Jeremy Youngblood's 1968 MGB with Rover 3.9L V8 Engine

Jeremy Youngblood's 1968 MGB with Rover 3.9L V8 Engine

as published in BritishV8 Magazine, Volume XX Issue 1, July 2012

Owner: Jeremy Youngblood
BritishV8 UserID: jerman
City: McKinney, Texas
Model: 1968 MGB
Engine: Rover 3.9L V8
Conversion performed by: Nick Pappas, Mark Trosper and Wayne Kube

"How It Was Done"

Engine: Rover 3.9L engine. Rover 3500 intake manifold and dual S.U. HS carburetors. Spectre gauze air filters. Buick 215 timing cover and water pump. Buick (Delco-Remy) distributor with Pertronix Ignitor module. Lucas Sport gold ignition coil. Buick 215 stamped steel valve covers.
Cooling: custom copper/brass radiator. Guinness beer can for radiator overflow.
Exhaust: custom exhaust port extensions. Rover 3500 cast iron exhaust manifolds. Dual glass pack mufflers.
Transmission: T5 5-speed from a six cylinder Chevrolet Camaro. Camaro driveshift front section coupled to a standard MGB rear u-joint.
Rear Axle: stock MGB axle (3.909:1, open differential.) Hubs filled and re-drilled for 5-lug wheels.
Front Suspension: "rubber-bumper" MGB front crossmember. Stock MGB suspension parts, painted to accentuate the different components.
Rear Suspension: stock MGB, except with tubular shock absorbers.
Brakes: stock MGB all around.
Wheels/Tires: (front) MGB LE 14" aluminum wheels. Cooper Trendsetter SE P175/65R14 tires.
(rear) Cragar S/S 14" 5-lug wheels. Goodyear Integrity P195/75R14 tires.
Electrical: GM single-wire alternator. Inexpensive universal hot-rod wiring kit. Wiring run through liquid tight flex conduit. Battery cut-off switch. Stock MGB (Smiths) fuel gauge, sending unit and voltage stabilizer. AutoMeter coolant temperature gauge (100-250F), AutoMeter tachometer (0-8000rpm), and MW oil pressure gauge (0-100psi). VDO electronic speedometer (0-120mph) triggered by a GM pulse generator on the transmission. Toggle switches for electric radiator fan, turn signals, wipers, parking lights, and headlights.
Interior Mods: highly customized. (See photos.) High-grade leopard skin patterned synthetic shag carpeting covering the transmission tunnel. Door panels from road signs, some with original bullet holes. (The windows are in place and will crank up and down.)
Body Mods: high-quality rear wheel arches. (See photos.) Bonnet mods to allow for intake/carb/air filter clearance.
Comments: This car's transmission and rear axle gear ratios aren't optimally matched. First gear on the Camaro V6 gearbox is really low to help those relatively heavy cars accelerate from a stop. In a lightweight car like an MGB, and especially in combination with the MG's stock 3.909:1 rear axle ratio, the gearbox's first gear isn't very useful. Also, behind the Rover V8 engine it is definitely possible to break the driveshaft's rear (stock MGB) u-joint if the engine is revved and the clutch is dumped whilst in first gear.

This vehicle is street legal. It will pass safety inspections, and it's a hoot to drive. It certainly gets a lot of attention.

Engine Installation

Rover 3.9L engine, as produced between October 1989 and December 1993.
Rover 3.9L engine, as produced between October 1989 and December 1993. These engines were
essentially a bored-out version of the earlier 3.5L design. Piston diameter was increased
from 3.5" to 3.7" while stroke remained unchanged at 2.8".

The heater box was removed and high-quality signage was used to cover firewall openings.
The heater box was removed and high-quality signage was used to cover firewall openings.
On either side, firewall pieces from a yellow '79 MGB were grafted in to ease engine fitment.
The '79 MGB also donated its radiator support. (MG revised their bodyshell design
when they began offering the factory-built MGB GT V8 model at the end of 1973.)

The brake system is entirely stock; MGBs came with excellent brakes as standard equipment.
The brake system is entirely stock; MGBs came with excellent brakes as standard equipment.

Intake manifold and S.U. carburetors are from a late sixties Rover 3500.
This intake manifold and dual S.U. carburetor arrangement is from a late 1960s Rover 3500.

Spectre gauze air filters.
Spectre gauze air filters.

Buick (Delco-Remy) distributor with Pertronix Ignitor module.
Buick (Delco-Remy) distributor with Pertronix Ignitor module.

