Looking back - the MGBGTV8 and the community of V8 enthusiasts
For the 45th anniversary of the launch of the MGBGTV8 model in August 1973 and the 40th anniversary of the formation of the V8 Register five years later in 1978, we have a series of articles and features reflecting on many of the memorable moments, news items and photos enjoyed by fellow V8 enthusiasts.

You can contribute to the series with photos, copies of magazine articles and notes of your recollections of the personalities and memorable events over the 40 years since the V8 Register was launched in 1978. V8 Webmaster.

MGBGTV8 archives. More

Last updated: 210124
Launched: 170506
Documents for the launch of the V8 Register
Peter Beadle says during lockdown he has been clearing out some of his "40 plus years of hoarding" and sent in copies of three documents covering the preparations for a V8 Register, the half page V8 Newsletter in the November 1978 issue of Safety Fast! and the letter sent out to all members who had responded to the news of the launch of the V8 Register on 8th October 1978. More 210124
Costello designed gearbox
Peter Beadle says "do you know if anybody still has the "Costello" designed gearbox fitted in their car? It was manufactured by Kent Transmissions Ltd of Sidcup. A copy of their sales brochure is attached. The British Patent number is 1581272". More
Nightmare buying the last 40 MGBGTV8 bodyshells
Peter Beadle unearthed a copy of an article by Ken Smith and Neil Aldred published by Classic MG Magazine back in 1980s. It relates a hair raising tale of how they bought the last 40 bodyshells for the Sprite & Midget Centre in Richmond from MG in May 1981 following the sad closure of the MG Plant in Abingdon in October 1980. Article 210120
MG Plant gates stolen for scrap
Looking through his scrap book John Dupont found this report in the Oxford Times of the theft of large iron gates at the rear of the former MG Plant. As usual they were believed to have been stolen for their scrap value. They did not bear the famous MG badge as they were removed when the factory closed in October 1980. More 210119
Gate 3 at the MG Plant
One of our founder members of the V8 Register in 1978, John Dupont, has sent in some photos of his visiting Gate 3 at the MG Plant in Abingdon two days after the Plant closed for the last time. More 210119
V8 Register Journal published in Summer 1980
A neat A5 sized book packed with useful maintenance tips for the MGBGTV8 model. On the cover is Chris Dodds, an early member of the V8 Register in Australia. Tragically he died far too early in life but the V8 Register maintains his memory with an annual award.

It was the third publication following the formation of the V8 Register in October 1978 which was followed by the first V8 AGM held in May 1979 on the Sunday of the Club's annual meeting at Silverstone. At that time the first volume of the V8 Workshop Notes was well underway and soon to be published as the "First Fifty". More 201019
Essence of MG by Syd Enever
"We aim to give sports car motoring to as many people as possible at the right price. We do not wish to make a small quantity of high-priced, specialised cars for the few. At the same time, we set out to provide the fastest possible car combined with the greatest possible degree of safety" 200925
Syd Enever
March 1962

