Mark Trosper's 1979 MGB Roadster with Rover 3.5L V8 engine

Mark Trosper's 1979 MGB Roadster with Rover 3.5L V8 engine

as published in British V8 Newsletter, Volume XV Issue 1, April 2007

Owner: Mark Trosper
City: McKinney TX
Model: 1979 MGB Roadster
Engine: Rover 3.5 V8 (from a Triumph TR8)
Conversion completed by: Mark Trosper and Wayne Kube of 2nd Chance Garage

Engine: Rover 3.5 V8 (from a Triumph TR8), bored 0.010" over.
Intake: Edelbrock 2198 Performer intake manifold and 1404 carb.
Cam: Crower 276 degree, 488 lift.
Ignition: Delco distributor fitted with a Pertronix conversion kit. 40,000 Volt Pertronix coil. NGK plugs.
Cooling: Aluminum 18" x 16" (with 2 rows of 1" tubes).

Mark's Triumph TR-8 engine

The Triumph TR8 engine was manufactured by Rover

Exhaust: RV8-style headers with 1.5" primaries into 2" collector, and with ceramic coating. Dual exhaust with crossover pipe. Turbo Pro mufflers.
Transmission: Borg-Warner T-5 (0.63:1 5th). Driveshaft is from an S10. (2.5" diameter and shortened to fit.)
Clutch: 10.4" heavy duty 26-spline. Hydraulic throw-out bearing.
Rear Axle: Chevy S10 with 3.42:1 ratio, Eaton locking differential, S10 parking brake with cable modified to work with MGB lever.
Front Susp.: 1 inch lowered coil springs. Spax gas tube shocks.
Rear Susp.: 1 inch lowered new leaf springs. Spax gas tube shocks. Panhard bar.
Brakes: (Front) standard MGB with V8 pads and slotted rotors. (Rear) standard Chevy S10.
Wheels/Tires: Minilite (15x7) diamond-cut lip wheels with Anthracite finish. Dunlop 225/50 Z-rated tires.

Custom MGB dashboard

Spurious V8 seats

Electrical: Painless wiring harness. Classic Instruments "All American" 6-gauge set.
Completed: September 1, 2006.
Miles Driven: Approx. 750 (as 1/15/2007.)
Other mods: chrome side trim and side marker lights removed. Rear wheel wells arched and flared. Back-up lamps removed and taillights customized to include back-up lamp functions in lieu of reflectors. Fully functional cowl-induction hood scoop. Custom dashboard (with Jaguar toggle switches.) Custom center console. Fiero seats. Roll hoop. Removeable convertible top.
Comments: Thanks to Texas Auto Tops for their custom interior work (leather, carpet and vinyl.) Thanks to Concours Restoration Services for the custom paint job. The paint color is a 1993 Ford color called "Twilight Blue Metallic" (basecoat/clearcoat).

glamour shot of Mark's MGB V8

In-Process Photos

before picture of Darla

rust free MGB

This is the way Darla looked when I bought her from a paint & body shop. She had no engine but did have an overdrive tranny (which I sold later to reduce my investment cost). She was a rust free car with a fresh paint job, but that was all to change... There were several boxes of parts that came with her: some we used and a lot we replaced.

MGB on jackstands

MGB front crossmember

drilled and slotted rotors

We removed the front cross-member and had it powdercoated, and then we reinstalled it with all new bushings. We rebuilt the calipers and put in V8 pads. We put on drilled and slotted rotors, and new steel braided brake lines to handle DOT-5 fluid. At this time we had reconditioned stock lever shocks on the front. Also had new coil springs to lower to chrome-bumper height.

S10 rear axle

This is a box of goodies from the ever helpful D&D Fabrications Inc. in Almont Michigan. This crate contains an S10 rear end, a T-5 transmission, a special bell housing to fit T-5 to TR8 engine, a custom made cross-member for the tranny, a shortened S10 drive shaft, and assorted other stuff.

Spax rear shocks

narrowed rear axle

This is the S10 rear end installed. It was narrowed and converted to four lug. It has a 3.43:1 gear ratio and a Posi-traction differential. D&D furnished an emergency brake set up that is easy to install and works well. Not shown here, but also installed is a Panhard bar setup which works well but required some modification to work with S10 axle diameter.

centered MGB fuel tank

We centered the gas tank to facilitate dual exhaust. Cutting out the filler tube hole, moving it over, and inserting a replacement piece, and re-drilling the holes to mount the tank is all pretty straightforward. Also, the sending unit in the gas tank has to be moved from the side to the front to allow room for the exhaust pipe. The job of cutting out the sending unit ring and moving it is a little more delicate of a welding job, so I had that done by a more experienced welder.

valve cover adapter

Edelbrock valve covers

This is the first fitting of the engine & tranny. Also a look at our conversion from stock valve covers to much better looking Edelbrock "Ford" valve covers. Picture of head without valve cover show the adapters we had made (it ended up being very costly, but it's only money!) The adapter allows you to put the four bolts in the TR8/Rover head and then put the six bolts on Ford cover.

