Costello GTs

Of the 225 cars built by Ken and his team, about 190 were GTs, in either Mk I or Mk II guise. The Mk I is instantly recognisable by its bonnet bulge, or if still with original engine, the swan-neck inlet manifold with twin-SU carburettors. The Mk II was usually fitted with a rear-facing Weber carburettor which eliminated the need for a bonnet bulge. The Mk II is by far the most common of the two types of GT.

 

There are other versions of the Costello GT - such as the MGC V8 (only 2 were built by Costello) and Roger Cook's unique 5-litre, eight-port injected model. A Porsche 924 was also converted to V8 power - a car mgcostello.com is keen to showcase here.

 

This list is updated regularly. Owners are referenced with permission. Photographs are copyright the owner unless otherwise stated. All these cars are currently known to be roadworthy. 

Julia Palmer - Kent, UK
3500cc Mk II GT

It was unusual for Ken to drive one of his own creations for very long. They were either "work in progress" in between other engineering jobs - or, if finished, eager enthusiasts persuaded him to sell them.
 
But he is pictured here with his last creation in 2010; a chrome-bumper, black GT. He built it to original 1972 SU-carburetted specification with a special low-profile inlet manifold that allows the retention of a standard bonnet, since the moulds for the 'power bulge' alternative were long gone.
 
He fitted the newly reproduced eggbox grille and one of the new badges - both of which had met with his approval. The car also features some of his original braking and suspension upgrades.
 
There are other versions of the Costello GT - such the MGC V8 (only two were built by Costello of which Andrew Johnson's one is detailed below) and Roger Cook's unique 5-litre, eight-port injected model.

 

Although some said the MGC was a better donor car for the V8 engine, Costello didn’t wish to add further modification costs to what was already an expensive car at the outset.
 
Since Ken’s death in 2015, the car has been owned and run by his daughter, Julia Palmer.

Roger Cook - Somerset, UK
5000cc Mk III

Roger and Ken were friends for nearly forty years, having first met when Roger made a BBC Radio 4 Checkpoint programme about how the then British Leyland, having themselves abandoned the idea of a V8-engined MGB as impractical, copied the way Ken had done it and then effectively put him out of business by cutting off his parts supply.

As a gesture of support - and because he rather fancied one anyway - Roger bought one of the very last Mk IIs Ken built. Finished in British Racing Green, it was fitted with a reconditioned, 200 bhp 1963 Buick Skylark engine equipped with a Carter 4-barrel carburettor. The car also boasted Wolfrace 'Slot Mag' 6x14 wheels shod with Avon 195/14 HR 60 tyres - and was further upgraded with SD1 4-piston front brake calipers and discs, plus Koni telescopic dampers all round.

Foolishly, he part exchanged it three years later against a very temperamental Weslake-engined RS 2600 Capri. He never forgot that first Costello though!

RC 193 began life as a low mileage standard MG BGT, registration number PGP 344V, before undergoing a complete Costello rebuild in 1990 - using new parts from the original 1972 production run - and was converted from rubber to chrome bumper specification. The original 3.5 litre engine was also completely rebuilt as a fuel injected 4.2 litre unit by Oblic Engineers, using a bespoke Costello injection inlet manifold and plenum chamber and producing 275 bhp. The car was then fitted with a five-speed Costello gearbox; a Quaife limited slip differential and an uprated front anti-roll bar. It was amongst the ten Mk III cars built to individual order since full production ceased - after some 225 vehicles - in the early seventies.

Costello Engineering continued to offer a small range of carefully engineered MGB/V8 upgrade components - and this car was the first to be fitted with Ken’s fuel injection system. Underneath, it had the first production version of the Costello alloy wishbone front suspension, along with tubular gas-filled dampers all round. Also fitted were four-piston SD1 front brake callipers and ventilated AP discs, rear disc brakes, anti-tramp bars, a Panhard rod and specially made 6 x 15" centre-lock Revolution wheels. The completed vehicle was the subject of several very favourable magazine reviews and was featured in David Knowles' book, MGB V8 - Twenty-One Years On. The car thereafter carried the cherished registration number RC 193, and was personally maintained and developed by Ken for some years.

