Heritage Competition Bodyshells and Equipment
as published in British V8 Newsletter, Volume XV Issue 2, September 2007
by: Curtis Jacobson
In just the last few years, the number of really high-class (high dollar) MG-based hot-rods and "vintage racecars" has really exploded. At the same time, higher-power engine swaps - especially those using small-block Ford V8 engines - are putting more and more demand on chassis strength and rigidity. New MG suspensions are being introduced to dramatically improve handling, and tires are developing more grip. Performance-modified British sports cars are getting more track time too. (Did you read our article about the recent "British V8 Track Day" at Nelson Ledges?)
There just aren't many MGB "donor cars" available without rust or collision damage. If your used MGB body needs rust or collision repair, you're looking at expensive skilled labor to put it right. As if that weren't enough hassle, you may be looking at rubber-to-chrome bumper conversion work or engine compartment mods too. The time has come to explore Heritage bodyshells.
Here's the great news! Like other vendors, British Motor Heritage has begun to realize that performance modifiers are the fastest growing (and most lucrative) part of the British sports car hobby. They've responded by introducing new bodyshell configurations that Abingdon never even considered, such as "chrome bumper body but with rubber bumper engine compartment."
The newest and most exciting new BMH products comprise the "Competition Bodyshell Program".
British Motor Heritage's new "competition bodyshells" feature extensive MIG welding along seams to supplement the standard spot welds for significantly increased chassis stiffness, strength, and crashworthiness. All this is in addition to the simple advantages of "newness": the body hasn't been subjected to fatigue yet, and newer-technology processes (like a galvannealed zinc coating) have been applied. Spotlessly clean virgin steel contributes to optimal weld integrity... plus it's so much more convenient to do seam-welding as the body is being assembled! When BMH does seamwelding, they follow-up by giving the bodyshell a full-submersion E-coat primer bath. Have I got your attention yet?
The Heritage competition bodyshell program also includes an a la carte menu of optional features including: welded-in roll-cage mounting brackets, precision-made roll-cages, reinforced mounting features for racing-type shoulder harnesses, FIA-spec tow eyes, etc.
Three kinds of welds: spot, stitch, and continuous.
Spotlessly clean metal contributes to optimal weld integrity...
...plus it's so much more convenient to do seamwelding as the body is being assembled!
Tip: some MGB racers weld 1/2" box tubing along that vertical flange (at left). With
very little cost, weight, or effort you add significant stiffness. (Thanks Max!)
Seam welds at the base of the c-pillar. A roll-cage mounting plate will be welded-in over these.
Note: this bodyshell has a 3-syncho tranny tunnel... from a forty year old donor car.
This is the only bodyshell component for which original press dies no longer exist.
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Seam welding around the driveshaft tunnel. Check rules to see if continuous welds are prohibited.
Welded-in roll cage mounts, plus reinforced (from the back side) shoulder harness mounting point.
And here's a picture of the British Motor Heritage roll-cage, installed.
Shoulder harness mounting-point reinforcement, plus fuel filter and pump.
Reinforced leaf spring mount (and reversed spring-eye for lowering effect).
Baffled and foam-filled MGB fuel tank.
Note: the press dies that were once used to make the transmission tunnels for Mk.I MGB bodies have all been lost, and they'd cost a bloody fortune to replace. If you want an authentic "three synchro transmission" tunnel in your Heritage bodyshell, a transmission tunnel has to be taken from a donor car. The two bodyshells seen in the photos above were built using "used" transmission tunnels.
"So how do I buy one?"
Well that's the tough question. Not only will you be the first guy on your street to "buy
one", you may be the first person in your country. Don't fear - someone has to go first!
Below are the commercial details as far as I know them:
British Motor Heritage prices bodyshells and accessories in local currency ("pounds sterling") and adds 17.5 percent Value Added Tax ("VAT"). If you're purchasing for use outside the European Community you may be able to get a tax refund. Shipping is additional, and will need to be quoted. Check with your credit card company for exchange rate and fees. Exchange rates vary daily, so the dollar figures below are approximate. (They were current on September 1, 2007.)
|MGB "Competition Bodyshell" Options||G.B. POUNDS||U.S. DOLLARS|
|incremental charge for MGB seam welding||£ 750||$ 1512|
|incremental charge for MGB roll-cage||£ 1500||$ 3024|
|incremental charge for MGB FIA-spec tow-eyes||£ 100||$ 202|
|incremental charge for MGB shoulder harness reinforcement||£ 95||$ 192|
|incremental charge for MGB aluminum hood||£ 125||$ 252|
|incremental charge for MGB aluminum deep front valance||£ 395||$ 796|
|incremental charge for MGB fiberlass rear valance||£ 350||$ 706|
|incremental charge for MGB baffled/foam-filled fuel tank||£ ???||$ ???|
|MG Midget "Competition Bodyshell" Options||G.B. POUNDS||U.S. DOLLARS|
|incremental charge for MG Midget seam welding||£ 750||$ 1512|
|incremental charge for MG Midget roll-cage||£ 1400||$ 2822|
|incremental charge for MG Midget FIA-spec tow-eyes||£ 100||$ 202|
|incremental charge for MG Midget shoulder harness reinforcement||£ 95||$ 192|
|Mini / Mini Clubman "Competition Bodyshell" Options||G.B. POUNDS||U.S. DOLLARS|
|incremental charge for Mini seam welding||£ 750||$ 1512|
|incremental charge for Mini roll-cage||£ 1400||$ 2822|
|incremental charge for Mini FIA-spec tow-eyes||£ 100||$ 202|
Disclaimer: This page was researched and written by Curtis Jacobson. Views expressed are those of the author, and are provided without warrantee or guarantee. Apply at your own risk.
This article is part of a set of FIVE! If you enjoyed this article, check out:
A Visit to British Motor Heritage
How BMH Built a Brand-New Vintage Race Car
The Building of an MG Midget Body
The Building of an MG MGB Body
Photos by Curtis Jacobson for The British V8 Newsletter, except the first one at the top of the article, which is the property of British Motor Heritage and which is used by permission. All rights reserved.