The U.S. MG distributors were hoping to put a gleam in the eye of the
dentist from Columbus, who might imagine his car out there running with the Ferraris and Porsches


Sebring in 1964 was one of the world's top-tier endurance races, part of the FIA's Challenge Mondiale and Prototypes Trophy, along with the Targa Florio, Le Mans, and the Nurburgring 1000 km. Two of British Motor Car Distributors' team of red, white and blue MGBs finished the grueling 12 hours, an extraordinary achievement demonstrating the competitiveness of the MGB.
The MGB on offer here, the Iris Blue #48, consistently lapped the Sebring course in the low four-minute range to come home fourth in class and 22nd overall. Following the race, the car was sold and its lightweight aluminum body parts were removed and replaced with SCCA production class-legal steel panels. Its intake was also changed back to the stock pair of SU carbs, and the car went on to establish a long and successful SCCA racing history.
The Sebring parts were carefully preserved, and were passed along with the car to each new owner. When acquired by the vendor in 1984, the aluminum front fenders, doors, deck lid and hood were still intact and still bore the paint and numbers from the Sebring race. The car has since been meticulously restored to its 1964 Sebring configuration.
It is equipped with many rare and unusual factory-supplied competition parts including the aluminum battery box cover, dual gas tanks, 22-click adjustable rear shocks, factory close-ratio gearbox, side running lights, Marchal headlights and driving lights, Perspex headlight covers and the original dash with Smiths chronometric tachometer. The intake manifold is cast magnesium and it has a special generator and lightweight starter. An engine stabilizer, rare enough that it is only mentioned in one obscure list of factory competition parts, is also installed.
Even more remarkable is one of four Abingdon Competitions Departments special engines, which was supplied from the factory in 1964.
One of the earliest MGBs built, with Sebring BMCD team history, Joe Huffaker preparation and a comprehensive and accurate restoration make this one of the most important MGs in the world. Its configuration is consistent with participation in FIA-sanctioned international historic events where it will be a valued participant.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1962 MG B Sebring
Years Produced:1962-1967 (standard production car)
Number Produced:387,675
Original List Price:$2,800
SCM Valuation:$8,000-14,000
Tune Up Cost:Cost per hour to race: $600
Distributor Caps:$25
Chassis Number Location:tag on firewall
Engine Number Location:tag on right side of block
Alternatives:1963-1964 Alfa Romeo TZ-1, 1962-1965 AC Cobra, 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
Investment Grade:C

This 1962 MGB Sebring sold for $60,500 at RM’s Monterey
auction, held Aug. 13-14, 2004.
For those of us “of a certain age,” who got hooked on cars in the late ’50s and early ’60s, MGBs were the sports car equivalent of a Chevy Bel Air-plain but dependable, competent and accessible. They were good cars, but they lacked the joyous impracticality of a TR3, the bulldog hairiness of the Big Healeys, or the exotic delicacy of the Alfas and Porsches of the era. For those of us who wanted a hormone rush in our cars, the MGB left us asking, “Where’s the excitement?”
BMC must have realized this deficiency, so it charged its competition program with preparing three cars for FIA races. The American distributors took over the program for 1964 and prepped the trio for Sebring, hoping to put a gleam in the eye of the dentist from Columbus, who might imagine his car out there running with the Ferraris and Porsches. Not to denigrate the effort, but this was akin to a ski resort where 90 percent of the runs are bunny hills and intermediates trying to bolster its reputation by building a few doom chutes out back.
Two of the three Sebring MGBs were offered by the same seller in Monterey. He had acquired both this car and the red #47, a third-in-class finisher in 1964, sometime in the early 1980s, and plotted their restoration over the next two decades. He managed to find nearly all of the original parts before completing the process last year, after which he played with his pair of toys a few times, then consigned them with RM. Both cars sold, the red one finding a new home on Friday for $104,500 and the blue one on Saturday at $60,500.
Let’s face it; take your pick, red or blue, that’s a lot of money for an MGB. These are not high value cars, as garden-variety vintage racing Bs sell for $15,000 on a good day. One of the best (ex-Grace Slick) sold a while back for $19,000. In Europe, good FIA-legal cars are a bit more expensive, trading hands for £20,000 (about $37,000). As just a race car, that’s about all they’re worth.
So what’s the collector premium here? Both of the Sebring cars had all the right collector “utilities,” that is: great provenance, clean histories, original racing parts, and factory aluminum bodywork. They are both as desirable and eligible for vintage events as an MGB is going to get.
This opens the door to lots of delicious speculation. Why did one sell for so much more than the other? The blue MGB was clearly the better of the two, particularly because it had the rare, original race engine with a special manifold and Weber carburetor. It also had more complete original race bodywork, as the red car was missing a fender. But are a fender and an engine worth $40,000?
I’m not sure, but the circumstances surrounding the auction might shed some light on the disparity. The blue car was originally listed in the catalog as selling on Friday with no reserve, while the red one was to cross the block on Saturday, with a reserve. The reality was that their positions were swapped, and the red car sold first, with the blue car crossing the stand on Saturday. The ramifications of this change are open to speculation, but this confusion couldn’t have helped the price of the red car.
In any event, the lesson here is that history and provenance are worth a whole lot of money, even for what is otherwise a pretty pedestrian car.
(Historical and descriptive information courtesy of the auction company.)

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