In 1999, the car was temporarily loaned - for display purposes only - to a major London MG specialist that had undertaken to market Costello products. Shortly afterwards however, the company went into liquidation virtually overnight and the car disappeared. When it was eventually traced and recovered, it was in a very sorry state and riddled with rust. So, in the summer of 2002, at just 8,700 recorded miles from the original rebuild and after several years off the road, RC 193 was re-bodied into the modified and restored shell of NVL 762K. All the original running gear, accessories and trim were refurbished and re-used, but in search of yet more power, the vehicle was fitted with a new 5.0 litre engine (retaining the original number) from Ian Richardson of Wildcat Engineering, together with a special eight-port injection system.

At this point, a heavier-duty gearbox and a long-range stainless-steel fuel tank were installed, and the front brakes were further upgraded to larger Brembo ventilated discs with alloy four-piston calipers. The car was also fitted with an RV8 dashboard and a louvered RV8 bonnet, and subsequently with the then newly developed Frontline/Costello 5-link, coil sprung rear suspension system. According to Octane magazine, it was: “ridiculously fast, with handling and braking to match. We love it!

Lawrence Wood - Devon, UK
3500cc Mk II GT

A true 'barn-find' Costello GT, or rather in this case a garage-find in Gloucestershire. A friend of the seller, having recently passed away, had bestowed upon his widow this small piece of British sports-car history, untouched, undriven and covered for 25 years. Now in the safe hands of serial Costello fan and founder of mgcostello.com, Lawrence Wood, the car has undergone some light decommissioning in the hands of Nigel Guild (Former Glory MG) who rescued the vehicle from its hibernation in the summer of 2019. 

It's understood the car was resprayed to its current coat of British Racing Green in 1993 but never left its garage again until Summer 2019. The factory colour was Citron Yellow ad this can be seen via a few chips in the door paint from exuberant carpark incidents. The original receipt from Costello Engineering Limited shows the cost of the conversion to V8 power being 1074 pounds Sterling (including 10% VAT!) on the date it left Ken's workshop - 8th March 1974. It's assumed the first owner - a Mr Roker of Hornsey, London - drove the car to Ken's workshops direct from the BMCC showroom.

The photographs here show the car exposed to sunlight for the first time in a quarter of a century. Not surprisingly there was no attempt to turn the engine and the brakes were binding (the car had sat on wooden supports) so this is as far as the team managed to extract it. The quality of the paintwork and chrome is very surprising and its general cocooned condition being very good indeed. Various insects and some mice had made the cockpit and boot their home over the intervening decades, and the engine bay needs a good steam-clean, but all the Costello familiarities are present.

The speedometer remains in place reading 42000 miles (no reason not to believe this is genuine). The V8 Costello red badge is in situ on the rear boot-lid and correct V8 wheels in place. A not-seen-before Costello plastic hub sits in the centre of the steering wheel - has anyone seen one of these before? It's not known if this was one of Costello's own making, likely not. 

The car now wears a replacement powder-coated Costello grille and still keeps the rear V8 badge. The car does not require the bulge in the bonnet as it's a MkII with the flatter carburettor. The vehicle also comes with a Certificate of Authentication, making this probably the lowest mileage MG Costello in existence. 

Lawrence will add further photographs once the car has been tidied.

Ian Beattie - Kent, UK
3500cc Mk II GT

Exported to the Republic of South Africa sometime in the 1990s this fabulous MkII GT has now returned to its roots on British soil having been re-imported by the new owner. Ian states mgcostello.com was invaluable in providing the detailed provenance of the car when he found it advertised online by a classic car dealer he had visited whilst on holiday in South Africa the year before.

 

The process of importing the car was prolonged when the country entered lockdown, resulting in the Costello languishing at the dealer for two months, before spending a further four weeks at sea on its voyage to Britain. A full tank of fuel and a jump start, and the car was soon with its new owner in north Kent.

Initially purchased by a doctor in the south of England this 1973 MGB was delivered immediately to Ken Costello for upgrades around the same time. It spent a while in England, later being shipped to South Africa. Sold to a Cape Town-based lawyer, the car was barely used and remained in storage for some time. The lawyer then passed away, leaving the car to his son who showed even less interest in the car than his late father, eventually selling it to a classic car restorer in Knysna. The car then underwent a full nut-and-bolt restoration in 2006, including a colour change from white to red.