Rover 3500 cast iron exhaust manifolds. (Note DARCAST casting mark.)
Rover 3500 cast iron exhaust manifolds. (Note "DARCAST" casting mark.)

Fabricated exhaust port extensions.
The manifolds wouldn't fit inside the frame rails, so exhaust port extensions were fabricated to
space them outboard. The exhaust port shape was modeled in CAD and 3/8" flanges were CNC
laser-cut to suit. Box tubing similar to the profile of the ports was welded in between the
flanges. Two sets of exhaust gaskets and high temperature exhaust paint completed the job.

Remote oil filter mount.
Remote oil filter mount.

Suspension

Persistent bad idea.
A later model "rubber-bumper" MGB front crossmember has been installed in lieu
of the original 1968 crossmember. The rationale for this is that it lifts the
body to provide clearance between the steering shaft and the exhaust manifold.

Stock MGB suspension parts were painted to accentuate the different components.
Stock MGB suspension parts were painted to accentuate the different components.

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Interior

Floors were rusted through, so high-quality signage was used for the repairs.
Floors were rusted through, so high-quality signage was used for the repairs.

High-performance MG logo suicide knob.
High-performance MG logo suicide knob.

VDO electronic speedometer (0-120mph).
Smiths fuel gauge, AutoMeter coolant temperature gauge (100-250F) and tachometer (0-8000rpm),
MW oil pressure gauge (0-100psi), and VDO electronic speedometer (0-120mph).


Earlier model MGB seats.

1964 Mercury Comet steering shaft.
The shifter lever was originally a 1964 Mercury Comet steering shaft,
but it was custom bent and shortened to fit the MGB perfectly.

The shifter knob is a piston from an MGB 1800cc 4 cylinder.
The shifter knob is a piston from an MGB 1800cc 4 cylinder with a Shelby Cobra (Mustang) hub cap
that happened to be the same diameter as the piston. A custom aluminium gudgeon pin was turned
to the appropriate diameter, then drilled and tapped to match the top of the shifter.

Lots of foot room.
Lots of foot room.

Battery disconnect switch within convenient reach of the driver even when he's seated.
Battery disconnect switch within convenient reach of the driver even when he's seated.

MG Parking Only: all others will be towed.
"MG Parking Only: all others will be towed." and "MG Service" signs.


Exterior


Construction of this MGB V8 was a group project shared by friends who already had
their own MGB V8s. It was largely constructed from leftover parts. You can see they
enjoyed their work, and that they probably enjoyed a few beers while they worked,
but looking closer you'll see the car benefitted from their vast combined experience.

Finzio's Sinclair - Passaic, NJ - Towing & Repairs
"Finzio's Sinclair - Passaic, NJ - Towing & Repairs" - Author Burt Levy
and his character Buddy Palumbo inspired various aspects of this car.

Billet grille is from a late model Ford truck, cut to fit.
Billet grille is from a late model Ford truck, cut to fit.

Peace, brother!
Peace, brother!

Hood ornament sourced from eBay; unknown age/car.
Hood ornament sourced from eBay; unknown age/car.

Bonnet modifications to provide carburetor and air filter clearance.
Bonnet modifications to provide carburetor and air filter clearance.

Rear view mirror.
Rear view mirror.

Life's too short to drive boring cars.
"Life's too short to drive boring cars."

Fully functional third brake light from a 1930s farm truck.
Fully functional third brake light from a 1930s farm truck.

Small pickup truck bed made from steel diamond plate.
Small pickup truck bed made from steel diamond plate.

The pickup truck bed features a built-in drink cooler!
The pickup truck bed features a built-in drink cooler!

The drink cooler has a lock, and it's keyed to match the MGB's doors.
The drink cooler has a lock, and it's keyed to match the MGB's doors.

MGB cup-holders.
Cup-holders are so important these days. This car has three cup-holders, all fashioned
from Buick 215 pistons and positioned for use during tailgate parties.

Bürgermeister Beer bottle opener.
Bürgermeister Beer bottle opener.

Willard was a social misfit with an affinity for rats.
The car's name - "Willard" - comes from a movie of the same name.
Willard was a social misfit with an affinity for rats.

These MGB LE wheels have been powder-coated black and silver.
These MGB LE wheels have been powder-coated black and silver, with clear powder coating
overtop the base colors. Something on the car had to look nice and shiny...

These Cragar S/S 14 inch 5-lug wheels had previously been installed on a 1966 Mustang GT.
These Cragar S/S 14" 5-lug wheels had previously been installed on a 1966 Mustang GT.


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