Source: posting on the V8 Register Facebook Group by David Knowles

Costello MGBGT V8 in an Observer article in February 1972
John Fry says "going through some MG papers the other day I came across an article from the Observer dated 3rd February 1972 on the Costello MGB which had just launched. My father before he forwarded the clipping to me when I was living in South Africa! According to DVLA checks I have made the car seems to be still about - it is taxed to 1st June 2021 but has not had an MOT for a year or two, but of course it no longer requires one". 200911 More
Would I sell this V8?
Mike Authers recalls meeting Cliff Humphries who built his own MGBGTV8 with a LHD USA Spec V8 bodyshell and other obsolete parts bought at the MG Plant when he worked there. Mike's interesting article describes the car and how he came to own it. 200813 More
Top Ten car producing countries from 1950 to 2019
Peter Beadle has found a link to this video with an interesting series of charts showing the levels of car production in the top ten countries from 1950 to 2019. It shows how Japan rose as a producer (by volume of cars produced) to pass the USA, the UK gradually sank down the chart and in the recent decades China has stormed into the lead. 200808 More
Well, I never knew that!
Keith Belcher has a series of items from the past which capture the times and the interest people have had in an MGB. 200807 See listing webpage
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". The Factory MGBGTV8 was eventually given approval by BL to go into production and was launched in August 1973. Here we have a timeline showing three earlier MGBV8s. 200630 More
MGBGTV8 seen on the forecourt at Former Glory in 1989
This framed photo shows the MGs on display outside Former Glory's first trading premises on the A40 Western Avenue in Acton west London in 1989 before they moved in 1996 to another location two miles away on the A40 in Perivale. In 2015 Nigel Guild decided to escape to the country to their present location at Postcombe near Thame, conveniently just off the M40 south of Oxford. The MGBGTV8 in the photo is Midnight Blue 1706, originaly Citron. 200531 More
Neil Aldred talks about his family's MGBGTV8
Neil Aldred was a key figure in Moss Europe with fellow V8 Register member Peter Beadle. A fascinating video of his reflections on his cars and the family's MGBGTV8. Peter Beadle says "Neil Aldred is a key figure in the history of Moss Europe and he has had many interesting cars over the years but the MGBGTV8 in Aconite has a particular value for his family. He talks of the completion of a major restoration carried out as a project by BMH at Witney". The video is one of the series produced by Moss. 200503 More
MGBGTV8 Press Car featured in Autocar road test in August 1973
John Fry has the rare press car Green Mallard 0124 with the registration plate HOH 920L which featured in the roadtest in the August 1973 issue of Autocar magazine. Later in 2015 the car was driven by Quentin Willson for an episode of a 13 part series of one hour programmes on Channel 5. He is seen flying by on a straight country road saying "Ding Dong!". The video doesn't seem to be available now but see our photo screengrabs of the MGBGTV8 from Episode 6. 200414 Video photos
John Fry recalls his MGBGTV8 in South Africa
John Fry says "it's amazing what one manages to turn up through the lockdown!" He had found a copy of Safety Fast! from July 1981 and had read the V8 Register's section in the Register News part of the magazine. John says "on perusal of the article I see it makes reference to my MGBGTV8 - Mirage 1675 - when I owned it in South Africa. The first owner lived on Mull in Scotland". 200414 More
Thames TV feature on British cars at the motor show in 1973
In the video Tony Bastable and Richard Hudson Evans take a look at the latest British offerings that were being shown at the 1973 motor show at Earls Court. It includes a brief view of the MGBGTV8 launched at that show. Keith Belcher says "I haven't seen this film from 1973 before but it includes an early MGBGTV8 - HOH 902L" It's a Pre-Production car, Bronze Yellow 0113 built in March 1973 and first registered in April that year. 200325 More
BL Directory of Approved Distributors & Dealers (AKD8593)
Peter Beadle , parts manager with University Motors in Epsom in the mid 1970s, posted on the V8 Bulletin Board that he had found a link to a BL Directory of Approved Distributors & Dealers (AKD8593) - an interesting document for those wanting to know who were the British Leyland dealers (including MG) back in 1973. The copy is Issue 3, November 1973 with 32 pages including front & back cover. 200220 List
MGBGTV8 Driver's Handbook editions
The MGBGTV8 Driver's Handbook AKD8423 was published in four editions from 1973 (launch of the model) until 1974 (with the launch of the rubber bumper model). Copies of the title page and contents page for each of the four editions are in a note. 200219
MGBGTV8 Driver's Handbook editions
Beige envelope handed to new owners of MGBs and derivatives in the 1970s
All new BL (Austin Morris MG) cars around that date were supplied with a beige envelope containing useful material by the dealer. The BL part number of the envelope was AKD7553. The text on the envelope says: "This envelope contains a Driver's Handbook and other important literature for the new owner". More
BL Standards revised 1974 motor show specs
Peter Beadle, was parts manager with University Motors in Epsom when the MGBGTV8 model was launched in August 1973. Here he has a collection of Austin Morris Standards for motor show cars. More 191202
MGBGTV8 launch - press release photos
Victor Rodrigues has sent in "four framed original photos were part of the press release during the presentation to the media". More & see MGBGTV8 archives 180818

