1 2 3
RoddyMac17 Reader
7/13/20 9:20 a.m.

For the past few months I was searching for an MGB GT, as one popped up on Craigslist for not a lot of money but quickly disappeared, then a very nice one came up on another site, which ended up selling about an hour before I sent an offer in.  Eventually, following a wanted ad, another one became available and it ended up in my hands on Friday:  

It's a 1971 B GT, that apparently came out of California, but has been here in BC for the last few years.  It does need dog legs and most likely some repair work to the outer sill hidden under the dog leg.  But the rest of the car looks to be in quite good shape.  It runs and drives well, but the 2x previous owner has fitted some uprated (lowered) front springs which brings the down the ride height just enough to drag the resonator on any small bump.  The same owner also fitted some rather wide (for an MGB) Falkens to it, so at parking lot speed it requires quite a lot of effort to steer it. 

I put a few miles on it over the weekend, and so far my GF, and both my neices really like it, and even my brother said he'll take it if I didn't want it.  Most of them like the "Blaze" paint on it, but I think it might end up Grampian Grey with an earlier front grille, and..... the spare Zetec I have in the garage along with the RX8 Gearbox that's gathering dust.

I had spent the previous weekend getting the Zetec cleaned up, stripping off years of grease and grime, and gave it a fresh lick of paint:

I also spent some time cleaning the RX8 Gearbox and compared it to an OD 3 sync MGB gearbox that was hiding under the workbench.  The RX8 'box is nearly the same dimensions as the B 'box, so fingers crossed it will fit with very little work on the tunnel:



I also found some time to start on an intake manifold for the Zetec, the plan is to use the exact same carbs as the Europa:

I still have the Elan to put back together and get dear old dads '65 MGB running again, not to mention various little things on the Europa.  So this project might take a bit longer than planned, but it will give me something else to keep me occupied. 



AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/13/20 9:46 a.m.


7/13/20 10:06 a.m.


With the 67 GT not selling, I might be using it as the next project. Since it is already in my name it would require no appraiser cost, no 13% sales taxes to be paid, and I would get a pass on the safety  inspection since it is only required when you buy a car. With the new safety inspection rules, it is getting harder to  find a shop that will approve of  ANYTHING not OEM for fear of liability.

I just need some inspiration as to what it might become. The urge to shove a Miata chassis underneath is strong. Having already done the Molvo is both a reason to do this and a reason not to do it.

nlevine (Forum Supporter)
nlevine (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand New Reader
7/13/20 4:26 p.m.

Will be following this with great interest.

I had a '72 B GT in my garage for about 5 years before selling it off a couple of years ago. I had pulled it from a barn in New Hampshire where it had sat since the mid-80s. Would have needed everything including copious body work, but it was complete, had the original engine, a crack-free dash, and I bought it from the 2nd owner (who bought it in '74). Didn't have the wherewithal to jump into that deep of a project then, so it sat, then got sold. However, after working on a mid-80s BMW and a 2000 Audi over the last couple of years, I'm yearning to return to "simpler" mechanical times, and get back into quirky hatchbacks, so I've started looking for B GTs again.

Eager to see where this ends up...

759NRNG (Forum Partidario)
759NRNG (Forum Partidario) UltraDork
7/13/20 7:10 p.m.

'73 BGT w/OD in the grosh sitting quietly as you  carry on.......

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/13/20 8:52 p.m.

In reply to RoddyMac17 :

Are you using the stock Zetec 2-piece oil pan?

Looks cool!  I'm not a big fan of the regular MGB, but I've always loved the B-GT.

I dig the orange color - really works with that body style.

garethashenden New Reader
7/13/20 11:36 p.m.

Keep the orange! So '70s, in such a good way.

RoddyMac17 Reader
7/14/20 8:59 a.m.

Are you using the stock Zetec 2-piece oil pan?

That's the plan at the moment, though I might look at modifying the lower pan to reverse it.  Though that would involve modifying the oil pick-up.  I know it ends up being a tall motor, but the bellhousing is roughly inline with the bottom of the pan:


That being said, the front crossmember will require some weight loss in the form of either a notch or a relief, provided I want to keep the heater (which I do).  One thing I might look into is getting a Neil Dunne or Raceline thermostat/water outlet so that the motor could go back as far as possible and wouldn't use the plastic thermostat housing.  I had to replace the one on the Europa already, so I'm not too keen on having the same issue on this car.

RoddyMac17 Reader
8/4/20 10:53 a.m.

