...> which is best, MGB or Sunbeam Alpine?
> John Prior, Chichester
In many ways you are comparing apples and oranges. Unlike the MGB,
the Alpine chassis never had to undergo a several hundred pound reinforcement
to install a larger engine (I refer to the MGC 6 cylinder) when it was
developed from an Alpine to the high torque Ford engined V8...the Sunbeam
Early MGBs are especially desirable as Vintage race cars because they
are lightweight...EVEN IF the doors won't close when the cars are sitting on
an uneven surface. That is not the case with Rootes cars: they were not
The original target market for MG was as a replacement sportscar for
the sportscar purist: the target for Rootes Alpine was the daily-driving
American public and they succeeded in building an excellent compromise car
between a true sportscar and a refined second family-car.
From all aspects, the performance of Rootes cars can be developed far
beyond their original configuration: they are perhaps the penultimate
undertuned post-war car.
Although BMC had the advantage of being able to continue improving
their machine after Chrysler ended Alpine production, in my opinion late MGBs
are and always were junk.
New US smog laws required their cars to be detuned and their
performance was thus (legally) limited. Also by law, they were forced to
raise the cars to pass American bumper height requirements, so they look
silly as a sportscar and more like a four-wheel-drive.
For some reason, they found it necessary to change other things that
worked fine. A perfect example is the engine mount arrangement: early MGB
mounts are straightforward and simple to replace, however, late cars have a
trap built in to them and it is a bloody hard job to change a simple rubber
mount. Why? There was no logical reason for that
change...except...possibly...to add to the man-hours when serviced at the BMC
Perhaps I have worked on too many MGs over the years. They have
provided me a good income and many a chance to use my dynamic vocabulary. Oh
yeah...a Sunbeam Alpine is a better car than an MGB. So there!
Jim Leach Pacific Tiger Club Seattle