News : ‘New’ MGB to be unveiled next month

Frontline MGB currently under development
Frontline MGB currently under development

Classics Monthly magazine has secured the world-exclusive first look at the limited edition MGB LE50, in association with Frontline Developments. Unveiling the car to the world on its stand at November’s NEC Classic Motor show, the first pictures of the body shell are revealed in the November issue on sale this week.

Frontline Developments is producing just 50 of these limited edition and very special cars to mark its 20th anniversary as a company and also the 50th anniversary of MGB next year. Bringing the 1962 model up to date with cutting edge engineering and high performance parts, the MGB LE50 is being hand-assembled by the team at Frontline. With each car taking over 148 hours to build, the first completed model will go on sale in early 2012 for £50,000.

Alongside the body shell pictures, Classics Monthly explores exactly how this classic car is being brought up to date and made capable of 160mph and 40mpg. The magazine features close-up pictures of new additions such as the seam-welded and lead-loaded joints to prevent age-old MGB problems with rust. Twenty first century engineering is also obvious in the new luxury features such as climate control, heated seats and lightweight, high performance components.

Gary Stretton, Editor of Classics Monthly, said: ‘The engineering team at Frontline Developments is doing inspirational work and this feels like the perfect way to celebrate 50 years of such a classic British sports car. We champion classic cars using modern components without ruining their essential character. We call it Engenius. Frontline has succeeded in creating the most Engenius classic with the best demonstration of style, substance and intuitive engineering I’ve seen.’

Ed Braclik, Sales Director from Frontline Developments, added: ‘MG sports cars have helped shape the face of motoring so we wanted to pay tribute to that. These new MG models combine the ultra cool shape of 1962 model with the wonders of modern engineering. These cars are built to last, and if you’re lucky enough to get one, you can expect it to last through the generations.’

Keith Adams


  1. 160 mph and 40 mpg??? incredible, thats more than 250 km/h!! more info and pics please but what a price…

  2. “…if you’re lucky enough to get one”????

    What is the point of this car?

    Sorry but at £50k this will be an expensive toy for the millionaire who has never owned one before, and wants to ‘get into’ the classic MG scene without the labour of love involved in owning a ‘real’ MGB. If it’a nything like th W&P Margrave 50 that was being built from Heritage shells for the Mini’s 50th, then that price will mean that the number built might just fall short of 50, especially at 148 hours labour time each.

    I would imagine that these will be seen on our roads as much as the MG6 is at the moment.

  3. Seam-welded and lead-loaded joints will prevent rust? I think not. For £50k I’d want it to be galvanised, seeing as £7k superminis are these days.

    Wonder what the Euro NCAP crash test results would be?

    I can think of far better ways to spend £50k…

  4. Is it me, or does that engine look suspiciously like the ‘red top’
    vauxhall ?X20? engine so beloved by modders everywhere?
    For the price you could buy two MX5s and have the up to date MGB experience.

  5. the MGB is kind of cool looking, so is the XKE and XKE’s are getting that sort (50to100K) of money now. I have often thought I could have one of those 1990’s 3.9V8 MGRV8……Im still kind of tempted……I imagine some people will spring for them. lets say one was considering buying a new XK8 and in not long at all youve lost one hellovalotamoney. perhaps an MGB if its kept simple enough, with enough generic parts…..might hold its value. its hard to know. But they might pull it off. point taken about the WP minis. true enough you can pick up and old mini (or an MGB) and make it into anything you want for not a lot of money (not50K anyway). its often interesting to note, that simple cars often hold their money better becasue they are lower risk to own (less things to stop working). alex

  6. looks japenese that engine possibly mazda I4/ford(as all euro I4 ford engines are of mazda design excepting sigma/puma/lynx/psa-ford dw series engines.hopefully not!

  7. Excuse me while I drive a salt truck into the workshop.
    160mph in a BGT requires about 324bhp; which won’t do 40mpg, even in a Smart car.
    British Standard, or something like..

  8. “powered by an all-new 215bhp aluminium twin cam
    engine weighing a mere 85kg.”

