The Brits never did quite get the hang of making a convertible top that is easy to lower and raise. Folks who own a Fiat or Volkswagen (or virtually anything else built outside the United Kingdom) who can simply flip two toggles and throw the top back don't know how fortunate they are. Proceeding under the assumption that lowering the top on an LBC is just as easy can produce disastrous results.
I've seen people employ countless methods of lowering an MGB hood, but I remain convinced that the hood-lowering method described in the owner's manual is the best. What follows is transcribed exactly from the driver's handbook as reprinted in the Bentley MGB repair manual, with occasional personal annotations.
This information applies only to MGBs with the post-1970 Michelotti folding hood. For equivalent instructions for the pack-away hood and the pre-1971 folding hood, see the MG Experience Tech Library
Lowering the Michelotti Hood
- It is most important that the instructions for raising, lowering and folding the hood are followed.
- Always ensure that the rear window is zipped in position before attempting to lower the hood.
- Do not fold when the hood is wet or damp.
2. Release both windscreen frame toggle catches (2)
3. Release the two fasteners (3) on the windscreen rails, the two fasteners (4) on the cant rails and the two fasteners (5) on the hood mounting brackets.
2. Move the seat tilt catch forward and incline the seat backs towards the front of the car. [Note 2]
2. Disengage the hood rear rail from the anchor plates (9) on the tonneau panel.
3. Fold each quarter-light (10) onto the back-light and continue the fold in the material foward to the header rail (11). ENSURE THAT THE FOLD IS MADE IN THE HOOD MATERIAL BETWEEN THE QUARTER-LIGHT AND THE BACK-LIGHT. Failure to do this may cause permanent damage to the back-light material. [Note 4]
4. Push the header rail (11) rearwards, and at the same time draw the back-light and hood material (12) out over the luggage compartment lid ensuring that the hood material does not become trapped between the hood sticks.
Position and secure the two retaining straps (14). [Note 6]
3. Replace the sun visors and return the seat back-rests to their original positions.
4. Fit the hood cover or tonneau cover.
Transcribed from The Complete Official MGB 1975-1977; Robert Bentley, Inc.; Cambridge, Massachusetts; pp. 14-15.
Figures and text copyright British Leyland Motor Corp., 1975, 1977
- The pivoting of the sun visor identifies the car in the figure as a pre-1977 model (MGB Trivia!)
- Tilting the seats is really only necessary if you have them rather far back on the rails.
- That bar running in front of the folded top is the tonneau bow, which is fitted before the half-tonneau. If you didn't recognize it, you don't have one--probably lost by a previous owner. It's not a terribly important piece.
- The emphasis here is not my own, but it would have been. The use of bold caps gives only the slightest hint of the importance.
- Many folks like to lay a clean towel over the folded hood first as extra insurance against scratching up the windows.
- The straps are really more trouble than they're worth. Anyway, many cars don't even have the straps anymore.