Craig Jensen's 1978 MGB with Chevrolet 327 V8

(originally published in British V8 Newsletter, Volume 8 Issue 2)

By: Craig Jensen
City: Stevensville, MI
Model: 1978 MG MGB
Engine: Chevrolet 327 V8

How It Was Done

Engine: 1964-1/2 Chevrolet 327 from a Bel Air. Complete rebuild, mild cam, aluminum dual-plane intake manifold, 650 CFM Edelbrock mechanical choke carb, electric fuel pump, hydraulic throttle, hi-flow water pump, 2.02 intake valves.
Transmission: 1967 Chevrolet Saginaw manual 3-speed. Built custom linkage so that the shifter lever comes to the stock MG lever hole in console. Fairly difficult to fabricate. The trans now shifts backwards which is just fine with me, as I usually only use 3rd gear.
Bellhousing: stock Chevy.
Clutch: stock Chevy clutch and plate.
Clutch Activation: now using fourth hydraulic throw-out bearing. This one is the newest style from Quartermaster. Seems OK now with 4000 miles on it. First three types leaked at some point. Am using stock MG clutch slave cylinder.
Flywheel: stock Chevy.
Exhaust: custom welded headers exiting through wheel wells and into Turbomax mufflers, wrapped in fiberglass for heat dissippation.
Brakes: stock MGB.
Wheels/Tires: Minilites, 14" front, 15" rear. Bridgestone Potenza tires. Handles well, have not spun out (yet) in 24,000 miles of driving. Gets "rubber" in all three gears.
Suspension: traction bars on leaf springs, keeps wheel hop down. Added 1 leaf to rear springs. Heavy duty sway bars, handles really well. Roll cage and 5-point seat belts give a feeling of security (up to a point). Front air dam helps smooth things out over 100 mph.
Cooling: had a radiator built using stock MGB tanks and side brackets. Core is five tube, 4" longer (toward the ground) than stock. Electric fans, 165 degree thermostat. Car has overheated only once in 24m miles, near Washington DC during MG V-8 '98. (We were all stuck in a crawl on the DC beltway for a LONG time in about 95 degree whether. -Editor)
Rear End: stock MGB w/custom driveshaft to mate the Chevy trans to the MGB rear end.
Instruments: Autometer mechanical gauges, speedometer, tach, etc., set into stock dash. CD also installed.
Conversion by: owner, with some subcontracting for welding and paint.
Sources: Moss Motors for MGB stuff. Summit Racing for Chevy stuff. The car had 4000 miles on it before I even saw another MG V-8, so conversion was a "blind design".
Recommendations: Do it! Nothing feels like an MG with 350+ horsepower. Zero to stoopid in 6 seconds. Purists and traditionalists want the Rover power plant, that's fine with me. I wanted torque and horses. Small block Chevy was the answer. Do what you want to do! It can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but worth it. Spend the money now, not later.
What would you change: I'd do more of the work myself. Unscrupulous "helper" cost me. This car could be built for $12-13,000.
Estimated Cost: $16-18,000.

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