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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Sunbeam Tiger Engine

Some of you guys on the other side of the pond have been raving on about the small block Ford as an alternative to the Buick/Rover V8. As I understand it, the 302. The Tiger had if I remember correctly a 289. Is this not from the same family and can therefore a comparason of an MGBV8 be made to this car?
Jim UK


The 289 and the 302 are the same engine. The 302 is just a slightly stoked 289. Both engines have a 4.00 bore, the 289 has a 2.87 stroke, while the 302 has a 3.00 stroke. Parts are interchangable, for the most part, between the two engines. All external fittings/parts are interchangeable.
Dan Masters

The simple volume of Ford 289 and 302 V8's accounts in part for the popularity of the engine in the US as it does here as well.

To ensure the popularity of the Ford engines there is a vast amount of knowledge on modifying these engines and a sizeable number of quality manufacturers producing parts to do just that.

By the way the first Cobra's also used the 289 V8 and as Dan has stated the engine is identical to the 302 in virtually all aspects apart from capacity.

Cheers, Pete
Peter Thomas

If I recall correctly, the first Tigers had the 260 Ford engine, I didn't realize that they migrated to the 289 before being bought by Chrysler. Of course the 289 is just a punched 260, which started out as 220, I think.
George B.

The info I have is the Ford 289/302 V8 weights 460 lbs.
The Buick/Rover 215 V8 weighs 318 lbs. 142 lbs lighter.
Last August at our local drags there was a 289 Tiger who went through our 1/8th mile track at just over 75MPH. I was going through with my Rover V8 at just over 73MPH.


That 318 pound figure for the BOP/Rover is oft quoted, but it is not correct, not if you are talking about a complete engine, ready to run. Here are the true weights of the three engines of concern, in identical trim, complete and ready to run, obtained by actualy weighing all three on the same scale:

MGB with an OD transmission: 495
BOP/Rover with T5 5-speed: 440
Ford 302 with aluminum heads and T5: 520

In identical trim, the Ford weighs only 80 pounds more than the BOP/Rover, and only 25 pounds more than the MGB engine with OD.
Dan Masters

Thanks for the info Dan, I have updated my records.


The Tiger was a differently made vehicle. I know most people I spoken with said that due to it's set-up it was a "point and shoot" car, no cornering ability. That can be heavily attributed to that fact that back then EVERYTHING on the motor was cast iron. Using modern aftermarket pieces can save a good70+lbs off the motor.

While I do not run the 1/8 mile, the 1/4 mile track I ran at gives 1/8mi figures on the timeslip. I run through 1/8mi traps in 9.0sec at 82mph.
Larry Embrey

Basically the point I wanted to make was the Tiger over here seemed to get a lot of bad press. So by using the engine in an MGB you would end up creating a similar vehicle with consequently the same results. On the other hand the Rover engined MGB and the RV8 recieved good press. Can you believe everything you read in the papers?

What kind of press did the 289 powered Cobra receive in the U.K.? And what kid of press did the Alpine receive?
George B.


How much "harm" can be done to an MGB by adding 25 pounds and 200HP?

BTW, if you use a 15lb flywheel on the Ford 302 (which I recommend) instead of the stock 27lb, The Ford only weighs 13 pounds more.

Can 13 (or even 25) pounds really mess up the handling of a well sorted MGB? (assuming you do nothing else to it to improve the handling)

I don't know anything about driving a Tiger, as I've never had the pleasure, but I have driven and I do know about Ford powered MGBs - I want one! I want one bad enough, in fact, that I'm having one built. If you ever have the chance to drive a good one, you'll want one too. Guaranteed.
Dan Masters

Although I've not driven one, I do believe Dan is correct about the 302 MGB. That is, about driving one and wanting one. I do not know how the handling would compare between that and a BOP/R MGB, and in fact, I don't even know how a stock MGB with a BOP/R would handle as I've never even driven one of those. The suspension of mine was heavily modified long before the first V8 went in some 15 or so years ago. (What year is this? Well, maybe longer.) But what I do know is that swapping to the BOP was the best thing I ever did for the car. I also know that adding the weight of the blower was worth it. Guess that still puts me below the amount of weight up front that the 302 conversion has by a little, but I rather doubt it's enough to seriously compromise handling, and can be dialed out easily enough with tire pressure changes.

Jim Blackwood


I used to own a Tiger. Not a good car. 13 inch wheels made it treacherous in the wet. A Cobra it was not. The originals came with 260 cubic inch engine, 2 bbl carb, 164 Hp. A small door in the firewall to reach and change the #7 plug. Later cars had the 289
200 hp with a 2 bbl carb. Same as early Mustangs in both cases. Had a great sound with small diameter glasspacks. I put a set of Cobra 289/271 heads, a 289/271 Hp cam, aluminum high rise manifold and a 4 bbl Holley. Ran great, made power but the 13 inch wheel problem became more pronounced even with chubby tires. Eventually I sold it and bought a 67 big block Corvette. This car was engineered from the ground up for big torque and was a real car. Not a Cobra "wanna be." Alan

A very valid point since driving the car the weight will constantly vary as the fuel is used and so on.

Cheers, Pete
Peter Thomas

This thread was discussed between 17/11/2002 and 20/11/2002

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