Edelbrock valve cover vent

Close tolerances abound, but we made it fit! A large hammer was required here and in the tranny well, just below the firewall.

RV8 header

This is a picture of the holes we cut in the fenderwells for the RV8 headers. We had a spare late model MGB that we did all the trial & error fitting & cutting to locate the holes final position. Then we made a fiberglass mold/template on each side. With the unique shape of each fender well, it was easy to make the template. Once they hardened, the hole was cut out of the center of the template and could be placed in any late model MGB and correct size holes in the correct location could be cut.

cowl induction hood for MGB

MGB fender flare

flared MGB fender

These are some pictures taken at the paint & body shop: "Concours Restoration Services". It shows the functional cowl induction hood scoop being built. Once again we made a template out of an old hood by determining the correct location for the hole needed to allow room for Edelbrock 2198 Performer Intake & Edelbrock 1404 Carb. We also fabricated and tack-welded, a rough design of the style scoop we wanted. Also shown is the cutting, arching and flaring of the rear fenders to accommodate the Dunlop 225/50Z R15 tires we chose.

Spax shock and RV8 header

This is a shot of the front mount bracket for the Spax Gas Shocks. The bracket that comes with the shocks will not work with RV8 style headers. There just is not enough clearance. Needless to say we were in a quandary because we wanted Spax on all four corners. After considerable research & many phone calls we located an old MGB that had tube shocks on the front and the brackets were totally different design from current one offered by Spax. As you can see there is barely enough clearance with these brackets. Also, the old lever shocks are used as stabilizers with fluid removed of course.

MGB dual exhaust

This picture shows the dual exhaust which now has an "H" (crossover) pipe installed just before the body cross-member. Also, the emergency brake cable routing and fuel pump can be seen.

MGB custom center console

We replaced all wiring with a Painless Wiring Kit. My friend and partner Wayne Kube did all the wiring. Given the new dash and its set-up, this was a major undertaking. We went with Classic Instruments "American Six Gauge" package. We also moved the headlight controls, wiper controls, and ignition key from the steering column to the dash. There is a key switch to turn on power and a push-button to turn the starter. The rest of the controls are old Jaguar toggle switches. The dash itself is a regular MGB dash with all the foam padding removed and an 18 gauge piece of sheet metal skin tack welded on the dash frame. Also, between the speedo & tach are three little holes with fiber-optic lines in them. The outer two are green to show turn signal use and the center one is blue to show headlight high beam. The center console had to be fabricated because of the change in the shape of the dash. It holds the radio, heater & fan controls and also has two speakers to balance the speakers in the Fiero seats.

wire routing

We wanted to make the engine bay as neat and clean as possible. One way was to route all the wiring for front-of-car (lights, horns, driving lights, and fan) though conduit in the fender well. We also used conduit in the engine bay for all wiring except spark plug wires.

MGB back-up lights

We decided to come up with something different regarding backup lights. We removed the factory lights and filled in the holes. We chose the early model MGB taillights because they have a more unique shape and were better suited for our idea. We cut out the square reflector area in the lens and replaced it with an off-white opaque lens. A lot of Dremel tool work here! We drilled a hole in the base for the bulb and fabricated a box out of tin to fit around the bulb to keep the whole lens from lighting when in reverse. We wired it up and it works and looks rather nice and different. We also fabricated some filler material in the bumpers just under the lights to fill in the void left when using the older lenses.

MGB roll hoops

This is a picture of the roll bar. We purchased it off eBay. These are still for sale occasionally. They are designed to fit an MGB as you can see it will bolt right in on the deck behind the seat. A few modifications were necessary to allow access to the battery the same old way but not a big problem. They are by no means SCCA approved but they look good and would help a little if needed. We also converted the car to the removable top style of the earlier MGB's.

Thanks to Wayne Kube and Nick Pappas

This project took a long time to complete, but it was well worth it. The exciting part of building this car was dreaming up ideas of how to make something a little different than the stock MGB and then designing, creating and fabricating the many parts of this car that make it unique. Another great thing about a project like this is the camaraderie of working with friends. This car could never have been built without the long term help and commitment of my two very good friends: Wayne Kube and Nick Pappas.

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