1971 MG MGB
There aren't many better ways to get into a traditional British roadster than this 1971 MGB. Classic good looks in a car that doesn't cost a fortune to acquire or maintain, it's the ideal vintage sportster for the purist who prefers the old fashioned way of doing things. Sure, the B was starting to show its age by 1971, but that's all part of its charm, and with delicate chrome bumpers, the early cars have an entirely different look than their rubber-snouted younger siblings. With that in mind, this 1971 model is the one you want: clean and straight with all the good stuff already on board. The bright red paint is an older repaint that still looks good, with just a few signs of age and perhaps a passenger's door that has been touched up at some point. The bodywork underneath is pretty good, too, with straight panels and no sign of the dreaded tin worm for which these cars were notorious. Of course, those chrome bumpers that make this one of the more desirable Bs are in excellent shape, as is the grille, which is protected by a set of rubber-lined bumper guards that actually look quite sporting. There are also headlight guards that give it a vintage British sports car feel and change the car's attitude quite a bit. Classic accommodations for two can be found inside the cozy MGB, but once you're behind the wheel you'll discover that there's plenty of room and the driving position is quite good. The 3-spoke steering wheel looks suitably racy with its wooden rim and will go great with your string-backed driving gloves. The shifter falls readily to hand under spirited driving and the seats are grippy enough for the car's modest performance. The wooden dashboard was gone by 1971, but the classic Smiths instruments remain, giving a tantalizing glimpse into history. And while it's not your primary source of entertainment in an MG, the AM/FM/cassette stereo is a thoughtful addition. The trunk is basic, but carries a full-sized spare, a jack, and a set of black carpets to make it look finished. Overhead you get a folding tan vinyl top that's older but still quite presentable, and it stows in seconds for proper open-air motoring. The engine is the same rugged, reliable 1798 cc inline-four that propelled MGs for years, but why mess with a good thing? Thanks to a single carburetor and basic ignition system, maintenance can be performed with a screwdriver, and it has a satisfyingly fat torque curve that makes the car feel quick and agile around town. It's nicely maintained under the bonnet, too, with the engine and transmission reportedly being rebuilt about 40,000 miles ago. There's also a big oil cooler up front that's a popular MGB addition for spirited driving. The 4-speed manual is a joy to shift, especially with pedals easily placed for heel-and-toe maneuvers, and you may find yourself dropping down a gear in tunnels just to hear its brawny exhaust note (which was reportedly copied by Mazda engineers working on the first Miata). Braking is confident and handling competent thanks to the car's size and low center of gravity. And, of course, attractive alloy wheels have been fitted wearing fat 205/60/14 radials which are surely worlds better than the original Dunlops. There's no better way to have fun with the top down than a vintage British roadster. Take this MGB home today!