Last week was 60 years since the first MGB rolled off the production line. The Auckland chapter of the MG Car Club marked the occasion yesterday with a drive-in for MGB owners with the hope of having at least one car of each year and variation - MGB Roadster, GT, 1800cc, V8 etc. Jennie and I decided to do the 360 km round trip to represent 1972 and to meet other members, seeing as we live out in the boondocks!
A great drive to Auckland using twisty country roads, with city driving for the last 15-20 minutes - perfect! In lovely spring weather, close to 100 MGB's turned up, plus a handful of older models from the 1940's and 50's - amazing!
There was even a vary rare Costello MGB V8 in attendance. Back in the 1960's, enthusiasts pushed hard for a V8 version to complement the 1.8 litre 4 and the 3 litre straight 6. Senior executives at British Leyland were adamant that this was not feasible. Enter Ken Costello who was an engineer and successful race car driver. In 1969, he shoehorned a Rover P6 V8 into an MGB chassis which was favourably reviewed by the motoring press. He decided to put it into production which inevitably attracted the attention of British Leyland. BL started producing their own version in 1973 which effectively killed off the engine supply to Ken Costello. Incredibly, BL didn't consider selling the V8 to the US market which I guess was a good example of poor decision-making endemic in the British motor and motorcycle industry at that time.