MG began offering the MGB GT V8 in 1973 utililising the tried and tested aluminium-block 3528 cc , first fitted to the Rover P5 B. This engine had been used in the A-body platform Buick Special and Oldsmobile F-85 and was the lightest mass-production V8 in the world, with a dry weight of only 318 lb (144 kg), and was about 60 lb (27 kg) lighter than its 4-cylinder counterpart by the MOWOG (Morris-Wolseley Garages) foundry. Some improvements were made by MG-Rover, and the engine found a long-lived niche in the British motor industry. These cars were similar to those already being produced in significant volume by tuner Ken Costello. MG even contracted Costello to build them a prototype MGB GT V8. However, the powerful 180 bhp (134 kW) engine used by Costello for his conversions was replaced for production by MG with a more modestly tuned version producing only 137 bhp(102 kW) at 5000 rpm. But 193 lb·ft (262 N·m) of torque helped it hit 60 mph (97 km/h) in around 8 seconds, and go on to a respectable 125 mph (201 km/h) top speed.
By virtue of its aluminium cylinder block and heads, the Rover V8 engine actually weighed approximately forty pounds less than MG's iron four cylinder. Unlike the MGC, the V8 that provided the MGB GT V8's increased power and torque did not require significant chassis changes nor sacrifice handling.
Production ended in 1976.
The MGB GT V8 was very warmly received by the automotive press, but British Leyland Motor Corporation was reportedly concerned that the MGB GT V8 would overshadow their other products, including the more expensive and less powerful Triumph Stag.
Two volumous history folders confirm both previous owners details and that this example was a V8 known to the MGOC for a number of years and clearly had been cherished. With approximately 9,700 miles on the clock, a photographic story book details the beginning of a ground up restoration programme, which can only be described as complete. The meticulously documented history folder records a change of ownership in February 1994 to a Mr Brown of Walsall who has continued to campaign this fabulous V8 and carry out a number of improvements that further enhance the performance and drive a ability of the car to include
· An R380 MGR V8 5 speed item (a £2000 conversion at the time)!
· Approx. 160+ BHP with R/R figures to prove and the cylinder heads converted to run on lead free petrol.
· High torque starter motor.
· Adjustable telescopic fitted very recently all round.
· Performance grooved and vented sports discs and callipers
· New tyres and battery and complete front brakes also fitted very recently along with a new Stainless Steel exhaust system
Finished in arguably the best colour being Flamenco Red with black cloth, other than the above remaining true to factory original spec with no sunroof, or aftermarket trim changes, this MG BGT is as good to drive as it looks.