British Newspapers Announce the "MGB GT V8" (circa October 15, 1973)
as collected and republished in British V8 Newsletter, Volume XVI Issue 1, April 2008
The new MGB GT V8
Re-printed unedited by exclusive permission of "The Times" (of London).
by: Maxwell Boyd
A car which enthusiasts have been expecting with some impatience over the past couple of years is officially announced today by British Leyland. It is a high performance version of the classic MGB GT coupe powered by the Rover aluminium V8 engine.
Two years ago I drove a prototype of this model, developed as a private venture by the former racing driver Ken Costello, of Bromley, Kent. The report caused considerable interest among readers. British Leyland executives who tried the car were also impressed by its potential. The factory's production version, at £2,294, including taxes, is a promising successor to the ill-starred six-cylinder MG C.
The new car, called MGB GT V8 (at present there is no open two-seat version), has all the sparkle that was so sadly missing in the "C" model with its heavy, sluggish three-litre engine. The 3.5 litre V8 is actually 44lb lighter than the 1.8 litre four-cylinder engine of the standard MG but the addition of ancillary equipment needed to meet the latest noise, emission and safety regulations has pushed up the total weight to just above that of the ordinary "B" model.
One of the modifications needed for the new model to be able to run on low-lead fuel is a reduction in the Rover engine's ultra high, 10.5:1 compression ratio. By reducing this to 8.25:1, the designers have ensured that the V8 can operate satisfactorily on 94 octane, three-star petrol instead of needing five-star fuel. Although its output is down to 137 brake horsepower at 5,000 r.p.m., compared with the "S" type Rover's 150 b.h.p., this is still ample to give the latest MG a rousing performance, with outstanding smoothness.
Top speed, in fourth gear, is 124 m.p.h. and 0-60 m.p.h. acceleration is achieved in an impressive 8.25 seconds. As you would expect from a big V8, top gear flexibility is also outstanding - I got a 30 m.p.h. to 70 m.p.h. acceleration time of 13.4 seconds, while 50 m.p.h. to 70 m.p.h. came up in 7.5 seconds.
For the performance given, the fuel consumption is reasonable: MG quotes 27.5 miles a gallon at a steady 70 mph in overdrive top and 20 mpg at a constant 100 mph. Using most of the available performance through the gears on a mixture of motorway and cross-country driving, I finished up with 20.1 mpg. The engine is also notably quiet but the body-shell reveals its age by the excessive wind noise at high speeds. The MGB has a good reputation for stability and safe handling: uprated suspension, brakes and tyres enable the latest version to handle the V8's extra power with equanamity but have done nothing to lighten the heavy steering, which to me remains the car's most unattractive features. The handbrake is badly placed, so close to the central console that drivers grabbing it in a hurry are likely to bark their knuckles.
British Leyland is careful not to describe the car as a "two plus two," though there is a small back seat adequate for small children or extra luggage. The wide opening tail gate gives easy access to the load space.
At first sight, the V8 may look expensive compared with the standard MGB. But in addition to the uprated mechanical specification, including stronger springs and transmission, standard features include overdrive on top gear, cast alloy special wheels, tinted glass, two electric cooling fans for the engine and an oil cooler.
In relation to most of its foreign competitors of comparable performance, it looks a bargain.
There may be some regrets that British Leyland did not go ahead with a more modern design, such as the experimental mid-engine Rover sports coupe or alternatively a rather roomier model on the lines of the Reliant Scimitar GTE. Since the company has never been able to meet the demand for the existing car, however, the decision not to change the design is probably commercially sound.
At least it gives Britain a sports car able to compete with the Datsun 240 Z which has had a runaway success in North America. Is it too much to hope that we may one day see a team of MG V8s competing against the Datsuns in events like the East African Safari Rally?
Leyland's new MGB has extra punch
Re-printed unedited by exclusive permission of "The Evening News".
by: Sue Baker
The long-expected MGB GT with a Rover V8 engine from British Leyland is announced today.
Shoehorning the lightweight Rover 3.5 litre V8 engine under the bonnet gives the popular B GT almost double the power compared with the standard 1800cc engined car.
It gives 120-plus mph motoring to boot the MGB GT V8 - to give the car its full name - up into the high performance sports car market.
The price of the new car, including VAT and car tax, is £2,294. A standard B GT, including taxes, is £1,665.
