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MGB

MGB 1970s British classic sports car

Footballer George Best owned an MGB. A man synonymous with both Sixties and Seventies style, he no doubt took the odd Miss World or two out for a spin in it. He would have needed to be careful, however, with his glamorous passengers - the MGB's handling was no match for Best's dynamic dribbles! Suspension and steering parts - as well as its live axle - were stock BMC items. They were nothing to write home about, in manoeuvrability terms. In a straight line, though, things were much improved. Top speed for the MGB was a creditable 106mph. Best - and his busty companions - would have felt the breeze blowing through their Vidal Sassoon-styled locks. At one point, more than 50,000 MGBs per annum were passing through the Abingdon factory gates. Add another nought to that figure, and you have total sales for the MGB. More than half a million were shifted - between '62 and '80. Numbers like that make it one of the most successful sports cars ever built!

It is safe to say that the MGB's sales figures were mainly due to its lithe good looks. Technically, it was no great shakes. Nonetheless, it was an improvement on its predecessor - the MGA. The latter's hefty separate chassis had been ditched - in favour of a lighter unit-construction item. And while it was no performance car, the MGB scored well in torque terms. There was 110lb/ft of the stuff - at just 3,000rpm.

But it was in the styling department that the MGB shone. Its seductively low lines were drawn with stunning simplicity. The MGB was aerodynamic, by default. Were it not for its small-scale four-cylinder engine, clearly it could have gone a lot quicker. In sports car terms, 95bhp was sufficient - but no more than that. With that caveat, as an all-round package the MGB could certainly be said to have embodied 'the best of British'!

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