Back Dated: 1976 MG MGB Mk IV – SOLD!

May 2020 | Classifinds, Sports Car Saturday

Update: This one got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330

A number of pretty cars developed in the 1960s which survived in production managed to look uglier as regulations forced designers to add ungainly numbers capable of meeting a five mer per hour no damage standard.  With the body relatively interchangeable between years, enthusiasts have since figured out how to “back date” their ugly bumper model with parts from an earlier car.  While the Porsche 911 is probably the best-known example of this practice, rubber bumper (actually made of urethane) MGBs look positively stunning when fitted with earlier chrome bumpers combined with the European spec lowered suspension.  A great example was listed on Craigslist in Manhattan, New York with newer paint and asking price of $7,800.   Checking the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has their ‘B priced between  #2 “Excellent” estimate of $14,900 and the #3 “Good” appraisal of $6,400.  

MG originally introduced its MGB for the 1962 model year.  Twelve years later, to meet impact regulations, 1974 US models had the chrome bumper over-riders replaced with oversized urethane ones, nicknamed “Sabrinas” after the British actress Sabrina (the U.K.’s equivalent of Dagmar). In the second half of 1974, the chrome bumpers were replaced altogether. A new, steel-reinforced black urethane bumper at the front incorporated the grille area as well, giving a major restyling to the B’s nose, and a matching rear bumper completed the change.  Despite being made of urethane, the dull black appearance also quickly had these editions being called the “Rubber Bumper” era MGs.

New US headlight height regulations also meant that the headlamps were too low. Rather than redesign the front of the car, British Leyland raised the car’s suspension by 1-inch (25 mm). This, in combination with the new, far heavier bumpers, resulted in significantly poorer handling. For the 1975 model year only, MG deleted the front anti-roll bar as a cost-saving measure (though still available as an option). The damage done by the British Leyland response to US legislation was partially alleviated by revisions to the suspension geometry in 1977 when a rear anti-roll bar was made standard equipment on all models. US emissions regulations also reduced horsepower.

Hagerty Insurance provides a nice buyer’s guide on what to look for when buying one of these classic sports cars:

While this example features a two-year-old repaint and backdate, the seller honestly states the top and interior are in need of attention.  If you only plan to drive this MGB on nice days, then those items can be easily addressed in the fall once the weather starts to get cooler.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Beautiful hippy cool Classic MG 1976 convertible. The car has 58,000 original miles and new tires, new muffler and exhaust. It has a new pierce intake manifold with a brand new Weber carburetor refitted with new patronix electronic ignition. Has a couple small upholstery tears in the seats as well as in the top- that can be taped but aftermarket tops easy to find and replace. It has been retrofitted with the chrome bumpers and cool chrome roof rack. And was completely repainted 2 years ago. A great summer toy!

Do you have a MGB story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

  1. Analog Man

    It’s always a favor to the world to convert the hideous nausea-inducing rubber bumpers on a MGB back to the chrome they were meant to be. It infinitely improves the looks of the car back to what Syd Enever originally intended. Though, the seller gets half a point taken off for adding the ‘chrome roof rack’ (presumably they meant to say trunk luggage rack), which I don’t think does any car any favors in the looks department. No one actually uses luggage racks for carrying anything – why clutter up the lines and drill holes in the original sheetmetal in the process?

    On this car, the buyer should also take the final step of lowering the suspension back to pre-rubber bumper height. Otherwise, the extraneous space in the wheel arches makes the car look like it’s lifting its skirt to cross a puddle.

  2. Richard parsons

    I acquired an MGB when I purchased a house in 1987. I don’t remember the cars year. The engine was frozen. I pulled the plugs and squirted plenty of automatic transmission fluid into the plug holes.I let it sit for a week.At the end of the week I used a breaker bar to gently rotate the crank.It loosened up and I traded it that way for a 500cc BSA motorcycle which ran.


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