The V8 - the MG with effortless performance
Launched 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)

On 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.

The 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.

A 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.

The 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".

It 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: Victor Smith)

Back to Classic Power Profiles

Buying an V8
Guide to the model and what to look for. More

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.

Photo profile of the MGBGTV8

How many V8s were made & in what colours?

What body paint & trim colour combinations were used?

Buying guides
We have three useful guides

Collector's guide
by Dave Wellings

Regular use guide
by Gordon H-Jones

from Geoff Allen

Typical history of an MGBGTV8
Black 0974

V8 restoration references

Technical information for the MGBGTV8

V8 workshop manuals & handbooks

Manuals for the MGBGTV8

V8 Workshop Notes
a series of tips and notes contributed by V8 enthusiasts since 1978
V8 Notes
Copyright reserved by the V8 Register of the MG Car Club PO Box 888, London SW14 7YT
V8 Register - MG Car Club - the leading group for V8 enthusiasts at