MGBGTV8 launch - launch posters
Victor Rodrigues has contributed copies of three original MGBGT/V8 posters that were part of a sales promotion made by BL. The MGBGT/V8 jigsaw puzzle (alongside) was a larger reproduction of a powerful photo in the original sales brochure. More 180818

MGBGTV8 launch - jigsaw using a sales brochure photo
Victor Rodrigues has sent in the MGBGT/V8 jigsaw puzzle which was a larger reproduction of a powerful photo in the original sales brochure. More 180818

Costello V8 enthusiast and longstanding V8 Register member - Lothar Taverne
Lothar has had his Costello BGTV8 since the 1970s and Walter reports "he still enjoys owning the Costello V8". 180814 More
Early MGBGTV8 was a product exhibit at Longbridge
Gavin Bailey has owned this MGBGTV8 (Glacier White 0199) for just over 25 years and it was recently rebuilt shortly before he emigrated to the US. It's an early production car and was owned by British Leyland when new, displayed in the exhibition hall as a product exhibit at Longbridge. More. 180803
Review of the MGBGTV8 in the Australia Wheels magazine in October 1973
An Australian enthusiast, Shane Dineen, has sent over a copy of a review of the MGBGTV8 published in Wheels magazine in October 1973 saying it is "a less than flattering" article. 180723 More
MGBGTV8 Home & Export specifications in April 1973 and July 1974
Robert Rose has tracked down copies of two interesting 4 page documents. 180706 More
Personal Export Scheme guides for customers and salesmen - March 1974
Rober Rose has contributed copies of the four page PED Scheme guides for customers and salesmen. 180628 More
1972 Costello V8 Sales Brochure
Peter Beadle, a founder member of the V8 Register in 1978 and former Parts Manager at University Motors in Epsom, has found a copy of the 1972 Costello V8 Sales Brochure which is in his possession, He says "it's printed on both sides on A4 card then folded in half. Thought you would like scanned copies of an original". 170720 More
David Franklin, MGBGTV8 enthusiast and British Hillclimb Champion in 2008
Many V8 enthusiasts attending the Club's annual meeting at Silverstone during the 70s and 80s will remember David passing fully modified BCV8 cars in his standard MGBGTV8 in wet conditions. A remarkably talented race driver who became British Hillclimb Champion in 2008 in a March-BMW. In recent years he's been a regular entrant at Goodwood FOS and Revival meetings in Jaguars and Ferraris. 170707 More
University Motors playing card
Peter Beadle says this pre -1968 item is the "joker in the pack" - a University Motors playing card. 170621 More

