Was there a Factory MGBGTV8 LE?

One of our founder members of the V8s, Howard Gosling, has an MGBGTV8 LE he had converted from a brand new MGBGT LE by Brown & Gammons in 1980.
Howard says "I did meet someone who was a farmer who had put a V8 into the LE BGT had had acquired but it was a conversion, of course."

Why was this LE V8 called "Qucksilver"?
With the initials "HG", Howard Gosling explains how the name was adopted for his car: "the letters Hg are the chemical symbol for Mercury which was traditionally known as QuickSilver! The car's official colour was Pewter."

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MGBGT LE V8 – Quicksilver
In the confused period running up to the final closure of the MG Plant at Abingdon in 1979, a number of “limited edition” MGB Roadsters and GTs were produced with the GTs finished in a Pewter metallic body colour and fitted with a set of five spoke alloy wheels. Longstanding MGBV8 enthusiast Howard Gosling was then running an rubber bumpered MGBGTV8 (Tahiti Blue 2332) and on learning that a director within BL responsible for the MG Plant had been working on plans to produce a single V8 powered car as part of the limited edition series, he registered his interest in buying this new one-off car – an MGBGT LE V8 – as a replacement for his existing V8. But sadly the plans for MG to produce the limited edition V8 fell away when that director left his post at Abingdon. Howard believes the LE V8 project was dropped when the Factory Manager may have been dismissed for opposing the closure of Abingdon.

But Howard’s interest in a limited edition MGBGT LE V8 had been set running and through his close contacts with Brown & Gammons in Baldock, where his MGs had been serviced for many years, he was able to buy a new MGBGT LE and then commission Brown & Gammons to build his V8 version as a new car. In the process Howard sold off the redundant four cylinder engine. As the new MGBGT LE had been in store for some time they found the car needed a complete respray which was carried out under warranty. Then because of the delay before first registering the car for the road in August 1981, the new MGBGT LE V8 ended up with an “X” registration plate. Howard named his new car “Quicksilver”.

Howard has used his MGBGTV8 LE as a daily driver for many years and reports it has had two rebuilds in its busy life! - One rebuild at around 100,000 miles led by Geoff Allen and then a complete re-shell by Brown and Gammons at about 190,000 miles. The car is still going strong at over 240,000 miles. A truly active and well used MGV8!

One feature of Howard’s ownership of his MGBV8s is his heavy daily use in the course of his business, on Club duties (he has been a Club director and then Vice Chairman and a volunteer in race administration for the MG Car Club over the years) and for general pleasure. His annual mileage is not only extraordinary by classic car standards but also by modern car use too. So after many years of heavy use the car has had two rebuilds in its busy life! The car is still going strong at over 238,000 miles. A truly active and well used MGV8!

One rebuild at around 100,000 miles was undertaken by the late Geoff Allen at his Abingdon workshop with the respray handled by Brown & Gammons. Then with further continued heavy use Quicksilver needed a second rebuild in 2005 at about 190,000 miles when, because of the state of the original bodyshell, the rebuild included a new Heritage bodyshell with the much improved rust protection provided by the phosphoretic coating applied in the manufacturing process at BMH Witney. The work, probably better described as a restoration.

The car has overdrive on top gear operated by a switch on the dashboard and on a long run from Scotland home to Dorset Howard recorded an average fuel consumption of 30mpg with an average speed of almost 70mph using Super Shell fuel. The total mileage to date is over 240,000 miles and the car continues to get heavy daily use with much enjoyment in the process!

Are there any more MGBGT LE V8s?
Martin Smith (Moss Europe) was recently in touch with Peter Beadle saying "I have a far fetched question for you - many years ago I have a customer who thought he had a Factory built MGBGT LE V8 and was most insistent about it, and last week one of the sales team had a another customer on the phone who had one and saying the Factory built 6 of them. Have you ever seen or heard of these 6 cars?"

Peter's response was "the simple answer is I don't know, so I have contacted some "Knowledgeable Friends" & to quote Jeremy Clarkson "This is what I know": Black B series powered MGB LEs were first made for the US market long before the "run out LE" cars of 1979/80 which were made for the UK market just before the MG Plant closed. I believe one "new "Black LHD LE Roadster was converted to V8 power here in England but not at Abingdon. However in 1980 Brown & Gammon took one brand new MGBGT LE finished in Silver bodywork and installed all the GTV8 components into it for Howard Gosling. The car was then called Quick Silver. It's the only car I know of which comes close to your question. See the notes above from Howard Gosling, the owner who commissioned the build from new."

There is an MGBGTV8 Jubilee finished in BRG with gold stripes built at Abingdon in 1975 for the Advanced Driving School which was originally registered "BSM 1".

In the early 1980s the MGOC commissioned a very few unsold MGBGTs to be converted to V8 power and they were called MGBGTV8 SECs.

Moving on in time an MGBGTV8 RV8 has recently come to light which was built at the BMH Plant, then at Faringdon, using an RV8 underpinning and an MGBGTV8 donor car and its registration. This is the only Genuine MG RV8 GT built at an MG Rover Plant as far as I know. Cowley did run an MGBGTV8 Mule with RV8 running gear to develop the MG RV8 model but I will now leave it up to my friends to add any important information they may have. More