 

The rather tired engine was subsequently replaced with another, high-compression 3.5 litre V8 - a job which included transferring across all the Costello parts. The engine unit has the tubular manifolds, rear facing DCOE-40 Weber on a 90-degree manifold, remote oil filter and a special starter motor. It sports the Rover five-speed gearbox and now also has Frontline front steering wedges to lighten the steering. It wears 15" Minilites.

 

Following restoration the Costello was purchased by Peter Hollis who stumbled upon mgcostello.com in the late Noughties whilst researching Ken Costello, thereby sharing his story. He owned this 1973 V8 GT from early 2007, with Fred Bickley purchasing the car in late 2014 after another owner's short tenure.

 

Fred proudly showed the car regularly at events near to his home in Sedgefield, even (bravely! – ed.) allowing serial-Costello restorer Juergen Kuhnle loose at the wheel for a blast when the German MG V8 meister was visiting South Africa on vacation, 2019.

 

Enthusiastic new owner Ian is keen to make a few more upgrades, sympathetic to the marque, including new brakes, oil seals, electronic ignition and other small improvements. Talking to mgcostello.com he states he’s keen to take care not to detract from the originality which sets these cars apart from their factory cousins.

 

This car is a real head-turner with its bright red paintwork, Webasto roof and silver Minilites. Ian is also eager to meet other Costello owners to share his passion. mgcostello.com welcomes Ian to the fold and looks forward to hearing more from both car and driver on its new experiences back on home soil.

Pictures shared here are copyright Peter Hollis (bottom far left, left, and far right) and copyright Fred Bickley (top left and third from bottom left). More recent UK photographs will be shared by Ian Beattie very soon. 

Oliver Marchant - Surrey, UK
3500cc Mk I GT

A welcome return to the Premium Listings on mgcostello.com, Oliver Marchant's car played a starring role at the inaugural Costello Gathering at the village of Tilford, Surrey back in 2006 - despite turning up on a trailer! That was during the early days of a full restoration, which now is complete - giving both father Clive and young son Oliver a great classic vehicle to cherish and enjoy for years to come. Father Clive takes up the story and provides the updates since 2006.

First registered as LLP 265K in April 1972 and supplied by University Motors in Ealing, Oliver Marchant has owned the car since 2004 when his generous Father, Clive, bought the disassembled rolling body and boxed components for his 12th birthday – the intention (well and truly achieved) was to learn about cars.

Still with the original bonnet, egg box grill, engine and gearbox, the first step was to have the bodywork professionally restored by Rees Bros in Aldershot – see http://www.hartland100.co.uk/Workshop/MGBCostello/car6.html for detailed description. Of particular interest was uncovering the ‘adjustments’ Ken Costello and his team had made in the engine bay to accommodate the Buick engine on Mini-Cooper mounts.

 

Father and son subsequently set about the mechanical side of things, installing a Weber carburettor to replace the original Holley, fitting new cylinder heads, plus full overhauls of gearbox, 3.07:1 ratio MGC diff and instruments. The Webasto sunroof was a particular challenge, requiring fabrication of a complex wooden frame. Finally, by the time Oliver passed his driving test the car was almost back on the road, though not sufficiently advanced to make its own way to the 2009 Inaugural Gathering in Tilford, so it travelled by trailer. This proved to be a very worthwhile event because Ken Costello - clearly pleased to meet such a young and enthusiastic owner - spent considerable time discussing the detailed finishing touches required to complete the project. In 2014, the car attended the Eifel Mountains Gathering and was a delight in overdrive, more than able to keep up with modern cars.

Some notable historic milestones: the car changed hands for the first time in May 1977 with 53,000 miles on the clock. In April 1978 the gearbox was modified by Ken to remove overdrive in third (£22 for new lay-gear plus £56 labour). When owned by a Mr. Wooldridge from Southampton the car was professionally prepared to compete in the 1983 BCV8 Championship under Race Number 96 (this is believed to be the only other Costello which took part in the BCV8 Championships, the second being Lawrence Wood's old GT which campaigned successfully in 2013/2014 - ed.). A Mallory Double Life Distributor with mechanical advance was supplied by Ken (and is still in situ), a full engine overhaul undertaken at a cost of £650 included forged Powermax flat-topped pistons supplied by Oselli and high-lift Crane Cams supplied by Manx Racing.  Oliver removed the front spoiler, flared arches and rear crash-bar from the car’s racing days, but retained the AleyBars roll cage.

