MGB
May 31, 2006 1:33 PM   Subscribe

The MGB Experience : "Why do people purchase Little British Cars (LBCs)? More specifically, of the many vehicles consumers have to choose from, why would anyone purchase an old, unreliable, slow LBC, namely a MG? Is there a logical explanation for owning an automobile that last landed on American soil from the British manufacturer in 1980?" MGB Tech Tips from Motorhead and mgcars.org.uk. And don't forget the britishcarforum for all your LBC (Little British Car) sickness needs.
posted by spock (70 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
More importantly, is there a rational legal or philosophical reason for society to promote tolerance of people's irrational passion for little British cars?
posted by JekPorkins at 1:42 PM on May 31, 2006


Motorhead says: "Lucas parts fit well and, as components, they are durable and dependable."
posted by exogenous at 1:42 PM on May 31, 2006


Beleive it or not theres a few people in the UK who insist on driving huge-ass American cars from the 60s.
posted by Artw at 1:48 PM on May 31, 2006


My parents had friends who had an MGB as their "weekend" car. As in, this weekend we'll be 1) working on it, 2) driving our Volvo around looking for parts for it, 3) poking around the countryside looking for another MGB.

But man, that thing did look good. Never got to be inside it while it was moving under its own power, but still.
posted by bardic at 1:48 PM on May 31, 2006


Heh, that must be why Lucas is often referred to as The Prince of Darkness.
posted by ulotrichous at 1:50 PM on May 31, 2006


Lucas parts fit well and, as components, they are durable and dependable

That's a joke, right? I mean, there's a reason for the old "Joseph Lucas, Prince of Darkness" one-liner.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:50 PM on May 31, 2006


Which a lot of people have apparently heard.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:51 PM on May 31, 2006


I would love to have an old MG or a Sunbeam Alpine, but with modern components and geometry underneath. The original were very cool visually but, by modern standards, a bit slow (not to mention brakes and handling). An RX8 rotorary in an Alpine with a tubular frame and modern suspension and brakes. mmmmm. curvy roads....
posted by doctor_negative at 1:55 PM on May 31, 2006


Don't forget this classic:

Why do Brits drink warm beer?
Because they have Lucas refrigerators!
posted by TedW at 1:58 PM on May 31, 2006


I think that you are missing the point there Dr. Neg. People love these kind of cars because they are a bit slow and the braking and handling aren't perfect. You might as well complain that they don't have air conditioning or electric door locks.
posted by octothorpe at 1:59 PM on May 31, 2006


Act 2 of episode 279 of This American Life has a nice story:

"Jamie Kitman tells the story of the car that broke his heart. He's the New York Bureau Chief for Automobile Magazine, and the automotive editor for Men's Journal."

... that's right, the car that broke his heart was an MG.
posted by basicchannel at 2:02 PM on May 31, 2006


My *first* car was a 1976 baby blue MGB. Very Dickensian, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

One day rolling down the freeway the back wheels stopped turning. Completely. Skidded to a stop. Turns out the timing chain had skipped a link, throwing of the timing until the engine welded itself together. New engine. The day before I sold it, a rear leaf spring broke, entailing some rapid repairs, that certainly held long enough to get it to the dealer lot where I'd traded it in on some quality 80's Chrysler modern tech.

And when it wouldn't start, you could always fix it by opening the hood and banging on assorted metal parts with a hammer kept under the seat for just such occasions.

My wife wants one now, to which I reply I completely take NO responsibility for it what so ever. Do call me when you're broken down in the middle of nowhere.

And Doc Negative, aren't you just describing a Miata?
posted by Keith Talent at 2:10 PM on May 31, 2006




"Beleive it or not theres a few people in the UK who insist on driving huge-ass American cars from the 60s."

Artw hahahaha

I drive past Bauer Milletts almost everyday and I gotta admit I gaze at the Dodge Viper and think "that car rules".

