The following is an attempt to put some perspective on the sequence of events to Australia’s output of MGBs. It will be noticed that there are some significant differences with the UK introduction (the reason for these have been explained elsewhere on this site).
Craig Watson’s well-researched article (Jan/Mar, 2013 – The BMC Experience) has been used as the main source, along with Anders Clausager’s authoritative book (Original MGB; MBI Publishing, 1994). If you can add any other significant milestones, I would really appreciate you contacting me.
Before the beginning: PMC (Pressed Metal Corporation), Enfield assembled MGAs as there wasn’t enough room at Zetland
1962 saw the start of the MGB. It was a natural progression to assemble at Enfield.
April, 1963 – assembly of MGBs began at Enfield.
10 May, 1963 – official release.
All MGB engines arrived in Australia as CBU (Completely Built Up).
Initially, virtually everything was CKD (Complete Knock Down), but local input quickly grew.
From the outset, tyres, batteries and interior trim were locally sourced.
Some options offered in the UK were either not offered or made standard (eg all Australian MGBs were wire-wheeled; all had oil coolers; all had anti-roll bar)
1964/65 the car id plates were changed to show only the Australian car number. Prior to this, the UK serial number was also included.
NB Enfield plates were stamped from the front, whereas Zetland plates were machine-stamped from the rear.
NB In terms of specifications, we generally followed the UK (albeit with some big delays)
NB Virtually every shipment contained some engineering change. eg PCV – introduced in UK in Feb ’64 (18G to 18GA engines) – not introduced in Australia until Aug ’64; 5 brg engine introduced in UK in Oct ’64 – not introduced in Australia until about Mar ’65; push button door handles introduced in UK in Apr ’65 – not introduced in Australia until Jul ’65; 10 gal to 12 gal tank change in UK in Mar ’65 – not changed in Australia until Jul ’65; overdrive available in UK from early ’63 – not offered in Australia until late 1967!
NB There were interior choices in the UK. In Australia it was black with white piping or red with white piping. By 1966 it was black for every car.
Although it’s not quite clear why, but early o/drive models were still designated YGHN3, even though they now had a different engine prefix (18GB/RU/H)
NB The last 500 or so Mk I Enfield-built MGBs are often called Mk 1.5s, largely because they incorporated many of the Mk II improvements that were included from late 1967 (radial ply tyres, stronger ati-roll bar, reversing lights, laminated windscreen, headlamp flasher and Salisbury diff)
1966 with the new admin building, BMC official address moved from Joynton Ave, Zetland to 5 South Dowling St, Waterloo.
1968 Big changes! BMC bought PMC; MGB assembly moved to Zetland in February (although production didn’t get underway until August, due to set-up problems). The former Parts and Accessories Building became Car Assembly Building 3 (CAB3) for the MGBs.
NB Cars assembled at Zetland/Waterloo were all ‘roto-dipped’ – a superior method of rust-proofing.
August 1968 Mk II production begins.
February 1969 Official launch of the Mk II (14 months after the UK!)
June – Dec 1969 no id plates were fitted to vehicles.
late 1969 Company name changed to British Leyland Motor Corporation of Australia Limited.
NB From this time on, the ‘G’ designation in the car number prefix was dropped.
1970 The MGB was ‘facelifted’. (YHN9 for manual and YHN10 for automatics); black recessed grille, squared tail lights, fold-down hood, smaller steering wheel, some badges changed, bonnets changed from aluminium to steel and overdrive standard on all manual cars (unofficially known as the Mk II BL)
January, 1970 all vehicles were now fitted with the newly introduced compliance plates.
1971 Introduction of rubber bumper overriders, self-propping bonnet and boot struts and later, the introduction of head rests.
early 1972 production of MGBs down to 1 car per day.
6 Nov 1972 The end of local assembly of the MGB.
late 1973 Last of the MGBs sold.
VEHICLE ASSEMBLY FIGURES:
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