Jose Romney Palma's 1976 MGB with Chevy 229 V6

(originally published in British V8 Newsletter, Volume 6 Issue 1)

By: Jose Romney Palma
City: Boise, ID
Model: 1976 MG MGB
Engine: Chevy 229 V6

How It Was Done

Engine: 1980 Chevrolet Malibu 229cid 90 degree V-6 4-bbl camshaft, custom made engine mounts, aluminum 2-bbl intake manifold, 2-bbl Rochester carburetor, H.E.I. electronic ignition, stock MGB alternator.
Transmission: Borg-Warner T-50 manual 5-speed from a 1979 Chevrolet Monza. Chrome shifter from Honda Civic welded to Monza shortened shifter to exit in stock MGB location, stock MGB transmission crossmember and shifter knob.
Bellhousing: 1973 Chevrolet Nova. Clutch fork shortened (later thought to be unnecessary, plenty of room in stock MGB trans tunnel.)
Clutch Slave: Jamar Hydraulics 7/8" bore x 1-1/4" stroke. Used on sand rails, custom bracket welded to transmission crossmember, slave cylinder mounted to crossmember via tie-rod end, cylinder pulls the clutch fork instead of push, works great with stock MGB clutch master cylinder.
Clutch: GM. Any clutch interchangeable with Chevrolet small block V8.
Flywheel: GM 12-3/4" 153 teeth from Chevrolet small block V8.
Exhaust: stock GM tubular headers from 1987 Chevrolet Astro van or Blazer, modified to fit between MGB framerails, no holes in inner fenders!, dual exhaust over axle, exiting in stock MGB location.
Tires/Wheels: A.R.E. 14" x 6" with 185/70/14 Cooper tires.
Suspension: V8 bushings. Front A-arms rebuilt with nylon bushings. Lowered front with custom made lowered coil spring pans to maintain a good ride. 3/4" sway bar. Rear lowered with 1-1/4" blocks. Coming soon: telecopic shock absorbers.
Cooling: 4-tube high efficiency core on stock MGB tanks. Radiator reversed 180 degrees and inlet/outlet repositioned, engine driven stainless steel flex fan with seven blades. Cools OK for now, on an 80 degree day the temperature runs about 200 degrees F.
Rear End: stock MGB 3.9:1. Later will install 8-1/2" rear with 3.5:1 gears.
Instruments: fuel, oil pressure, and temperature gauges are stock MGB fitted with adapters to MGB sending units. Tach and speedometer will be VDO programmable.
Conversion by: Gary Raymond from Parts and Pieces in Caldwell, ID. Later modifications by owner. Gary Raymond did a superb job with redone plumbing, rerouting gas lines, undercoating, etc. - Thanks Gary!
Notes: have plenty of time and patience, your car will be down for a while. Mine was. Chevy 229 90 degree V6 is the child of the small block Chevy V8. It is light weight, about 10 pounds heavier than the MGB 4-cylinder engine. It can be built up to 400hp using parts and techniques of small block V8. Parts are cheap. Only problem I have had so far is hot starts, due to starter and solenoid mounted next to the headers, a common problem with GM products. The problem was solved by installing a remote starter solenoid.

I originally ran the car without an air filter because I couldn't find one low enough. I fabricated a new base using stock air cleaner base and top. Cutting the sides of both, now I have an open element using a Honda Civic paper element. The hood can now be lowered, but it still rubs a little.

On the transmission, I would use the T5. The T-50 is funny when shifting from 1st to 2nd. Can go into reverse if not careful. Other than that, it works great with this engine, although 1st gear is a almost useless.
Estimated cost: approximately $3000, excluding original car.

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