Featured: This MG Love Affair Spans Three Generations
Shop

This MG Love Affair Spans Three Generations

Nat Twiss By Nat Twiss
September 3, 2015
10 comments

Photography by Nat Twiss

When his grandfather passed in 2011, Will found himself with the keys to a white MGB that had been with the family for decades. With black rubber bumpers, rust, archaic electronics, and miles on the clock, it was in desperate need of modernisation. Thankfully, Will had a vision.

After towing the car back to their Cambridge base with his father Peter, Will got to work on making his grandfather’s car roadworthy, but it wasn’t enough to make it just another MGB, it had to do more, especially if it was going to replace the Classic Mini Cooper S that he was driving at the time. There was potential in the Rover V8 under the hood, but before any of that, Peter had to ensure his son was going to be able to stop and turn the car on a dime, something you certainly couldn’t do with the aged drum brakes and rear leaf springs on the original!

Research into options led the pair to Abingdon-based MG specialists, Frontline Developments. The finished car drove like a modern sports car with the new brakes and full suspension package, but there was still something missing. It certainly wasn’t the looks—the black rubber bumper was relegated to the parts bin and brand new chrome parts rounded out the classic British look.

That something was quickly discovered to be its engine. Low power and ghastly fuel economy certainly showed the V8’s age, and luckily for Will, the chaps at Frontline Developments just happened to be experts at installing factory-sourced Mazda powerplants. After some deliberating over the exact specifications, Will finally decided on the full LE50+ package, which is much more than simply swapping the weedy 1.8-litre 4-cylinder for a 2.0-litre aluminium four cylinder. The interior received an overhaul too, with new seats and power windows, Nappa leather trimmings, and an audio system to boot. As a tribute to the origin of the car, and the original owner, Will has his grandfather’s initials placed on the speedometer, as well as on a plate on the engine bay. This car might be looking to the future, but its roots are firmly planted, and never forgotten. 

Will’s car is something entirely different than the MGB with flat tyres that sat in his grandfather’s garage for years, it’s a modernized classic. “The car can now be driven daily at comfort, knowing that the brakes won’t catch on fire, the engine won’t overheat or a rusty wheel nut won’t fall off,” Will said. “Everything but the restored body on the car is modern. It’s a pleasure to drive!”

As you can imagine, Will’s father Peter spent a lot of time with his son and the gentlemen at Frontline Developments, and if you let Will tell it, he was maybe a little envious of the fun his son was having with his new car! If you let Peter speak for himself, he’ll tell you of his rich history with sports cars, from his childhood love of a neighbour’s Porsche 911, to owning his own 911, and the many projects and restorations between…

Much like his race-spec 1963 Mini was inspiration for Will’s Cooper S, it seemed poetic that Peter would have an MG with the Frontline treatment. Taking from his own past, specifically a honeymoon trip around Europe with his wife in a Triumph Spitfire, he opted for a convertible with the Frontline Developments ‘Abingdon’ package, featuring a 2.5 litre powerplant that sends the car to 60 in just 3.8 seconds, as well as some exquisite handmade wire wheels. Bodywork black, interior white—a mirror image of Will’s car.

To baptise his new machine, Peter and his wife took a trip to Tuscany, via the French and Swiss Alps. A perfect journey that he and his wife has wanted for years, in a beautiful, “new”, British classic.

They say that your car can say a lot about you. Three generations of owners have certainly made their mark on their cars, and it would be hard to deny the indelible mark that the MGB has made on them, too. When the cars are together, each aspect and detail compliments the other perfectly, much like the father and son at the wheel. Beyond the bonding between Will and Peter in the creation of these two beautiful machines, there is history reflected in them, but with a bright future ahead. 

 

Tags British/ MG/ MGB
Join the Conversation
Related

Leave a Reply

10 Comments on "This MG Love Affair Spans Three Generations"

avatar
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
alfavirusnz
alfavirusnz
Problem is he`s just taken the character out of his MGB. We`ve amongst the collection we possess an MX5 and and an early (`66) MGB roadster and despite the fact the “B” is slower, doesn`t go around corners as well, or brakes as well (although they are not that inferior)the “B” has far more character and is far more fun to drive, it has a special “vintage ” feel with enough power and braking, and handling ability to have fun, whereas the MX5 although very able just feels boring in comparison. Speed per se does not make a great, or… Read more »
Magnus Thorsen
Magnus Thorsen

Not to nitpick, but the “bumbling iron v8” is actually all aluminium.:p

Andrew Salt
Andrew Salt

…and capable of delivering a fair few horses if tuned by the right people – perhaps not in the league of the Jap engine that apparently propels the car to 60 in 3.8. What on earth is the bhp? Was that a mis-print? That’s motorcycle territory! – surely not a heavy old MG, whatever lump is under the bonnet.

Clayton Merchant
Clayton Merchant

That “heavy old MG” that you refer to was barely over 2000 lbs, which is less than every generation of MX-5 produced except the first which was right in line with that weight. The original MGRV8 produced from ’93-’95 was capable of 0-60 times of 5.8 seconds from that 3.9 liter V8 producing 185 horsepower. Don’t think it would be much of a stretch to reduce that time 2 seconds with modern technology and another 119 horsepower as quoted for their “Abingdon Edition” on their website.

Todd Cox
Todd Cox

Ironically, the Frontline Development MGs use modern Miata engines producing just over 200hp (obviously tuned). They’re an excellent and very lightweight, compact engine. The NC Miatas that I’ve driven with just bolt-on mods are surprisingly quick; adding forced induction makes them very, very fast.

Andrew Salt
Andrew Salt

I’ll get my coat…

Andrew Salt
Andrew Salt

Okay, so I’ve now taken the time to look at the Frontline Developments Abingdon Package on their website.
Those are mightly performance claims…impressive if correct.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

For the white MGB GT ;

Andrew Salt
Andrew Salt

Thanks for shaing. That camerawork is as bad as the Petrolicious camera work is good. Made me feel quite queasy….I need to sit down with a bucket…

Jason Wright
Jason Wright
Beautiful cars and I have seen Wil’s in the flesh whilst at Frontline a few months back. Tim Fenna was telling me all about the build and how Wil came to inherit the B and what he had planned for it. I too have had the Frontline treatment on my B, well almost everything apart from that brilliant Mazda motor. Great guys and fantastic workmanship. A very nice story and a great tribute to his Grandad. Enjoy those cars and if you are ever planning a trip to the Nordschleife drop me a line and I would be only to… Read more »
wpDiscuz