MGBV8 profile |
The Costello V8 - a powerful package developed by
an enthusiast in both Roadster and GT forms
Costello brought out his MGBV8 Costello in 1970. He started with a standard
MGB and shoehorned a 3,528cc Rover V8 into the engine bay which retained the original
opposed semi-downdraught twin SU carburettors on top in the centre of the Vee.
To accommodate this equipment, the Costello V8 was fitted with a distinctive power
bulge in the bonnet panel. The V8 engine was considerably more powerful than the
detuned unit subsequently used in the Factory produced MGBGTV8s and had the 10.5:1
pistons producing 150bhp. This power unit was mated to a standard MGB Mk II/Mk
III all synchromesh gearbox and the performance has been described as "electrifying"
with a 130mph top speed and exceptional acceleration - it could reach 100mph in
22 seconds. Costello fitted chunky cast alloy wheels which have a passing resemblance
to the very distinctive Dunlop cast alloy and steel rim wheels fitted to the Factory
The Costello V8 was £2,443 in the early 1970s - almost
double the cost of an MGB and that price did not include overdrive, radial tyres
or the Costello alloy wheels! Compared with other performance cars of its time,
the Costello V8 was very expensive - the Ford Capri 3000 GT was only £1,570
for example. But the Costello V8 had that magical feature - V8 power. Costello
produced V8 powered versions of both the MGBGT and MGB Roadster
models. Ken Costello registered his own Costello MGBV8 Roadster with the V8 Register
MGBV8 enthusiasts are loyal to their machines and have a fond regard for the
Costello V8s because their production was an example of a private venture seeing
an ideal combination where a car and a Rover V8 transplant would transform the
performance of what was then an ageing sports car design and suspension package.
Today Dave Vale in Kent continues to support Costello MGBV8s. Whilst there is
a continuing interest in Costellos, it is fair to say there is considerably greater
interest in new MGV8 conversions, many using new Heritage shells which have far
better rust proofing and far lower future bodywork maintenance costs.
of the myths one often hears is that the MG Factory saw what Costello was
doing and then stepped in and produced their own MGBGTV8. The truth is the Factory
had been developing a large engined MGBGT for some time and had chosen the Rover
V8 power plant. Their thoughts on the car had settled during 1970 and 1971 and
at one time MG clearly hoped to announce production of the MGBGTV8 in 1972 but
the Factory was held back by the constraints over their product development budget
from the holding company, BLMC. This was clarified by Don Hayter during a talk
he gave to a well attended meeting of V8 Register members at Sandford near Abingdon
in February 2002 entitled "How did the Factory get the V8 package so right!".
finally the Factory produced the MGBGTV8, it was clear it was a refined car for
its time with an impressive specification. It is also a remarkably pleasant car
to drive with a good weight balance and fuel economy.
our Costello V8 microsite. More
Cars for Sale review of Costello MGV8s, March 2009. More
five years after the launch of the MGB model, the first MGV8. More
V8 Roadster & MGBGT facts
Produced: 1971 to 1976 with
the first MGB V8 roadster conversion built by Ken Costello in 1969 with an Oldsmobile
Bodywork: Two door fixed coupe GT with rear hatch and two
Engine: Either Oldsmobile or Rover sourced aluminium
alloy normally aspirated V8 engines were fitted with twin SU carburettors or a
single dual-choke Weber producing 150bhp.
Performance: 0-60 mph: 7.8
secs and top speed: 125 mph plus.
Fuel consumption: 25-30 mpg.
It is believed that "no more than 225-230 cars" were made by Costello,
believed to be 190 MGBGTs and 35 MGB Roadsters.
disc brakes and drums at the back, variety of wheels including the distinctive
light alloy wheels, with a four speed gearbox with or without a Laycock overdrive.
of cars still existing: The V8 Register database has over 70 Costello V8s
Spares and servicing availability: Very good, particularly
from the specialist V8 conversion spares and servicing traders.
L 13ft 3" (4.02m) x W 5ft (1.523m) x H 4ft 3" (1.292m) for the GT.
chrome bumper fixed head GTV8 from £6,500 to £20,750 and V8 Roadster
from £7,000 to £23,500. Exceptional Class1 cars can reach £25,000
Costello badge - V EIGHT COSTELLO
Motor magazine advert
, October 1973. Another Costello V8 advert|