MG Sports Cars

engine swaps and other performance upgrades, plus "factory" and Costello V8s

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BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5690 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: January 07, 2019 08:22PM

Things have been too quiet. Time to start something new.
OK, so we've had some wonderful examples of how to fit more powerful engines and make the car bigger and I know this idea won't really resonate with everyone, but how about going the other way for a change?

As many of you know by now I traded my dirt bike for a bus. More specifically, a 1996 MCI 102DL3:
[en.wikipedia.org]
[en.wikipedia.org]

Ever since then I've had this fantasy about carrying a runabout in one of the lower storage bays, which also some of you know. Up to now this has been a wide ranging effort looking at a lot of different cars, most of which are UGLY! To be blunt, I'm not interested in ugly.

So I've looked at MGs naturally enough because I have one (or two) and they are too wide, too long, and too tall. But what if...

Roughly speaking to fit in the bay the car would need to be less than 30" tall, 54" wide and 94" long. All of which the MGB exceeds, especially the length. But I have a couple of wild ideas.

First off, ditch the windshield and lower the suspension, reposition a smaller diameter (tilt) wheel and use low back seats. See if that can be close enough. Consider smaller diameter wheels and collapsible suspension for transport.

Remove the transmission tunnel and channel the tub to get the width down. Need better than 6" there.

Swap to a very small and compact FWD, then look for inches to come out of the length. Stock CB length is 153" so it'll have to lose about 1/3 of the overall length. It'll have to come from the hood, trunk, and middle and obviously the bumpers are the first thing to go. Need a more compact rear suspension that doesn't use long leaf springs and move the wheelwell right up to the edge of the door opening. If there is a door. Might just cut down the sides for a step-in.

What do you guys think? Feasible, or just too much?

Jim


RDMG
Dave R
Northern Virginia
(111 posts)

Registered:
04/07/2016 08:29PM

Main British Car:
1979 MGB 4.6L Rover V8

Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: RDMG
Date: January 07, 2019 10:54PM

Theres an old Austin Mini Moke (?) in my neighborhood. It has its own sort of beauty. Fold the windshield, shave the bumpers, and I think youll be close?

Alternatively, vacuum-form some plastic panels for the bus cargo doors to fit the parts of the MGs profile that overhang?

Id also like to see a 3/4-scale MGB.

Ive read that the 2-seater Smart Cars have a DeDion rear suspension, similar to what Abingdon engineers first planned for the MGB. That axle could free up a lot of space. A Prius hybrid drive would likely fit under the front end.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/07/2019 10:58PM by RDMG.


rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2566 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: rficalora
Date: January 07, 2019 11:22PM

Start with a Midget. Or, buy a trailer. WAY easier, cheaper and faster path to enjoying use of the bus. Just a thought.


MGBV8
Carl Floyd
Kingsport, TN
(3562 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 11:32PM

Main British Car:
79 MGB, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: MGBV8
Date: January 08, 2019 10:58AM

Mini Moke is also what I was thinking.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5690 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: January 08, 2019 03:54PM

Sure, those are all good suggestions but since I have this usable rolling shell and it looks like we will never finish the Chump car... I took some measurements. The height will not be a problem. Just use air shocks or springs and dump the air when loading. That does impact the choice of suspensions, McPherson struts would require more work. If the transmission tunnel is removed the width will be just about right. That should be noticeably easier than widening the car. Heat delete, etc. Need to remove roughly 2' from the trunk and 2' from the hood, and about 2' from the wheelbase. All seems possible. Battery boxes can go, rear overhang can be all but eliminated, rear axle moved forward. Choice of engine/transmission/suspension will determine front configuration. Expect weight to be around 1500lbs or possibly less.

I'm thinking about the Geo Metro drivetrain. Engine is a 1L 3 cylinder built by Suzuki that weighs 135lbs. There was also a 1.3L, these were OHC engines but with a 3" stroke they should be short enough I suspect. Automatic transmission and McP suspensions that would have to be narrowed, but with the short engine it is likely that could all be done on the off side axle shaft. With reduced weight the lower power rating would not be an impediment. No top, no windshield (rudimentary fold up lexan screen), no side windows or mechanisms, door latches or hinges, no prop shaft, minimal wiring harness, etc. Might be possible to approach 1200lbs.

Good thing I still have my rotisserie I guess.

Jim


tr8
Paul MacDonald
Canada
(19 posts)

Registered:
10/25/2008 04:07PM

Main British Car:
TR8 Coupe Rover 4.0

Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: tr8
Date: January 08, 2019 05:19PM

db51442d9f908bfbf7140c5bf022fb34--custom-bikes-low-life.jpg


tr8
Paul MacDonald
Canada
(19 posts)

Registered:
10/25/2008 04:07PM

Main British Car:
TR8 Coupe Rover 4.0

Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: tr8
Date: January 08, 2019 05:25PM

[www.mgexp.com]

google slammed mgb



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/08/2019 05:26PM by tr8.



