early MGB V8 Conversion - an Australian MGB Buick V8 in 1967|
Barely five years after the launch of the model, an MGB with an alloy Buick V8 nestling under the bonnet appeared in Australia. The conversion was carried out by Mark Keeley, a high performance American car importer in Sydney. It was reported in 1967 in a fascinating article by Al Lauder in an Australian car magazine with the caption "For go-manship, not show-manship, would you believe an MGB Buick?" It added "Disguise exercise: hide one 218 cube alloy Buick V8 under the bonnet of an MGB with no body mods and a single exhaust outlet. Change the final drive and hose off everybody. Understeer on corners? You must be joking sir, this mill is more than 50 lbs lighter than the original!"
News of this remarkable MGB V8 Roadster reached MG enthusiasts in the UK and Abingdon and soon the idea of a V8 powered MGB became of real interest. Sadly the corporate politics within the BL Group at the time did not encourage the development of the MGB with the V8 engine that became such a successful upgrade for Rover models. But later, when the BL senior management finally saw how good an MGB V8 could be, they authorised the development and production of the MGBGTV8 model at Abingdon. By that time the entrepreneur Ken Costello had launched his conversions and demonstrated how successful the combination of the MGB and a light alloy V8 engine could be. More 130121