Category Archives: Interior

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.

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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

 

 

 

Early Seat Frame Backs

Contributors: R. White/A. Henderson
Early MGBs used staples and wood to secure the upholstery to the seat frames backs.  This was a carryover from MGA production and although unsure of the change over date to half inch clips, car # 8273 still had use of the staples and wood. 

This first picture shows how the wood was secured to the frame:

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Here is another view:

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This pic illustates how the upholstery was secured to the wood via staples:
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Perhaps this is a better pic to show the staples securing the upholstery:
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Contrasted with a seat back from a later MKI seat frame back.  Notice the use of the 1/2 round clips:

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Lastly is a photo that illustates the style of upholstery used on MKI seat frames be they the early wood and stapled secured type or via the black clips:

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Early MGB Footwell and Toeboard Coverings-to CAR# 2600 approx.

Author: A. Henderson

These photos are of what the first of the Bs had in their footwells as far as carpet (none), rubber and vinyl covered hardboards go. 

These apply to the earliest of pull handle cars. This one is an unrestored, scrupulously maintained as original #1105. 

Please note that these apply with respect to the hardboard up to approx. car 2600 or so dependent on interior colour. After that they change to carpeting on the front toeboard and sides of the tunnel.

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Accessory Consoles for the Early MGB

Author: A. Henderson
Interior consoles were a popular item added by some owners to their cars.  They provided a centre armrest, a hidden cubbyhole for items best kept out of sight, and some would say they finished off the interior of the car.
The only 2 correct consoles for early MGBs to the best of my research and knowledge were marketed by AMCO, based in California, makers of accessories for numerous sports cars of the time.  These were available by mail order, and often sold through the parts departments of local MG dealerships as well.
Unfortunately the full length console for the early MGB was a rather fragile affair of injection molded plastic, often cracking in various places likely due to owner abuse.  As well, strong sun tended to bleach the original black colour from them.  Finding a usable one can be quite a quest.  Very occasionally used ones show up on Ebay, and over the past 10 years I have seen perhaps 5 NOS ones sold, usually for a significant price.
The Full Length Console provided: (Photos 1 and 2)  From the rear:  A speaker housing with a chrome bright work grille which could include the speaker if ordered.  Next, an armrest upholstered in black vinyl which opened to a shallow bin suitable for change, keys and other necessities.  A plugged hole suitable for installing a Tasco cigar lighter, and again the lighter unit could be supplied with the console.
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Next a cutout suitable for installing the early factory ash receiver with the 4 exposed screw holes.

This console fitted flush to the front speaker housing and butted up to the rear heel board.  It required drilling several small holes and fastening it through the carpeting with self tapping screws.
The second console was a much shorter and simpler affair which fastened to the centre tunnel with 4 screws.  It provided an armrest, a storage area under the armrest and a small recessed bin to the front of the armrest suitable for change.
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It left the front portion of the tunnel as per the factory.  This short console is seldom seen, perhaps because the full length one was more popular.
 Clark and Clark has manufactured one which serves the same general purpose but is different in appearance.  These are sold today through Moss Motors.
The early accessory catalogue I have does not list these consoles as factory accessories  It is however interesting to note that the sales literature for the next generation of MGB, the 68-71 actually shows the AMCO console installed in a 1971 MGB GT.

Very early MGB Gear Shift Gaiter

Author: A. Henderson

Early gaiters were simple with the large flat portion at carpet level and the bellows portion extending down the gearshift rather than up as became common on later 1963 cars.  I don’t know the change point, but from what I have read only perhaps a thousand cars used this gaiter.  It is not stocked by usual sources to my knowledge.
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Early MGB Seatbelts

Author: A. Henderson w/contributions from J. Prewer

Important:  If you own original seatbelts, they are probably unsafe to use and should be professionally rewebbed before usage.   Seat belts are required to meet specific safety standards.  There are several companies qualified to professionally reweb vintage belts using original hardware.  Please use one of them.

 

As seat belts were never factory fitted until 1968, there are some discrepancies in the information available as to what was actually fitted.  MGBs did have factory mounting for lap belts with a captive nut in the rear of the inner sill, and a pressed opening in the rear of the transmission tunnel to suit either bolts, or ring bolts as used by Britax in the belts I show.  The dual bolt rear mounting point may have been designed to take a shoulder strap, but may also have been designed to allow the fitment of 2 rear seatbelts, using a central mounting point. for the 2 centre strap pieces.  The BGT actually has this rear centre mounting point designed into it below the wood trunk floor, and a rear seat cushion was optional in the roadster from the beginning.

 

From personal experience, lap belts were what was commonly fitted, at least to North American Bs, and in fact no North American cars of any brand had shoulder harnesses as standard fitted until 1969.  Perhaps a viewer of this article will comment relative to what was fitted in the UK.

 

Clausager states that Britax belts were fitted to early cars, with a change to Kangol.  This bears out my personal observations.   I have not seen a Britax 3 point belt fitted into an early B, only the lap belts.   It is important to stress that if 2 point belts are fitted they must use the 2 low side mounting points and not the rear point with 2 bolts, as that mount would place the belts far too high on the body of the wearer for safe usage.

 

I have several sets of “BMC” branded, and British Leyland branded lap belts that were made in the USA, and likely sold through dealers as well.

 

The Kangol belts used were available as a 2 point lap belt, and later a 3 point belt/shoulder belt using a rear pick up point, which may have been the double 1/4″ studs low on the rear wheel wells. The Kangol belts all relied on a magnetic hook portion, and that is the part that goes into the seat belt keeper just behind the door opening.   The photo attached clearly shows the hooked portion of a Kangol belt hanging from the retainer.  (This photo is from Clausager of an early GT)  That little retainer was supplied with the Kangol belt kit, or factory installed from 1968-71 when the Kangol belts were factory installed.    The double stud mount was deleted from MGBs in 1966/67, changing to a captive nut plate welded into the rear wheel well.  This made it easier to use a more conventional single hole mounting.

 

The following are numerous photos of my NOS Britax 2 point belts which were sold and packaged as “for MGB”.  These came from very old dealer stock out of the US and I acquired them a few years ago.  When time permits I will dig out some of the other early lap belt sets I have and take photos, and as well the early 3 point Kangol set, although as far as I can tell this didn’t become optional until at least late in 66.

 

Dependent on your state/province country Department of Motor Vehicles you may find that it is legal to drive your early MGB with no seat belts fitted.  Generally 1968 was the first year that seat belts were required to be fitted to new cars, and actually being required to wear them varied from jurisdiction to jurisdiction for many years after that time.  Today the rule of thumb is that if belts are fitted to the vehicle they must be worn.

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