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Geoff Morton
Naples, FL
(109 posts)

08/09/2010 10:27PM

Main British Car:
78 MGB Ford 5L

Geoff Morton 306 MGB conversion
Posted by: kerbau53
Date: December 08, 2010 10:54PM

Aug 2010. The basis of the conversion. A 1978 with approx. 115,000 km's. (Canada car.)

Bought this 78 roadster off e-bay in Aug 2010. It was 35 miles from my home. Picked it up and drove it home and haven't seen it since. I work in Asia so I can't really do any of the work. Fortunately an old friend was winding up a 58 Chevy project and he's taken the B on as his next project. My job is to source all the bits and pieces. This will end up with all new suspension and a 306. Drivetrain and suspension sourced from Fast Cars. Drop in conversion (almost) becomes cost effective in this case, at least for me.

Owner: Geoff Morton
Builder: Rob Martin
City: Naples, FL
Car Model: 1978 MGB

Engine: Ford 306 crate motor

Cooling: Macs Radiator, cross flow as designed by Pete Mantell who graciously shared the specs.

Exhaust: Through the fender.

Transmission: T5Z

Rear Axle: 8" Ford, 3.55

Front Susp.: Coil over

Rear Susp.: Coil over with trailing links and Panhard rod

Brakes: Wilwoods
(master) MGB dual circuit, non-servo
(front) Disc
(rear) Disc

Wheels/Tires: 15 X 7 wires, 3.5" backspace (-12mm offset) with 205/55-15 Yokohamas

Body Mods: MGC hood (alloy), alloy Sebring front valance, Preform rear valance, Omni flares.

Interior: Mk1 dash with 4" MGC speedo and MGB tach converted to V8 by Speedy Gauges in the UK.
Mk1 steering column rebushed by G. Masterman. Banjo steering wheel reduced to 14" by Doug .
Lepak. Cobra seats, otherwise stock Mk1.

Electrical: Advance Auto Wire.

Additional plans: Air/Con. (Old Air Products, Hurricane 2100)

Basis of the project
Sill repair going bad. Circa unknown.
MG B 002.JPG
Dogleg repair done. Circa unknown. Other side has identical repair.
MG B 005 (2).JPG
Orange spots are carpet backing.
MG B 006.JPG
Surface rust only.
MG B 007.JPG
Other side just as ugly but repairable. Left fender is salvageable.
Right will be replaced due to poor prior collision repair..
MG B 008.JPG
After sandblasting.
MG B 012 (2).JPG
More after sandblasting.
MG B 014 (2).JPG
Minor rust repairs completed
Trying to use the least space for AC evaporator. Will eventually convert to RHD and this will make the conversion easier.
MGB 48.jpg
Hoses might be larger in diameter than they are long. At least to the center vents.
Tight but looks like it's going to be ok.
Boxed the firewall cutout with C-channel and flat bar.
MGB 47.jpg
C-channel structure
MGB 49.jpg
Steering is mocked up. Using a vibration damper on the upper u-joint. Intermediate shaft (from Sweet Manufacturing Inc.) is 13+ inches. This is a "Frankenshaft"spline wise. From the top they run 48 to 36 to 48 to 24.
MGB 50.jpg
Hopefully this will all work after the firewall is trimmed to fit the engine.
MGB 51.jpg
Mk 1 dash extension.
Almost ready for a test drive. "NOT"
MGB 54.jpg
Same tunnel trimming required as other 302/T5 conversions
Plastic V8 makes things easier. A/C firewall cover fabricated.
Radiator sitting as high as it will go. MGC hood helps a bit. Actual hood will be aluminum.
Radiator moved forward 1.5 inches with another 1.5 inches cutout forward of the radiator for the A/C condenser.
10.5 inches from block to radiator. Lose 7.5 inches for ancillaries and pulleys. Fan needs to be pretty thin.
Wheels and tires ready to go.
MGB 69.jpg
Firewall mods are well documented by others. This is our take on what we need.
MGB 71.jpg

MGb 72.jpg
A bit too close to the control arm bushing for my liking. Once the drive train is in there may be a bit more space.
MGB 76.jpg
A little reinforcing and extra welding.
MGB 84.jpg

MGb 83.jpg

MGB 82.jpg

MGB 86.jpg

Widened valance by 1/2 inch. Single strip LED below license plate holder for backup light.
Another LED in the top of frenched portion of valance for license plate light.
MGB 87.jpg

MGB 88.jpg
Sitting back on her landing gear after 4 months.Cockpit has been Lizard Skinned inside and out. Coil over rear end has been mounted. Flares next.


These mounts were fabricated for us. For reasons unknown to me they increased the ride height apprx. an inch and a half. Built new mounts to drop the rear end to the required height. We now have some adjustment for ride height available on the shock. This will decrease the effective spring rate a bit but I don't think it'll be noticeable.

