Mike Alexander's 1973 MGB with Buick 215 V8as published in BritishV8 Magazine, Volume XVII Issue 1, July 2009
Owner: Mike Alexander
BritishV8 UserID: restorejag
City: Richmond VA
Model: 1973 MGB (rebuilt with 1980 bodyshell)
Engine: Buick 215 V8
Conversion by: owner
|Engine:||1962 Buick 215cid aluminum V8, bored 0.030" over. Buick four barrel intake
manifold with Edelbrock 1405 500cfm carburetor, with electric choke.
Delco Remy distributor with Pertronix Ignitor ignition module (in lieu of original
breaker points) and Pertronix Flame Thrower coil. Crower camshaft (part number
50229). D&D swivel mount oil filter adapter.
|Cooling:||D&D Fabrications aluminum radiator.
|Exhaust:||RV8-style through the fender headers. The fuel tank was centered to accomodate
|Transmission:||Borg Warner "world class" T5 5-speed. Lightweight flywheel and driveshaft from
D&D Fabrication. McLoed clutch and hydraulic throw-out bearing.
Hurst Billet/Plus shifter.
|Rear Axle:||rebuilt stock 1980 MGB (Salisbury) axle.
|Front Susp.:||rebuilt stock MGB, with one inch lowering springs.
|Rear Susp.:||rebuilt MGB, lowered one inch. Polyurethane bushes.
(Late model anti-sway bar has been installed.)
|Brakes:||(master) updated to later model (1975-1980) power brakes.
(front) drilled and slotted rotors.
(rear) stock MGB.
|Wheels/Tires:||15" Dayton wire wheels with Dunlop SP Sport 5000 P195/65R15 tires.
|Electrical:||custom wiring using an Advance Auto-Wire kit. 100 amp alternator. Gear reduction starter.
|Instruments:||Autometer Pro-Comp gauges including speedometer, tachometer, oil pressure gauge,
water temperature gauge, voltmeter, and programable fuel gauge.
|Interior:||a "Mark 1" MGB steel dashboard was modified for this application. In lieu of
black crinkle finish, it's painted body color. The dashboard is complemented
by a custom, upholstered center console. A "Nostalic Air" air conditioning
system has been installed. Tourist Trophy 15" wood three-spoke steering wheel.
|Body:||a 1980 MGB bodyshell was the basis of the "rotisserie restoration" that started
this project. The floorboards, trunk floor, rockers, doglegs, and lower front
fenders were replaced. Hat-section reinforcements were added under the floor.
Use of the later model bodyshell also necessitated a "chrome bumper conversion".
|Completed:||September 2008. (Driven 4200 miles as of June 2009.)
|Comments:||as a hobby, I've been restoring British cars for thirty years. Most of the
restorations have been Jaguar XKE's. I always wanted to put a V8 engine in
a British car. I decided on MGB. I really enjoyed building this car because
I could do it exactly the way I wanted (i.e. "not concours"). At 105 miles
I had a rocker arm break. That one defective part has been the only problem
in the first 4200 miles. The cost, doing all the work myself, was about $25,000
and the whole project took ten months.
1962 Buick 215cid aluminum V8, bored 0.030" over.
Delco Remy distributor with Pertronix Ignitor ignition module (in lieu of breaker points).
Offenhauser finned aluminum valve covers.
Steering universal joint.
Edelbrock 1405 500cfm carburetor, with electric choke.
Pertronix Flame Thrower ignition coil.
"RV8-style" through-the-apron headers.
Accel Hi-Temp Spiral Core 8mm spark plug wires.
Four-into-one header collector.
Sanden air conditioning compressor.
The air conditioning system's receiver-dryer.
The air conditioning system's condensor, mounted in front of a D&D aluminum radiator.
D&D Fabrications swivel mount oil filter adapter.
Positive crankcase ventilation system.
Electric choke actuator.
Hole in the passenger-side inner wing to accomodate the exhaust header.
Delco 100 amp alternator (and billet pulleys).
Hood louvers and insulation.
Wiring has been relocated out of the engine area. Here, you can also see how the fenders
were modified to accomodate the earlier "chrome-bumper" style turn signal lamps.
How It Was Done
Ready to get started...
Installation of replacement floorboards, as seen from above...
and as seen from below...
and from another angle.
Eliminating the fender-top seam.
Replacement trunk floor.
Replacing the castle rail (i.e. inner rocker panel).
Installing the rocker panel and replacement quarterpanel "dog-leg".
The passenger-side fender went on and looked really good.
The driver-side fender took more work. Rust repair necessitated replacing the whole lower part,
...which needs to be done on the car so that fit and alignment come out correctly.
Painted! This view shows many of the distinctive features of a "rubber bumper" bodyshell. You might note
different leaf spring mounts, which project lower to lift the body. The heelboard stiffener has a deeper
cross-section to accomodate the driveshaft's greater angle. The radiator is mounted further forward, and
the radiator shelf and its reinforcement are more elaborate. Note also the tie-down brackets for transport.
Mike added hat-section reinforcements under the floor to strenghen the seat mounting points.
Very minimal transmission tunnel mods.
A single battery box is another distinctive feature of the "rubber bumper" bodyshell.
Buick's classic all-aluminum "215" engine, with a modern aftermarket transmission bellhousing.
Chevy Camaro spec diaphragm pressure plate and clutch disc.
Actual engine installation is so quick and easy compared to all the preparation...
(Of course, the engine will probably come out and go back in a couple more times.)
Installation of the alternator.
Checking pulley clearance, after installation of the radiator and cooling fan.
One fan pushing, and one fan pulling.
Pass-thru panel for the HVAC system.
Preparing to test-fire the newly installed engine.
Isn't this nifty: a remote gauge panel with starter switch!
Nostalgic Air climate system.
Advance Auto-Wire wiring system.
Seven relays, two flashers, eight fuses...
Rebuilt MGB front suspension.
MGB tube-type (Salisbury) axle. The anti-sway bar brackets are a late-model feature.
Suspension, Exhaust, and Rear Axle
D&D Fabrication driveshaft.
Salisbury axle. (Note: "Salisbury" is just a popular Britishism for "Dana/Spicer".)
Anti-sway bar bracket on the body.
Anti-sway bar bracket on the axle.
The fuel tank was centered to accomodate dual exhaust.
Red urethane bushings.
Tourist Trophy 15" wood three-spoke steering wheel.
MGB steel dashboard, repainted body color.
AutoMeter Pro-Comp programable fuel level gauge.
Hurst Billet/Plus shifter.
AutoMeter Pro-Comp gauges: oil pressure, water temp, voltmeter.
Custom built center console includes air conditioning controls and louvers.
1977-1980 armrest/console was cut down to suit the custom shifter boot.
It's so liberating to simply build your car with your favorite parts and features!
For example, here a 1962-1969 style grille is used with a 1973-1974.5 apron.
Note that the cowl vent has been discretely blanked off.
Later model (1974-1980) door mirrors.
Later model boot lid badge.
Solid red taillamps (circa 1962-1969).
MkI bumper overriders on MkIII bumper: being mounted further outboard makes the car appear wider.
15" Dayton wire wheels.
Dunlop SP Sport 5000 P195/65R15 tires.
The 34 photos in the "How It Was Done" sub-section were submitted by Mike Alexander
for BritishV8's exclusive use. All other photos shown here are from BritishV8 2009,
and were taken by Curtis Jacobson for BritishV8 Magazine.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.