As Brit I often wonder why Americans seem to have to drive big cars with big engines. The mentality of "the bigger the better" when it comes to cars seems odd. Smaller, lighter cars with a high power to weight ratio and exceptional handling are always gonna be more fun that a V8 American car with 150bhp and leaf springs for suspension. And less lethel too.

I do know a fella from Boston who when he came over on business here wanted me to find him as many MGs as I could - which was really quite cute.

You Americans should probably check out Morgan Cars, they're way more rare and exclusive than an MG (for Americans who watch our Top Gear, Richard Hammond has one - where as Clarkson got one of your GT40s lol)
posted by 13twelve at 2:13 PM on May 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


aren't you just describing a Miata?

Miatas don't have rotary engines. But they should. Oh, they should.
posted by JekPorkins at 2:15 PM on May 31, 2006


I grew up in a British car family.

One of my brothers had a series of Triumphs and Sunbeams, another brother had an MG B, hell my dad, at 87, still drives his 65 Sunbeam Tiger every weekend (enjoying retirement splendor in Arizona).

Life is far too short, and there are far too many interesting roads out there to drive something boring.

Besides, the sheer enjoyment of taking a great handling car like a TR or a Lotus or an Alfa out for a little jaunt on a road that looks like a pile of string dropped onto your map is one of the most enjoyable things a person can do.

To me, the people that I'm wary of are the ones who DON'T own a sports car of some sort or another.
posted by Relay at 2:20 PM on May 31, 2006


And Doc Negative, aren't you just describing a Miata?

Miatas look like bars of soap, though. I want something with some style.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:26 PM on May 31, 2006


Besides, the sheer enjoyment of taking a great handling car like a TR or a Lotus or an Alfa out for a little jaunt on a road that looks like a pile of string dropped onto your map is one of the most enjoyable things a person can do.

I agree wholeheartedly!

It's just short of doing the same on a motorcycle ;)
posted by flaterik at 2:31 PM on May 31, 2006


I've been lurking for years but I finally had to register for this. I have a 1969 MGB GT, I've owned it for five years, and I drive it every day. Usually just a couple of miles back and forth to work, but I've driven the thing cross-country with only one small breakdown that I fixed in an hour or so. Other than a dead battery and flat tire, I've never had another breakdown. The thing is what some people call "agricultural" - so simple in design and function that there's not much that can go wrong. The electrical system is mostly terrible, the body tends to rust, but when I'm cruising in third on a windy two-lane road...heaven.
(my other car is a Fiat 600)
(sucker for punishment)
posted by 1adam12 at 2:32 PM on May 31, 2006


My first car was a 1972 Triumph Spitfire IV with a glorious bright red paint job. I have fond memories of many trips across the Canadian countryside with the top down. I am especially fond of the the electrical fire that burst forth from the dash many hours from home. After losing all the electrics in the car, the headlights slowly dimmed as they drew on the battery until it was dead. I drove on into the setting sun, knowing that if I stopped the car I would never get home. The gas gauge never worked, and the speedometer was in miles per hour, which was usable (when it worked). I loved that car, and it made high school almost enjoyable to me.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:41 PM on May 31, 2006


1adam12, you're my automotive hero of the day. God bless you.
posted by JekPorkins at 2:41 PM on May 31, 2006


It's just short of doing the same on a motorcycle ;)

Indeed flaterik, and I would join you in a heart beat, but every time (Every. Fucking. Time.) I've ridden a bike I've dumped it.

I figure it's god's way of telling me something ... something along the lines of, "You MORON! If you ride a motorcycles, you'll DIE!!"
posted by Relay at 2:44 PM on May 31, 2006


Cruising in third?
posted by veedubya at 2:45 PM on May 31, 2006


If you can get to 4th, then the road is too straight.
posted by spock at 2:56 PM on May 31, 2006


veedubya, with this car's gearing and narrow roads, 3rd gear is often the most comfortable for cruising. I don't start thinking about 4th gear until 40mph or so if I need to accelerate any time this year.
posted by 1adam12 at 3:00 PM on May 31, 2006


Thank you for this, spock!