 

In October 1987 the car was sold to a Mr David Mitchell from Nether Wallop for £3050, with just over 100,000 miles on the clock; he took it off the road in 1992 from when it languished until Oliver completed all restoration work in 2012.

Guido Baldhoff - Germany
3500cc Mk I GT

Original owner Paula Summers used the late Trevor Taylor garages in Mitcham, Surrey to repair her '76 MGB Roadster. She then purchased a second 1974 Roadster as someone nearby wanted rid of it. Trevor had a red Costello V8 in his garage that was a nut and bolt rebuild - possibly a US shell import - and he used to tell visitors to ‚take a long hard look at this car, because 'it will be a long time before you see another one like it!'.

 

It had been in his garage for many years and for some reason the owner never came back for it, but Trevor carried on and had it 95% finished it before, sadly, he died. The owner of the garage (next door) took the V8 in part payment of rent owed on the garage. It was then left in a nearby undertakers' yard for a year or so in the open air, believed to have only covered 1.8 miles!)

Paula bought the red Costello after selling one of her roadsters. That was in November 2001, and it was in dry storage until June 2014 when Costello collector Peter Brodt accompanied Guido Baldhoff to the UK to begin its new ownership. 

The car now needed a lot of work to get it on the road. Starting with the fuel line from tank to carbs, all parts replaced (tank) or cleaned (carbs). When done, the engine starts on the button. And the following months before the Costello Gathering in 2015 each Saturday was spent in the garage after the car came back from from the repair bench (front wasn’t in line), The front was resprayed too.

After a successful return from the Alpes Marcelles Costello Gathering, the engine and gearbox strand was removed fort he second time to check cylinder heads. The gearbox was also sent for rebuild. A new composite gasket (Cometic, US) was fitted and cooling improved: a new C radiator was enhanced from 60 up to 140 pipes.

The car travelled across Northern Europe to take part in the Runswick Bay Kimber Run, September 2019.

Laurie Way - Berkshire, UK
3500cc Sebring-bodied Mk I GT

When previous owner Andrew Tasker took ownership of what was then a non-running car in 1985, he was not aware of its provenance as a Costello. A conversation with Dave Vale at V8 Conversions of Farnborough in Kent raised the possibility and Dave - who once worked with Ken - was later able to identify it as one of the original Mk I cars. Some reminiscing led Andrew to this web site.

 

Andrew's GT was registered LTD828K, sporting a dark blue finish with Dunlop V8 wheels, chrome bumpers, twin SU carburettors, oval air-box, four speed gearbox with modified overdrive, a 3.07:1 final drive ratio, domed fibreglass bonnet and a V8 Costello badge on the tail gate - all key identifying characteristics of the real thing.

Andrew had the sills replaced by Former Glory, the differential rebuilt, new springs, shocks and kingpins fitted, together with an upgraded oil cooler, new wheel bearings, Luminition ignition and re-chromed bumpers. Sadly, by now the eggbox grille was missing.

 

Dave Vale told Andrew that Costello Engineering were going to commission some more egg box grilles but when it became clear that production would end, it was decided not to order any more. The last few cars were delivered without them. They had not made or sold any more Costello V8 badges as these only went on 'genuine' cars. Dave also remembers fitting a front spoiler to several Costellos, but couldn't remember if it that included LTD828K (Probably Thierry Denant's automatic LHD car - LW).

 

Andrew's car had the correct 140mph Smiths speedometer fitted and Dave showed him where Costello had reshaped the inner wings to give clearance for the exhaust headers. Andrew recalls seeing the full 140 on the speedo one quiet evening on the M69, but because it had never been calibrated, the accuracy of the instrument couldn't be vouched for. Apart from the wind noise though, he says the car seemed quite settled and well planted on the road. It was run as daily transport for several years and a full restoration was later begun, but personal circumstances forced a private sale in 1994.