Following this thread from another forum answers the ride height quuestions.
Req. bolt hole.jpg

MGB 113 reqd bolt hole.jpg
New mounts. Moved inboard apprx. 2" and slightly to the rear.

Rear end is 53" wide. Most other flared conversions seem to be using 8" rear wheels. I want the same size wheels ( 7") on all 4 corners. I overlooked the fact that this would require spacers or adapters to widen the track for the flares. We can go up to 5/8" wide spacer without replacing the studs. Picture is with 5/8" spacers. Decision has been made to use 1&1/8 inch adapters 5x4.5 to 5x4.5. That will make the track almost identical but a tad wider in the rear. Not desirable by modern car standards but it's relatively faithful to the stock design just 5+ inches wider. Time will tell how it feels on the road.

MGB 110.jpg
An original wheel that's suffered over time. It's being fitted with a 14 inch rim borrowed from an Opel GT. Leather wrap to go.
MGB 122.jpg

MGB 137.jpg

Back to work. Flares being fitted.


MGB 152.jpg

Just visible is the hub adapter I had made to correct my measuring error.

First fitting no issues. dropped right in.

MGB 188.jpg
Radiator and condenser mounted. With fan installed there's about 3/16ths clearance to the pulley.
MGB 149.jpg

MGB 203.jpg
Exhaust and parking brake roughed in.
MGB 211.jpg

MGB 213.jpg

MGB 212.jpg

MGB 215.jpg

Rear valance and rear flares almost finished. Valance attached with adhesive and the joint fiberglassed over.
MGB 217.jpg

MGB 218.jpg

MGB 220.jpg

OEM 1973/74 grille. Hood doesn't fit so well. No surprise so eased the top of the grille down about a 1/4 inch. Will trim the grille to make it look right.
MGB 223.jpg

MGB 225.jpg

MGB 226.jpg

Colour and bodywork
MGB 230.jpg

MGB 227.jpg

Epoxy primer
MGB 231.jpg

Base coat single stage
MGB 232.jpg

Base coat single stage sanded out on exterior
MGB 235.jpg

Exterior with two stage base/clear coat
MGB 236.jpg

MGB 237.jpg

A/C evaporator being mounted. Inlet - outlet lines will run in the engine compartment rather than the cockpit. If I convert to RHD there will be a bit more fabrication work. Defrost vents will take a bit of work but all in all my goal is to keep all A/C related bits behind the center console except the controls which will go inside the glovebox. Will use dummy heat/defrost controls on the dash rather than welding the holes and destroying the original dash.
MGB 240.jpg

MGB 241.jpg

MGB 242.jpg


With a bit of luck the drivtrain's in to stay.
MGB 248.jpg

Clutch pedal bent to gain about 5/8's of an inch. Need to accomodate my size 13's.
MGB 252.jpg

Fuse/relay box mounted on a hinge to swing up and latch under the glovebox.
MGB 259.jpg

Ron Francis fan controller. The compressor bump up function will be used for manual overide of the fan. The original overdrive switch will be used in lieu of a dedicated fan switch
MGB 265.jpg

Ignition box mounted on pax side bulkhead..
MGB 266.jpg

Found the hose didn't fit well on the fitting closest to the A/C condensor. Removed the fitting and will tap the water pump and use a 90 degree AN fitting.
MGB 269.jpg

Wrapped the steering wheel with a "Wheelskins" leather wrap. Not planning on doing that again. Very time consuming. Looks OK and feels good.

I'm not an audiophile but some rock and roll does my heart good. Where to put a radio and A/C controls? Glove box is the only place left with space so in they go. In keeping with the retro theme the speaker (only one) will go in the original location.
MGB 276.jpg

Getting closer. It runs and A/C works. Two silver buttons on the hood are Quick-latch hood pins.
MGB 279.jpg

MGB 280.jpg

MGB 282.jpg

On the ground with a fairly long punch list to attend to.
MGB 283.jpg

MGB 284.jpg

MGB 285.jpg


MGB 288.jpg

Exhaust and top are done. Exhaust to be ceramic coated. New rubber on the top except for rear which turned out to be ok. New side plexiglass. Stowaway top to go and interior. All I have to do now is retire so that I'll have time to enjoy it.

MGB 302.jpg

MGB 296.jpg

Interior is almost complete. The car is on the road.

MGB 308.jpg

MGB 306.jpg

MGB 303.jpg

Finished product. Great fun!

MGB 318.jpg

MGB 313.jpg

MGB 317.jpg

MGB 315.jpg

Edited 186 time(s). Last edit at 12/18/2013 06:24PM by kerbau53.

Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4578 posts)

10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Geoff Morton 306 MGB conversion
Posted by: Moderator
Date: April 02, 2014 02:24PM


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