British Leyland have tailored their Rover V8 engine into the car by using twin SU carburettors mounted at the rear of the engine.
The bigger engine, with use of light alloy, is in fact 40lb lighter than the standard 1800cc engine, but the addition of anti-pollution equipment makes the total weight slightly heavier.
When I drove the B GT V8 recently from London to Goodwood and back, I found that the extra weight made itself felt on cornering the car. It was not excessive, but certainly made long distance driving seem harder work than in a standard MGB GT.
The other problem was wind noise, which at high speed seemed excessive. British Leyland have kept the engine reasonably quiet, but have failed to find a cure for the headachy level of wind noise.
The car handles well, and the exciting punch of the powerful big engine makes it an exhilerating car to drive.
On the road, it is a fast, agreeable car. On the old motor racing track at Goodwood, it showed tremendous sporting potential.
British Leyland claim a top speed of more than 120mph, and that would not seem over ambitious. Their 0 to 60mph claim of 8.2 seconds agrees with my stopwatch.
The car has overdrive on top gear, and the brakes are effectively servo-assisted.
Other standard equipment includes cast alloy special wheels, door mounted mirror and tinted window glass.
The V8 engine develops 137 (DIN) bhp.
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Beast under the bonnet
Re-printed unedited by exclusive permission of "The Daily Mirror".
by: Patrick Mennem
It looks like any other MGB GT. But on the road, with a Rover V8 engine shoe-horned under the bonnet, it's a very different beast.
The new MGB GT V8 is one of the most electrifying cars in production.
With a price tag of £2,294, you have one of the best value-for-money sports cars on the market.
Inside it has cloth covered seats and headrests, and a rather jokey set of seats behind the front ones, which are far better used for luggage.
With nothing more than a wistful whisper it will top 60mph in second gear in a fraction over eight seconds.
In third, the car will touch almost 90mph and, although the makers claim a top speed of 124mph, I had 130mph registering on the clock on German autobahns with the rev counter still out of the red.
But finding reverse needed the strength of a front row rugby forward.
To overcome engine emission problems, the compression ratio has been reduced to 8.25:1, which means that power output has gone down to a little over 130 brake horse power. But on the plus side, it means that you can use three star petrol.
Although the V8 aluminum engine is slightly less weighty than the 1.8 four-cylinder unit, all the ancillaries make it a little heavier and despite stronger springing, the new V8 does not have that superb feeling of balance enjoyed by its forerunners.
It is a very safe and exciting car which, with little more refinement, could be superb.
'Borrowed' engine peps up new MG
Re-printed unedited by exclusive permission of "The Daily Express".
by: David Benson
Lord Stokes today unveils a new, more powerful version of the world-famous MG sports car - the first major change in the MG range since the MGB/GT was introduced in 1965.
M.G. engineers have installed the 3.5-litre V8 aluminium engine, that powers the Rover 3500 series, in the M.G. B GT body and chassis.
The current M.G. - with six-month waiting lists for most models - continues in production with the V8 an addition to the range.
The new car, which will top 126 miles an hour, is priced at 2,085 including taxes and is obtainable only in 4-speed manual gear box plus overdrive form.
The power output is almost double the 1.8 litre 4-cylinder "B" series engined version.
To cope with the extra power, servo-assisted disc brakes are fitted as standard and the rear axle and springs are strengthened.
A new sparkle for the MGB
Re-printed unedited by exclusive permission of "The Daily Mail".
by: Michael Kemp
British Leyland today unveil a sparkling 124 mph sportcar which runs on cheap low-grade petrol.
The car bears the world-famous MG name. It is a hybrid, with Rover's 3.5 litre V8 engine married to the long running MGB GT.
It is the most powerful new sports car to bear one of the British Leyland badges since the Austin Healey 3000 was killed off in 1967.
The new engine gives the car a dramatically better performance than its old 1.8 litre power plant.
The MGB V8 will reach 41 m.p.h. in first gear, 64 in second, 99 in third, and 124 in top. A test car has recorded 130 m.p.h.
And its steering, brakes, and body structure have been specially modified to cope with the extra power.
British Leyland say: "The car is intended to compete in the increasingly important sports and luxury coupe markets. It offers classic sports car styling with outstanding performance and handling."
PRICE: £2,293.96 including tax.
The MGB is still available with the less powerful engine.