1971 MG B GT V8 Coupé by Costello Registration no. DHK 418K Chassis no. GHD5-2599819G Engine no. 18V582-H328
MG enthusiasts have Kent-based engineer Ken Costello to thank for the existence of the V8-engined MGB. In 1970 Costello began selling cars converted to take the 3.5-litre Rover V8, their favourable reception prompting British Leyland to follow suit. The aluminium-alloy V8 weighed a few pounds more than the cast-iron B-Series four it replaced, so little re-engineering of the existing suspension was called for, and the Costello version even kept the standard MGB drivetrain. Whereas the Leyland product was only built in GT form and used the 137bhp Range Rover power unit, Costello had no such corporate restrictions and was free to use the Rover saloon's higher power (144bhp) engine in his converted roadsters and GTs. Having 50 percent more horsepower and twice as much torque than the standard 'B', the V8 cars possessed blistering performance, reaching 60mph in under eight seconds and being capable of exceeding 130mph flat out. Despite making a product reckoned superior to the Leyland version, Costello could not compete on price and is thought to have made 200-plus cars before ceasing production.
This Costello-converted MGB GT V8 was purchased for the late owner's collection in 2004 and was last MoT'd in 2008. It is fitted with a twin exhaust system rather than the stock single-pipe arrangement and has a lower-than-standard axle ratio (3.3:1 instead of 3.07:1). 'DHK 418K' was pictured in 'Enjoying MG' magazine (September 1983 edition) while owned by Pearl and Derek McGlen. The car comes with a V5 registration document.