My very first car was a 1979 forest green MGB with gold racing stripes, and together we explored the rolling hills of Wisconsin. Good times.

The term "high maintenance" was invented for that car, and any girlfriend I had afterwards was like a walk in the park in comparison: Leaking fluids, dead batteries, broken fuel pumps and clutches, and gears that miraculoulsy changed position from day to day --second gear would suddenly be two inches further to the left. Not to mention the stupid impracticality of having a soft-top convertible during the hellish winters of the upper midwest. Still, nothing could beat the sheer enjoyment of tearing around the countryside during the summer with the top down and the wind whipping around your head. It made driving seem like an adventure.

I'm immmediately reminded of this passage from Neil Stephenson's excellent essay In the Beginning was the Command Line:

Sure, the MGB was a lousy car in almost every way that counted: balky, unreliable, underpowered. But it was fun to drive. It was responsive. Every pebble on the road was felt in the bones, every nuance in the pavement transmitted instantly to the driver's hands. He could listen to the engine and tell what was wrong with it. The steering responded immediately to commands from his hands. To us passengers it was a pointless exercise in going nowhere--about as interesting as peering over someone's shoulder while he punches numbers into a spreadsheet. But to the driver it was an experience. For a short time he was extending his body and his senses into a larger realm, and doing things that he couldn't do unassisted.
posted by Gamblor at 3:02 PM on May 31, 2006


I saw someone driving an old MG the other day, all rounded off and 60s looking.

Looked pretty sweet, actually.
posted by delmoi at 3:20 PM on May 31, 2006


Gamblor,

What computer was Stevenson comparing the MG to?
posted by MotorNeuron at 3:29 PM on May 31, 2006


My parents have tormented me with their car buying - first they sold their Spitfire (complete with leather bonnet strap) when I was born, and then later my dad failed to buy (despite having a deposit down) an electric blue Jensen - I think - Interceptor.
posted by patricio at 3:37 PM on May 31, 2006


A 1978 K-car is such a mechanical wonder by comparison.
posted by Rumple at 3:46 PM on May 31, 2006


With so much drama in the LBC, it's kinda hard to keep drivin' my MGB...
posted by First Post at 4:01 PM on May 31, 2006


why would anyone purchase

because we like working on things which need fixing.
posted by 3.2.3 at 4:02 PM on May 31, 2006


Good Lord, as a real live British person, this is hilarious. MGs are as common as muck, and completely naff.

If you want something MG-related, small, beautiful, but still charmingly unreliable and with no brakes to speak of, I suggest a Mark 1 Frogeye Sprite. Admittedly they're rather slow (supposedly does 78MPH, 60-odd seems more realistic), but on a winding road after a light shower, you can really slide it about.

The Sprite is presumably ideal for 'LBC' fans, too - it's really little - 130-odd inches long, about 50 inches high with the roof on (though, obviously, the tonneau is the only weather protection needed!). Plus it was cobbled together from other 'LBC' type cars - the Austin A-35 - suspension, transmission, rear axle - and the Morris Minor - engine, rack-and-pinion steering.

The fact that I got some of that info by looking at the wall behind me, where the factory record for chassis no. AN5/33947 hangs is no indication of bias ;-)
posted by jack_mo at 4:08 PM on May 31, 2006


i helped a buddy of mine restore a '57 MGA roadster when we were in high school, it really was a thing of beauty. At the time his everyday car was a '77 MGB which ran great. He foolishly traded it for a '70 something Porche 912. And that thing sucked hard.

As he explained it to me: European cars from the '60s and '70s are tinkerers cars. If you are the kind of person who, once a month, enjoys pulling your plugs and checking your spark gap, an MG might be right for you.
posted by quin at 4:09 PM on May 31, 2006


On not-previewing: an electric blue Jensen - I think - Interceptor.