Time for an update, over the last few weeks I've started to acquire the bits I need to transform the GT into the car I want.  First off was finding a set of early tail lights, an early dash, and an early or later grille to get rid of the fishmouth (personal preference).  I managed to find a guy locally who was clearing out a bunch of parts, so ended up with what I needed and them some.  I managed to snag the two larger instruments (along with the dash), a spare front crossmember, and a wire wheel rear axle.  But, the axle is of the earlier type, so might not end up under the GT.  After picking up the used bits, I started on depleting my bank account and ordered all the switches I required, along with a brand new dual gauge:

I've elected to keep the wiper controls on the column, so the spot where the washer pump (or headlamp switch for a later car) is now the home to a starter button.  I know it's not stock, but it's the way I want it.  I also lucked out in managing to aquire an early dashtop piece, I had purchased a windscreen surround for a stillborn project, and as it turned out it was from an early car, so the dashtop was correct.  I had a buch of spot welds to drill out, and I'll have to replace some mounting studs, but at least I'll have something to weld in once the windscreen comes out for paint: 

One of the items on my current "to do" list was to swap out the front springs for the stock ones.  The ones that the car came with were 660 lb 2" lowered springs, which caused the center resonator to rub on anything taller than a flattened cigarette butt.  With the stock springs back in the car is much softer, and doesn't scrape on much.  I did notice that the 2x previous owner had installed a 1" sway bar, it certainly does keep the car flat in turns.  Here's a pic of the new (used grille) and raised ride height:

Another item that will be replaced on the car is the seats.  Currently there are vintage type racing seats but I have no idea who made them.  The seats are too narrow for me, and make getting in and out of the car an absolute pain.  Dear old dad wanted new seats for his B, so guess who gets the old ones...

New seats in the 65:

Old seats for my car:

I will eventually buy new covers for them (and a panel kit, carpet kit, and rear seat kit), but they will remain in red albeit with black piping.  My plan is to paint the car Grampian Grey which looks very nice with a red interior.

Other than that, I've had to remake the intake manifold tubes as my TIG welder doesn't have enough oomph to weld 1/4" aluminium to 3/8".  I've made the stubs longer and have waisted them so that I can push them through the manifold plate and weld from the backside:

I'm hoping to have the intake manifold finished by next weekend.  I have a Speeduino on order which should be in my hands early next week, so I might be able to run the Zetec before the end of August, if that happens then a week of vacation will be booked and the engine swap can begin.


Saron81 HalfDork
8/4/20 2:08 p.m.
garethashenden said:

Keep the orange! So '70s, in such a good way.

I agree! I think it may actually be "flame red."

That's what color my 71 BGT was. Love it!

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
8/4/20 3:08 p.m.

Awesome! Curious about how that big front bar works as no rear bar is mentioned; I gather the leafs make the rear of these things a little over-sprung, but near on 50% stiffer springs and a 1" bar is an awful lot of front end stiffness...

Though it needs a lot of refreshing, my '72 BGT feels like it could use an awful lot more engine than it came with before it would feel overwhelmed.

TurnerX19 SuperDork
8/4/20 3:20 p.m.

Best MGB grill they did. And I agree completely on "fishmouth". Lack of head rests on the early seats would stop me, I have been hit from behind several times.

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/4/20 3:22 p.m.


RoddyMac17 Reader
10/2/20 2:23 p.m.

A small update, just to show this project isn't dead.  Over the last few weeks I've been slowly making progress on adapting the Zetec to RWD and carbs.  I decided on not using the stock thermostat housing and adapt a Triumph housing to the back of the cylinder head.  The adaptation was made using a 1/2" thick piece of aluminium cut to shape and bored out to match the cylinder head outlet and spot faced to use a stock MGB/TR6/etc thermostat:

The adapter plate required countersunk screws to keep things flat.  Next up was figuring out how to plumb a heater valve into the system, so a nipple was turned and welded to the housing:

And an upper coolant pipe was fabricated with a bung for the Smiths temp gauge bulb: 

Next up was sorting out a shift lever.  The gearbox I bought didn't come with a shift lever or tower, but I did have a spare Toyota T50 tower and lever, plus some 1/2 aluminium bar stock.  An adapter was fabricated to bolt the tower on, then a shift lever was made up using the T50 lever and a chunk of 4140 1/2" round bar stock.  The bar stock was tapered, and threaded, then welded to a stub on the Toyota part.  A shift knob was turned from aluminium in roughly the same shape as an early MGB shift knob.  Surprisingly, it all seems to work.

Following that, I then focused my attention on mounting an alternator.  I'm using a Denso alternator like I have on my Europa, which meant I had to fabricate both a mounting bracket and adjuster.  Unforuntately, no pics of just the bracket, but here's one with the adjuster and alternator:

The adjuster is threaded RH and LH, so all one has to do to ajdust the belt tension is turn the hex welded to the adjuster.

Other than that, I've been playing around with the Speeduino, but haven't had any luck yet with producing a spark.  I spent all of last Sunday wiring everything I could, but no joy.  More research was/is required, but I think I figured out why nothing was working.  Unfortanately I don't have any garage time scheduled for another week and a bit.  

Yes! Another RoddyMac build.


Rons GRM+ Memberand Reader
10/3/20 10:57 a.m.

I wonder if this car is the one I saw parked at the loading dock level of 200 Granville. If it is I think someone took a picture of it for the Unicorn thread about two years ago.

10/3/20 10:58 a.m.

You kind of gloss over what it takes to make the RX8 gearbox work with the Zetec engine. What year box and what clutch guts are required? I don't see any adapter plate, so does it actually have the right bellhouse pattern?



