John Fuller's 1977 MGB Roadster with 3.5L Rover Engine

as published in British V8 Newsletter, Volume XIV Issue 2, August 2006

Owner: John Fuller
City: Salem OR
Model: 1958 MGA
Engine: 3.5L Rover
Conversion performed by: self.

Engine: 3.5L Rover (from early 80's SD1) over-bored +0.040" w/9.61:1 CR. Isky 621262 cam (lift: 0.445", duration at 0.050: 208 degrees), Rover SD1 heads w/Rover P-6B dual valve springs, 'Vitesse' fuel-injection type valves with waisted stems (intake: STD/40mm, exhaust: STD/34mm).
Fuel system: Carter 9400 AFB (400cfm) carburetor, Stock B.O.P 215 manifold, standard 1977 MGB throttle cable linkage, solid state universal fuel pump (removed S.U. pump and blanked off hole in boot.)
Other Mods: Since my motor has only a slight slant down at the rear (about 3 degrees) & my car has a chrome bumper front x-member, I had to have a 1" spacer plate shaved at a 4.5 to 5 degree angle & placed between the intake manifold & carb to help level the fuel bowl.
Transmission: Camaro T-5 manual (1st: 2.95, 2nd:1.94, 3rd:1.34, 4th:1.00, 5th: 0.73), 10.4" clutch, Weber hydraulic throw-out bearing #1400/1420, stock MGB master cylinder, steel billet flywheel (about 30 lbs), dual-pattern 215 Buick bellhousing. Note: all tranny items purchased from D&D Fabrications along with 10.4" pressure plate and flywheel bolts.
Cooling: Goodyear #13431 'Matchmaker' rubber "toothed" fan belt, Buick #1393 (return pipe dipped down) water pump, MGB-GT-V8 type radiator (UK manufacture, 3 rows), mechanical fan from Toyota Corolla w/J.C. Whitney 3" wide shroud. (Note: "tropical" Corolla fan with 4 blades and Toyota Land-Cruiser water-pump pulley.) Standard MGB-V8 lower radiator hose (fits nicely). Universal flex hose for radiator-to-thermostat hose. I would seriously consider using electric puller fans.
Exhaust: RV8 stainless headers (tubular through inner wing), 2 stainless-steel mufflers fitted side-by-side in original location, fed by an x-pipe made from two 2-into-1 fittings joined back-to-back.
Rear-end: Ford Mustang 8" (narrowed), 3.25 ratio limited-slip differential from Currie (T.S.D.-type, 4-spider). Note: Make sure that top of spring perch is at the same distance from the centerline of the axle as on the stock MGB axle, otherwise your car will sit at a different height.
Modifications: Chrome-bumper MGB-GT V8 springs from Clive Wheatley (U.K.). Fitted with polyurethane bushings at spring ends any Nylatron spring-perch mounts. Lower spring/shock plates switched L-to-R and KYB GR-2 tube shocks (same as front) fitted. Top of shock bolted directly to old shock arm hole on rear "frame-rail" w/ a spacer. No brackets were used! Torsion bar removed.
Front suspension: Chrome-bumper x-member fitted w/KYB GR-2 tube shocks (#344068).
Steering: Steering column and switch gear, along with rack, from '70 MGB. 2 Borgeson universal joints replace the originals. Rack shimmed at mounts. Tie-rod arms shortened almost 0.5" Steering arms switched left-to-right. X-member mounts replaces with polyurethane (SuperFlex from Cris Witor, U.K.). Steering arms shimmed inboard to clear rims.
Brakes: (Front:) presently stock MGB with stainless steel flex hoses, although I've purchased the thicker V8 rotors from Clive Wheatley as well as V8 calipers, EBC V4 'GREEN STUFF" V8 pads. (Rear:) Ford Mustang, with hubs machined for 4x4.5" bolt pattern. I need to inquire about fitting a parking break cable. Presently I don't have a working parking brake.
Wheels: "Rocket" 8-spoke 15" grey 'rough-cast' spokes with polished lip.
Tires: Michelin MXV4 195/60 HR15.
Interior: Stock.
Exterior: '77 Rubber Bumper converted to '70 chrome bumpers (split-rear).
Electrical: Mitsubishi 55-amp alternator, Warner Hytorx mini starter (purchased from D&D Fabrications), stock MGB wiring harness, aftermarket dual oil-press/water-temp gauge from Clive Wheatley.
Cost: $5000 - $6000
Completed: July 2002.
Comments: Problems encountered since completion: Upon initial 30-minute 2000 RPM cam break-in, the water temperature rose quite appreciably. After cool-down I released the trapped air, using the plug on top of the radiator. I appear to have a weak 2nd gear synchro. The mini Hytorque starter doesn't fully engage, giving me nothing but starter whine.
Sources of parts: D&D Fabrications provided most transmission related parts and the starter. Clive Wheatley was my source for all V8 brake parts, headers and exhaust, rear springs, gages, MG-logo rocker covers. All high quality and reasonably priced. Currie Enterprises sold me the narrowed Ford axle and posi.
Advice: Make it simple! Start with a straight, solid, good looking '77 and later 'B', unlike me. I started my conversion on a '70. After extensive body mods in the engine bay, and on the steering and front clip areas, I came onto my '77 B. All it took was a wee bit of pounding on the gearbox tunnel and just below the front header branches, and a hole made on the left side of the transmission tunnel adjacent to the speedo cable hook-up (I ran the speedometer cable inside of the car). I also had to lower the steering rack to clear the crankshaft pulley. For parts, advice and satisfaction, deal only with the proprietors found in this uniquely "ours" British V8 newsletter.

Things I would do differently next time: A straight 'chrome-bumper' B or B-GT with all the body mods done properly with a 3.9 T.56 gearbox. I would only deal exclusively with the businesses that cater to our hobby; save yourself a lot of aggravation. Don't be the 'Artful Bodger', take your time and do the job right the FIRST time! I would have installed a D&D aluminum (bigger) radiator and an electrical puller fan. I'd also install a '73 or '74 dash with the vents, but with small holes to take the factory original V8 140mph speedo and 5200 rpm tach supplied by Clive Wheatley. Since the gearbox has premature grinding on 2nd gear engagement while accelerating briskly, 60mph and 1/4 miles are not known and not attempted. That will have to wait until gearbox is returned for repairs and refitted.
Other: I've had the car up to about 120 MPH. We have a State Trooper in our local club. I'll have to ask him for an 'escort' on I-5. "Safety Fast"

British V8 Home:        Read the Magazine        Photo Gallery        Web Forum        Annual Meets        Contact Us        Site Map