West Midlands engineering with Italian coachbuilding - perfect.
posted by jack_mo at 4:13 PM on May 31, 2006


"If you are the kind of person who, once a month, enjoys pulling your plugs and checking your spark gap, an MG might be right for you."

Indeed ... or as my (Triumph owning) brother once said, "There's a certain sound that a TR-4 makes when its rear shock absorber upper mounts start to go. But after the fourth or fifth time, it kinda starts to loose its charm."
posted by Relay at 4:14 PM on May 31, 2006


I'm just discovering this world now. In 1979 I looked at (and drove) a 1975 MG Midget, but inexplicably decided to get married instead. 26 years later I'm at a nephew's graduation and my wife's oldest brother (who I hardly know, but is a real character) GIVES me this Pageant Blue 1979 MGB. What's that they say about the free things being the most expensive? I'm looking forward to making it my "weekend" car. The no end of things to buy and fix on it, is certainly part of the appeal and I can't help but feel a little sorry for all these people shut up in their little air-conditioned cabins.
posted by spock at 4:15 PM on May 31, 2006


MotorNeuron, he was making an analogy between cars and operating systems. After watching his friend's father obsess over his broken-down MGB, he concluded that romance and image help shape people's opinions about technology, and that the interface is very important.
posted by Gamblor at 4:22 PM on May 31, 2006


My dad bought a fixer-upper house once, and discovered a fixer-upper Jensen Interceptor in the garage (it hadn't been there when he viewed it). Long after the crumbling house had been restored to former glories, the Jensen was still leaking and refusing to start. Beautiful car, though.

Really, driving these things is like choosing to use a VT100 and mutt instead of gmail. There are cars that give you far better driving experiences (with the rose-coloured string-backed gloves), and also don't break down all the time.

I say this as someone who has a VT100 in his study, and MeFis from it :)
posted by bonaldi at 4:23 PM on May 31, 2006


I think we in N.A. like the MG for the same reason we like the Beetle, the Corvette, and even the El Camino

...

Because all of the other cars here look the fucking same! Ooo...it's a 4 door sedan...ooo...it's the same sedan with 2 doors...ooo...it's an identical 2 door sedan built by a completely different company! To mix it up a little maybe we'll throw in a hatchback or a typical SUV.

This is why the Hummer is popular, it's even why the frigging Gremlin has a larger-than-it-should role in popular culture. It's -part- of why the Smart ForTwo is gaining ground, though that has other cultural problems.

The only thing I'm currently confused by is why the Subaru Baja isn't so incredibly loved.
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:23 PM on May 31, 2006


I can't say exactly why, but I love this thread.

Smells like blue smoke and electrical fires in all the right places.
posted by isopraxis at 4:27 PM on May 31, 2006


Jensen Interceptors were pretty impressive, and kind of hard to find these days.

As I recall, they had ... what, 318s? 383s? some sort of Chrysler sourced mill. Really fast. But I remember seeing them in wrecking yards a lot (for what that's worth).

Jensen Healey's on the other hand ... [shudder] ... vapor lock problems, carbs who's sync came and went with the phases of the moon ... poorly thought out emissions equipment ... scary cars ...
posted by Relay at 4:28 PM on May 31, 2006


My very first car was a candy-apple red 1973 MGB. The engine was awful, the brakes were worse. You had to sit on the trunk and bounce it just right to get it open. To get it into 3rd gear (which, as was pointed out above, was the most important one), you had to double-clutch. To figure out how fast you were going, you had to multiply the reading from the spedometer by 3/4 (easy if you want to go 30, less so if you want to go 55). It went through a quart of oil a week, and leaked when it rained. God I loved that little car.
posted by macmac at 4:28 PM on May 31, 2006


Metafilter: blue smoke and electrical fires in all the right places. It had to be done.
posted by spock at 4:37 PM on May 31, 2006


As I recall, they had ... what, 318s? 383s? some sort of Chrysler sourced mill.

