Robin Roberts reports…
Few would argue that the MGB remains Britain’s favourite classic sports car or that it is almost as at home in modern traffic as it was in that of the 1960s/70s. However, it can nevertheless be updated to advantage and British Motor Heritage (BMH) is now stocking the superb Vitesse Global five speed manual gearbox conversion for the model.
Based on the renowned transmission of the Mazda MX5 MK3, the replacement gearbox comes fully assembled and complete with clutch friction plate, slave cylinder, braided clutch pipe, speedometer cable, prop shaft and fixing kit. No modifications are required to the bodyshell and fitting is therefore quick and well within the scope of any competent home mechanic.
The driving experience is immediately enhanced by the shorter-throw gear lever and the total suitability of the ratios. The gearchange is smooth and effortless, and progress enlivened by the general slickness of the transmission. The torque of the ‘B’ Series engine means it is unnecessary to optimise gear selection, but when the driver wants to press on the change positively encourages such use.
BMH fitted one to its own Roadster and was so impressed it had no hesitation in granting ‘Heritage Approval’ for the product, which costs £2,940 including VAT (but excluding fitting) and can be purchased through both BMH (www.bmh-ltd.com) and Vitesse Global (www.vitesse-ltd.com). Conversions are available for the entire MGB range, including V8 and RV8.
Commented BMH’s Managing Director John Yea: “We have tested this product in a wide variety of conditions and it performs as though it was made for the MGB; not least because the final drive ratios of the four-cylinder MG and Mazda MX5 are the same. Everyone who has driven our show car since the conversion has agreed what a great match the new transmission is.”