Right now on eBay is a 1969 MGB for sale. That’s not unusual in itself, people do sometimes sell MGBs. What’s unusual is that this MGB is actually a 1967 Beetle that has been re-bodied with an MGB body. It’s surprisingly well-executed, though it’s not exactly clear why this was done. Maybe someone really wanted an MGB, but couldn’t deal with all of the power? Or wanted it a bit more reliable, or better in snow and mud? Or maybe they were raised in a religious sect that believes radiators are playthings of the devil? I’m really not sure about the motivations here, but I’m really taken by this very strange machine.
At first glance, this looks like a normal 1969 MGB. Well, almost. Our resident MG expert Mark Tucker told me the unusual side marker lamps are like what you’d see on a six-cylinder MGC (those have a bulge on the hood with a chrome strip), which is a far less common car. We checked the VIN, though, and found that this car did start life as a US-market MGB roadster, so I guess someone just liked those MGC side markers.
I mean, I get it, I like interesting side marker lamps, too. Really, the only exterior clue you get that you’re dealing with something strange here is around back:
Those headers. No MGB would have headers like that, especially not mounted in that strange location. Of course, if you open the trunk lid, it’s easy to see why those are there:
There’s the air-cooled Volkswagen flat four! How strange it looks in there! The ad suggests this is a 1300 engine, but seeing as how the donor VW was a ’67, I think that’s unlikely. The 1300 was only used one year, in 1966, and in ’67 the engines went to 1500cc. This looks to be a single-port engine, which suggests it may be the original engine on that ’67, since any replacement engine would very likely be a dual-port 1600.
With the engine out back, you’d think they could have done a bit more to make a useable trunk up front, but instead they have a huge cubical fuel cell and no one bothered to put in a trunk floor, which seems a shame to me. This could have been a good-sized trunk with a bit of planning!
That said, the quality of this conversion is pretty incredible; the VW pan had to be shortened by three and a half inches to fit the body, and that’s a nontrivial job to do. Someone really wanted this to happen. The interior looks great, especially with the incongruous tall, spindly VW shifter sticking up on that tunnel like an unexpected mushroom:
Those seats appear to have Beetle lower halves, reupholstered, and upper halves that might be from a ’77 or up Beetle, when they went to separate headrests, but I’m not really sure.
One thing I’m not sure of is where the engine is pulling air; from below, I suppose? This isn’t really ideal for an air-cooled VW engine which likes separation from upper “cool” half and a lower “hot” half, but if it’s exposed to enough air, like in a dune buggy, it doesn’t matter that much.
The battery is where you’d expect it in a Beetle but not an MGB, exposed because, unlike a Beetle, in an MGB there’s no rear seat to hide it under. The pedals are also a hilarious contraption of extension rods and strange levers, but the seller insists they work fine. As they state in the ad:
“Please note , the pedals can be cut and adjusted , i am 5’9 and Can drive this car comfortably. But it’s a hotrod so far from perfect. The seat is not adjustable.”
What I like there is the way the car is referred to as a “hotrod,” which I suppose it sort of is, just a hotrod that ends up with about 40 horsepower less than the car made when stock. A ’69 MGB made about 95 hp, and a ’67 VW made about 53, so, yeah, a hotrod!
I also like how the car is described overall:
“This 1969 MG MGB is a restomod with updates to the drivetrain.”
Is it really an “update” to a drivetrain if it’s a completely different drivetrain from a car two years older? And it’s hardly just the drivetrain; the whole chassis, all the suspension, steering, brakes, everything is from the VW. It’s a VW Beetle with an MGB body! And yet, somehow, it’s still registered as an MGB!
Whatever it is, it’s bafflingly delightful, and it’s a clean, running MGB-looking car that has an drivetrain with extremely easy to get parts and a massive aftermarket and enthusiast community. You could take it to VW or MG shows! German or British car meets! And I even think the VW wheels with the chrome dome hubcaps look good! What’s not to like for only, $6,000 or so?
(Thanks to C Moloney for showing me this!)
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The 1969 model year MGs (MGB and Midgets) for North America did not have side marker lamps. Those are reflectors only. It was a one year only thing. The 1970 and on North American cars have Federally mandated side marker lamps.
I am sorry to announce that I will be leaving this group after this, my last post, due to the fact that I have just returned from my kitchen, where I used a large BBQ fork to gouge my eyes out. It’s ok, the bleeding has stopped.
This car is a dream for any enthusiast of the most peculiar oddball crapcans. At $6k, a bargain! It deserves more power than it has. It needs to be upgraded to electronic fuel injection and at least 120 horsepower.
That’s truly weird. There are several replicas of T series MGs that use a fiberglass body on a Beetle. This is the first post T series I’ve seen on a Beetle
We’ve all thought about odd mash ups. I think you would search far & wide (with no success) to find anyone other than the person who did this who had ever thought of this one. I really, really want to know why.
