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Early Seat Bottoms

 Contributed by: F. Navest
The original seats for the MGB were carefully designed comfortable leather seats.

Surprising that 99% of the newly manufactured replacement seats fail to comply, although the foam bottom, which lies on top of the diaphragm, is correctly shaped. The foam bottom has, on purpose, a more or less square recessed area. The idea is that you sit in, instead of on the seat. Although not exactly a bucket seat, the design of the seat bottom is to prevent the occupants from sliding around on their seat while driving.

This centre section consists of five flutes lying slightly lower than the frontal and lateral bolsters of same seat bottom. This centre section is reinforced with heavy duty cotton, which has been sewn together with the piping and leather during manufacture. The cotton will prevent the leather from stretching as the cotton will take the load of the seated person. Sitting on the seat, the cotton takes the loading across the seat from one lateral bolster to the other.

Each individual flute is moreover slightly bulbous.

The bulbous effect of each flute is brought about by a piece of half round foam. It is about 6 to 8 mm high with the width and length of a flute. Between the leather and cotton of each flute this foam has been slid into place.

The piping along the front of the flutes lies lower than the frontal bolster as the piping is tied down with a piece of string at the front

corners to the diaphragm. Both these pieces of string are under slight tension when the seat is not used. When the seat is occupied both these string are not under tension.

The combination of the cotton, the foam underneath the flutes as well as the string will give the seat bottoms a fresh and inviting impression.

seat bottom


String to retain piping lower than frontal bolster.

String visible under seat bottom

Early MGB Gear Levers

 Contributed by: F. Navest

During the design stage of the MGB a choice was made to have a 4-speed transmission, or alternatively a 4-speed transmission complemented by an overdrive. The overdrive, a fifth gear, was realised by adding a housing with planetary gears to a modified basic gearbox. The overdrive transmission would reduce the engine speed by approximately 8 per cent. This special option was to save fuel and reduce noise emission. It does save fuel.

Upon working out the mechanical details of these two setups it became evident that mechanically it was not possible to have the gear lever for both transmissions in exactly same position. Due to this complication the hole for the gearlever in the car body was chosen to be oblong. The gear lever of the standard 4-speed transmission would pass through the body further forward from the driver than the lever working the overdrive transmission.

For driver’s ergonomic comfort the position of the gearlever knob was chosen to be best where the knob of a lever that passes through the rear part of the oblong hole, close to the driver.

In order to meet this requirement the position of the standard transmission lever knob had to be in same position as the one of the overdrive transmission.  

This the reason why a Mk I MGB is fitted with a lever that is bent in the typical way only intended for a MGB with standard transmission. The lever is bent towards the driver.

Cars fitted with an overdrive transmission have their lever passing through the oblong hole towards the rear. This particular lever is straight as the lever knob is in the correct position. This lever is simply straight instead of bent.

Apart from this apparent difference, these two gear levers also differ in length by which they stick into the gear selection mechanism.

By using a bent lever in overdrive transmission you run the risk of developing problems switching gears.

4 speed gearbox

MGB Overdrive transmission lever




MGB Mk I Towing Provisions.

Contributed by: F. Navest
The very first MGB’s were not provided with towing provisions.

After 368 cars, at chassis number GHN3L/368, the front cross member was fitted with the lashing eye familiar to us all.

It was not until November 1966 at chassis number 107465, that the MGB was considered to be suitable to tow other cars. For that purpose the rear bumper brackets were for the first time fitted with lashing brackets.

A little later in same month, at chassis number 107703, the front bumper brackets were equipped with towing brackets similar to the design of the rear brackets. At the same moment the towing eyes welded to the front cross members were deleted.

Early MGB Mk I front bumper


Contributed by: F. Navest
The first cars built in 1962 were fitted with different design steel front bumper supports. The rubber attachments on the bumper-ends have remained unchanged throughout the years. During all years, each front bumper has four remaining bolt mounting points. Both bolt-holes towards the centre of the bumper generally have the over-riders fitted to the bumper.

The front bumper of these early vehicles are installed to the car-body by means of 4 instead of 2 brackets. Please refer to attached photo which shows the arrangement underneath GHN3L / 137. This bracket arrangement has been traced on cars upto GHN3 / 1957. Should your car have this bracket arrangement we would like to hear from you.

front bumper supports


MGB Schedule of Repair Times (circa 1962)

Contributed by: A. Henderson

Issued in June, 1962 as the MGB came to North America and the dealerships was the Schedule of Repair times” for dealership warranty work.  This confidential to dealers document makes interesting reading as it gives one a good idea how long the factory believed certain service/repair procedures should take a dealership technician.  Some of the times given seem generous and some rather skimpy.

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MKI Ignition Coil Bracket

Contributor: F. Navest

Originally the LUCAS ignition coil was located very close to the distributor on a bracket that was attached to the engine support.  This bracket was exclusively applied for the Mk1 MGB, 3 synchro cars built form ’62 till October 1967.  This bracket was removed during the design of  the Mk2 to allow future   simplification of maintenance.



Early MGB Lucas Sparkplug caps, cables

Contributor: F. Navest

The original LUCAS 78106A sparkplug caps were original wear on 3 synchro cars, (i.e. during the production of the 18GA & 18 GB engines). They do, on the other hand, cause radio interference that was difficult to suppress properly. The technology involved with these plugs and cables was outclassed.

The state of art technology in 1967 meant that the copper core cables had to be replaced by silicone cables, which have a degree of  internal resistance that surpasses the interference to radio and TV equipment.


These early 60’s  Solid copper core High Tension cables in combination with LUCAS side entry distributor caps and LUCAS sparkplug caps last forever, however. I am not sure how long the Ignition Lead Spacer and yellow identity markers were maintained. I have the impression that the Spacer as discontinued in 1967, whereas the markers were probably continued till 1969.





Early Spare Wheel Clamps

Contributor: F. Navest

In order to secure a spare wheel to the boot floor of the MGB, various design clamps have been designed and applied.


Wire wheels:

The original wire wheel clamp has only been supplied for ’62 cars upto chassis GHN3 / 4514 in December 1962.  It had a cylindrical head, sticking well above the spare wheel. This protruding area caused damage to the luggage.

authentic MGB spare wire wheel clamp

The later design clamp is a simpler design that would cause less damage to luggage.  It has a flat bar across the top protruding to a lesser degree above the spare wheel. 

Later wheel clamp

Standard pierced steel disc wheels:

The spare wheel clamp issued for the standard steel wheels was retained right-up to the introduction of the Rostyle wheels in 1969.

authentic MGB spare disc wheel clamp


Fastener Decoder (Excel File)

Author: M. Feig

In an earlier article, I published the BMC Parts Information Bulletin (May ’64) which lists not only the most common standard parts as well as how to decode them for length, diameter, thread, finish etc. With the Bulletin, you can now take a part such as HZS 0405 and determine that it is a Hexagon Headed screw that has a zinc finish, U.N.F. thread as well as is 5/8″ long and 1/4″ in diameter.
I have taken all of the information from the bulletin and built the necessary tables in Microsoft Excel to do the work for you.  The Bulletin covers bolts, screws, nuts and washers only so that is what the spreadsheet does as well.  Simply open it up, put in the BMC part # and the decoded information will automatically populate for you.  I am using the spreadsheet to identify what fasteners I already have in my restoration as well as what fasteners I need to source.  If I do this for all components (excl Engine) I will essentially have a database of the quantity of fasteners by part # required for my ’63B.  How is that for trivia?
If you have any questions, just email me a