    “The engine itself will be built using a billet crank shaft and connecting rods with Teflon coated, forged alloy pistons. All engine management will be undertaken by
    a bespoke ECU (Engine Control Unit) and run a host of Lambda, water temperature, air temperature, crank, cam and throttle position sensors. This means that fuelling will constantly be monitored and adjusted to the driving style and conditions, resulting in not only fantastic performance, but incredible fuel economy to boot.”

    “Each car uses a new British Motor Heritage MGB shell, into which Frontline shoves a 2012 2-litre VVC MX-5 engine. It’s got billeted con-rods and crankshaft, forged fully-skirted and Teflon-coated pistons and it’s been hopped up with a 45mm direct injection throttle body and closed-loop Lamda set up.

    That equates to 215bhp and 170lb ft at 4000rpm. That means 240bhp per ton (it only weighs 900kg). 240bhp”

  9. Legally they would need a license from SAIC to badge it as MG. So what badge will it wear? I can’t see SAIC letting them use the MG badge considering they didn’t make it and it’s not using their parts or IP.

  10. As the B Series engine is still in production (albeit for marine application) couldn’t they have used one of those and then raided the MGOC accessories catalogue on how to upgrade the engine? After all there are faster cams and even a sixteen valve conversion available

    Alternatively, and for the ultimate fright, what about the classic Land Rover V8 engine that is built in Weston super Mare under licence in both 4-litre and 4.6-litre form?

    Sorry, but putting a Mazda engine into the MGB is a bit like creating a glorified kit car and then selling it at a silly price. An engine that has some form of association with the original MGB would likely be more accepted by potential buyers. As would a bodyshell that is galvanised and an interior that offers a modern take on luxury, rather than the usual wood dashboard and cream leather that most MGB owners seem to go for when they have money to burn.

    £50,000 is a heck of a lot of money for an MGB-based car. I would personally rather consider something else like a 2001 Jensen C-V8, 2003 TVR Chimaera, 2005 Jaguar XKR-S or even an MGR V8, and enjoy the spare change I would have.

  11. I quite like it.

    What I want to make, if money was no object, for my girlfriend is a mix of the amazing 1.6HDi in my C3, and a Morris Minor.

    Take one 2 Door Minor.
    Fit a decent telescopic front end, transplant the ABS system and so forth.
    Take one 5-speed box (Toyota, I think, being the favourite)
    Fit decent front-mounted radiator and so forth.
    Insert remarkable engine.

    For added weight gains, potentially replace bonnet, wings and bootlid with carbon-fibre replacements. Update heater, fit heated front screen, better sealing, have base unit hot-dipped after refurbishment and modifications.

    Stir will.

    End up with a very economical, light, stylish car which can be used every day.

    Gotta say, I don’t have a problem with the theoretical execution of this B or the price. If they found it successful, if they were to produce the same car with lower spec and in less limited numbers for £30-35,000, I think it’d be a lovely lower cost alternative to things like £100,000 remanufactured Jensens.

  12. Great looker – great colour and those chrome bumpers are back! Quite expensive for what it is but I’d love to see one for real.

  13. @Patrick T:

    “Legally they would need a license from SAIC to badge it as MG. So what badge will it wear? I can’t see SAIC letting them use the MG badge considering they didn’t make it and it’s not using their parts or IP.”

    I guess they will be like the Jensen Interceptor R’s, using a current identity from a real MGB. It’s effectively a restoration of an original, but like Triggers broom; it original apart from the 17 new heads and 14 new handles.

  14. Let’s face it, this won’t be brought up to date with modern engineering. the bodyshell will still be an archaic item from the ’60s. Crash worthyness? Air bags? Forget it. This must surley be just an old car with new bits bolted to it. I still wouldn’t want to be in a crash in one!

  15. Lovely, so what if it isn’t crash proof? I drove one in the 80s and it was fine then, it’ll be just as fine now. So, it hasn’t got rocket engines? no need to compare it with a rocket then. I wouldn’t be taking my kids to school in one but if it looks like a MGB and it has the benefits of modern mechanicals, that is all good. No MG badge? Well, I reckon someone will sell them an aftermarket stick-on. I wish there were more cars like this. So much similar looking junk on the roads since they designed the Ford Sierra.

