Category Archives: Instruments

Early Dash Overdrive Switch and Correct Bezel

Author: A. Henderson

The correct overdrive switch for the early MGB is a simple Lucas toggle switch, identical to the ones used for the heater fan.  Cars to # 61016 used this switch.  At that point a change was made to a crooked handle switch.
The early overdrive switch bezel is chrome, with stamped in markings of “normal” drive in blue, and “overdrive” in red.  The same bezel was used on big Healeys.   A later similar brushed alloy bezel with silk screened markings was supplied at some point after 1965.  The later silk screened version is available as a reproduction.  The early bezel is not.


Chrome Insert: Instrument Cowl

Author: A. Henderson

Early MGBs up until May of 1963 production had a very fine chrome insert between the gauge cowl and the dashboard itself. This insert is part of the gauge cowl.  These have never been reproduced and given the small number of cars with this insert, finding one can be difficult.  Photo 1 shows the later cowl used to the end of steel dash production and Photo 2 shows the early one, with the chrome insert used until sometime in May of 1963.


Early MGB Keys

Author: A. Henderson
The earliest of the MGBs used
keys supplied by Wilmot Breeden in the “FP” series as per the MGA.  The keys
were either round headed, or rectangular in body shape.  Ignition locks using
the “FP” series of keys had the key number stamped on the face of the ignition
lock cylinder, and on the latching part of the trunk lock cylinder, and on the
barrel of the door lock cylinders.  Key #s were also clearly stamped on one face
of the key.
Later MGBs   used the Wilmot
Breeden “FS” series of key.  It is possible that some cars may have received
sets of “FS” series keys prior to totally exhausting the supply of “FP” series
keys.  The latest car which I know received “FP” series keys had a car number
of 11,100 approx.  Later MGBs were supplied with “FS” series keys to the end of
production in 1980. “FS” series keys could be round headed, pentagon headed, or
Although it is possible to
key all of the Mk 1 MGB locks to operate with a single key, all were supplied
with 2 different keys of different code, probably so that an ignition key could
be left at a parking or service facility while enabling the driver to lock his
trunk and glovebox.
FP lock cylinders are
extremely difficult to source, as the trunk and door lock cylinders are unique
to the very early MGB. 
There are few sources for
original “FP” keys.
Photo Caption 1:    The 2
variants of the “FP” key
Photo Caption 2:    FP keys
beside the pentagon shaped FS later key.

Early MGB Key Fobs

Author: A. Henderson
The Mk 1 MGB was delivered
with leather samples to match the primary interior colour attached to two of the
factory supplied keys, 1 each of the ignition and door keys.  These samples were either black, blue or red.  The
originals have a silver stamped “MG” octagon on one side and “Real English
Leather is Used in this Upholstery ” on the other side.  Some replacement ones I
happened across are accurate as to leather colour but use a gold stamping for
the printing.
It is unknown as to when the
practice of shipping original keys with leather fobs installed was discontinued,
but before the start of Mk 2 MGB production.  It is believed that these fobs
were also shipped with the MGA.
Photo 1:  Unused Replacement
Single Key Leather Fobs
Photo 2:  The original fob in
blue to match the leather used only in iris blue cars
Photo 3:  The stamping on the
reverse side of an original fob.