Historic Racer - MGB Roadster
Former Motor Sport digital editor Ed Foster returns to the fold, with an update on the car he’ll share this year with Nick Trott
The B might not have turned a wheel since last autumn, but these have been a hectic few months all the same. There has been much work done on the engine under the watchful eye of Roy Gillingham at Chequered Flag Motorsport – not least the acquisition of a fresh block – while the gearbox has been rebuilt with new layshaft and bearings.
The original intention had been to return the car to the black livery in which it raced originally, but the conversion to red had been so well done that it would have taken an awful lot of work to strip everything down to the bare metal. The faster, cheaper option would have been to respray only the outer body, but I really didn’t want to be driving a black car with red engine bay and inner arches, so we’ll stick with what we have. And besides, it did race in red during the late 1960s so it retains some period authenticity.
The suspension has been refreshed at both ends, with new leaf springs at the rear and other tweaks in a bid to correct the ride height. The front suspension was stripped and it was discovered that the coils had been binding – they’d been going right down to the stops under load, which probably explains why the rear end sometimes felt quite unsettled. Fellow MGB racer Mark Cole – one of the front-runners in the excellent Equipe GTS series – followed me through Maggotts and Becketts at Silverstone last year and told me the car looked very oversteery, which his very definitely doesn’t.
Our first scheduled 2018 event was a double-header, two half-hour races on the Brands Hatch club circuit at the end of April, just after this issue had closed for press. We were scheduled to test the car shortly beforehand – and, with little time between then and the start of qualifying, the big hope was that the changes would have an immediately positive effect, or at least require no more than a little fine-tuning.
We’ll soon be able to let you know the truth of that…