MGBV8
Carl Floyd
Kingsport, TN
(3562 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 11:32PM

Main British Car:
79 MGB, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: MGBV8
Date: January 08, 2019 05:38PM

Speaking of loading, how are you going to load it?


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5690 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: January 08, 2019 05:42PM

Won't even take that much, and it's only for loading and transport. Otherwise the suspension can be at full working height.

Honestly though I'm more concerned about the length of the struts. That may take some mix-n-match. And then the air assist could get interesting. I have some air bags I could try but I suspect they'll be a bit large. Might have to redesign a few pieces. McP struts aren't complicated, and they don't have to be gas charged to work.

But more than that, the shortening of length and wheelbase is where the challenge is. If smaller wheels/tires are fitted the reduction in wheelbase can be decreased. (Thinking old Mini tires here which are 19-20" diameter.) There is an absolute maximum of 96" possible. With a 20" tire the maximum wheelbase possible would be 76" which would be a 15" reduction but 20 would be better and that still probably isn't enough to do justice to the front sheetmetal. Where does that come from? Behind the seats and in front of the feets.

Jim


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5690 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: January 08, 2019 05:46PM

Loading: Use two formed sheet metal ramps long enough to get the wheels on, one end hooked to the bay floor. Provide a means to raise the other end parallel with the bay floor then roll it in and strap it down. (The bus suspension can be lowered. Probably it can be tilted so that no ramp jacks are needed.)

Jim


rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2566 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: rficalora
Date: January 08, 2019 07:56PM

Is your goal a street legal vehicle or something to tool around in? If the latter, maybe consider putting a body shell on a ATV or golf cart chassis.


MGB SS
Joe Schafer
Central Michigan
(148 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 06:46AM

Main British Car:
1971 Mgb 1991 5.0 Ford

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: MGB SS
Date: January 09, 2019 06:40AM

Sounds like a extensive project and knowing the journey is the important part you will probably be content for a quite a while.

In the mean time you might want to find an old motorcycle with side car for your runabout, to get Bus on the road and start your travels.
Just a thought


britcars
Phil Ossinger
New Brunswick, Canada
(322 posts)

Registered:
02/02/2009 07:58PM

Main British Car:
1977 MGB Roadster, Rover 3.5 ADVENTURE BEFORE DEMENTIA!

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: britcars
Date: January 09, 2019 10:08AM

I don't know the dimensions of the baggage/cargo bay in your bus but the high-end motor homes seem to use an electric or hydraulic drop floor and appear to be quite large.The Jag in this photo looks to be larger than an MGB.
10500_4120872106_5.jpg


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5690 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: January 09, 2019 11:27AM

Yes, that's using both of the front bays, it is a shorter bus, there is no slider in the top, and probably the windshield folds down. Even so the bus probably required some reinforcement. Notice also, the car still has to slide out sideways.

I've seen a Mercedes rig like that, both bus and car. With the whole company behind you it's possible to do things like that, and do it quickly. That one was transverse.

To get the bus on the road "quickly" I do have a trailer that will carry either the MGB or the Samurai, neither of which is an automatic and neither of which Edith can drive. A compromise, but not a great one. Had the 8 speed project panned out that piece would be in place.

However, I am intrigued with the idea of a self contained runabout. Like the motorcycle and sidecar it can be minimalist. So what happens when you go minimalist with the MGB? After all I do have a perfectly good one to experiment on and nearly all non-essentials have already been stripped out. Reducing two dimensions is a matter of removing a strip and re-welding mostly, not having to form up spacer strips. So a relatively quick process overall.

Width-wise: Heater delete, radio delete, console delete, tunnel delete, bumper delete, windshield delete. The remaining sheet metal isn't that hard to deal with, though the hood may be a little tricky. It can come last since it has to be shortened in both axis. The trunk lid may only have to be narrowed. Fuel tank can be anything handy.

Lengthwise: Battery shelf delete, rear overhang delete, rattan seats, extra seat travel space delete, that could be good for up to 30". Excess engine space delete, excess radiator space delete. I've gotten quite good by now at utilizing the nose space for cooling. So in the end the nose gets shortened a bit and the rear quite a lot, shifting the overall aspect a lot closer to the "7" model. Cut the doors down to a couple inches above the seats, add a folding lexan windscreen, and don't go out in the rain. Means the door sills will have to be spliced of course but as-is they are unbelievably strong and there are many ways to do that.

Make sure the floor drains are intact, carpet delete, simple flat panel dash, trim delete inside and out, what would be the weight of such a body shell, maybe under 700lbs? The Geo Metro engine is 135lbs complete. Plus running gear and such, I think the weight targets are practical and achievable, which would make it sporty but not too light.

Jim


Dan B
Dan Blackwood
South Charleston, WV
(958 posts)

Registered:
11/06/2007 01:55PM

Main British Car:
1966 TR4A, 1980 TR7 Multiport EFI MegaSquirt on the TR4A. Lexus V8 pl

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: Dan B
Date: January 09, 2019 02:35PM

What about an Arkley or a Lotus?



