Vintage R&T Road Test: 1968 MGB – Fully Synchronized, At Last

I don’t think we’ve ever had a vintage review of the classic MGB, so this is a welcome look at how it was seen back in 1968, when it was already five years old. There was a reason to test it then: the gearbox was new and now fully synchronized. Progress!

That wasn’t the only change in 1968: the dash was completely new, in response to US safety regulations. And of course there were now emission controls. R&T suggested that an automatic transmission”will be along shortly”, but that thankfully did not come to pass.

The new gearbox came in for praise, being “wonderfully precise”, but still a bit stiff and notchy.


The ratios were better too, with first not being so unnecessarily short. And of course overdrive was optional, and recommended for those spending a lot of time on highways.

The engine’s specs were a bit changed due to the smog equipment and tuning, and resulted in that very annoying slow (9 seconds!) return to idle. But performance was very close to the earlier tested version.

Handling is “vintage”; as were both of the two types of available folding tops. Steering was heavy, due to lots of caster, and springing was stiff. Better than MGs of yore, but still in the British tradition.

The MGB was called “outdated”, but it was also quite affordable, and the options were limited, although the new Fiat 124 Sport was clearly an attractive alternative.

Related reading:
Curbside Classic: 1967 MGB – To B Or Not To B