THE U.S. L.E
MG’s largest market was always America so over the years a few American only specials or limited editions were issued including the 67 special and the 1975 jubilee year special. Due to slightly deflated sales in 1979 it was decided to introduce the U.S Limited Edition. The car was launched at the 1979 Auto Expo in New York. It cost $8,500 which was $600 more than a standard MG of the time.
The U.S L.E was a black roadster with either black or beige interior its special equipment consisted of;
- Front rubber air dam
- Leather covered padded 3 spoke steering wheel with special MG boss
- Stainless steel boot mounted luggage rack
- E five spoke alloy wheels made by GKN in dark grey metallic with 185 x 70 low profile tyres.
- Limited edition dash plaque mounted on glove box.
- Silver lower body side stripes with MGB and union jack motif.
The luggage racks and spoilers were of American manufacture so were fitted by dealers as they arrived.
Production started in March 1979 and the first U.S.L.E was car number 492071.This car was driven across Germany by Peter Fearson plant manager of MG cars at Abingdon before it was exported to Canada as number one of the 250 Limited editions imported into Canada, at a dealer meeting in Toronto all dealers present put their names in a hat the name pulled out won the car which still resides in Canada. The 500,000th MGB produced was a U.S L.E car number 509313 after export it was offered as a competition prize and moved on to be owned by Moss Motors in California. The very last U.S.L.E was car number 523000 built in October 1980 just days before the end of factory production this car was presented to Henry Ford 11 by Graham Whitehead of Jaguar, Rover, Triumph incorporated. The l.e was taken to the Ford museum and sat next to the first MG Midget imported into America by Fords father.
After a move to another museum it was sold at auction in 1997 and went to New York. The car was taken for a drive and shockingly the engine bay caught fire quickly engulfing the whole car! It was restored and was proudly displayed at the 2006 Canadian International Auto show sat alongside the iconic MG old number one. In total 6682 U.S Limited Editions were made, maybe not very limited but these cars are much loved and sought after.
There was one home market U.S.L.E. This car was a request to Abingdon and although British spec was given all the U.S.L.E extras. This car took part in the MG Abingdon 50th parade in 1979 and bears the anniversary logo on its doors making it a unique car. This car is much loved and looked after and is a regular on our club stands.
THE U.S.Limited Edition specifications
- 4 CYLINDERS
- VALVE OPERATION –OVERHEAD WITH TAPPETS
- 5 MAIN BEARINGS
- BORE & STROKE ; 80.26MM X 88.9MM
- CAPACITY ; 1798 CC
- POWER OUTPUT ; 67 BHP AT 4900 RPM
- MAX TORQUE ; 94IB/FT AT 2500 RPM
- COMPRESSION RATIO ; 8.0:1
- CARBURATION ; SINGLE ZENITH STROMBERG 150CD4T
- FUEL ; UNLEADED 91 OCTANE
- 4 FORWARD SPEEDS – 1 REVERSE – ALL SYNCRO
- CLUTCH ; SINGLE DRY PLATE
- FRONT ; COIL AND WISHBONE
- REAR ; LIVE AXLE WITH LEAF SPRINGS
- DAMPERS ; ARMSTRONG HYDRAULIC LEVER ARM
- RACK AND PINION
- HYDRAULIC WITH SERVO ASSISTANCE
- FRONT ; 10.75” DIAMETER DISC
- REAR ; 10” DIAMETER DRUM
- 0 – 60 IN 13.6 SECONDS
- MAXIMUM SPEED ; 94 MPH