RoddyMac17 Reader
10/3/20 5:18 p.m.


I'll snap some photos next weekend when I'm back in the garage and do a better write up on what's needed to use the RX8 box. 



It might be this car.   Though I've recently learned that there are at least two other blaze orange GTs here in town. 


In other news,  I did pick up some mandrel bends this morning so I can start on a header next weekend.   I also picked up 3 Nissan Altima steel wheels that are slated to get modified to look like the Dunlop wheels the MGA Twin Cam had.   I do need to find a fourth or fifth,  but I can at least start on trying to make them work.   Originally I had wanted wire wheels,  but doing the conversion properly is a bit too expensive at the moment. 



Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/3/20 5:33 p.m.

Don't know how I missed this. I have the majority of an AC setup out of a '71. Of course, you changed the dash so it may not fit. But if you're interested, I don't need it. 

That's the same grille I used on my car, mated to the black badge. Looks good!

RoddyMac17 Reader
10/13/20 11:27 a.m.

You kind of gloss over what it takes to make the RX8 gearbox work with the Zetec engine. What year box and what clutch guts are required? I don't see any adapter plate, so does it actually have the right bellhouse pattern

I didn't get much time in the garage this weekend but did take two photos of pieces.  First up, the adapter plate:

The upper two screws are countersunk metric screws, I had to ever so slightly face them off so that they were flush with the face of the adapter plate.  There are two top hat shaped pieces with female metric threads that act as the locating dowels for the RX8 'box (the bolt that's sticking out is threaded into one of them).

The plate is set up to use an LRS707 starter motor, which unfortunately doesn't seem to exist on this side of the Atlantic.  I ordered one off Fleabay UK, but it didn't work right out of the box (even though the seller claimed they bench test every starter they send out).  Mounting the starter does require some grinding/cutting of the aluminium portion of the sump, there are some stiffening webs that need relieving.  

Clutch wise, you retain the Focus pressure plate, and disc (same spline size and count as the RX8), but use the RX8 clutch fork, release bearing, and slave cylinder.  The pilot bearing (which was missing for some reason on my motor) is the stock Focus unit (SKF FC65354) as it shares the same ID as the RX8 'box input shaft.

The gearbox is a 6 speed Aisin 'box sourced from an 04 - 08 RX8, but from what I've read, you should be able to use the 5 speed as well (and possibly any other RX 'boxes that share the bellhousing pattern).  

Driveshaft will have to be custom with the RX8 output slip yoke and what ever flange you would require for the rear axle.

In regards to fitting the Zetec to the B, it was recommended to fit the oil pan from a Ford Contour with the blacktop Zetec as it's a rear sump.  It does require a different oil pick-up pipe, but both items are relatively inexpensive.


Other than that, you're on your own for induction, exhaust, ignition/injection computer, cooling system, and mounts. 


BrianC72gt (Forum Supporter)
BrianC72gt (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/13/20 1:13 p.m.

My 72 was flame red as well.  Loved that car.  Didn't hate the shark mouth grill,  but chrome with black honeycomb is the bee's knees.  The column mounted dip switch for the overdrive was pretty slick, and the 45 DCOE sidedraft weber was almost - but never quite - perfect.  IT ended up with a 3.4 V6 & T5 from an early 90's Camaro.   On a quiet night you could hear it rust.  Welded in all new sills, floorpans, lower fenders and quarters, all the usual suspects.  Epoxy primered the heck out of it.  The stock seats were great, black with orange centers. For safety and comfort, they can't be beat.  Relayed the headlight switch after the original got crispy and the Cibie Cat's eyes were burning "for off road use only" halogen capsules. 

The Zetec & RX8 is a great driveline combo choice - a nice update and power boost while maintaining the nature of the beast. 

Beautiful work, thanks for sharing.

10/13/20 1:25 p.m.

Gather that the adapter plate is one that is commonly found in the UK and mentioned on the Setec Forums?

I like that the clutch, pilot and pressure plate remain stock Zetec and it bods well for future servicing.

Just to confirm, there was no welding required on the alloy oilpan; just some material removal in the form of a rib or some such?



RoddyMac17 Reader
10/13/20 1:41 p.m.

The adapter I have is from Jon Hughes (from Wales), he does a bunch of adapters for the RX8 gearboxes.  There are others available from various sources, Retroford does a Miata gearbox plate if you'd rather use that gearbox.

No welding is required for the ally portion of the oil pan, just cutting and grinding. 

In regards to the clutch bits, yes it's great that all the parts are "off the shelf".  I did read somewhere that the stock B clutch master should work properly with the RX8 slave in terms of sizing, but I wont be able to confirm that for another few months.  I still have to figure out if I can find an adapter so that I can still use the B clutch flex hose which would make things nice and simple.

EDIT: I nearly forgot, there is some additional grinding/relieving in the bellhousing to clear the nose of the starter.  Nothing major, just a bit of grinding.

jr02518 HalfDork
10/13/20 2:54 p.m.

I have to wounder, would this combination fit into my '61 MGA Coupe?

1 2 3

You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners