By 7 September 2011 24 Comments Read More →

For sale : One off Aston Martin-MGB prototype

Keith Adams

The one-off MGB Aston Martin prototype from 1979 has gone on sale with Nutley Sports & Prestige Centre Ltd in East Sussex. The subtlely revised sports car was produced by Aston Martin to show BL boss Michael Edwardes that the company’s future ideas for MG – and rescue of Abingdon – could be put into action rapidly, starting with this agreeable facelift of the company’s best selling car.

We all know the subsequent story – and it’s told here – and how it ended fruitlessly. But it’s great to know the car exists and is in restored condition. The fact that it’s come up for sale is of major significance to the MG community, although it’s ultimately based in failure, it’s a fascinating might have been.

It’s not cheap, though – £29,950 – but only if you consider it an MGB. If you’re viewing it as an Aston Martin it suddenly looks a whole lot more tempting.

More information at Nutley Sports & Prestige Centre Ltd’s website.

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Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and watched it steadily grow into AROnline. Is the Editor of Classic Car Weekly, and has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, Classic Car Weekly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

24 Comments on "For sale : One off Aston Martin-MGB prototype"

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  1. DeLorean's Accountant says:

    Well, interesting though this is, I certainly couldn’t view it as an Aston Martin, especially as £30k would buy you a very tidy V8 Virage or possibly an early V8 saloon. It’d also be difficult to view it as an Aston as it had no engineering input from it. Still, who would I be to judge if anyone did take a fancy to it?

  2. Michael Jolly says:

    Its wonderful to see its still around, its a nice re-trim of the MG

  3. Only me! says:

    I’ve got a Rover 800 prototype Keith, just like you. Give me £20,000 for my SD1 and we’ve got a deal….

  4. Hilton Davis says:

    Nice custom version of an MGB – like the paint colour and white alloys but wouldn’t want to pay over £29K for it.

  5. KC says:

    As an odd curiosity it’s interesting and deserves to be saved. But I remember seeing this in the press when it first appeared, and it looked dated back then, so I doubt it would’ve been very successful commercially

  6. marinast says:

    The MGB was laid to rest at about the right time, Aston Martin should have produced some ideas based on the TR7, a design which could have looked the business untill the late ’80s.

  7. Shep says:

    I had no idea that it still existed! The GT windscreen looks so right on the car and really should have been fitted to the production version of the Roadster by BL back in the mid-1970s.

  8. Jonathan Carling jonathan carling says:

    Great to know it survives, and let’s hope it goes to a good home. I always thought that it looks a tidy update of an old model, but it was always going to be a stop-gap.

  9. David 3500 says:

    Marinast – Looking at the pictures of the updated MGB, I think Aston Martin’s attempts might have extended its production life by up to four years at best, before falling demand would have made it even more unviable than the final years under British Leyland.

    As you say, updates to the Triumph TR7 would have been more realistic – look at the subtle updates carried out under the Grinall conversion. Even now it still looks surprisingly fresh.

    I hope this example finds itself being passed into the hands of a very caring owner who will allow it to be seen by other MG enthusiasts at organised events. After all, the first and last MG TFs built by MG Motor UK Ltd weren’t retained by them and nor was the first MG6.

  10. IanS says:

    To me this looks like what would have happened if the B had been ‘updated’ by Lada or FSO. And 29 grand would buy a lot of alternative metal – Keith’s lovely SD1 plus a ZT260 and a decent Stag for example. Could probably also fit in a halfway decent R8 as everyday runabout too!

  11. Dennis says:

    It looks nice, but to be honest it doesn’t look like anything that the average enthusiast couldn’t have done in their garage anyway.
    I mean if it had some handbuilt 24valve V6 under the bonnet it might be different, but there isn’t really anything ‘special’ about it.

  12. Mark Pitchford says:

    Is that an “O” series they’ve used? Wonder why they didn’t put a V8 in there?

  13. Chris Sawyer says:

    In 1981, this would not have been a bad facelift of the MGB. From an American’s view, it would have been more palatable than the TR7, which quickly lost its luster due to odd styling and truly horrible quality. (A number of the press cars loaned to journalists after each wave of the press introduction did not make it to their destination and were abandoned along the way.) Pop a V8 under the hood, er, bonnet of this car, and you have a recipe for success.
    Unfortunately, the economic situation at the time was precarious, as was fuel supply. Sort of like today, in fact. However, as the Eighties moved along, performance returned, as did optimism, and convertibles like this were popular once again.It might have had a chance, though Aston’s situation would not have helped any, and could have placed both the MGB and A-M in the protective custody of Ford.
    That said, this is a piece of history. Viewed in that context, as a one-off “might have been” it is worth more than a standard MGB. Whether that amount is equivalent to the asking price, I don’t know.

  14. Magnus says:

    £30k for that?? I admire their optimism, if nothing else.

    The car itself sums up the British motor industry at the time: zero new ideas, zero ambition, just rehash old stuff.

  15. Graeme Meek says:

    http://www.askmid.com even list it as an Aston Martin MG B

  16. Dennis says:

    That’ll be fun getting insurance for then!

    Aston-Martin actually did loads of other special cars through their Coach building and tuning arm ‘Tickford’

  17. Dr Bobby Love says:

    Am I really the only one who doesn’t like, or understand the GT’s windscreen?

    At a time when cars seemed to be getting sleeker they made the MGB more upright? Especially with the roof up.

    Seems like change for change sake to me…

    I like the front grille / bumper treatment though.. And I can respect that the massive splitter is of it’s time.

    I think there would have been allot of people ordering those bumpers & grilles from the parts department for there Pre Aston MGB’s…

  18. Dr Bobby Love says:

    …And another thing (TeeHee)…

    The GT windscreen makes the car taller, right… And that was a mod done under the direction of Aston Martin? The company responsible for one of the flattest looking 4 doors ever?

    I just don’t get it…

  19. PDK says:

    I’m somewhat underwhelmed by this. Like someone said, it’s nothing that an owner couldn’t have done in their garage. Even the engine is the same as a production MGB. It’s just a paint job and different wheels as far as I can see (I’ve never been a fan of the old MG’s). £30k is optimistic at best.

  20. Merlin Milner says:

    Any pictures of the interior?

  21. The 2 Rubber Jonnies says:

    This place is 5 miles up the road from me, they also had an “ouch priced” MGB GT V8 £29k!! (rubber bumper) for sale the other month. That aside they have some lovely cars go through there once had Jim Clark’s Lotus Elan for sale! Still rather have my plain old MG Midget 😉

  22. Ian Perry says:

    If MG Motor UK have any sense, they’ll buy this, or perhaps as a 2nd preference Beaulieu Motor Motor Museum. Motoring heritage in extreme evidence here. Curious insertion of tail lamps either side of the numberplate, but I also like the front end. Very MG!

  23. Dennis says:

    “If MG Motor UK have any sense, they’ll buy this”

    What on earth would be the point? It’s a very expensive and not very special MGB.

  24. Engineer says:

    I worked at Aston Martin in the 80s, i now work at Tickford (yes it still exists and it’s going very well). I’d bet the white haired technician is Ken Daniels. Ken would have been in the team that build the Bulldog, LWB Lagonada saloons and the Tickford Taxi. He undoubtley had a had in the building the first Tickford Capri and Frazer Metro too.

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