Brent Lancaster's 1976 MGB with Chevy 2.8L V6 Engineas published in British V8 Newsletter, Volume XIV Issue 3, December 2006
Owner: Brent Lancaster
City: Franktown, CO
Model: 1976 MGB
Engine: 1985 Chevrolet (Camaro) 2.8L 60-degree V6
Conversion performed by: Owner
|Intake:||The engine and transmission came complete from a 1985 Camaro donor car... the intake is the
factory fuel injection system including intake manifold, electronic controls, wire harness,
emission controls, etc.
|Fuel System:||The fuel injection system requires a high-pressure supply of fuel, and a low-pressure return
line back to the fuel tank. A new 3/8" line of special high-pressure hose was installed for the
"supply". The stock MGB fuel line is now the "return". The injection system also requires a 60
PSI pump. I used an external pump from a '78-80 Datsun 280Z. (Another suitable external pump
would be the one from a 5 or 6 series BMW from the late 70's or early 80's.)
|Exhaust:||Fabricated manifolds and 2.25" exhaust, with catalytic converter and muffler.
|Cooling:||Dodge Dart 318 V8 radiator was purchased new from Performance Radiator (part number 377).
The radiator was installed tilted back from vertical, which has the effect of increasing core
thickness somewhat, plus it allowed a taller radiator to be fitted. A welded-in steel structure
(1" x 1" box tube) along the top tank reinforces the chassis and supports the hood seal. (The
seal blocks bypassing of air around the radiator and recirculation of heated air...) A second
welded-in steel structure (1" x 2" box tube) along the the bottom tank helps to protect the
radiator, supports ductwork from the gravel pan, and serves as a convenient jack-point at the
front of the car. A 16" electric fan is controlled by the engine ECM; it's mounted on the
engine-side of the radiator.
|Transmission:||Borg Warner T5 five speed. Fabricated mounting crossmember. Fabricated driveshaft. Note: the
shifter is a B&M performance unit for a Mustang (ordered from "Jegs"). Modifications were
actually easier with the Mustang configuration than a Camaro shifter. The Camaro shifter is
much longer and has kick over that is hard to overcome. The Mustang shifter is shorter and
straight forward although you must re-drill the mounting pad to fit the Camaro transmission's
bolt pattern. The shifter is outstanding - better than the original MG! - my other cars don't
shift this nice.
|Clutch:||10" LuK clutch. Stock MG Slave cylinder with a fabricated bracket to morph into the Camaro
slave position. The more difficult modification was to make clearance for the slave on the
left side of the tunnel. A pie-shaped wedge was cut into the floor from the leading edge of
the tunnel back about 12 to 15 inches. Then a corresponding 6 to 8 inch wedge up the face
of the firewall from the floor. The tunnel panel was then formed-over to meet the floor and
firewall, welding the seams. Modification to the throttle was then required on the inside for
clearance. The clutch pedal has a very nice linear actuation with full disengagement.
|Rear Axle:||1979 Dodge Challenger (by Mitsubishi). Open differential. Found in a local Pick and Save salvage
yard, the axle fulfilled everything I needed: correct lug pattern, width, a good ratio (3.54:1)
and disc brakes! (Note: the Plymouth-badged version of the Dodge Challenger was called "Sapparo".)
|Front Susp.:||MGB, lowered 2". New kingpin bushings. Urethane A-arm bushings. Front crossmember modified
for engine clearance.
|Rear Susp.:||MGB, lowered 2". Urethane spring bushings. Telescoping shocks (Gabriel "Red Rider" shocks, sized
for a Dodge Colt). Fabricated Panhard rod.
|Brakes:||MGB master cylinder. MGB front disc brakes with racing pads. 1979 Dodge Challenger rear
disc brakes. Brake bias came out excellent - without requiring a limiting valve! The
emergancy brake works too. I re-used the pivot fulcrum from the MGB by welding it to
the Dodge Challenger axle in the same relative location. The cable from the hand lever to the
fulcrum is stock MG. I fabricated 3/16 aircraft control cable from the fulcrum to the
e-brake points on the calipers.
|Wheels/Tires:||215/60/R15 Falken tires on 15x7 alloy rims (front). 225/60/R15 Falken tires on 15x7
alloy rims (rear). Note: wheel offsets were selected to center the wheels within the
modified/flared wheel arches.
|Electrical:||Factory MGB gauges. Halogen headlights. No radio. Note: to make the original MGB tachometer
work with the V6 engine, I spliced a potentiometer in parallel with one of the resistance
circuits in the tach, and tweaked the pot while connected to a 6 cylinder tuning tach until I
got them synchronized.
|Body:||Rubber-bumper to chrome bumper conversion. Removed body-side trim and badges.
Wheel openings flared front and rear for approximately 3" of additional clearance. The
early Huffaker style fender flares came from Lilves Racing and were made for MGB.
They're fiberglass and were designed to be pop riveted on after relieving the openings.
I took it a couple of steps further by jogging the sheet metal, letting the flares into
the panels, then blending it all together with a commercial urethane auto-body adhesive.
|Paint:||Valspar "Patriot Red Pearl" two stage. The color is from a 2004 Mitsubishi Eclipse, but the
tone/color is the same as the original MG Maroon, and the firewall and aprons are still the
original factory paint. I did the body work and paint myself.
|Weight:||Approximately 2000 pounds.
|Performance:||Considerably quicker than the 4 cylinder, plus it gets 31 MPG!
|Completed:||2000 (with subsequent modifications).
|Miles driven:||Approximately 5000 as of the Colorado English Motoring Conclave, September 2006.
|Comments:||It takes time! This was not my first conversion, yet it still required far more time than
I anticipated. I see there are kits out there now that weren't available when I did this one.
Probably money well spent if they fulfill the needs of your conversion. One of my fuss points
was to have everything fit under the stock MGB hood without a scoop. Some of the kits don't
accomplish this or require an MGC hood.
The MG badge fools the kids at the emissions test station.
Strong upper radiator support doubles as a Monte Carlo bar.
This car is more environmentally-friendly than any stock MGB.
B&M Shifter for a Mustang... modified to fit the Chevy transmission's bolt pattern.
At "The Colorado English Motoring Conclave", September 2006.
Modified front crossmember and radiator guard/ductwork.
Borg-Warner T5 five speed.
Transmission mount (foreground) and catalytic convertor (background).
Dodge Challenger / Plymouth Sapparo rear axle.
Strong, simple, lightweight body-mount for the Panhard rod.
Fender flares provide three inches of extra tire clearance.
15 x 7 alloy wheels and Dodge Challenger / Plymouth Sapparo disc brakes.