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A one-of-a-kind MGB handmade by the model’s chief engineer will be displayed at this year’s Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show – alongside a new Corgi version of the car.
Don Hayter is known as ‘the father of the MGB’ and built himself a V8-engined roadster shortly after production ceased on what remains one of Britain’s best-loved sports cars.
Now owned by marque enthusiast Edward Vandyk, the car will be on show at the NEC in November, where it is sure to attract plenty of attention.
Hayter (above) was instrumental in the MGB's development. He joined the firm in 1956 and became chief engineer in 1973, steering the model through the introduction of the MGB V8 and the various styling and engine changes demanded by increasingly tough US regulations.
When MG closed its Abingdon factory in 1980, Hayter decided he had unfinished business and determined to build the first – and only – factory-made MGB V8 roadster.
The bodyshell was a particularly important component. Prior to MG’s demise, Hayter and his team had been developing a new O-series ohc engine in 1.7- or 2-litre form, and around 20 bodyshells were still left from the project.
He took home one of the unused shells – paying the princely sum of £939.55 for it – and teamed it with a 3.5-litre V8 engine (£15).
Hayter owned, and regularly drove, the MGB V8 for 33 years, but decided to sell it earlier this decade when he was no longer able to use it as often as he wanted.
The car has now been immortalised by Corgi for its Vanguards range of die-cast, 1:43 scale models. Each one carries a detailed, authentic livery and comes complete with a miniature history of the vehicle.
They’re also presented in a plastic display case and even have an individually numbered limited-edition authenticity certificate. And if you fancy one, they’re on sale now for £29.99.
The Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show takes place at the Birmingham NEC on 8-10 November. C&SC will be there in force – and we’ll also be hosting our annual Club Awards during the show. Click here for more information and to enter.
Images: Malcolm Griffiths