 

Present owner Laurie Way now takes up the story. He was browsing through the June edition of Enjoying MG and saw Lawrence Wood's letter: 'Calling All Costellos'. He contacted Lawrence direct, identifying himself as the current owner of LTD 828K, which at the time was flagged up in the "Lost Costellos" section of this website.

 

Having already restored a 1959 MGA, Laurie had purchased the Costello in 1999 as a part-finished project. The car was totally stripped down with no interior, engine, doors, front wings or suspension fitted - and had to be trailered home and pushed into the garage like a wheelbarrow. The only modification Laurie could see was a cut-out to take a larger radiator. He knows differently now, but he was unconvinced it was a Costello at the time.

 

As the photographs show, Laurie's car has undergone a major restoration involving a Sebring style body. The replacement Rover V8 power plant originated from a single-seater sprint hill climb car, equipped with Peter Burgess heads and fuel injection - all machined to go under a standard MGC louvered bonnet. He also fitted 15x8 Minilites. The pictures include one from Andrew in the late 1980s before its extraordinary makeover.

Roger Anderson - Kent, UK
3500cc Mk I GT

The previous owner, Chris Ward, contacted mgcostello.com in 2009 to say that his Racing Green Mk I GT, FYL344J - previously featured in Where Are They Now - was up and running, in robust health and excellent condition. He had owned the car for about 10 years, having bought it in Padstow from ex-RAF Nimrod pilot Paul Denton. It came with the original Costello Engineering invoices.

 

Apart from a Moss 'coil over damper' front suspension upgrade and Koni telescopic dampers fitted at the rear, the car is pretty much original Costello, and still running on standard-issue SU carburettors. A full restoration had been completed in the early 90s, but some further changes had been necessary under Chris' ownership.

The first was the fitting of a stainless steel copy of the old radiator header tank (ditto, in brass - Lawrence and Alan Worth) which had become wafer-thin due to corrosion. After the old tank had finally split beyond repair, the consequent overheating bubbled the paint on the fibreglass Costello bonnet. The old paint was mainly sound, but rather bleached by the Cornish sun, so Chris took the opportunity to have the whole car re-sprayed. More recently, a high capacity oil pump was fitted and a competition clutch assembly was installed after the old thrust bearing had failed.

 

Roger Anderson purchased the car from Chris in February 2011 and the pictures above testify to the fabulous condition in which it now is. The windscreen has recently been replaced, all the brightwork removed, re-chromed and reinstalled. Chris had also invested in an approved reproduction egg-box grille, and Roger purchased one of the Costello Certificates of Authenticity to which the car is entitled. It is now based in Kent.

Alun Evans - UK
3500cc Mk I GT

Alun found this website whilst searching online for a replacement starter motor for his prize-winning GT V8 Costello, and says he was 'so glad that someone has at last seen that these amazing cars deserve proper recognition in their own right.'

 

His 1972 car, KML 945K, was refurbished to concours standard around 13 years ago by well known MG enthusiast, Bob Chuter in Kent (see the 'Hidden Talent' article). It won no less than 13 concours first prizes between 1995 and 1997, the last being at the MG day at Silverstone in 1997. One of the competitions actually included Ken Costello as a judge.

Alun first heard about the car when he read articles by Bob about the rebuild in Classic Cars and MG Owners Club magazines. He was actually interviewed regarding his suitability as an owner (Bob had refused to sell it to several other prospective buyers) and Alun was duly permitted to purchase the GT on condition that it was not to be exhibited at concours shows. Bob was now completing an MGB Roadster and didn't want the Costello there as competition!

 

Alun joined the Costello Gathering in Alpes Marcelles in Normandy, September 2015 and attracted a lot of interest from the other Costello owners due to its incredible unmolested originality and excellent condition. 

Paul Hornby, Avon, UK (For Sale - July 2020)
3500cc Mk I GT

PJM 626L is a black MGB GT, first registered 1 Aug 1972.

 

Paul is the enthusiastic fourth owner, having purchased the car from Alistair Rew in June 2016, who in turn bought from Richard Mole in East Yorkshire in June 1999. Richard had previously acquired the car from a British Leyland dealer in Windermere, Cumbria who had arranged for Costello Engineering to perform the Mk I V8 makeover.