MGBV8
Carl Floyd
Kingsport, TN
(3562 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 11:32PM

Main British Car:
79 MGB, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: MGBV8
Date: January 09, 2019 04:14PM

"Sounds like a extensive project and knowing the journey is the important part you will probably be content for a quite a while."

I figured that there was plenty of time, money, & effort to expend on a conversion project inside the bus.

Hmm, what's the dimensions of a Polaris Slingshot?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/09/2019 04:16PM by MGBV8.


mgb260
Jim Nichols
Sequim,WA
(1930 posts)

Registered:
02/29/2008 08:29PM

Main British Car:
1973 MGB roadster 260 Ford V8

Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: mgb260
Date: January 11, 2019 10:23AM

Jim, Hot Rod Golf carts. You can license for the street in AZ.

[www.bbgolfcarts.com]

[www.villagesgolfcartman.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/2019 10:26AM by mgb260.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5690 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: January 11, 2019 11:51AM

Yeah, see the thing is all of those options include a significant expense. Some are BIG expenses, and for the most part they still won't fit.

Well, I already have an MGB that I either need to do something with or get rid of. Zip blades and mig wire are cheap, and if I irreparably screw it up I haven't lost much. The pick-n-pull won't want much for the driveline and suspension parts either, or I might find a beater for a cheap donor. I don't even need to be all that particular about lining everything up perfectly as long as it's reasonably close, it's not like I'd be building something that needs to go tens of thousands of miles. I figure all in, I should be able to do this for close to a thousand bucks so where am I going to buy a ready made solution for that? Or even double or triple that?

Aside from which I just like the concept.

It's probably not a great idea. If I was advising someone I'd likely tell them they're going to end up with a pile of sheet metal on the floor and nothing else to show for it. But if I do so what? I will have learned one or two things in the process. My biggest concern is that it could lead to project overload, not that I'm already flirting with that spectre or anything you know. Might be some other things that don't get done because of it. I might not finish it. But then so what? An MGB shell that I paid a couple hundred for goes to scrap? Well that's been done before, I think I can bear it.

I have other things to do first, but I do have something of a deadline about 5 years away. The bus is the bigger and more important project and this will take up some pretty valuable floor space once I start in on it so some advance planning is needed which is the category this falls into, particularly regarding light and compact driveline and suspension gear. Some nice day soon I hope to wander the pick-n-pull yard looking for likely suspects. Once that bears fruit the project starts. May not be till spring, may not be this year. But planning ahead is always a good idea.

Jim


BMC
Brian Mc Cullough
Forest Lake, Minnesota, USA
(379 posts)

Registered:
10/30/2007 02:27AM

Main British Car:
1980 MGB '95 3.4L 'L32' SFI V6, GM V6T5 & 3.42 Limi

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: BMC
Date: January 17, 2019 12:08AM

Someplace in this building I'm sitting in, there is a Midget or two. I would think a bumperless Spridget would fit your needs.

Next step- skip the door handle cars. Go for a Bugeye (Frogeye) or MKII Sprite.
Side-Curtain Spridgets are Much larger on the inside due to lack of inner door parts and seat types. More comfortable than motorcycles (I'm going through a motorcycle phase now- Royal Enfield 500 but yes, someday motorcoach!)
The early cars can be updated and changed around and can fit in a lot of places others can't and actually have a simple but eye catching style that later cars just don't have, in my opinion. A five speed behind a decent 1275 and build a nice fuel injection system. I think the Geo 1.3L might even possibly fit, lose a lot of weight and be an interesting swap.

BTW: 1958-1962 Spridgets windscreen glass panels can be removed in 5-10 minutes with four posidrive (Phillips) screws and the interior can be protected with the tonneau cover when the soft top, side curtains and windscreen is removed.

Dimensionally, is the Spridget too large for your requirements?

A quick measurement of a rubber bumper Midget shows the car minus mirrors is about 31" tall, 54" wide and if the bumpers were removed or sorted down to chrome would be around 130". The Bugeye is probably shorter but that car's in the residential shop and I won't be measuring that for a few days. Maybe if you could modify the storage space instead to meet the requirements of an early Spridget, bumpers or not, the Stock ride height of a chrome bumper and the stock width would be there- get something or fabricate something with additional length, then do a few simple mods to the early car and you've got it.

The Minis (including Mokes) are all wide cars.

-BMC.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5690 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: And now for something Completely Different!
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: January 17, 2019 12:20AM

A bugeye might be marginally short and narrow enough but it will still be too long and too costly. A $600 bugeye ceased to exist many many years ago and is now too valuable to cut down.

The Geo Metro 1.3L is a Suzuki engine and those have always impressed me favorably.

The shell I have has already had most of the doors cut away and the skins tacked to the openings.

Jim


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