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Think you know all there is to know about the MGB? Well, read on…
There are numerous reasons why the ubiquitous ‘B remains Britain’s go-to classic car including affordability, superlative parts availability and mechanical simplicity. However all those would be redundant were it not for the fact that it offers a quintessential slice of Sixties (or Seventies, or even, just, Eighties!) motoring.
This exceedingly rare beast hails from the last of those decades but not, as you’d think, from the original production cycle.
When the final MGB rolled off the Abingdon assembly line on October 22nd 1980, it brought to a close an epic 18-year, half-a-million-plus sales success story.
However, no doubt inspired by the post-production MGC University Motors Specials (and a full generation prior to the arrival of the retro RV8), at the behest of the MG Owners’ Club, a group of intrepid engineers set to work proving that there was life in the old ‘B yet.
The ‘new’ Special Edition Classic MGB models were the work of Mallalieu Cars (and its successor Abingdon Classic Cars). Using new unsold MGBs the team, consisting of many ex-MG workers, set to work on upgrading, updating (and indeed backdating) the model.
Two engine options were made available: a turbocharged B-Series unit and, in a welcome return, the V8 (in updated Rover SD1 form, complete with its five-speed gearbox). The rubber bumpers were whipped off, with the cars converted back to chrome bumper spec; an earlier grill was added and the suspension lowered to pre-1974 specifications.
Fit and finish went substantially upmarket; the interior had leather hide, Bedford cord headlining, top-quality carpet and a walnut veneer dashboard. Paint was of a similar high quality, a Protectol corrosion protection applied and sound deadening improved. Finishing touches included LE alloy wheels, stainless steel oversills and ‘SEC’ badges.
Just five examples of the SEC were built and of those only two V8s, one Roadster and this, the only GT. The main issue was the prohibitive cost; added to the donor 1800 BGT’s £5,440.98 ticket price, the cost of all those works came in at an additional £7,665.27 (for a whopping total of £13,106.25!).
Today, just two cars are known to survive. The first is the original turbocharged Roadster prototype, now in fully restored condition; the second is this completely original GT, which makes it the only un-restored SEC in the world.