1973 MG B Roadster Chrome Bumper

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1973 MG B Roadster Chrome Bumper



Introduced in 1962 and still in production almost twenty years later, the MGB is the definitive classic British sports car. It started life as a lightweight, rear-wheel-drive, back-to-basics sportscar – and ended its life in much the same way.

Yes, it gained a little weight over the years but then don’t we all? And yes, the latter rubber bumpers - fitted to meet impact legislation – might lack the clean, elegant purity of the chrome originals but at its core, the MGB remained true to the original concept of providing maximum fun for minimum investment.

Its 1800cc engine might not be the last word in power and economy but it is as strong as hell and a good one reminds you of just how civilized and sweet a well-fettled four-cylinder engine can be.

Pop in an overdrive gearbox and it makes a fine long-distance cruiser - and everyone loves a classic British sportscar, so city and motorway driving is a doddle as other drivers will be falling over themselves to let you out of junctions, and into another lane.

With more than half-a-million having rolled off the production line, few cars offer the same ease of ownership as the MGB either thanks to a huge network of suppliers, marque specialists and a plethora of owners’ clubs that exist to help you keep yours running sweetly and looking wonderful at little cost.

But please don’t mistake familiarity with contempt; the MGB is also the definitive front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sportscar. No, it is not especially fast, but a well-sorted example handles so beautifully that they serve as a constant reminder that you don’t need a lot of power in order to have an awful lot of fun.

The Vehicle

Finished in Teal Blue with Minilite-style alloy wheels, a black roof, and lashings of chrome, this delightful MGB is the quintessential British roadster. The last of the chrome-bumpered cars, it was first registered in August 1973.

Fettled by Manor Garage, the well-known MG specialists, in April 2021 at a cost of almost £2,500, this mechanical work came hard on the heels of a similar bill for bodywork and paint in 2017; the result is an MGB that drives as well as it looks.

The seller, who is not only a long-time MG enthusiast and a member of the MG Owners’ Club and the MGB Register but a man whose grandfather worked at Cowley, is a friend of the business and we know him well. His cars are always spick-and-span and kept on the button, and this MGB is no different.

In fact, it’s such a good example of the breed he lent it to Ian Hayter, whose father Don designed the MGB, to drive during the recent 60th anniversary celebrations at Gaydon. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

On the Outside

Teal Blue is a lovely colour and one that shows off the MGB’s familiar lines very well. Mind you, you’d notice this example anyway because of its condition, which is very good thanks to a winning combination of careful curation and a refresh and some new paint by Wey Classics Ltd of Woking in 2017.

Decent panel alignment and straight, ripple-free panels set a background that allows the very good paint and chrome to twinkle.

This air of well-being is further reinforced by good glazing including a blue graduated tint to the windscreen. The light lenses and badges are also good and it’s clear this is a car that’s been treated well over the years.

The only real change to the car’s factory specification is the 15-inch Minilite-style wheels, which aren’t only in a good condition but are also fitted with a set of four Fullway tyres, all of which have decent tread.

The folding black roof is in a fine condition. Fitted by the previous owner only recently, it is a mohair-upgrade and is still free of rips, tears, and other damage - even the plastic windows are free of milkiness or wear.

Faults are few. The windscreen is delaminating, there are a few cracks in the paint, and the paint on the tops of the doors is starting to bubble a little in places.

On the Inside

Having successfully resisted the urge to ‘improve’ the car’s cockpit, the interior of this example is as simple and modest as it was when it left the factory and is all the better for being so. The owner is not a fan of changing things unnecessarily, preferring to keep his cars as they were when they were new.

Not that this is a long-winded way of saying that it’s tatty but original because nothing could be further from the truth; this one is beautifully presented and a credit to the vendor.

The seats are still firm and supportive – and that they are free of damage goes without saying, surely?

The standard dashboard gives you all the information you need and it does so in the clearest way possible.

The carpets, which are good and sit on solid floors, are protected by a pair of very nice heavy-duty rubber mats. That they have the MGB logo on them says all you need to know about the attention to detail this car benefits from.

The only alteration we can see is an electrical cut-off switch, which seems like a sensible upgrade to us.

Flaws? Well, there is some pitting to some of the exposed chrome controls, the nearside door card isn’t the tidiest we’ve seen, and a small area of the finish to the dashboard has been touched-up.

That this is the extent of the issues you’ll be facing speaks volumes.


Please see the bill from Manor Garage, photos of which are in the gallery below, that details the work it carried out on the MGB in April 2021. It’s too long to list here but the result, as you can see, is a car that starts immediately and quickly settles into a rock-solid tickover.

The seller, who has driven an awful lot of MGBs in his life and currently owns an MGB GT as well as this, says it “feels really tight”, is a “lovely little car to drive”, and “drives really, really well”.

Don’t take his word for it though; why not make an appointment to pop along and see it for yourself?

As you can see, it revs well and shows good oil pressure. It always surprises us what a sweet little engine this is – and what a great exhaust note its modest displacement gives!

The engine bay is nicely presented, and while the underside looks solid, the underseal is peeling in places, so could do with being refreshed.

History Highlights

The MGB doesn’t have a current MoT certificate, and while it is exempt by virtue of its age, we would encourage the new owner to get it a certificate. The cost of an MoT is a small investment when offset against the purchase and upkeep of any classic vehicle, and it gives an independent, third-party assessment of the car’s condition, which not only provides reassurance to the owner (and any subsequent purchasers) but might also be invaluable in the event of a bump when negotiating with the police and any interested insurance companies…

The recent Vehicle History Check is clean.

Please note there is an error on the V5 that states it is a "Coupe" and not Roadster.

What We Think

The range of cars we have auctioned over the years is vast, spanning barn-find basket-cases all the way through quarter-of-a-million-pound Ferraris – and everything in between.

And a significant percentage of the cars that pass through our hands are MGBs. A stalwart of the classic car scene for decades, few cars are as ubiquitous - and for good reason because they’re a great place for any enthusiast to start while still being interesting enough to hold the attention of long-timers like us.

The MGBs we see also span a vast range from heavily modified cars through to restoration projects, which means standard, well-maintained cars like this tend to fade into the background a little.

Which is a shame because while it isn’t at all flashy, it’s a very well presented, ultra-solid, professionally painted and recently fettled example that runs and drives incredibly well – and you really can’t ask for more when you’re only looking at spending between £12,000 and £15,000, can you?

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Please note that there is an Auction Premium of 5% of the hammer price (plus VAT in UK & Europe only). Fees are minimum £600, maximum £6,000 (min Euro 720€/max 7,200€ & US$ min $500/max $5,000).

All vehicles must be collected within 7-days of the auction end. Storage fees of £180 + VAT apply (per car/per week) thereafter.

IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst Bonhams|Cars Online always strive to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings, we cannot claim they are complete analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer the opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle prior to bidding, and we encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this gives our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional. We do not formally test drive the cars.

Please also note that localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using cameras with standard microphones, which often result in inconsistent sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that all sales are 'sold as seen' (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for all used goods bought at auction, a return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and ensure you inspect a vehicle you are interested in, to decide what it is BEFORE bidding.

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  • Location: Bonhams|Cars Online HQ, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 70,800
  • Chassis Number: GHN5-315179G
  • Engine: 1798
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Steering position: Right-hand drive
  • Colour: Teal Blue
  • Interior: Black
  • Estimated Price: £12,000 - £15,000

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