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Extremely rare 1981 MGB GT V8 SEC heads to auction

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

The car is a one-of-one, making it extremely rare.

The Market, an online classic car auctioneer, will offer one of the rarest cars of the 1980s for sale this month. The 1981 MGB GT V8 SEC is one of just five Special Edition Classic MGBs made.

The final run of MGBs to leave the MG Abington factory before it closed in 1980 wore the SEC badge. They were one-off cars built as part of a collaboration between British Leyland, the MG Owner’s Club, and The Abingdon Classic Car Company.

The vehicles that were part of that run were engineered nearly exclusively by former MG employees who stripped back standard MBGs and gave them the luxury treatment. They had plush interiors, upgraded performance, and featured classic design elements from MG history.

1981

The car features a black leather interior with red piping on the seats.Photo courtesy of The Market

“The level of finish and quality of this car is nothing like any other MGB. It’s more like an Aston Martin,” comments Tristan Judge, director, The Market. “The SEC cars hold a special place in MGB history but few people are aware of them. With such small numbers made even less remain, which means one thing; rarity. This is a case of try to find another! It’s simply impossible, this is it.”

The GT V8 SEC is the only model of its kind that was made. It is registered “SRT 856W” and wears a black paint job. It is powered by a V8 engine (in updated Rover SD1 form) that is paired with a five-speed gearbox. Its interior is finished in black heater, Bedford cord headlining, Wilton wool carpets, leather and walnut veneer dashboard, and door cards and seats in matching black leather with red piping.

The model has been enhanced by the addition of a chrome bumper in place of rubber, an earlier grill, and lowered suspension to pre-1974 specifications.

The original buyer checked some options boxes. The car came with a period glass “sun hatch” roof, limited edition alloy wheels, map pockets, stainless steel exhaust system, and bespoke Moto-Lita steering wheel. The car also has Protectol corrosion protection and improved sound proofing.

Today, just two of the five models are known to have survived. The original sale invoice from the model shows that its first owner was Kay Shoemakers Ltd of Kendall, Cumbria. Kay Shoemakers has a history at least as rich as MG’s, but like the automaker it too fell on hard times in the last half of the 20th Century.

The original invoice for the car totalled just over £13,100, significantly higher than the standard model price at the time of approximately £5,500.

The vehicle is known to have spent a period of time in Sweden before a new owner repatriated it to the U.K. last year after three years of regular use in Europe.

The Market offers that the car’s history file includes the original sales invoice (a BL Heritage stamp shows that the company was an approved restorer) and a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate as well as correspondence with the MG Owners’ Club, who prompted the SEC project in the first instance, a selection of invoices, and magazine articles.

Auctioneers expect that the model will go for £28,000 to £40,000 ($34,000- $50,000 USD) when it goes on sale May 21-28, 2020. Buyers from The Market pay only what they bid with no additional auction fees.

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