    The Rover 75 is a Jaguar MkIII in all but name and I drive one of them precisely because of this. If I had a spare £50,000 I would have a new MGB.

  16. I’m sorry, but you could easily build one of these yourself for a hell of a lot less, using an older MGB, which would also benefit from free road tax. All you would need is a reasonable donor, and a write off MX5.

  17. Part of me wonders whether MG Motor UK Ltd are poised to make an announcement next year about looking to bring out an all-new sports car in the future as a spiritual successor to the MGB.

    After all, if it adopted a similiar design approach as BMW specified for the MINI back in 1997, and it is built in the UK, it would likely be very well received by enthusiasts.

    It is possibly also a good way to keep interest in new MG saloons and sports cars buoyant too, until they finally arrive on these shores.

    I wonder whether I am reading too much into MG Motor UK Ltd’s possible interest in the MGB’s important anniversary next year?

  18. I think you are reading way too far into it and are missing the target by several miles mate. They can’t even push a 5 door hatch & saloon, so they have no chance with a sports car. I can actually see them being swallowed up next year, possibly by VAG

  19. “I can actually see them being swallowed up next year, possibly by VAG”
    Unlikely the PRC government would allow a foreign manufacturer to buy them out.

    Still i thought Rover did this in the mid 90’s called it the MGRV8?

    They can probably licence build them as MG’s by buying a licence from BMH.

  20. Regarding the licencing of the MG name, it will be down to MG Motor/SAIC to give the permission. BMH do not own the licence. The shells they build are usually bought by restorers/owners reshelling existing cars.

    This was the same with the W & P Margraves. BMH shells, but could not call them Mini’s as BMW wouldn’t let them.

  21. Hurrah! A company making a desirable MG! SAIC take note, this heritage you can’t buy – do a partnership like you did with the LM series team (but with Frontline) rather than face painting and selling cars to the nearly dead.

    I have to say it looks fabulous, and to the intended market this is wrist watch money… not everyone is mean and cumgeonly in the BL world!

  22. Stewart: Yes, it says Factories instead of Factory’s.

    Oh, and those look distinctly like Midgets to me, but what do I know…

  23. “Regarding the licencing of the MG name, it will be down to MG Motor/SAIC to give the permission. BMH do not own the licence. The shells they build are usually bought by restorers/owners reshelling existing cars.
    This was the same with the W & P Margraves. BMH shells, but could not call them Mini’s as BMW wouldn’t let them.”

    Aren’t BMH authorised to licence the use of the name via their licencing agent though? It’s LMI i believe?

  24. “Aren’t BMH authorised to licence the use of the name via their licencing agent though? It’s LMI i believe?

    Possibly BMH have some rights, but you will see that they “protect” the brands. That doesn’t necessarily mean they can licence the brands to third parties, which Frontline undoubtedly are. I believe from reading articles elsewhere that BMH did all the “bad cop” work when litigation was being used against Mini parts & panel sellers who used “MINI” in their names. This was why, for example “Mini-Machines” had to change their name to “M-Machines”.

    If BMH had the right to issue licences to the brands they could have given W & P the right to call the Margrave 50 a Mini. Likewise, they may “protect” the MG brand but probably can’t authorise Frontline to name their car an MG.

  25. Good grief, what a grumpy lot (most of ) you are, it looks to me like a fab toy, loads of reliable revvy grunt in a 50:50 balanced chassis that has a whole boatload of ‘Q’ car going on. Bring it on 🙂 Yes it’s not for everyone but come on guys it’s a limited edition special made by a British company, give it a bit of something positive!

  26. Awesome, I want one! What a fitting tribute to a British classic. Frontline are even based in Abingdon, how authentic does it get!!

  27. Frontline know their stuff and their target audience. I say reserve judgement until the product is launched and let the customers’ wallets do the talking. You want to go and crash an MX5 and stick a few bits in a ‘B in your garage, go for it! To echo JasonB’s comments – this is an independent British company making a limited edition car. Do we not think in the current economic climate that we should support our own??