It does look pretty well done, though.
Wow! That is mind boggling! Not sure if I love it more for being a vw or mgb.
It is a nice exhaust but not like that. Maybe it needs a custom valance panel for a stock muffler?
Really $6,000 for a nice looking MGB with all the benefits of a bug? Id pay that if it is as reliable as i think it would be. A little good looking runaround. However i would redo the exhaust to something louder and outrageous. Now no frunk but im thinking that size gas tank on a beetle engine might get you across the country. However even with skipping fuel stops it would take forever.
The owner was 6’9″ tall. The motor is in the back because he needed somewhere to put his legs.
My guess is that this person is like me. Have had many air cooled VWs and many MGs. I loved them both even with their issues. This car would allow me to suffer all of the indignities while leaving a space in my garage for a car that runs.
Yes, I’m sure you worked very hard on this project, and for a long time. Yes, I’m sure you were very creative. Yes, I understand that it’s time for a new project, or you ran out of garage space, or you spent a lot of money on all of this and now you need it back.
None of that is my problem. Best.
Is this the natural evolution of those MG TC kit cars?
Pity about the janky exhaust.
It looks relatively well executed otherwise. There HAD to be a better way to handle the exhaust.
I was going to say: It makes me happy that this exists, but they really could have put more effort into the exhaust system.
The exhaust is not janky. That is a dual quiet pack (QP) setup; they are very common on air-cooled VWs, though not as common as the single QP (esp. on stock engines).
They work well and when they’re actually on VWs they do not stick out as much as they do here. I suspect the exhaust collector (in the middle, where the dual QP are attached) is too far to the rear of the car to permit the use of the more hidden exhaust options.
Unless you’re saying that the exhaust wrap is janky, in which case I would agree with you.
“A ’69 MGB made about 95 hp, and a ’67 VW made about 53, so, yeah, a hotrod!”
A hot rod? More like a cold rod. One could also say a cool rod as that’s also a pretty cool car.
I’d go full baja with this just to confuse people out on the dunes.
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! Oh man, that wasn’t I thought would happen.
I am wearing trousers made of the same stuff as this car,
MGBeetles also don’t have klaxons that are similar in size to their engine blocks.
That whole car is a trip. That radiator fan looks like a boat propeller and the set of extra spark plugs on a dedicated rack is just mind-boggling. Not to mention trying to stop that thing with just the two drums mounted to the rear axle. Can you imagine traffic with a few of these? The mayhem with tens (tens!) of horsepower and horns louder than the exhaust.
Good to know that Citroen has been weird for their entire time as a company.
I’m guessing this is now running the VW electronics?
Make a true Frankenstein with hacking in Marelli electronics
You didn’t even mention the most confusing part to me? The front suspension *also* appears to be a VW beam rather than the MGB subframe? Why?
Oh, you did mention it. I just failed reading comprehension.
“One thing I’m not sure of is where the engine is pulling air; from below, I suppose?”
I think so. The last picture in the ad shows that the engine bay is open on the bottom, the same as the frunk. There are also electric fans mounted in front of the doghouse; they appear to be angled downward over the engine and toward the open parts.
The question then becomes do they pull air up or push it down? I think they are pulling cool air up from the space in front of the engine and making it available to the doghouse, which can then operate as normal to push air through the engine tin and out past the cylinders.
Since the doghouse air intake is on the same side as the fan it likely blowing at the intake. The heater box forced air supply tubes are blocked providing more air to the cylinders and heads.
Not the best choice for exhaust!
I like it!
But, I’d find a way to graft a Corvair 140 six onto it. Just for fun.
So 2 classics got ruined. I’m sad now
I’ve owned an MGB, after that traumatic experience they can hack them all up for all I care.
Despite being hacked together mayhem, this might be more reliable than your MGB
The automotive equivalent of cutting up a tweed sport coat to get fabric patches to sew on the elbows of your leather jacket
This looks like someone had two cars and made them into one.
Rusted out Beetle with functioning drivetrain (very common), MGB with good body and shot engine (less common, but can happen, I suppose)
Someone got confused and mixed up the MGTD and the MGB, by the time they realized the mistake, they were too far into it.
Actually, the battery is exactly where you’d find it in an MGB, only a few inches higher up. A stock B uses two six-volt batteries wired in series to make 12 volts, and the batteries straddle the driveshaft under that rear parcel shelf (or the vestigial back seat in a BGT like mine). Most B owners use one small 12v battery instead of two 6v, and yoy can buy a storage cubby to fit in the unused battery compartment.
The rubber-bumpered MGBs (mine was a ‘74.5) use a single 12v battery from the factory. Regrettably there is no unused compartment on the other side, just a flat floor.
A Beetle that prefers Saville Row instead of Armani.