This car is now for sale via Richard Edmonds Auctions, to be auctioned on 19th September, 2020.

Alistair jointly bought the car with his father Robin, after it had languished unused for a decade or so - the tax disc was from 1984 - so it hadn't run much! Robin, a retired motor engineer and long-term Reliant specialist, channelled some of his energies into rejuvenating the mechanicals. He extracted engine and completely stripped it. Then, having puzzled over why it differed from the usual Rover lumps, established that it was actually a Buick block. It came with a standard crank and bearings, is bored to +.020" and the pistons and bores were as new; though he did replace the camshaft, lifters and timing chain. Front suspension and cross member were worked on, bushes replaced, and the gearbox, which appears to be an MGC unit with Laycock overdrive was overhauled.

The radiator has been changed and an improved exhaust system with tubular manifolds installed. Engine starting is now much easier, since twin 12 volt batteries were substituted for the original pair of 6v units. The engine still runs on the original SUs, and the car drives very nicely. Overall, the GT is in good original condition.

In previous owner Alistair's words:

When we bought the car, it had been off the road for a while as Richard had been stationed overseas. The tax disc at the time still showed 1984. Thankfully, the car had been Endrusted from new and dry stored so the bodywork was in very good condition although the mechanicals needed some tlc. My father (who was for a long time a specialist in Reliant and AC cars), rolled his sleeves up and set to and we have retained the receipts of parts used for that work which included a complete strip and rebuild of the engine and suspension.

 

Once completed and on the road, the car made a fine practical classic. We did a couple of classic navigation rallys and also the VSCC Pomeroy Trophy, but mostly the car has had a relatively easy life doing only a few hundred miles a year.

The car has the swan-neck SU set up, it has a stainless exhaust with tubular manifolds with high capacity radiator. We kept the interior as we found it, replacing just the foot-well carpets. Richard had already fitted a Mota-Lita steering wheel. The seats are the original - with original foam (which as you can imagine is now past its best) but that was my foible. I can imagine some buyers preferring to modernise. The radio, which looks to be 1970s vintage, doesn't work, but I have always preferred the exhaust note anyway!

 

Externally PJM 626L has the classic Costello features of grill, bonnet, and badging. Proud owner Paul added a Certificate of Authenticity to compliment the solid history file. He endured the foamless seats for a while but has now fitted new foams and leather covers, plus carpets and door trims. The exhaust note still mesmerises so the radio has been removed! Still with only 55,000 miles from new and still going strong, this represents a wonderful opportunity to enter into trouble-free Costello ownership. Pictures below are copyright Richard Edmonds Auctions Ltd. 

Lambiek Engelaar - Katwijk, Netherlands
1967 3500cc Mk I GT

Ken clearly remembers this car as one of his creations, probably from the late seventies, partly because it almost became a fixture at his home. The vehicle was based on a 1967 GT, using a Buick-derived 3.5 litre V8 equipped with a Holley 2300 2-barrel carburettor. Years later, it had been brought in for major repairs after being driven over a culvert at such speed that it distorted both the front cross-member and the bodyshell, but the owner never came back for it. It was, quite literally, clogging up the works and had to be moved.

 

So, for nearly seven years it lay deteriorating on Ken's back lawn and he actually had to mow the grass around it. As far as he can remember, there was some money owing on it but he was never able to trace the missing owner.

Jos Jurriens, from Holland, had become aware of the existence of the car and made repeated, though modest offers for it as the basis of a reborn Costello. Rather than see it rot away, Ken eventually relented, so in 1997 the car was sold for a song, as seen, and with minimal paperwork. It was shipped back to Holland and then lay virtually untouched until 2007 when it was finally determined that the body was beyond economic repair and that the car would have to be re-shelled - a common practice in MGB circles. It was decided not to use a Heritage shell and a sound, Blaze Red 1976 GT - registration number PJA801R - was duly purchased and all the Costello parts carefully transferred as per the original. It therefore has all the usual Costello hallmarks; the Mike the Pipe exhausts, the V8 to MGB bell-housing and the disabled overdrive in top gear, the 3.07:1 final drive ratio and the Mk I Costello badge on the rear. It was then re-registered on Dutch plates and now carries the number GHD5413959G and a shiny new coat of paint in British Racing Green.

