The V8 - the
MG with effortless performance|
in August 1973, the V8 powered MGB combined the popular fixed head coupe body
style with a powerful three and half litre light alloy V8 engine. The Rover powerplant
ran with a reduced compression ratio but an increased torque compared with the
similar engines then used in the Rover saloons. The result transformed the MGB,
creating a very nimble car with the luxury of multi-cylinder power which is both
flexible and economical - features which continue to have a special appeal for
V8 enthusiasts today!
Teal Blue 0691 owned by Paula Cottle. (Photo: Paula Cottle)
the road the MGBGTV8 has an effortless performance, accelerating rapidly in the
higher gears with 125 mph available in both direct and overdrive top. Hills just
melt away and the torque gives the car an unfussy manner. The 0 to 60 time of
7.7 seconds is still 30 years later, a time many of today's sports saloons cannot
touch. Even when asked to work hard, the exhaust note retains its very pleasingly
modest but purposeful burble in keeping with its understated manner.
V8 engine, although from an old Buick design from the early fifties, contains
hydraulic cam followers which give the MGBGTV8 a quietness that compliments the
smooth power. Under the bonnet, the lightweight aluminium V8 engine seems much
bigger than the original four cylinder steel engine but is only just a little
heavier when the engine ancillaries are included. The lightweight benefits are
good front to rear weight distribution and an appreciable increase in the power
to weight ratio, even from the detuned 137 bhp V8 power unit.
surprising feature of the MGBGTV8 is the fuel economy. Even driven on the open
road with a sense of fun the enthusiast can enjoy with V8 power, it is quite easy
to achieve between 27 and 31 miles to the gallon. The overdrive unit gives the
MGBGTV8 long legs with around 29 mph per 1,000 rpm or 3,000 rpm at 90 mph. The
convenient overdrive facility is available on top gear at the flick of a stalk
switch on the steering column and on many of the earlier chrome bumpered examples
of the model, it is available on third gear as well.
MGBGTV8 is however not without its poor features - excessive wind noise at speed
and a choppy ride at slow speeds from the stiffer rear springs which are needed
to cope with the higher power output. The gearbox has to be treated with consideration
when punching the additional power through to the road wheels. At
its launch in 1973, the MGBGTV8 was welcomed as a powerful example of the MG marque
but generally regarded as arriving several years late in a popular but ageing
bodyshell and suspension package, then over ten years old. The MGBGTV8 is very
much an MG combining the famous marque's Safety Fast! features - speed
and performance with predictable and forgiving handling characteristics. At the
time of the launch, the specification of servo assisted brakes, tinted glass,
distinctive light alloy wheels, fine cord covered adjustable seats, two speed
wipers and an overdrive as standard made it a refined sports car for 1973 and
good value at its launch price of £2,294. In so many ways the MGBGTV8 is an undiscovered
classic sportscar and prices have never been driven up by "chequebook investors".
remains a sports car that a small band of enthusiasts enjoy and see as very good
value today in every sense. It is much liked by MG enthusiasts!
Harvest Gold 1089 at the Hook Norton Brewery
in Oxfordshire. (Photo:
This note is part of the Classic Power Profiles from the V8 Register -
the leading specialist group for MGV8 enthusiasts. The V8 Register is part of
the MG Car Club.
Banner photo: one of the BL Publicity photos
produced for the launch of the MGBGTV8.
profile of the MGBGTV8
many V8s were made & in what colours? V8NOTE300
What body paint &
trim colour combinations were used? V8NOTE313
three useful guides
by Dave Wellings
Regular use guide
from Geoff Allen
history of an MGBGTV8
V8 restoration references
information for the MGBGTV8
V8 workshop manuals & handbooks