Buyers Guide to:
1965 to 1980
MG Car Club
The MG Owners’ Club
One of the most popular and best-loved classics of all time, and arriving three years after the MGB (itself a replacement for the more old-fashioned MGA) the BGT was launched at the 1965 Earls Court Motor Show and quickly gained a reputation for practicality and affordability. The rear seats and lift-up tailgate certainly made it useful for sports car fans with family duties, while the B-Series engine managed a useful 97bhp – enough for a 104mph top speed. From 1974 the chrome bumpers were replaced with heftier rubber items and the ride height was raised, both required by American legislation. Harris Mann was the designer responsible for the changes – which also added five inches to the overall length – and while not everyone likes the look these models can offer better value today.
- 1. Front and rear valance
- 2. Front and rear wings and wheel arches
- 3. A-posts
- 4. Bonnet
- 5. Door bottoms
- 6. B-posts
- 7. Sills
- 8. Tailgate
- All of the bodywork for signs of rust as it’s a common problem that is costly to eradicate. Check the panels for filler, and for evidence of bodged restorations
- That previous sill repairs have been done properly. It’s a tricky job and bodges are common
- For corrosion in the floor-pan, the inner wings, the chassis outriggers, and the jacking points. Others areas to check are the battery tray and fuel tank
- The panel gaps and the fit of the doors; if they catch on the bodywork it could just mean adjustment is needed, or it could be a sign of major structural problems
- That the front and rear screens aren’t leaking as it will lead to corrosion in the floor. Make sure the carpets aren’t damp
- Whether you’re looking at a chrome or rubber bumper model. The latter were fitted from 1974 but it is possible to convert them to the earlier spec, so you need to know exactly what you’re buying
- The B-Series engine for wear and neglect.
- Key issues are oil leaks from the crankshaft seals; a worn timing chain; low oil pressure; excessive exhaust smoke caused by wear in the cylinder bores; rumbling from a worn bottom end; and a blocked crankcase breather system which will cause the engine to burn oil. These engines are easy and cheap to re-build, though, and ideal for the DIY mechanic
- The cooling system as overheating will quickly lead to head gasket failure. A furred-up radiator or leaks from the water pump aren’t uncommon
- For poor running caused by a worn ignition or fuel system, although neither are dif cult to overhaul. Upgrades are common so make sure you’re happy with any work that’s been done
- The gearbox for worn synchromesh and the whine of worn bearings. Whines from the differential rarely lead to failure, but check for oil leaks
- The suspension for corrosion around the mounting points, and sagging springs and dampers. The front kingpins and trunnions need regular greasing to prevent premature failure
- For vague or heavy steering that indicates worn/ seizing joints. Overhauling the system isn’t dif cult, and the same applies to the brakes which just need checking for wear or neglect
- That models with wire wheels aren’t suffering from wear in the hubs, splines, or spokes. The steel ‘Rostyle’ wheels are easier to refurbish, while wires will need specialist attention
- The cabin for signs of general wear and decay. Just about every part and piece of trim is available, but the cost of a complete overhaul will soon mount up so budget accordingly
- That the interior hasn’t become damp because of a damaged or leaking sunroof. It’s a popular fitment so check it carefully
Everything Check Out?
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