  28. Many thanks for your comments so far. Just to correct one error about the LE50 as reported so far. The 148 hours quoted is to get the shell into paint alone, not build the car. If you know MGB’s then be prepared to be surprised at the quality of this project – it’s far more than just the sum of its parts. I’ve seen the latest pics which will be published in our next issue – make no mistake, this is British craftsmanship and innovation happening now and it will shame many larger manufacturers. All the best, Gary Stretton. Editor, Classics Monthly.

  29. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the performance of many fast cars – Porsche Targa, GT3, Aston Martin DB9, Caterham SEI wide, Palmer Jaguar JP-LM, BMW M3 etc., but none have put as big a smile on my face than the classic pootle in the Frontline developed B shown in the photograph, which, once the engine was warm, turned into Porsche beating performance. It is blistering quick,and has the elegance and beauty of a British classic, married with Japanese engine reliability. Having seen two gear boxes fail on 911’s at Jonathon Palmer, I know where I’d spend my money and can’t wait to see the first LE-50 at the NEC on 11th November.

  30. do these use a current identity then ? theres no way looking at what they are doing there would be enough points to keep the vrm, so it would end with a q plate! i imagine they use the volume car manufacturer exemption we obtained from the eu at the behest of mainly morgan/tvr , so we could be seeing b’s with a 61 plate  

  31. @ smithyThey will get a 61 plate provided they use all-new parts, like the W&P Minis did. Z Cars have also built cars from new Heritage shells and new parts, and been given current plates. They will have to get a single vehicle type approval (I think that’s what it’s called) as each one is built to ensure it doesn’t get a Q plate.As far as what they can be called, if MG lets them use the badge then they can call them an MGB if they so wish.

  32. @ Big PeteWhen & where di you drive one of the cars built by Frontline? This suggests they are still developing it and haven’t yet put one out for Joe Public to get their hands on

  33. if MG lets them use the badge then they can call them an MGB if they so wish.”Would push up MG’s figures for new car registrations wouldnt it….Really they can call them what ever they like, lets face it it looks like an MGB and you can as a car owner just buy MG badges for them…. anyone who looks at the car will say it’s an MGB.

  34. Being stuck in the decade 1955-1965 for my car tastes, this should sound interesting to me.  However in doing my time at a Detroit carmaker for over two decades I came to realize that we as a species have grown too large to fit such cars, either for comfort or to have survivability in a mishap.  

    So if you need an undiluted dose of nostalgia there are some all out lovely cars from that era that outrank the MGB.  

    My short list: the Healey Hundred, the Giulietta, the Ace, the E-type or maybe the Mog. More ergonomically suitable might be the BMW 507, 300SL and SWB Ferrari.  Some or all of those have been cloned with varying degrees of success.  Some have had their themes ripped off (badly) by their own manufacturers, such as the Z8. And anyone’s hot hatch still outperforms and outpoints the foregoing.  Only Porsche seems to have had continuous validity with what is still close their 1964 concept, albeit way upmarket from then.

  35. I popped into Frontline over the weekend and would just like to add that after having seen the car in build the attention to detail and quality of finish is stunning. Talking to Ed to understand the amount of effort going into to this car to make everything ‘just so’, literally from the ground upwards was eye opening. I am very much looking forward to a test drive.

  36. MX5 engine? No thanks. Has FL no respect. It’s not very good to look at. Waste of time and an insult to those who designed and built the MGB.

  37. Perceived insult or otherwise I took it for a spin at the weekend, very very nice! Handling, performance and comfort in a very pretty car.

  38. so if the old [ b ] engine gave out 90 bhp ,what would a [ b ] give out with modern bits aded to it .it would the be less of a mish mash ,

  39. For £50k Frontline should put a Ford Mustang V8 5L engine (+400 bhp) instead of that lousy Mazda MX-5 I4 2.0L engine. That was already done by MG Rover with no shame to the MG 260 ZT with the Mustang V8 4.6L engine. At least with any of those engines, none of those MGB GT LE50 will be called a British Kettle, simply because like it or not, most MGs engines are/were only good to boil any type of liquid in the engine cooling system; as that car will be reliable, Frontline is missing to put air bags all over that MG, Safety Fast at Last!.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.