Backdated Beauty: 1978 MGB Monte Carlo Rallye Tribute – SOLD!
August 28, 2021 Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
If you follow our sports car Saturday features regularly, you’ll likely note how I long to backdate a “Rubber Bumper” MGB despite the time and money required. Well, my friends, I present Exhibit A: a restored and backdated 1978 MGB Monte Carlo Rally tribute originally listed in July 2021 on Craigslist in Verona, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) offered at $26,500 currently. Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their very special MGB priced over five thousand dollars higher than this guide’s #1 “Concours” appraisal of $21,200 for a bone stock example. Even more conservatively, the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the current asking price is nearly twelve thousand dollars above this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $14,600. The premium requested is for what is essentially a resto-modded MGB.
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.
This excellent and extremely entertaining video of how to drive a similar spec MGB at speed is a must-see:
The restorers of this MBG clearly made lemonade out of what was once a Malaise Era MGB lemon. If you’re looking for a thoroughly sorted MGB you can ring out on your favorite country road on your way to being the topic of conversation at every Cars & Coffee, then this is the MG for you. Take the time to read the seller’s detailed description and we think you’ll agree this is a very special MGB.
Here’s the seller’s excellent description:
“This is a 1978 MGB Roadster that has been converted to the Chrome Bumpers, Chrome Bumperettes, and early style Chrome Grille and designed to look like the “7DBL” Monte Carlo Rallye Competition Car. Basecoat/clearcoat Tartan Red paint with white British Leyland Factory hardtop creates the Leyland Factory “Monte Carlo Rallye” competition car look. Suspension has been lowered 1”, with heavy-duty springs front and rear, and has polyurethane suspension bushings to give this MGB an extremely tight, solid, no rattles ride. The overflow bottle has been polished to expose the beautiful brass finish. The radiator is brand new. This car is extremely detailed in every way inside and out, and has an extremely detailed engine compartment. It features several special options such as a polished windshield frame(which matches much better to the side vent windows and REALLY makes the car stand out). Driving lights have been installed and are the period-correct Lucas driving lights that would’ve been found on the Monte Carlo Rallye Competition Car. A luggage rack was also installed for extra storage. The Autumn Leaf interior sets off the vintage rallye race car look. All pieces coordinate together, including Door Panels, carpets, Seats, Shift Boot, extra padded Center Arm Console Lid, and Cockpit Surround. This interior is extremely plush and luxurious and is extremely comfortable. The trunk is lined with black carpet and “MG” logo spare tire cover. It has an AccuSpark Electronic Distributor kit for razor-sharp timing and reliability, a Tourist Trophy polished stainless steel header and complete exhaust system, with a new big-bore/large valves head and new 1 3/4” SU carb set really finish off the Rallye race car look and gives this little MGB lots of power. The engine runs extremely smooth, all external seals and gaskets were replaced, the oil is absolutely clean. The Mazda 5 speed transmission makes for an extremely enjoyable driving experience, has silky-smooth shifts, and is right at home on backcountry roads and/or the highways. The Factory Hardtop was restored and has new, correct rubber seals throughout along with new paint and new side plexiglass windows. The restored hardtop alone is worth $2,500.00. Also included is the original top frame and new, already installed on the top frame– robbins, high quality, black vinyl convertible top. Top/Frame not installed to utilize the extra rear room behind the seats while the hardtop is in place. However, you can have the convertible top frame/top installed and folded down while the hardtop is in place if you choose to do so. I chose to leave it off the car while the hardtop is in place to give a nice clean spacious look behind the seats which is very useful!
This was a very extensive restoration to make this 20th MGBClassics LLC restoration truly unique in honoring the 1964 7DBL Monte Carlo Rallye Competition Car. All the Rallye decals are magnetic so they can be removed if you choose to do so. The “MGBClassics Special Tuning” decals are actual stickers. Here is some background history on the actual Monte Carlo Rallye Competition Car:
1964 Monte Carlo Winner and Britain’s best-selling sports car of the time. 7 DBL is an immortal number plate to MGB aficionados because it was driven to victory in the GT Category for sports cars and 17th overall, on the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally by Suffolk-based farmers, twins Donald and Erle Morley. They started the event from Oslo and the final result was remarkable for a 1800cc car, producing approximately 125bhp. Previously, when fitted with a streamlined nose and aluminum panels, 7 DBL had won its class in the 1963 Le Mans, driven by Paddy Hopkirk and Alan Hutcheson. ‘7 DBL’ had been used extensively in endurance and rally events worldwide with sister works cars ‘6 DBL’ and ‘8 DBL’.
This MGB is an absolute joy to drive, runs extremely smooth, pulls very strong as a result of the big bore head and 1 3/4″ SU Carbs, is very tight with no rattles, starts right up, turns heads everywhere it goes, is perfect for any car show and will certainly draw a crowd because of it’s unique Monte Carlo Rallye look and history. I have a very extensive list of parts that were installed on this car during its restoration, available upon request.“
Show or go: what would you do with this backdated MGB? Comment below and let us know!