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Oxfordshire-based Frontline announces new MGB-based creations. Image by Frontline.

Oxfordshire-based Frontline announces new MGB-based creations
The restomodder has revealed modified V8 and electric versions of the classic MG.
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What's all this about?

A company in Oxfordshire has launched two new ‘restomod’ versions of the MGB and its coupe sibling, the MGB GT. While the Frontline MG BEE is an all-electric take on the classic British sports car, the LE60 is powered by a highly modified version of Rover’s famous V8 engine.

What’s a Frontline when it’s at home?

Hidden away on a small industrial estate near Didcot, Frontline describes itself as the “first engineering firm to make restomods famous”. For more than 30 years, the tiny company, which employs around a dozen people, has been applying its plentiful expertise to MGBs, fitting modern engines and gearboxes for more reliability and power, then tidying up the bodywork and interior to customers’ exacting specifications.

So these cars are souped-up MGBs?

More or less. That’s particularly true of the LE60 model, which has a 4.8-litre V8 under the bonnet, based on the old Rover V8 that was offered to original MGB customers for a time. Available solely in GT coupe form, and with just 30 examples on offer, the LE60 will be a rare thing, but it’ll also be very powerful, with around 375hp heading to the rear wheels via the five-speed manual gearbox.

Various other upgrades have been fitted, allowing a near-50/50 weight distribution and a stiffer chassis, as well as a wider track. There are bigger brakes, too, and a limited-slip differential, while the suspension has been extensively reworked to improve the original car’s handling characteristics.

What about the electric version?

Tim Fenna, the founder and chief engineer of Frontline Cars, said the company tried to hold off producing an electric MG until the company could build the car it wanted, and this is apparently it. Offered in roadster and coupe forms, the BEE is designed to operate like a petrol engine with a 9,000rpm redline and a five-speed manual gearbox.

The whole thing is powered by a 40kWh battery, which can charge to 100 per cent in just over five hours from a 7kW domestic ‘wallbox’ charging unit.

An electric car with a manual gearbox?

Yep. Frontline says it gives customers the choice of manual or automatic-esque driving by allowing you to set off in any gear without stalling, but also permitting heel-and-toe braking. What’s more, the electric motor can be tuned to build power like a petrol engine, or to deliver power more instantaneously, as you’d expect from a modern electric vehicle.

They look quite snazzy. What’s going on inside?

Anything you want, really. Frontline says it tries to accommodate all customer requests, so buyers can knock themselves out. Navigation screens, fancy wood trim and posh leather are all in the offing, because Frontline more or less builds the interior itself from a blank canvas. Even the seats are tailored to the people who’re going to be using them, offering the ideal level of lumbar and leg support to ensure comfort on longer journeys.

I want one. What do I need to do?

Basically, you need to get in touch with Frontline and have deep pockets. With the myriad personalisation options available, Frontline’s prices can be more or less as high as you want them to be, but don’t expect to escape the company’s ‘clubhouse’, where customers can specify their vehicle, without spending six figures. Customers can bring in donor cars or ask Frontline to source them - the company is fairly agnostic in that regard - but expect to wait a while for the car to be finished. It’s a process that lasts a couple of years and, according to Frontline, gets quite engrossing for clients.

James Fossdyke - 20 Sep 2023

2023 Frontline MGB BEE GT EV. Image by Frontline.2023 Frontline MGB BEE GT EV. Image by Frontline.2023 Frontline MGB BEE GT EV. Image by Frontline.2023 Frontline MGB BEE GT EV. Image by Frontline.2023 Frontline MGB BEE GT EV. Image by Frontline.

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