361 B-block. The older ones had an Austin engine, though, I think.

And the FF Interceptor was the first four wheel drive car, and it had anti-skid brakes, and did a ton and a half - not bad for the mid-1960s that! Only in America would it count as a 'little' car, though...
posted by jack_mo at 5:06 PM on May 31, 2006


MGs are as common as muck

that's how come we can afford 'em.
posted by 3.2.3 at 5:16 PM on May 31, 2006


Got a buddy who works for a British car restoration shop in Nashville...the common joke there for Lucas electronics is that any given Lucas switch has 3 settings...Off, Dim, and Flicker.

That being said, another friend of mine has a '69 MGC that, when it will actually start without fiddling with the SU's for half a day is an absolute HOOT to drive.

Rubber bumper MG's suck.

Most MG's suck....although the MGB GT V8 has its moments.
posted by rhythim at 5:26 PM on May 31, 2006


Oh yeah, and the later Jensen Interceptors (late 60's-early 70's) were 383/440 Chrysler powered. A guy here in town has a pair of them. 4500lb behemoths that only do one thing well. 100mph in a straight line.
posted by rhythim at 5:28 PM on May 31, 2006


"Beleive it or not theres a few people in the UK who insist on driving huge-ass American cars from the 60s."

And then there are the eccentric few who insist on the worst of both worlds, custom-built estate wagons.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:01 PM on May 31, 2006


See also.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:02 PM on May 31, 2006


Got a buddy who works for a British car restoration shop in Nashville...the common joke there for Lucas electronics is that any given Lucas switch has 3 settings...Off, Dim, and Flicker.

Some one has now beat me to all my lucas wiring jokes (except the supposed quote from the founder "Gentlemen do not motor after dark") but I do have a couple stories...
My wife's uncle love old british bikes (norton, matchless, royal enfield...) once told me "you know, even though the headlight only goes out for a couple seconds, it seems like really long time when your on a corner at night".
Another aquaintance was pulled over by the cops because they thought he had turned off his headlights to avoid them, he said "no, its just an old british car and the lights go on and off on bumpy roads..." (the car was a mid-60's rover 2000).
posted by 445supermag at 6:09 PM on May 31, 2006


Good Lord, as a real live British person, this is hilarious. MGs are as common as muck, and completely naff.

"Truly a prophet hath no honor in his own country." "Good Lord", indeed.
posted by spock at 6:22 PM on May 31, 2006


octothorpe writes "People love these kind of cars because they are a bit slow and the braking and handling aren't perfect. You might as well complain that they don't have air conditioning or electric door locks."

Loved by few, rebuilt $5 at a time.

jack_mo writes "And the FF Interceptor was the first four wheel drive car"

In 1966 the FF was the first production AWD "sports" car. Of course they made less than 400 so production is kind of a weak description. Cadillac for example had colonial editions of their cars with 4wd all the way back in 1913.
posted by Mitheral at 6:26 PM on May 31, 2006


MGB Buyers Guide for the adventurous.
posted by punkfloyd at 6:27 PM on May 31, 2006


Memory lane.
posted by notreally at 6:38 PM on May 31, 2006


What computer was Stevenson comparing the MG to?

Linux.
posted by delmoi at 7:26 PM on May 31, 2006


The MGA is one of the most beautiful cars of all time. My best friend in high school had one. Gorgeous. Even if we had to bleed the brakes and retune the carbs every time he took the car out, it was still awesome. And I still want one.

My brother and several of his friends drove TR-4A's. Every one of them had more than one. The car you drove, and the one (or more) you stripped for parts.

