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Tony Crossley's - MGB GT Race Car

******Discuss January's featured car here!******


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History:

I originally bought the MGB as my road car in 1991 just after my 21st birthday. It was running and tidy, but that was the best you could say about it.

 

I used it everyday for about 7 years, and then decided racing around on the roads was not good and took to Hill Climbs and sprints. I did this for two more years, but funds were low and I still had the same basic engine I bought the car with. The shell was also getting very tired – and after ripping out all four spring hangers during the 2 years of sprints I decided to look for a better shell!

 

I found a second hand shell (minus doors, bonnet, tailgate and wings) for £200. That did the trick as most of the car was going to be fibreglass. My plan was to build a car that was competitive.

 

The build was done at home in my garage, with huge help at first from my late father. Without his guiding hand I’d never have finished the job.

 

Part way through the build (which took several years as I kept stopping) the car morphed from a hillclimb car into a race car.

 

I had decided to take the plunge and enter the MG Car Clubs ‘Cockshoot Championship’: www.mgnwracing.co.uk

 

The first season for the car was 2004, although it had been out on a few track days in 2003.


Specification of the Racer!

Body and trim:

  • 1970’s MGB shell, lightened and strengthened (Surplus metal cut out – EG: Jacking points. Extra cross members welded in and taking stress from the front spring hangers to the centre cross member)

  • 6 point welded and bolted in ‘Safety Devices’ roll cage.

  • Fibreglass front wings

  • Fibreglass bonnet and tailgate skins (unhinged – lift of the car)

  • Perspex tailgate window

  • All trim except the dash board removed

  • Single FIA approved seat and 4 point harness

  • Plumbed in fire extinguisher

  • Single, lightweight battery.

  • High pressure fuel pump

  • Braided brake and fuel lines

  • Re-routed electrical and fuel lines

  • Modified pedals to allow ‘Heal and Toe’ gear changes

  • Heater removed

  • Measured wet weight (with race fuel on board): 887.8kg

 

Engine and gearbox:

  • Peter Burgess built 1950cc Race engine. Lots of head work, very big valves. Flat topped pistons, high compression. All balanced and lightened. Modified oil pump, baffled sump. Piper high lift camshaft, triple valve springs. None vacumn advance distributor. Revs to 7k+, approximately 150bhp (more possible depending on you wallet!)

  • Tubular manifold and free flow, single silencer exhaust system.

  • Weber 45DCOE carb

  • Oil catch tank

  • Standard O/D gearbox

  • Standard Diff

 

Suspension:

  • Single leaf rear springs, with eye bolt inverted to reduce ride height.

  • Adjustable telescopic rear dampers

  • Solid bushes on everything (including front cross member mounting pads)

  • Negative camber front suspension arms

  • Lower and stiffer front springs

  • Uprated Lever arms dampers

  • Increased diameter front Anti-roll bar.

  • Modified front and rear track width.

  • Geometry modified and bump steer checked.

 

Wheels and tyres:

  • For race use: 14x5.5 minilite style alloys (in black) with Yokohama A032R soft compound moulded slicks (road legal)

  • For road/track day use: 15x7 Compomotive alloys (in white) with Yokohama road tyres (Race regulations restrict wheel size).

 


Tony's Future Plans:

The races in 2004 highlighted a few areas that I want to sort out during 2005.

  • Reduce the weight further by swapping the door and rear quarter lights to perspex. Then the door window winders can be removed and more metal cut from the doors. The fuel tank needs to be replaced with an alloy tank. Minimum weight is 839kg, so I want to get as near as possible.

  • Modify the rear suspension to get the ride height (and the Centre of Gravity of the solid axle) as low as possible. Increase the rear roll stiffness.

  • Tweek the front geometry and Anti-roll bar to match the modified rear.

  • More power? (Please Mr Burgess)

  • Move to the 14x6 wheels for the races (largest allowed) and look at a different offset to further increase the track width. Use the 14x5.5 with different tyres as a wet race set.

 

Further in the future (and may never happen due to costs):

  • Close ratio gearbox

  • Limited slip rear diff.

  • Better rear axle location (Panhard rod? Watts linkage? Anti-tramp bar?)

  • Even more powerful engine – maybe build a V8 racer?


Costs Involved:

Probably outrageous even though I did a lot of work my self to keep costs low (IE: Painted at home). Of what I can remember:

 

The original car was 3k back in 1991, the replacement shell was £200. The fibreglass panels were about £200 all in. 2 second hand doors were £80. The gearbox was £300.

 

The engine was several thousand. The Weber was £150. The Dizzy was £80. The tyres are £220 a set (a set lasts about a season of racing).

 

And so on…impossible to add it all up, and a path to madness to do so!


Companies Used:

All the usual MG specialists for the everyday car sundries. Moss, MGB hive (always very good), Mechspec are always handy for a cheap second hand bit (I try not to buy too many pretty new things like lamps as they can get bashed on the track!)

 

For the more specialist stuff:

  • Peter Burgess Engineering (who are always excellent)

  • MG Motorsport

  • Cambridge Motorsport (Excellent choice of springs for the MGB)

  • Demon Tweeks

A lot of my stuff has been bought at shows, such as the MG events, the Autosport show, the annual NEC classic car show. I’ve used hundreds of companies over the years. Not to mention the small adds in the MGOC and MGCC magazines.



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