British Leyland House Badges and the rare Red MG badges fitted to the MGB wing
The BL "House Badge" fitted to the wing of MGB models changed over time. Alongside is the rare Red MG badge used on cars destined for Arab Countries. 170620 More
University Motors rear window stickers
Peter Beadle has a photo of two sample rear window stickers for the former BL dealership in the characteristic blue colour. He says "I didn't even realise that they are not even the same as each other, or even the one which is on the rear screen of the Mini as shown on a posting on Flicker. I think they must have been locally sourced by each branch of Uiversity Motors. 170619 More
MGBGTV8 at Mann Egerton in High Wycombe in the 1970s
The MGBGTV8 was launched in August 1973 and Robert Rose has sent in a photo taken from the in-house Mann Egerton magazine dated 1974 commenting on the sale of the new MGBGTV8 model in their sales room. In addition to the very short article there is a showroom picture (the registrations on the cars suggest it is 1973) of the High Wycombe Mann Egerton branch. 170506 More
BCV8 Championship – a successful club racing series from 1976
It's been been one of the most successful Club based motor racing series and continues to thrive by providing close racing with full grids. Your first race is always something you
remember – the unfamiliar sensation of pushing a car to its limits and the process of learning track skills. The MGBGTV8 has played a major part in the spectator value of the BCV8 series. 170305 More
Second magazine for V8 enthusiasts in the New Year 1980
The second 36 page joint MGC & V8 Registers magazine was produced for the New Year 1980. It contained a copy of the article by Chris Goffey in Autocar magazine on how Rover found the Buick V8 engine and many of the early V8 Workshop Notes. 170225 More
First magazine for V8 enthusiasts in Spring 1979
Following the launch of the V8 Register in October 1978, the first 20 page magazine was produced and distributed to V8 members in Spring 1979 with articles of interest to both MGC and V8 members. The editor was Victor Smith working with Rob Gill (who took over as the secretary of the BCV8 Championship formed in 1975) and Vic Young who raced an MGC and was their technical guru. 170225 More
The story of the Buick V8 engine which found its way across the Atlantic to power a generation of Rover and Leyland vehicles
This article by Chris Goffey in Autocar (November 1976) was reproduced in the V8 Register Journal New Year 1980 by kind permission of Autocar issued to the V8 Register in 1979. It's a fascinating story of William Martin-Hurst stumbling across an aluminium Buick V8 engine lying on the floor of an experimental shop at Mercury Marine. 170225 More
First meeting of V8 Register members in May 1979
Following the launch of the V8 Register in October 1978, when Victor Smith sent letters to 10 to 15 fellow Club members he knew had an MGBGTV8 proposing a register for V8 enthusiasts, the first meeting of the V8 Register was held at the Crossroads Hotel at Weedon Bec on the Sunday evening of the Club's annual meeting at Silverstone in May 1979. 170224 More & Member list 1979 & MG Plant support letter
Early pre-production MGBGTV8 used for publicity & press reviews
Richard Kelly used to own a pre-production MGBGTV8 - Black Tulip 0120 - one of the early pre-production V8s used by BLMC Longbridge for publicity and as a press demonstrator. It was reviewed in Motor Sport in October 1973 shortly after the V8 was launched in August 1973. 170124 More
University Motors at Balham
Robert Rose has tracked down this photo of the University Motors branch in the High Road in Balham, London SW17. The Personal Export Delivery (PED) activities were handled by this branch in 1973. Prior to redevelopment in the late 1960s this site was used by Barkers Motors (London) and before that in 1964 had been the Balham Constitutional Club. 170226 More
University Motors at Epsom
University Motors was a leading MG distributor in the 1960s and 70s with branches in Hanwell (west London), Epsom and Kingston in Surrey and Balham (south London). In the late 1960s they also had a showroom in Conduit Street in Central London. Fellow V8 Register member Peter Beadle was working at UM Epsom in the 1970s as Parts Manager and has sent in a photo outside the branch in Epsom. 161220 More & More
Three MGBGTV8 enthusiasts on the Cambridgeshire Tour
David Allen contributes a photo from his files which he feels sure is worth publishing because it includes some of our V8 worthies. It was taken at the Newmarket Stud during the V8 Tour of Cambridgeshire some years ago. 161208 More
Mike Breedon a longstanding V8 member who has contributed a great deal
Mike Breedon has had MGBGTV8s for many years, including his Factory chrome bumper model in Blaze and a recently acquired chrome bumper car for restoration. He was an active BCV8 Championship competitor racing an MGBGTV8. Mike contributed many years of real service to the Club running the BCV8 Championship as its chairman - a demanding role. Sadly he stood down in 2010. 161206 More
