A Traditional Experience: Racing a Vintage MGB


Translated from Automovil Panamcricano, June, 1995

All the splendor of the British sports cars of the ’60s is still intact in this MGB that engineer Juan Manuel Munoz Ledo uses in vintage championship races. There is no doubt about the pedigree of the MGB, because its prestige comes from where the classic sports cars take their title of nobility—the tracks! That is why in Europe, as in the United States and Mexico, the name MGB evokes a certain type of sports car, with a personal performance, that without having the market value of a Ferrari or a Bugatti, fans look for when wishing to initiate a collection.

Engineer Juan Manuel Munoz Ledo is the owner of such a car which we tested this time, the one he uses for the vintage races. The car is homologated with the regulations of the National Commission of Collectible Sports Cars.

“The car,” says Murioz Ledo, “was practically abandoned in a workshop and it was really a coincidence that I found it. When I told them [the owners] to sell it to me, they accepted immediately, because they didn’t know what to do with it. They considered it old junk!”

The restoration process and the race preparation was done at Munoz Ledo’s workshop, where his highly qualified staff worked very hard for some 14 months. They disassembled the car, then structured the chassis and reinforced it with a roll cage, got a new floor, and straightened the body. During the process, they continually tried to make the car lighter without sacrificing its strength. They kept the original suspension attachments, but in front, chose the coil-over conversion kit from Moss Motors in California, USA, and installed Spax shock absorbers at the rear.

They also installed the original gearbox and differential. For the engine, they used the original monoblock overboring to 82.29 mm. They kept the original crank shaft with the 88.9 mm stroke, just grinding it to 0.010″ while the connecting rods were replaced by steel Carillo ones and the pistons are cast JE.

Because of the bad shape of the original engine head, they obtained another that was prepared by Schlossnagel Racing. Kent Cams supplied the camshaft. For safety, the team didn’t stop at anything. The MGB has a safety fuel cell, the brake hoses are Aeroquip steel/Teflon, and the car has security harnesses with five anchor points in both seats.

The dashboard has the finest instruments, like double pressure and oil gauge, oil temperature gauge, a 0 to 8000 rpm tachometer, water temperature gauge, a warning light for top engine revolutions, a switch for the fuel twin pumps, a switch for the radiator fan, and a master switch placed between both seats that can be reached by either occupant.

There are two ways to test the car’s dynamic behavior: The first is the professional method that can be used for all modern cars, but the second is the passioned method, generally used for historic cars or milestones where the objective is not to pursue the best performance, but to recreate sensations.

After adjusting the seatbelts, we operated the switches—first the master button, then the fuel pumps, the ignition, and, at last, the starter button. The cockpit was filled with the murmur typical of a race engine. We pushed in the clutch—a soft one, by the way—and we engaged first speed. We went out on the racetrack, trying to remember the driving sensations that this car used to give in the ’60s. We were surprised by its behavior. This MGB responds sharply to the steering command, it’s easy to put in the corner, and goes out fairly but with a little oversteer, getting to the no return point without noticing. This is because of the race tires it is wearing added to the little body roll. Both things are opposite to the original car some 30 years ago, when the car rolled a lot and had very narrow tires.

The engine response is excellent in the power band that is between 4,000 and 7,000 rpm. The shifting is fast and precise and when we had to use the brakes, it showed great efficiency, keeping the car straight and on its path.

To finish, we can say that, in this car, we can feel the progress of the technology during the last few years in brakes, as in the suspension and tires. At no point did we try to race the car, but it showed to be capable of reaching the limits without any trouble and provides lots of fun! The truth is, we found a race car more than a sports car.

(I don’t think we lost anything in the translation from the Spanish—in fact, we think it adds to the story! We thank Juan Manuel Munoz Ledo and Señor Juan Hernandez, the director of Automovil Panamericana.—Ed.)

Tagged: ,

'A Traditional Experience: Racing a Vintage MGB' has no comments

Be the first to comment this post!

Would you like to share your thoughts?

Please note: technical questions about the above article may go unanswered. Questions related to Moss parts should be emailed to moss.tech@mossmotors.com

Your email address will not be published.

© Copyright 2022 Moss Motors, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.