 

Lambiek Engelaar says he was recently lucky enough to be able to purchase the car, having previously been encouraged to drive his first road rally in it. Since then he's done a few more: "Nothing big though, no podium finishes, just some great days and weekends outdoors, during which it has seen plenty of rough roads and handled impressively well". He suspects that the engine has undergone some performance modifications: "Because it's a more aggressive drive than a factory V8. The Costello just wants to go, and go there fast", and, he adds: "It has made a deep impression on me which will likely last a lifetime".

Richard Wood, UK
1967 3500cc Mk I GT

Sold by Henley’s of Bristol in August 1972, this fabulous MkII Costello GT has been owned by third-keeper Richard Wood since 1976 when the odometer was already reading 26000 miles – a testament to the popularity and drivability of these cars in their day. The original registration was HHW 9L but since sometime in 1978 the car has worn 63RRR.

Between 1982 and 1999 – some 17 years – the car was off the road so a rebuild was necessary. Richard worked on much of the mechanical and electrical trim himself with help from friend Simon Powell. The small wheel arch extensions are the best reproduction that could be achieved using the old – and very well rusted - originals which, like the Costello modifications, were carried out in the ownership of Hyde Vale Garage.

Between 1982 and 1999 – some 17 years – the car was off the road so a rebuild was necessary. Richard worked on much of the mechanical and electrical trim himself with help from friend Simon Powell. The small wheel arch extensions are the best reproduction that could be achieved using the old – and very well rusted - originals which, like the Costello modifications, were carried out in the ownership of Hyde Vale Garage.

Now the GT is shod with Avon Turbospeeds - the best period tyres Richard could obtain since the Pirelli Cinturato which he had always used were no longer available. Wire wheels are Chrome 15 x 6J but most of everything else on the car is original. Interior is navy blue and a webasto sunroof lets in the English sun – when available.

As this car has only seen 62500 miles in total it is certainly one of the most original and untroubled Costellos on the road today. Richard and wife Carole enjoyed meeting other Costello owners at the 2015 Buxton Gathering in the UK when poor weather did little to dampen spirits. Mgcostello.com looks forward to seeing this fine car again soon.

3900cc MkI GT - UK

The original owner of this Harvest Gold GT stated 'it was converted from new and one of the original 25 that Ken did'. It has a Rover P5B engine with a Rochester carburettor. The bonnet is from an MGC and there are no Costello badges as the previous owner said he did not want to advertise what was under the bonnet.

3500cc MkI GT - UK

Recently sold at auction after lovingly cared for by previous owner (one of two Costellos in his stable at the time), this car was registered on 18th April 1972 as 3528cc. Then the body colour was white. The first owner was Patrick Motors of Birmingham. It was then sold on 4th May 1972. In all there have been 14 owners.

3500cc MkI GT - Australia

One of only two Costellos known in Australia. This car has been actively sprinted and hill-climbed in Adelaide but is currently off the road receiving light treatment

3500cc Mk II GT - UK

Described as 'a family heirloom.' PMY 686R was purchased as an 1800cc BGT in 1976, later transformed into a Costello 3518cc with four barrel Holley carburettor, Mike the Pipe block-hugger tubular manifolds and an SD1 5-speed gearbox. At this stage Ken was no longer producing cars on a production line basis and this is one of the later one-offs.

3500cc Mk II GT - Belgium

Having acquired this car in early 2015, the previous owner - convinced it is indeed a Costello GT - checked paperwork and anecdotes suggesting Ken Costello saw the vehicle some years ago and confirmed it was one of his own creations.

MkI GT - UK

“Abbott” was first registered in September 1971, making this one of the first MkI cars Ken produced. Current owners took the car to Silverstone in 1990 to partake in the MG 50th Anniversary celebrations and were surprised and excited to see a photograph of their car in the November issue of Safety Fast! magazine.

3500cc Mk I GT - Belgium

Previous owner completed restoration in Spring, 2014. New owner has since driven 5000km across northern Europe including trips to the Le Mans Classic and as far north as Oslo.

