Once upon a time the MGBs were pretty much everywhere in the UK. Like most British manufactured cars of the 70s era, it was in production for a long time. In the case of the MGB from 1962 to 1980. All that being said, Elvis, the name of the lovely vehicle before you, is unique in the world of MGBs.
Once upon a time the MGBs were pretty much everywhere in the UK, less so in Australia, and this particular beauty is even rarer still.
Firstly, the paint is Australian made (by Berger) so slightly different in hue to Abingdon (UK) sprays. This being a mk2, got the roto-spray rust proofing in the Enfield works. The trim, vinyl seats and especially the doors, are unique to Australia as more trim was sourced locally in the later 1960s.
It is estimated some 45% of the B's made in Australia used locally sourced materials. Curiously the overdrive badging was apparently a local marketing ploy. Lastly, only 1089 MGBs (all roadsters, with packaways - Michelotti's became standard the following production year) were made in 1969.
The story of the Aussie MGB struggle, wrapped up as it was with the higher politics of production, nationalism and labour, is a powerful one. We believe the conversion to electric by Electric Car Cafe has a resurrective quality to it.
This is how we ensure these truly unique, historical cars stay with us in a post-carbon future. Aside from the green washing, there's always a personal side to vehicles of this age too. The car was assembled and manufactured in Sydney but sold new, on Russell Street in Melbourne to a Polish sounding man who lived in Eltham.
Elvis' story is clearly a part of Australia's multicultural labour and automotive history and we can't wait to contribute to it.
Step 1 - Plan
We worked with this Elvis's owner to build an Engineering Plan through several online meetings. Through this consultative process we established the requirements we were working to. Elvis arrived at the Cafe without his engine, petrol tank and exhaust.
On arrival, we dived straight into validating our design and commenced scanning of all areas and measured up. But not before marveling at the originality of the car. Elvis has never been painted which is a rarity in a vehicle of this age.
Elvis arrived fully stripped (so no engine, petrol tank etc) which is how we like our cars to start the conversion journey. No need to bother our in house mechanic Dimos then. That meant we were able to get straight into the design and fabrication.
First cab off the rank was the custom gearbox adaptor and motor mount. So many times we're asked if there's a kit for <insert car model here> and the answer is invariably no. The MGB is no different! No one in Australia, or the industry as a whole, has converted an MGB with this combination of components and neither is there a gearbox adaptor plate either. So design and fabrication is from scratch and of the in house variety.
Great news is the motor fits, just, but the batteries don't, well not without a fight. Midway through the design process, our customer elects to add more range to the build and this means we need to find locations for three battery boxes instead of one. After some deliberation and dialogue with the customer we decide upon 3 battery enclosures each housing 2 tesla cells. One box will be under the bonnet, the second behind the front seats and the last in the boot. This should give the customer close to 150km of range and, because we can pull more power from the pack, peppier performance.
Fabrication & Assembly
With the car built in CAD and requirements finalised, its time to hit the <CTRL> P buttons on the battery boxes and all the other components related to this build. This conversion, like all of them, is so much more than the sum of its parts.
It's easy to place the carefully designed components in place, much harder to integrate everything with each other and the 50 year old incumbent parts on the vehicle. Luckily the team make mostly short work of the assembly and integration. At EVolution, it takes a full team (ensemble) of skills to complete a car and many many weeks of effort to make sure the finished product is built to the standard our customers and our pride expects.
With the MG, we take the time to make sure all the cables are routed beautifully, the enclosures are mounted in the obvious locations and surfaces are engraved with both the name of the car, Elvis, and the Electric Car Cafe Logo.
In terms of placement, the batteries are evenly located across the chassis in three locations. The 7kW chargers are located in the boot together with the DC DC. We take care to make sure all the dials and components are integrated correctly. The fuel gauge is now the SoC gauge, the speedo is calibrated and the motor controller panel is located where the original mono speaker used to be. We also add heated seats and cabin heater for those cold Northern (USA) winters!
What next? Well the car is broadly finished and ready for export. Watch the final walk around and driving video here - https://youtu.be/RoDCftB09ow
If you would like us to quote on converting your MGB, don't hesitate to call us on 1300 70 11 99.