(Then there was the Pinto that got traded around a half-dozen times. Three hundred bucks, last I heard. Those were the days you could always buy a car for $300, and it was always a Pinto. The passenger seat wasn't bolted down, so when you rode shotgun and the driver hit the brakes, you'd go sliding forward with a lurch.)
posted by bigbigdog at 8:07 PM on May 31, 2006


Sigh. I'm guilty as hell, Owned a 1965 MGB for years, totaled it and got a 1969 MGC (looks like an MGB except it has a 6 cylinder in it) After 20+ years of MG fun, I sold it. So, yes. I was one of those MG lovers. Speaking of MG love, did you know you can do it in an MG!!!? (snicker)
posted by BillsR100 at 8:11 PM on May 31, 2006


My dad had a '67 MGB in British Racing Green, when I was a kid. He loved that car. I loved that car. It was so much fun and you can't beat a ragtop.

But every single weekend some component (or set thereof) was spread out all over the ping pong table in Grandma's basement... and half the time Dad would have to pop the hood, leaving it open a few inches and hanging on its safety latch, to air-cool the engine. After watching him work on it for years, I think I might be able to build one from the ground up if someone sent me a completely dissassembled one in a crate, unsorted.

I did learn my lesson from all that, though. I bought a '67 Chevy Camaro RS/SS 350. Much more fun, much less under-hood shenanigans.

Unfortunately... I couldn't afford it in a ragtop. They're going for $40,000 in some cases!! **SIGH**
posted by zoogleplex at 9:07 PM on May 31, 2006


bigbigdog : (Then there was the Pinto that got traded around a half-dozen times. Three hundred bucks, last I heard. Those were the days you could always buy a car for $300, and it was always a Pinto. The passenger seat wasn't bolted down, so when you rode shotgun and the driver hit the brakes, you'd go sliding forward with a lurch.)


Holy crap! i remember that car, except in my circle it was an '82 Ford Escort. Must have traded hands at least three or four times. Always for between $250 and $300. It's big claim to fame was that the rear hatchback's pneumatic hinge was shot so there was no kind of support; you had to prop it open with a four foot wooden dowel. That would have been fine except the lip of the hatch was completely rusted (and razor sharp) making it the world's first mobile gas powered bear trap.

i finally got rid of it when i was half in/ half out of the trunk and i bumped the dowel. The hatch very quickly dropped two or three inches before the dowel caught on something and thus, saved me from being cut in half.

i sold the car shortly there after. i gave the new owner a basic overview; 'the brakes are good, keep an eye on the clutch, and for the love of god, never, never use the hatch.'

if memory serves she put another 25,000 miles on that car before she sold it to someone else.

And if she is to be believed, she gave them the same warning ;)
posted by quin at 9:21 PM on May 31, 2006


I had a 1977 MGB when I was in high school. By had I mean that it sat mostly in the drive way in non-working condition. I saw a bumper stick once that had a diagram of an electric switch with three positions. The caption read: The Lucas Switch: Off, Dim, Flicker.

Still, they are charming cars... infuriatingly unreliable... but charming.
posted by wfrgms at 9:45 PM on May 31, 2006


The mid-1974 changes to accommodate new U.S. regulations destroyed the the MGB's looks. Compare the left car (the last, and IMO the best looking of the chrome bumper models) to the right. Though the sheet metal is unchanged (a unibody design, rather advanced when introduced in 1962), raised ride height and rubber bumpers ruined its lines and turned it into a jellybean.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:23 PM on May 31, 2006


I don't know if any MGs share the wacky hydraulo-mechano-electrical overdrive cone clutch built in to the transmission that my Triumph Spitfire has, but man is that thing a) crazily complicated, and b) unreliable. The scheme goes like this: when you're in third or fourth gear, a (Lucas electric) switch decides it's OK if you flip a little (Lucas electric) switch on the gearshift knob to request overdrive. When you do that, Lucas willing, a (Lucas electric) solenoid in the transmission (probably) fires and (probably) diverts (probably) pressurized gear oil into a hydraulic channel, (often) driving a "cone clutch" forward so that the main shaft disengages, transmitting power through an overdrive shaft and gear. Note that the gear oil also saturates the clutch linings, eventually causing the clutch to slip no matter what gear you're in. Oddly and uselessly, overdrive in third seems to have a nearly identical final gear ratio to non-overdrive fourth. Also oddly, high voltage from the coil is somehow leaking around the car, so you're as likely as not to get a vigorous shock when you request overdrive until you learn to touch only the plastic part of the switch as you shift to overdrive, not the metal gear knob. Say, that explains why British chaps always have those driving gloves.