MGBGTV8 from Scotland to France
Jean Gros in Eragny sur Oise, about 16 miles northwest of Paris, purchased an MGBGTV8 as the fourth owner in August 2016 and has now succeeded in registering it in France. It was despatched from the MG Plant at Abingdon on 25th February 1974 to Appleyard in Glasgow. It was then owned for many years by Pat Barnet in East Lothian and later owned by Andrew Eddie in Aberdeen. 161128 More
MGBGTV8 nearing the stage when a restoration will be undertaken
Gordon Mallett's attractive rubber bumpered MGBGTV8 is finished in Basillica Blue but was originally in Bracken. Gordon says "I discovered a couple of months ago, after speaking to a previous owner of my car, it was featured in a full page write up in Classic and Sportscar in their August 1992 issue". 161116 More & Update 180529
MGLive! and the earlier annual events at Silverstone
The Club's annual weekend meeting at Silverstone has always been popular with V8 enthusiasts and for many years we have had a V8 Marquee as a place to meet up with fellow members, for refreshments and sometimes to take shelter from the elements! Usually in the week running up to the event there are several events or visits, not least a visit to the Hook Norton Brewery and lunch on the Friday. 161113 More
Looking back to the 1970s - UNIPART Wax Shampoo
Victor Rodrigues
says "in my MGV8 bits and collectables I still have this unused aftermarket car polishing wax dispenser which was offered by UNIPART, the car and spares supplier as part of the British Leyland group by the end of the 1970s. Despite the daring labelling showing a female involved in car polishing works on an MGBGTV8, it was used to advertise the product!" 161108 More
The V8 is the absolute business!
In a short video Robbie Coltrane sums up why the V8 inspires affection amongst motoring enthusiasts who can recognise the subtle qualities and pleasures of the V8 engine - magical comments, wonderful sounds. 070924 More
Pre-development V8 rallied by Brian Field
Brian Field campaigned his MGBGTV8 for well over 20 years in the RAC, Welsh, Scottish, Manx and Irish rallies and had many successes including winning the RAC historic class in 1990. He was still rallying the car in the 1990s at 80 but in 2002 at 86 decided that it was time for the V8 to go as he no longer felt he could exercise the machine in the style it was used to! 021030
Marketing brochures for the MGBGTV8
The marketing brochures for the MGBGTV8 still look as exciting as ever over 30 years later. This collection has been assembled from copies of original brochures loaned by members so we can have a reference set available online. The collection is provided on the basis that any copies made shall be for personal reference only and shall not be used for sale or trading. 161108 More
Memorable MGB adverts from the 1970s
The strap lines ranged from "Your mother wouldn't like it" to "Some day you will settle down with a nice sensible girl, a nice sensible house and a nice family saloon - some day" to "You can do it in an MG" and more. See our selection of memorable MG adverts. 161108 More
MGBGTV8 launch photos from BL
See a set of the BL launch photos (black & white). 161121 More
Press release for the launch of the MGBGTV8 in August 1973
A comprehensive 19 page package of press releases made on Wednesday 15th August 1973 provided details of the new, more powerful MGBGTV8 model. The package has five sets of press release documents on British Leyland headed paper. See the releases here. 161108 More
MGBGTV8 at the 1973 Motor Show at Earls Court
The MGBGTV8 was launched at the 1973 Motor Show at Earls Court in London. A video clip catches the period style of motor show reporting with references to the "window dressing more or less as before!" The V8s featured at the show were Citron 798 on display on a ramp with the logo "the new 124mph MGB GT V8" and Aconite 799 on the stand. 161108 More . Window dressing provides glamour at the show. More
MGBGTV8 road test report in Police Review
As the new MGBGTV8 was launched in August 1973, the specialist journal Police Review did a road test and reported its finding. They were keen on the MGBGTV8 saying "this car combines a businesslike appearance with a reasonable performance, and is capable of carrying a surprising amount of equipment. Now we have a new model which should make this one of the finest enforcement cars available - the MGBGTV8". 080331 More
What were the views of the press of the launch of the MGBGTV8?
Autocar reviewed the new MGBGTV8 on 16th August 1973 and the specialist magazine, Police Review, and Motor Sport gave it a thorough and favourable review in their October issues. 161108
& Motor Sport
Six years too late, comfortable seating, poor ride, excessive wind noise, fast and economical - Motor Sport review in 1973
That was the frank verdict of Motor Sport on their 1,900 mile road test of the new MGBGTV8 model in October 1973. Rather than test the car immediately after its launch in August 1973, they had waited for a lengthy 1,700 mile continental trip to test the car in a demanding Grand Touring role. 101228 More