News : Final MGB is shown off in style

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

MGB is carefully lifted in to Abingdon County Hall Museum with 15mm to spare
MGB is carefully lifted in to Abingdon County Hall Museum with 15mm to spare

The very last MGB made, which rolled off the MG Car Company’s Abingdon production line on 23 October 1980, made a dramatic return to its home town. The property of the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, it has been placed on indefinite loan to the 17th Century Abingdon County Hall Museum. And, due to the practical limitations imposed by the picturesque Grade One listed building, the car had to be ‘posted’ on its side through the arched windows of the first floor, with just inches to spare.

The task of first stripping the MG to its bare shell, fitting that to a specially designed cradle, masterminding the pair’s delivery into the building via a gigantic 30 ton scissor lift, and finally rebuilding the car for public display, fell to Witney-based British Motor Heritage (BMH), which also sponsored the ambitious project from start to finish.

BMH’s Managing Director John Yea said: ‘As the only manufacturer of original-quality replacement panels and complete bodyshells for the ubiquitous MGB, we felt we were the appropriate company to help bring this challenging task to fruition for all concerned. 2012 is the 50th anniversary of this perennially popular sports car, and it is very fitting that a representative example will be proudly displayed in the town where over 500,000 were built; a high percentage of which were exported to America.’

Further details on BMH and its products for the MGB and other classic British cars can be found at www.bmh-ltd.com.

 

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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15 Comments

  1. Not sure why they removed the engine and gearbox though? It doesn’t look as though the lifting gear was exactly being pushed to its limits. Surely just draining the fluids would have been enough?

  2. So will we be seeing a custom made lifting frame for and MGB shell hitting ebay soon? Will be ideal for restorations.

  3. Agree with Dennis, pity they had to pull what is a historic MG apart to do this, but fitting (no pun) its back in its home town! Wonder what they have planned for the BMH owned B GT LE? Hopefully it will be on display at Gaydon not hidden out of sight like the last Dolly Sprint.

  4. I like the Sherpa Coupe comment Mike – very fuuny. I did have a Sherpa LDV 200 van in 1990 with the Perkins Prima diesel engine – fabulous bit of kit but you did need ear defenders!!

  5. At least members of the public will now get a chance to view it. This last-of-line MGB is like a lot of the so-called exhibits belonging to the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust – an exhbit in name only, rather than something that actually goes on display in the Heritage Motor Centre itself.

    Read as last Rover SD1, first examples of the R8 Rover 200 Series, R3 200 Series, the Alvis GTS, numerous first and last-of-line Land Rovers…

  6. Dennis:

    ” Not sure why they removed the engine and gearbox though? It doesn’t look as though the lifting gear was exactly being pushed to its limits. Surely just draining the fluids would have been enough? ”

    I would have been very concerned about the effect that the weight of the engine would have had on the bodyshell when titled at 90 degrees. I’m sure that no one would have wanted to see the bodyshell distorted. In addition, there would be much less access to heavy lifting gear immediately after the car has passed through the window…

  7. Maybe we are all still to close to it to appreciate the significant contribution to post WWII industry, design and a very democratic sports car for “everyman”…

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