved to be easy enough, and over a cup of tea with the Hopes I promised to keep them informed of what happened to the car. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I intended to use the vehicle as a donor for a V8 Roadster...... When its finished........

So what of our purchase? Well it is a 1974 MGB GT with Rubber Bumpers first registered in Jan 1975, making it one of the first rubber bumper models. The ideal car for my conversion as the rubber bumper cars have the collapsible steering column needed to ease the V8 conversion but being an early model retained the original style dashboard. The colour? Well described as yellow on the V5 but in truth is really more like Sandglow or Bracken. The bodywork was in poor condition with huge holes where the sills should be and the rear arches falling off. After a few days at home the jacking point would fall off the drivers side when I shut the door. Perfect for what I wanted!!

 The journey home proved easy and uneventful. We stopped a couple of times to check all was well with the rear axle and brakes, but no heat was evident. The Speedo accumulated 52 miles on the journey so at least that works.

2nd November 1996

Having spotted an ideal MGB GT to use for a donor for the V8 Roadster in Auto Trader Anne and I set off for Balsall Common. We were so sure that this was the car that we dropped in at Warwick University and used the cash machines to extract sufficient money to make the purchase.

 On arrival at the address given by Mr Patrick Hope we found no one in, so sat and waited. Just as the Hope’s returned from shopping so another prospective purchaser arrived. It was clear that he was as keen as us to purchase this vehicle, but for different reasons. He seemed particularly interested in the engine. Never one to caught in a straight bidding battle I quizzed the opponent as to his intentions. After some discussion he agreed to leave and let me purchase the vehicle on the condition that I subsequently sold him the engine and gearbox for £50. On reflection he got a bargain, although the vehicle had not been run for 4 or more years so who knows the condition of the power train.

 It turned out that the owner was in fact the Hope’s daughter Sally, and the reason for the sale was that her parents were moving to the South Coast and could no longer store the vehicle. Patrick obviously felt a bit guilty about all this as he had promised to restore the vehicle for Sally but had not found the time. Anne and I duly parted with £350 and agreed to return the next day to collect the vehicle.