1965 MGB Roadster

  • 1965 MGB roadster for sale
  • Restored to competition spec in 1990
  • Raced extensively in historic events across Europe
  • Offered for sale from the Dave Saunders collection

Originally built at the MG factory as a standard road car in 1965 and given the registration EOK 656C, this MGB was fully restored by Dave Saunders in 1990 as a replica of the works Le Mans cars. 

The Competitions Department entered MGBs for the French endurance classic on three consecutive occasions from 1963. In that first year, it was a factory-backed effort in the name of Alan Hutcheson, who took the car to 12th place and class victory with Paddy Hopkirk.  

There was less success in 1964, when Hopkirk and Andrew Hedges crossed the line in 19th and had to give best to the new Porsche 904 in the 2-litre GT class. The same duo then finished 11th overall and second in class in 1965, their car having run with complete reliability to give the factory MGBs three consecutive finishes at Le Mans.

For all of those entries, the MGBs had run with aerodynamic ‘long nose’ front end. Competitions Department supremo Peter Browning later confirmed that the 1965 car had that special nose removed when it was sold and it has subsequently run with a more standard front end. 

It was this style that was replicated by Dave Saunders when he decided to rebuild EOK 656C to competition specification in 1990. Adhering to the FIA’s Appendix K regulations, he modified the suspension and fitted a close-ratio gearbox with limited-slip differential. The standard braking set-up of front discs and rear drums was retained. 

The B-Series engine was enlarged to 1840cc and the compression ratio was raised to 12.5:1. Running on a single Weber 45 DCOE carburettor, the power output was quoted as being more than 140bhp at 6500rpm. The car was finished in the correct Tartan Red with a white hardtop.

Once the rebuild was complete, Saunders raced the MGB across Europe at venues such as Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, Portimao and Dijon.

Now being offered for sale for sale at The Classic Motor Hub from Saunders’ collection of significant MGs, this MGB is a well-prepared, accessible and highly eligible choice of historic racing car.

Model history

The MGB has become one of the most popular and enduring classic cars ever built. Introduced in 1962, more than 500,000 left the factory over the course of its 18-year production run, and it continues to attract a strong following to this day.

The MGB was a more practical and modern car than the MGA that it replaced and featured monocoque construction, but it carried over the B-Series engine that had been used in its predecessor. It was enlarged from 1622cc to 1798cc, and the robust four-cylinder unit produced 95bhp on twin SU carburettors.

Although the MGB was originally launched in roadster form only, a Pininfarina-designed MGB GT coupé was added to the range in late 1965. Its improved aerodynamics made it slightly faster than the open car, with a top speed of 105mph.

Not only was the MGB a successful road car, it also had a superb competition career that included class victory in both the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monte Carlo Rally. A works-entered car driven by Julian Vernaeve and Andrew Hedges won the 1966 Marathon de la Route, while further class wins were scored at the Targa Florio and the Spa 1000Km. 

Various updates were applied during the MGB’s long production run. A Mark II model arrived in 1967 with an all-synchromesh gearbox, then the British Leyland era ushered in plastic seats instead of leather, Rostyle wheels and a revised grille. Safety legislation led to the adoption in 1974 of the distinctive ‘rubber bumpers’, and in late 1979 it was announced that MGB production would end the following year and the Abingdon factory would be closed.

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