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.




Keith Adams


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

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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. £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.

  13. 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’

  14. 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…

  15. …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…

  16. 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.

  17. 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 😉

  18. 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!

  19. “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.

  20. 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.

    • I was put in charge of this project. It was only meant as a tentative demonstrator over 6 days, no time for comprehensive engineering. That is indeed Ken Daniels working on the car – it is my picture lifted from somewhere ! Ken wasn’t on the Bulldog team (another of my projects) but as a skilled metal worker would have helped out now and again when the pressure was on.

  21. I was put in charge of this project. It was only meant as a tentative demonstration over 6 days so no time for comprehensive engineering. The technician is indeed Ken Daniels (it’s my picture lifted from somewhere !). Ken wasn’t in the main team for the Bulldog car (also my project just beforehand) but as a skilled metal worker he was engaged to help now and then when the pressure was on.

  22. Found this PDF Download on the Aston Martin-MGB Prototype, which also shows the William Towns Stage II designs for the Aston-MGB. –

    Planned for introduction in 1983/1984 the Stage II while using possibly the entire floor pan, sills and wheelarches of the present car was to essentially feature an all-new exterior by William Towns centering around a 2-seater or 2+2 open soft-top with a removeable bootlid that allows a variety of detachable hardtops from hatchback coupe to fastback “GT” or sporting estate.

    The Styling of the Stage II sketches by William Towns would in fact be precursors to Towns later proposals for facelifting the Michelotti styled Reliant Scimitar SS1.

      • In some respects the Stage II design sketches for the Aston-MGB by William Towns IMO look like the sort of thing that could have been more effective as a rebody of the smaller EX234 prototype, had the latter of course been rebodied with MG ADO21 influenced styling like the Triumph TR7 to slot below the latter and replace both the Midget / Spitfire.

        Very much like the front of the MGB V8 GT clay model (it almost brings to mind the Britstol Blenheim 4), the same cannot be said for the rear however. It appears either an MG RV8 or Jaguar XJS facelift solution for the rear would have been a improvement, in fact such an ambitious solution including elements of both was said to have been explored during the MG RV8 project, where it was viewed as a Porsche-style rear treatment that was ditched because they felt it did not work.

        From the time period when the clay model was made to wonder if this rebody project of the MGB V8 GT was somehow connected to the ADO76 programme aka Michelotti MGB rebody (that ultimately became the Rubber Bumper MGBs)?

        In some ways the clay model does loosely remind me of an upscaled twin-headlight MGB-sized version of the Mini-based ADO70 prototype (also styled by Michelotti), whilst also featuring a familial resemblance with the Jaguar’s XJ-S down to the flying buttresses and open headlights.

        *- In David Knowles book MG The Untold Story, there was also a paper study known as the MGX proposal by Don Wyatt, best described as a modern interpretation of the MGA style married to the basic body structure of the MG Midget. It was viewed as feasible since BMH had reintroduced the Midget bodystyle in the wake of the MGB shell.

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