Replacement 5-speed Mazda gearbox for an MGBGTV8
A review of the kit and how it performs in an MGV8, what is involved with an installation and any necessary modifications, who can supply and install the kit, and what are the costs. Christian Disney (Vitesse) and Peter Berry used Peter's experience with a Vitesse replacement gearbox as a case study.

Photo: Peter Berry's MGBGTV8 up on the ramps at the Vitesse workshops during the installation of the replacement gearbox.

Posted: 190611
The presentation followed Peter Berry's experiences with Vitesse Global Ltd and their installing a Mazda 5 speed gearbox. He covered his story from his noting the original gearbox displayed signs of wear and imminent failure and then reviewing the early options and decision process, through implementation and concluding with costs and driving impressions.

The presentation covered all stages. It commenced with a light-hearted look at the world we occupied when the V8 was first launched in the early '70s, followed by a list of options to replace the gearbox. Peter stated that he didn't want to rebuild the inherent weaknesses of the original design back in and so he was drawn towards a 'better' solution - albeit a move away from originality. The pros and cons of the 'originality' topic were also briefly discussed.

The presentation progressed through the evaluation of the Mazda gearbox after test driving the Vitesse demonstrator, followed by booking a slot and embarking on the full drive in/drive out service offered by Vitesse. Additional work was covered and a cost summary of the basic work plus extras was presented.

The presentation concluded with the very favourable driving impressions of the newly fitted gearbox which Peter felt was a completely new and much improved driving experience. Peter also explained why he chose not to retain the old gearbox but how it now lives on within the V8 community elsewhere. A Q&A session covered the after-sales service provided by Vitesse and the removal of the engine-stay bar from Peter's car.

As a footnote, Peter says "I received a later question from John Cumming regarding the way Vitesse had fitted the Speedo cable to early conversions, without a 90 degree adaptor - resulting in the cable breaking. Vitesse supplied the following response: "We had a few cables break early on, and we weren't happy with the geared angle drives available (experience with Caterhams is that they are the first thing to break!) so unfortunately we had to make do with advising the customer to route the cable as carefully as possible. Finally we found an angle drive that fits the Mazda speedo drive unit, and it's an OE Toyota/Denso product that was long out of production. However, due to the increase in demand (from us) they have started making it again! So in summary, all kits from Vitesse now include an angle drive which is actually a metal tube with an inner cable, rather than a geared unit. We haven't had one fail yet!