I suppose as a life lesson for my toddler, I should write down somewhere that no matter how much she whines that she wants it, you should never give a Spitfire to a high-maintenance girlfriend, because you will always be taking care of a car or girlfriend issue, and you will eventually get kicked out of grad school. And when she ultimately leaves you, you will be stuck with the Spitfire again.

At least the Spitfire still looks great.
posted by surlycat at 12:55 AM on June 1, 2006


In 1966 the FF was the first production AWD "sports" car.

Yeah, I was getting overexcited at the thought of Jensens. Vroom!

I love that that one of those 'F's stands for Ferguson, the tractor maker - fancy sports car feature taken from something for ploughing fields.
posted by jack_mo at 2:25 AM on June 1, 2006


surleycat: many MGBs had this 'feature,' and if you can believe it MG owners pay good money to add one to their cars. The device you mention is a Laycock overdrive unit, and despite being an unreliable piece of junk it really is a marvel of eletromechanohydraulic engineering. Like the SU carburettor, for instance. Both amazing ideas, amazingly poorly executed.

Me, I'm saving up for a real 5-speed, but I'm a heretic in this world.
posted by 1adam12 at 3:04 AM on June 1, 2006


I had an LIC instead of an LBC - 1976 Fiat 1800 Spyder. It had been wrecked, and never would really drive straight. I bought it for $600 and it never, ever let me down.

It had dual overhead cams and 4 wheel disc brakes.

I am very surprised I did not die in that car though. Yes, I loved it.
posted by toastchee at 7:49 AM on June 1, 2006


Jack_mo: The sports car/tractor has a fine heritage
posted by patricio at 9:18 AM on June 1, 2006


The device you mention is a Laycock overdrive unit, and despite being an unreliable piece of junk it really is a marvel of eletromechanohydraulic engineering....

My old Plymouth Champ (a rebadged Mitsubishi, I believe) had a 4 speed manual trans with a "high/low" lever next to the shifter. I suppose the idea was to shift up to 4th in "low" then slip the other lever to "high" once you were at cruising speed (which is how I usually drove it) but as the high/low worked with every gear, I'd sometimes amuse friends with my "8" speed shifting: 1st low to 1st high. 2nd low to 2nd high, etc. Took about 3 minutes, but it was silly fun.

And back on topic, I've frozen my ass off in more MGBs than I care to remember. I wouldn't mind one now, or perhaps an early Alfa Duetto "boat tail" spider, or a Porsche 914 with a 3-litre out of a 911SC.
posted by jalexei at 9:36 AM on June 1, 2006


The mid-1974 changes to accommodate new U.S. regulations destroyed the the MGB's looks.

And a fat lot of good that minimum bumper height is today with SUV's everywhere, most of those would probably go straight over the top of an old MG, what we need now is a maximum bumper height
posted by Lanark at 12:41 PM on June 1, 2006


"My old Plymouth Champ (a rebadged Mitsubishi, I believe) had a 4 speed manual trans with a "high/low" lever next to the shifter. I suppose the idea was to shift up to 4th in "low" then slip the other lever to "high" once you were at cruising speed (which is how I usually drove it) but as the high/low worked with every gear, I'd sometimes amuse friends with my "8" speed shifting: 1st low to 1st high. 2nd low to 2nd high, etc. Took about 3 minutes, but it was silly fun."

Yup, I had the Dodge Colt with the same thing. "Twin-Stick", I think it was called. Man, I loved that car. 40mpg and fun as hell.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:28 PM on June 1, 2006


« Older Capsized.   |   Aboriginal Australia Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments