1980 MGB Mk IV

1980 MGB Mark IV

This MGB beauty is owned by VAEer Jim Adams of Jericho, Vermont.

Jim Adams writes:

Jim Adams and his 1980 MBG

In the spring of 1983 on my daily drive to my office, I drove by Al Martin Motors which then was on the Williston Road. In the showroom was a reddish orange sports car just begging me to stop and look at her. One day I could no longer resist and thus started a 40-year odyssey with a 1980 MGB MK IV.

My experience with cars began in 1960, when I was 15. My neighbor was a car salesman and one day he brought home a 1936 Chevy 2-door sedan and parked it in front of my house. A good sales pitch! After persuading my parents to lend me $25, I was the excited new owner for a total sum of $50.

Needless to say, I learned much about mechanics and body work. That 1936 Chevy was followed by a 51 Ford, a 55 Chevy and then back to a 51 Chevy which was my daily driver in 1970!

By 1983 I was married with 2 children and was ready for another car adventure. Growing up in the 50s and 60s I became interested in British sports cars such as MGs, Austin Healeys, and Triumphs, and their successes on the European race tracks. In 1962 I had the thrill of driving my oldest brother’s newly acquired Austin Healey Sprite. The car was quick and responsive and a blast to drive with a 4-speed transmission. I knew then that at some point I needed to have a sports car! MGs have a history going back to the 1920s when Morris Motors was in its infancy building primarily sedans. A group of the workers began experimenting with building more sporty models and soon spun off another company with the famous MG moniker. In the 1940s MG sports car models took off with the MG TCs, MG TDs, MG TFs, MGA and finally the MGB.

From the model year update in 1975 until its demise in 1980, the MGB was looked down upon by MG purists. In mid -1974, US regulations required the original MGB to have better crash protection which resulted in raising the car 1 inch and adding rubber bumpers. In addition, new pollution regulations caused MG to add a quirky emission system of air pumps, a catalytic converter, and a single Zenith carburetor. This emission system caused a real decline in performance and purists actually expressed hatred of the rubber bumpers.

My 1980 MGB has 95H, a 4 -speed transmission and an electronic overdrive. I believe the overdrive has been instrumental in reducing the wear and tear of high RPMs on the engine allowing it to effortlessly reach 100,000 miles. During the 40 years I have had my MGB, it has been well maintained with the expert help of Arlo Cota and his team at Imported Cars in Williston. The IC team performs mechanical magic! The car has been annoying at times and has needed some emergency intervention. I have had two gas line leaks which have been the demise of many MGs. I was fortunate to catch them early before flames erupted! Once the catalytic converter literally fell apart at the top of Smugglers Notch after becoming fiery red. Recently the engine quit coming down the east side of the Notch. Cause was Lucas electrical!

1980 MBG interior

Quoting from the April 2013 Wheel Tracks page 15, I consider my car “Perfect but not Correct”. In order to improve the performance from its original configuration, a Weber downdraft carburetor along with new headers and a Triumph Trophy exhaust from Moss Motors was installed. Just recently my B was upgraded with a Pertronix electronic distributor resulting in a marked increase in power.

Other “not-correct” changes include aftermarket wheels with 185×14 tires mounted (original were 165×14). Ongoing maintenance during its life have included a clutch replacement, engine seals, suspension and brake repairs. The MGB’s body and frame is solid with no rust . The only body repair was the need for a new hood resulting from a sled dropping down on it from my garage rafters.

I have enjoyed this MGB even though I think an Austin Healey 3000 is the ultimate in English sports cars! With all the performance changes made throughout its life, this car is fun to drive through Vermont’s beautiful countryside with the top down and its 4-speed gear box and overdrive.

I recently spent some time on the VAE’s web page “Member Vehicles.” Interestingly, the brand with the greatest representation is Ford with 437 entries. I found 11 English brands totaling 114 and 44 of them are MGs. I also agree with Jim as my daily driver, for 12 years, was one of these 11 marques. To this day, SU carbs and even Lucas electric holds, almost, good memories for me.

From the editor


Comments

One response to “1980 MGB Mark IV”

  1. Patricia Carroll

    Jim I really enjoyed reading the description and many experiences you have had with your wonderful MG. She is certainly well cared for and you can be very proud of her. Now that she is all tucked in for the winter months. But she is not too far away so you can check on her several times a day if you wish. I enjoy admiring the MG.

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