A purebred member of Her Majesty's empire, the MGB is coveted to this day by countless collectors and fun-loving folks who, young at heart, love going like the blazes in a lithe, stylish British Roadster that is easy to maintain thanks to a minimalist, no nonsense approach and a cottage industry that provides affordables spares aplenty.
Assembled during the very first week of MGB production in May of 1962, this particular MGB, VIN *63GHN3L137*, is an exceptional car in more than one way and a prime candidate for any MG collector who looks for a unique specimen to add to the stable.
Purchased in the spring of 1963 at British Motors of Monterey by Daniel "Danny" Garcia (1929 - 2012), a well-known artist and art gallery owner from Carmel-by-the-Sea, this super early "B" is for all intents and purposes a one-owner car. It's a low mileage car. It's an authentic California car. And it's a genuine black license plate car that even retains its original dealer plate frames to this day.
It's also 100% bone stock, retains all of its factory-original leather interior, correct Phillips 66 bias ply tyres on the original chrome wire wheels that cognoscenti of the marque know as standard factory equipment on the first 200 or so cars exported to the U.S., and the super-light factory hardtop. Aside from one repaint in the original Tartan Red color and consumables, it's a car as original as it gets.
Let's start our inspection of this cherished survivor up front.
Under the hood, everything is ready for show. In fact, you might bring home a trophy for "Best Engine Bay," it's that impressive. The engine # 18S-G-U-H-372 appears to be an early 1963 factory replacement unit; even a major manufacturer such as MG was not immune from teething troubles . . .
Click on any of the above images for a full-size view
With only 51,263 miles currently showing on the car's odometer, this power plant runs very strong. It doesn't drink, smoke, or make any unusual noises.
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Make sure you enlarge the photos above to their full size to appreciate how amazing this B's undercarriage really is!
MG's coachwork fits the survivor description perfectly. Since the car has not been in any accidents, its very straight and appears to be free of corrosion.
Factory fiberglass hardtop is in wonderful condition. the pack-away soft top has never been mounted (if it even came with the car) and disappeared ages ago. Mr. Garcia drove his pride and joy strictly as a roadster during summer. The Olde English White hardtop was installed just a few times during the past half century, hence its fabulous condition.
The Tartan Red paint (factory code R9) still shines. Car has been spot-painted here and there and displays myriad signs of age, such as small dings and paint imperfections. We think this charming scruffiness goes well with the car's early build date.
The original chrome knock-off wheels look fantastic, are shod with period Philips 66 bias ply narrow whitewall tires of the dimension C78-14.
MGBs were manufactured for 18 years and underwent many changes, especially to the interior. It's fascinating to behold the original design in its unadulteraed, unmodified state.
The pre-1967 cockpit is generally considered to be the most beautiful layout, charming, simple, but not austere -- right up there with the early Porsche 911 when it comes to sporting looks paired with functionality.
Originality abounds! Odometer shows 51,253 miles. This car was driven a mere 1,000 miles annually, on average, and it surely feels like the low-miler ist is! Note original B.M.C.D. AM radio.
They are original only once! Bucket seats feature their well-aged, factory-installed black leather hides with contrasting red piping, a theme repeated on the door panels.
Original carpeting to the behind-the-seats luggage area and top fixtures. It appears that the car never had a soft top installed.
Ready for a test drive?
So are we, but before we take off, let's check out the trunk first.
Trunk is clean and rust free, features original spare with wide whitewall tire, jacking equipment in factory hardura bags, and black full tonneau cover (with zipper in the center) in its original black vinyl pouch.
Monday, November 11, 2013, turned out to be another beautiful autumn day here in our small mission town San Buenaventura. We headed for our favorite neighborhood, through the twisties on the Ventura hillside.
Driving an early MGB is an exhilarating experience, to put it mildly. It's hard to describe to the uninitiated the pure joy you feel when putting this outstandingly preserved, vintage sports car through its paces. The direct connection between man and machine that the MG delivers is just not palpable anymore with today's drive-by-wire gizmo-cars.
The B starts easily, idles smoothly, steers and shifts wonderfully crisp. The lack of a synchronized first gear is a rather endearing trait. The car sounds marvellous and responds eagerly to the driver's input. Wherever you park, a crowd of admirers quickly forms; this car receives nothing but most favorable compliments.
Only through a lucky confluence of circumstances could a 50 year-old MGB survive in such amazing condition: it always lived in California and, though admired for decades regularly parked in front of the owner's gallery, was just not driven very much. Add to this the fact that it features a most desirable color combination plus factory chrome wire wheels and you have a true winner!
As you might imagine, being an irreplaceable early example of England's most popular Sixties sports car, this superbly pedigreed MGB is not dirt cheap, though it is a true bargain for an aficionado who can appreciate the value of what certainly must be one of the 4 or 5 earliest MGBs known to exist. We have never seen one like it before, and we doubt we'll ever find one like it again, at any price.
We sold this MGB in Winter of 2013.