I can remember as a child riding in the passenger seat with my dad and also sitting on my mom's lap when we would go out in the MG for weekend drives with the convertible top down. Yes, we did have 3 people in it with me not in a car seat. It was the 1980s after all. But here we are in 2015 with the images of the black roadster with silver stripes seared into my memory. I remember playing in the car while it sat in our garage. Helping dad wash it in the driveway and watching him wax it to get ready for a show.
I even still have the dash plaques from some Hartwood Acres British Car Day events we attended, and the showroom brochure for the car. But what is the back ground on the car itself?
The MG-B Limited Edition was offered in North America in 1979 and 1980. It was a marketing endeavor between British-Leyland and the U.S. MG distributorship in Leonia, NJ to boost slipping sales in the North American Market. The production period of the North American version “LE” was 1979-1980. But why black cars? Apaprently there was an agreement between “Leonia” and all North American dealers that the “LE kit” would be only installed on black cars and to buy a black car of that time period, it had to be a Limited Edition only. In total there were 6,668 produced in the two years of production. And while not officially stated, the Limited Edition became sort of a Final Edition car as MG-Bs went out of production in the 1980 model year.
The B LE came equipped with the following features as standard equipment.
- Front air dam
- L.E. Five spoke alloy wheels, manufactured by GKN, with MG hub center appliqués
- Silver lower body stripes
- Luggage rack
- Leather covered, padded, three spoke steering wheel with a special center hub. This uses the same MG applique as the wheels
- A Limited Edition dash plaque installed on the glove box
There are still many 1979-1980 Limited Editions floating around and I'd be willing to bet that my dad's is out there somewhere. MG-B's are still affordable and fun classics today. Nice driver cars be found for under $10,000 and a pristine examples are around $12,000. In recent years, I have seen a handful of LE's at car shows and it seems they were available with both brown/tan and black interiors. I seem to remember my dad's having black.
Maybe I'll have to start looking for one for myself to create some new memories