Early MGBV8s

Several V8 engine conversions were made to MGBs before Ken Costello was able to develop and offer his MGBV8 Conversions. His advert promoted the "Costello MGB V8 as the most economical high performance sports car available".

Here we have a timeline showing three earlier MGBV8s.

Part of our "Looking back" series
ahead of the 45th Anniversary of the launch of the MGBGTV8 in August 1973 and the 40th Anniversary of the formation of the V8 Register in October 1978. Looking back


Posted: 200630
MGB with a V8 Ford conversion in 1965
Roger Wilks' post on the MGB Register's Facebook page says he came across a brief report of an MGB powered by a Ford V8 whilst reading some back copies of his car magazines. It was in Autosport February 1965! He ponders whether "Tony Farrell beat Costello and MG in placing a V8 in our much loved MGB?"

The article reports "Tony Farrell of Gran Turismo Developments in Hove is developing an MGB with a V8 Ford engine. Full details are to be released as soon as teething troubles are overcome". See more
MGB with a Daimler SP250 2.5 V8 in 1965
The Works entered MGBs for le Mans in 1964 and 1965 ran well but clearly MG felt they could do better so they sent a standard MGB Roadster to Ricardo at Shoreham. Their engineers set to work on the modifications needed to install the Daimler powerplant. The first track tests resulted in the lay gear shearing and then gearbox problems. Then mysteriously the project seems to have come to a halt.

The MG Daimler V8 Roadster was registered with the V8 Register many years ago by a member in Wiltshire and later by a Swiss enthusiast. See more
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?" 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. See more
Costello MGBV8s in 1970
The Costello V8 - a powerful package developed by an enthusiast in both Roadster and GT forms
Ken 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. See more
Factory MGBGTV8 1972
The MG Plant had settled their ideas on a large engined MGBGT for some time and had chosen the Rover V8 power plant 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. An MGV8 prepared by Costello was loaned to BL and eventually the senior management recognised it was worth getting it into production but setting a tight development budget. The model was launched in August 1973. See more

Development of the MGBGTV8 at Abingdon, Don Hayter’s recollections. Talk in 2002