Experiences with an M.G. B
A TR4A owner recently gave his impressions of a year's motoring and expressed his general satisfaction with the car. I should like to comment on the M.G. B which I consider to be rather nicer looking, with better handling and to have infinitely better seating. After four years and 54,000 miles of varied motoring the car is still "tight" and looks and feels good for another 54,000 miles.
Careful running-in extended to 3,000 miles with several oil and filter changes gave the car a good start. Sensible driving since, always within the car's limits, has paid off with an overall fuel consumption of 28-32 m.p.g. (non-overdrive) with present oil consumption of one pint between changes. I usually change up at 3,000 revs., never above 4,500 revs. Cruising at 4,000 revs, gives 70 m.p.h. and 30 m.p.g. An oil cooler is of course fitted. A summary of the annoying aspects of the car would include:
(1) First gear (come on B.M.C., good 4-speed transmissions are not unique nowadays. look at the progress Ford and Rootes have made with theirs).
(2) The exhaust system. The car has never been rallied and is always driven on A-class roads but I have replaced two complete exhaust systems, three intermediate pipes, three rear silencers and five front silencers. Three of the front silencers have been replaced whilst the previous ones were still under guarantee. I believe many B.M.C. agents now recommend fitting of the better quality Servais system.
(3) The appalling ergonomics of the heater controls, dipswitch, headlight/windscreen wiper switches, permanently locked glove locker, etc.
(4) The steering wheel rim held on by faith to the spokes.
(5) The Lucas headlight fiasher/indicator switch which in terms of an expensive unreliable accessory must be closely tying for first place with the silencer and the original Dunlop C41 tyres. (May I strongly recommend Pirelli Cinturatos, mine have now done 38,000 miles and are certainly good for another 5,000 miles – their road-holding is superb.)
Good points would include the excellent paintwork and chrome. The nicely finished interior with a pleasing and efficient matt black facia (other manufacturers please copy). Good leather seats, of course (I do not sit on any form of plastic on a £1,000-plus motorcar). The safe responsive handling and excellent road-holding are both so good that after five minutes the car seems part of you. The reliable and flexible old B-series engine is also a selling point to one who did 80,000 miles in a much-loved ZB series Magnette (and would buy another one tomorrow). Summarising, I would say B.M.C. have made a first-class attempt at a definitive two-seater sporting car. I genuinely like the car, which has provided a great deal of pleasure as well as comfortable reliable transport over the past four years. Next car? M.G. B GT perhaps, but at £1,200 with the essential extras, it is within £100 of the Rover 2000, with which it does not really compare in terms of ride comfort or human factors design. Perhaps Rover 2000 or, if I am sensible a Viva 90SL, which seems very good value at around £700.
May I conclude by asking if any manufacturers have considered using a week's advertising budget to build a decent car simulator? This could be used to try out different control layouts and seating arrangements under five-hour "drives." Simulating all conditions, day and night, hot and cold, wet and dry – with the driver strapped in. What a good car the M.G. C would then be!
Limpsfield. P. Reaveley.