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Re: mgb vs spitfire

To: "Kai M. Radicke" <>,
Subject: Re: mgb vs spitfire
From: "David Hill" <>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 19:47:16 +0100

Had both, plus a GT6 so I feel qualified to comment....

> I think the MGB wins out over the Spitfire in nearly every respect but
> of the pants handling.


 As Allen note the Spits have a swing axle rear
> suspension up until about 1969 or so... these can be quite dangerous in
> Spitfire if taking a bend too quickly.  However, for $150 you can buy a
> camber compensator and remove the danger aspect while retaining glorious
> go-kart handling.

*All* Spits have a swing axle-the GT6 ultimately got the same with added
lower wishbones (replacing the Rotoflex couplings in these is probably the
most evil task I've ever undertaken).
The problem was 'tuck-under' where lifting off in a bend would cause the
inside wheel to drop to the lowest limit of travel and acquire a distinct
positive camber. In effect, you got a 3.5 -wheeler with no grip at the
back-a handling vice inherited from the Herald.
Later cars got a so-called 'swing spring' which pivoted on its central
attachment on top of the diff. This was good enough for the last of the GT6s
and has a lot of static negative camber. Earlier mods were decambered rear
springs, usually made by inverting some of the spring leaves.

> Interior room the B wins, fewer shakes and rattles in the B also.  The B
> the stiffer car (result of the monocoque body).

Quite agree. The Spit has a separate chassis with vestigial side outriggers.
Later ones had a cast alloy centre console, bolted from the floor to the
dash. This didn't quite eliminate the scuttle shake and did nothing for the
The BGT is particularly stiff because it has the sill/tunnel stiffness of
the roadster *and* a roof.

> Mechanically the B wins also.  Superior power, and nearly bullet-proof.

Yep, even if it is a 'Morris Oxford Sports'.

> Spitfire gearboxes and differentials aren't known for a long life at all.

The Spit gearbox (pre-1500) is the horrible Morris Marina 4-speed. They eat
layshaft bearings. I have to change yet another very soon for someone. On
the plus side, they will yowl away in the indirect gears for many miles.
Incidentally, a DPO had put a Spit diff in my GT6-there was a big crack in
the crownwheel carrier, caused by asking it to handle 2-litre, 6 cylinder

> Engines started to become junk after 1969, when they eliminated cam
> among other things.  1500 motors (as in the midget) can have thrust washer
> trouble (typical Triumph illness).

As on the 6 Cylinder engines with their skinny thrusts.

> Rust?  About the same for both.


> Ease of repairability... Spit wins.  Nothing like lifting a bonnet and
> having access to nearly everything EVERYTHING!

Yes but body-off rebuilds are easy to spot-the panels *never* fit.
> I think the MGB is the better choice.

Absolutely, which is why I've still got one.


Dave Hill

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