MG is getting ready to re-enter the two-seat sports car market with the Cyberster, an electrified rival to Mazda’s evergreen MX-5 Miata. But one combustion-engined MG built more than 40 years ago is still waiting patiently for its first registered owner.
It’s surely no coincidence that the Cyberster’s debut later this year will fall almost exactly 60 years to the day since the launch of the original B roadster. But this right-hand drive Snapdragon Yellow B Roadster was built long after those early glory days, in 1980 in fact, the same year MG ended the model’s 18-year run and closed the famous Abingdon factory. It was never registered for the road though, its first owner buying it as a potential investment.
Here’s where things get really strange. It was subsequently bought, along with two other delivery mileage MGBs, in the late 1980s by a man who had the idea of giving each of his three grandchildren a brand new B when they turned 21. The three cars were then fully Waxoyled, had their engines and carbs filled with oil, and their fuel tanks filled with paraffin, and were then stored on axle stands inside Carcoon climate bubbles for the next 35 years.
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It’s not clear what happened to the other two cars, but the recipient of the yellow B is a non-driver who lives in London and has decided to offer it at Silverstone Auctions’ sale at the end of August. Mike Ayling, the very same guy contracted to source the three cars over 35 year ago, recommissioned the B, which today has covered just 143 miles (230 km) since new.
The effort that went into preserving this timewarp MGB has definitely paid off, and though it’s a later car with the rubber bumpers and raised ride height designed to meet U.S. 5 mph (8 km/h) impact legislation, so not seen as desirable as earlier chrome-bumper cars, you can’t help but like it.
The old pushrod B-series 1.8-liter four was rated at 95 hp (96 PS) in European spec, and gave fairly leisurely zero to 60 mph (96 km/h) performance in the order of 13 seconds. So it was easy meat for a 1980 Golf GTi, one of the cars that helped kill it off, which could do the trip in around 9 seconds, and the upcoming Cyberster is likely to cut that time in half again (the 2021 Cyberster concept was rated at 3 seconds to 62 mph/100 km/h).
But if you want a new MG convertible, and want to inhale some very old-school combustion fumes while you’re driving it, here’s your chance. Silverstone Auctions has set a guide price of £25,000-30,000 ($30-37k), which is also likely to make this classic MG significantly cheaper than its EV descendant.