October 19, 1965 – MGB GT goes on sale

MG released the unitary construction MGB in 1962 to replace the seven year old MGA. While it didn’t feature the traditional body and frame assembly of its predecessor, the two cars did share many components. The brakes and suspension are traced to the MGA, while the four cylinder B-Series engine dates to the late 1940s. The MGB essentially wrapped company highlights of the of the past 15 years into a small new package. Some historians claim real design innovation occurred on this day in 1965 when MG released the MGB GT for the following model year.

MGB GT rear view
Above: 1966 MG MGB GT. By Vauxford – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Top: 1966 MGB GT in white (public domain)

The MG MGB GT offered a new cabin design by Pininfarina that combined the utility of a station wagon with the sportiness of a hatchback. The 2+2 seating increased capacity by two compared to the roadster. While the GT was slightly slower off the line than the drop top, it had a faster top speed at 105 mph, 5 mph more than its sibling. Improved aerodynamics earn the credit for the bump on the speedo.

A V8 version appeared in 1973, featuring an aluminum 3.5 liter Rover block. A version of the same engine had been used in the 1961–1963 Buick Special and Oldsmobile F-85 and the 1961–1962 Pontiac Tempest. At the time it weighed in as the lightest mass-production V8 at 318 pounds undressed.

Does History Drive You Crazy?

Production of the MGB GT V8 lasted through 1976. The car was discontinued in 1980, along with the roadster. A heavily modified version known as the MG RV8 appeared in 1993. Only 2,000 RV8s came off the assembly line before the MG F replaced it.

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