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MGB 1976 MGB restoration question


Freshman Member
Thinking of buying this 1976 MGB. Poor condition yet it runs. I feel the project will cost alot and have done some pricing on interior and engine replacement. I am a novice mechanic. Questions:

1. Where do I start? Strip off the old stuff? Paint first? Engine first? Interior first?

2. I have gone to englishparts.com Is there a better place for parts?

Thanks very, very much..........I need help here!

tony barnhill

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
WHEW!! Your question would require a book to answer. However, lemme see if I can point you to a few things you should know before buying. Go here & read the entire thing: https://www.theautoist.com/buying_an_mg1.htm. Apply it as you make your purchase decision......if there's rust in all the normal places, walk away! A '76 MGB isn't real rare & there are lots of them out there; so, you want to find the best body you can.

If you buy it, trailer it home & follow this checklist to see what you have: https://www.theautoist.com/awakening_a_sleeping_b.htm

When you buy it, you need to contact Moss (1.800.667.7872) & get one of their MG catalogs. You should also pick up a copy of <span style="text-decoration: underline">The Original MGB</span> by Clausinger....you can find it on Amazon.

Once you begin to understand the car & decide how you want to use it, we'll be able to help you develop a game plan for its restoration.

Don't jump in 'willy-nilly' & start tearing things apart...I've bought too many disassembled or partially disassembled MG's because the owner either got in over his head mechanically or realized his budget for the restoration was too low.

Keep us informed. Good luck.


Freshman Member
THANKS!! GREAT DIRECTION! I am actually buying the car, very minimal rust, for only $1700. I am budgeting 5-6k,(or more) to restore. I am actually thinking of pulling the engine out completely and buying a new one, same with the seats and top, rims etc......Already priced most of this out online except I cannot find a complete engine? Thanks again, Tony, for the wonderful insight!!

tony barnhill

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
Redondo said:
THANKS!! GREAT DIRECTION! I am actually buying the car, very minimal rust, for only $1700. I am budgeting 5-6k,(or more) to restore. I am actually thinking of pulling the engine out completely and buying a new one, same with the seats and top, rims etc......Already priced most of this out online except I cannot find a complete engine? Thanks again, Tony, for the wonderful insight!!
Yep, take your $5,000 & multiply by 3 & you'll have $15,000 (or more) in the restoration.....lemme know how I can help.

Why buy a new engine? What's wrong with the one in it? If the car doesn't run because of a truely bad engine, you're paying too much!


Freshman Member
Thanks Tony,

15k!!! wow! At englisparts.com I priced out leather seats with complete interior(floors and doors), complete new brake system, new walnut dash, new A/C and a variety of emblems and it came to $5400?? Anyway, the engine runs but I want to drop a new one in. I cant find an internet site to buy one?

tony barnhill

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
Add about $5,000 for a complete body redo....you're gonna probably have to refurbish the suspension & brakes (something you should do before even thinking about replacing the engine) & that's possibly another thousand or so if you do all the work yourself....if you have somebody like Tom Bedenbaugh or Hap Waldron build you an engine its gonna be in the $5K range!

Its the little things that will mount up...new radiator, trim, nuts/bolts, master cylinders, slave cylinder, weatherstripping....things you don't even think about until its too late.....& I'm not gonna comment on the company you got your quotes from except to sday there're lots of places who are less expensive for the very same parts!

Again, my recommendation: follow my checklist to get running real good & drive it as is for some time to figure out exactly what it needs.

Oh, there's no internet site in the US that sells new MGB engines.


Jedi Warrior
Don't underestimate the expense of a good restoration even with a fairly sound rust free car. You may well get it done for less than Tony estimates but you'll be lucky. What you don't realize is the amount of things you will run across during the rebuild that will "nickle and dime" the cost well beyond what you originally thought. To get a good or reasonably nice paint job you'll probably want to strip the car, that means everything including the wiring harness if you are considering changing colors. When you do that you'll find that you'll wind up replacing almost all the rubber bits throughout the car. To match the nice new paint you'll then want to get the chromed items replated or replaced. You get the idea... Most of us have been there and have the expensive T shirts to prove it, but would and some are doing it again. As far as the engine goes, I'm not familiar with a source for a ready to go replacment, most have theirs rebuilt by a local shop that is familiar with MGs. Check with the North American MGB Registry about a club in your area, those guys can recommend a shop for the engine work.
I highly recommend finding a local MG or British car club and paying them a visit. There are tricks and information available through those and sites like this that you need to know and will save you hours and dollars in the long run and make your experience much more fun.

tony barnhill

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
Lots of them out there...biggest is Moss

I happen to have a vested interest in this topic as I'm a Moss distributor, Victoria British dealer, Engle dealer among others so get others to tell you some of their favorite suppliers.

You can find guys like me all around as well as other parts suppliers plus Moss is in Goleta, CA....don't know how far that is from you but it might be worth a drive to their place....I gave you their phone number in an earlier post.

You've got a full dish with all the homework you're getting ready to do - but you've come to the right place to ask questions.


Great Pumpkin
Country flag
I thought for a while there you weren't gonna come clean Tony,---Keoke-- :jester:


Great Pumpkin
Country flag

Hiya Redondo! Welcome.

Tony's "checklists" are thorough, if the thing runs then drive it a bit to see if it's even what you want to put the effort into. Hydraulics (brake and clutch) are important to refurb "outta the box" as you DON'T want 'em to malfunction on you any time.

Bob's suggestion of a club is good. Get to know who/where the other MGs are, what local resources are available.

A lot of us here have done these cars up for years. Driven 'em as daily transport, restored 'em, wrenched on 'em... this place is a tremendous source for info and a "support group" for when things don't quite go as planned.

Keep in mind what Bob has said about "estimated costs" too. Things have a way of tottin' up quick. Do the mechanicals first and see how the car "feels". :thumbsup:

...Oh... and get your parts thru Tony. :wink:
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