Beginning of an Era Last of the Line

Octagon Newsletter April 1987

By Edna Sumsion

The year 1962 saw the beginning of an era. In August of that year, the first MGB was introduced. It was the tourer and had a 1798 cc version of the BMC 'B' series engine. The company made only one major change to this engine during the model's production lifetime and that was the introduction of a five-bearing crankshaft in 1964.

Another version of this much loved car was introduced in 1965 when the elegant fast-back model MGB GT rolled off the production line, with its two plus two body styling. Both of the MGB models were similar to the Midget, with unitary body construction. This was the work of Sid Enever, who was also responsible for that delightful car the MGA.

In 1947 the company found it necessary to comply with certain U.S. specifications and introduced what we usually call rubber bumper 'B's. These, of course, were impact-resistant bumpers.

Special editions of the car were introduced from time to time. In 1975 the Limited Edition MGB GTs, in a special green and gold livery, were made. There were 750 of them to commemorate 50 years of the MG marque. This, to be more precise, was the 50th anniversary of "Old Number One".

After 18 years in production, October 1980 saw chassis Number. 523,002 come off the assembly line at Abingdon an MGB GT and the last of the line. Together with a tourer version chassis No. 523,001, these were two of 1,000 specially finished Limited Editions. Both now form part of the British Leyland Heritage collection.

During the 18 year production period more than 515,000 MGBs had been made and, as sometimes happens with cars that have been in production for a lengthy period, and have been highly successful, the MGB became a classic within its own lifetime.

The last of the MGBs was, historically, just as important as its ancestor "Old Number One", as, of course, were a number of those made during the lifetime of the original "Abingdon" MG marque. It is undoubtedly, as many proud owners will hasten to agree, a worthy successor to the traditions that are unique to MG and, of course, Abingdon.

1980 MGB

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