3500cc Mk II GT
Netherlands

Owner discovered mgcostello.com in late 2010, his car becoming only the second Dutch-registered Costello currently known. He has been the proud owner since September 1997, with the car retaining its original right hand drive configuration.

3900cc Mk I GT - UK

Featured in 'Mister V8' and 'V8 Showdown' articles, during the preparation for which the current owner had the pleasure of meeting Ken himself.

3500cc Mk I GT - UK

The car now wears one of the newly re-fabricated, laser-cut eggbox grilles and updated Costello badging on its flanks. With its stuck-on bonnet registration number and deep front spoiler, this GT manages to look both smart and aggressive simultaneously.

3900cc Mk I GT, LHD - France

A previous owner purchased this 1972 Costello Mk I GT in May 2004 from Quebec in Canada and had it shipped home to France. This is also the only Costello fitted from new with an automatic transmission (a Borg Warner T35, as optional on the MGC).

See article in AutoRetro, issue #296 from 2006.

Mk III Roadster - Denmark

In the early 1990's, Costello started production of MGB V8 EFI models (the Costello Mk III) making about ten, of which this is #2. This particular car was exported to the USA to be sold there, converted to LHD, but it later returned to the UK, which is where Neils purchased it.

Mk II GT - Austria

Taking delivery of this white, rubber bumper GT in August 1976, the Austrian owner specified lowered suspension, negative camber front wishbones, four-piston front calipers and AP vented discs, extra cooling vents in the bonnet and front wings, and uprated anti roll bars front and rear. See Ken Costello and Lothar examining the car in the photo.

3500cc Mk II GT - France

By May 2009, the mechanics were fully rebuilt with the car retaining the original V8 Rover power plant. The body shell is now complete, and was back on the road in time for the Champagne Gathering in France, May 2010.

3500cc Mk I GT - UK

Once owned by a retired ex-RAF pilot, and previously restored to a very high standard this fine GT took pride of place at the Bristol Classic Car Show in 2012, on the restorer's stand, attracting a good deal of admiring attention.

3500cc Mk I GT - France

First registered on June 21st 1972 and re-worked by Costello Engineering in July 1972, this car is in superb original condition, complete with original receipts from Costello Engineering, a bill of sale from the dealership, and a full service history.

3500cc MGC GT - UK

One of two CGT Costellos built. Jaguar wheel hubs with discs all round in 15" E-Type wires. Bonnet is standard MGC with Mk I V8 Costello badge to rear. The "Jaguarisation" of the rear suspension was something Costello considered, but never recommended. Read why in the TechTalk with Ken section.

3500cc Mk I GT - France

Featured in Enjoying MG 1993. Early Mk I, fitted with Dunlop wheels and a Rover V8 in P6 specification beneath the characteristic Costello bonnet.

3500cc Mk I GT - UK

Featured in another Enjoying MG article, this time from 2000. Early Mk I example, initially registered to Costello himself in 1971.

3500cc Mk I GT - Germany

First registered December 1971, originally black, then orange, and now 'Flame Red'. 15 previous owners over the last 38 years. one of whom acquired a reproduction eggbox unit which has brought the car back closer to its original appearance. It now also sports a new Costello badge on the rear panel.

3900cc Mk I GT - UK

Initially converted to racing spec in '03 but sat idle until mgcostello.com founder Lawrence Wood commissioned a rebuild, successfully campaigning the Costello in the Thoroughbred Sportscar and BCV8 Championships (both MGCC) in 2013/2014. 

3500cc Mk II GT - France

First registered in March 1972 with original engine and correct Buick block with DCOE Weber twin choke carburetors. Now shares a stable with a Lynx Eventer.

3500cc Mk I GT - Switzerland

Understood to be the only Costello in Switzerland, this example bears most of the usual Costello hallmarks, including the eggbox grille and Dunlop wheels, but the original Mk I SU HIF-6 carburettors and intake manifold have recently been changed to a Weber/Edelbrock 500cfm carburettor on an Edelbrock Performer manifold.

3500cc  MkI GT - UK

The car has a Heritage Certificate confirming build was in September 1971, supplied to University Motors from where Ken purchased it as new. The log book confirms it being built to order, first registered on 30th December 1971 (as a V8 engine) to a stock broker in central London.

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