Costellos Undergoing

Restoration

Browse the collection of GT and Roadster restoration projects below to learn more about the various projects being undertaken. In time, all of them will eventually be up and running and back on the road where they belong.

 

Owners are encouraged to submit updates and photographs to the site, detailing progress on their projects. Contributors may then learn from each other and can also participate in technical discussions on the Forum

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Pascal Mathieu - Brussels
3900cc  MkIII GT

DKH 418K was purchased for the previous private owner's collection in 2004 and last MoT'd in 2008. It is fitted with a twin exhaust system rather than the stock single-pipe arrangement and has a lower-than-standard axle ratio (3.3:1 instead of 3.07:1). The car was pictured in 'Enjoying MG' in September 1983 edition while owned by Pearl and Derek McGlen.

Now undergoing further restoration in Pascal's French workshop, including a conversion to LHD, here is a recent update from Pascal himself:

I"'m a long time English car addict living in Belgium. My main interest is with the Jaguar XJS Lynx Eventer. In 2018 a friend of mine, Eventer owner as well, bought one of the lost Costelloís auctioned by Bonhams, DHK 418K. After delivery to my Brussels workshop it appeared to require a full rebuild. It will be converted to LHD. hopefully in the same way Ken Costello did. In the summer of 2021 I acquired a set of ‘Princess Anne’ V8 wheels from a much-relieved Peter Brodt in Germany who’d been trying to find a new home for this iconic design for some time. 

 
For the lhd conversion we will drop the steering rack and will open it to see how it differs from the original MGB steering rack. The pinion shaft is a very short one and I ask myself if it was sourced from another car, or if the complete steering rack was sourced from another car, or if the pinion shaft was custom made for Ken Costello.


Further work expected in 2021 includes:

  • Conversion to LHD using a toggle switch dashboard (metal OEM). The dashboard was sourced and bought fully restored with instruments and switches. I haven’t yet decided what I’ll do with the center console but I’ll probably keep the original one.

  • I bought a second hand set of reclining seats from MGOC that will be retrimmed in dark chocolate leather with center in Green Tartan. Door cards will be assorted in leather + Tartan. Carpets will be Green but I don’t know yet how Green they’ll be.

  • Engine and driving trains will be checked and maintained as they should but they shouldn’t need too much work even if the car was stored for more than 6 years and was only driven 3 or 4 time during that time. It was mechanically perfect when I bought it and it still drives beautifully.

  • I’d like to have these jobs finished before the end of September. Not sure I’ll make it but I’ll try.

  • Next, later on within 3 or 4 years, will be to have the rear wheel arches returned to factory specs without the outside lip and to have the body resprayed in Tundra."

mgcostello.com  looks forward to hearing more from Pascal regarding the restoration into 2022. 

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Judith Goertz - Fontainebleau, France
3500cc Mk I GT

 

Judith purchased this car from Dave Fitzpatrick in early 2009, subsequently taking it with her to her home near Fontainebleau in France. The car is Harvest Gold, and was supplied in 1971 and registered on November 2nd of that year. The delivery papers are with the car as it was supplied from Abingdon. The first owner was believed to be a director of Patrick Motors in Birmingham, with a second keeper in 1975, and Dave as the third owner.

 

Piranha contactless ignition was fitted in place of the normal points in the distributor, a glass fibre front spoiler had been fitted, and door mounted mirrors replaced the original wing mounted ones, but other than that, the car is original (to the best of Dave's knowledge).

Dave bought the car in 1978 with around 16k miles, and used it regularly until 1985, when it was taken off the road at 35k miles and garaged in favour of a motorbike and a larger family car. The engine had a full strip and rebuild, and a couple of body panels were replaced. It had been garaged since then, and was road legal, running, and driven into the garage when it was laid up.

 

When Judith acquired it, the car was cosmetically challenged, but otherwise in remarkably good condition considering its lack of use. She has now begun a full restoration having reallocated funds that had been split between two factory MGB V8s, a Triumph Spitfire, an old Mercedes and an even older BMW, an American Ford V8 van, an old jaguar XJ Coupe and some London Taxis!

 

The engine and gearbox are now in the process of being removed and the interior stripped down. Judith has her fingers crossed that the engine, having done very few miles since a rebuild, is not now seized, since it will not turn over. Putting the car on a ramp revealed a lot of rust which happily turned out to be superficial but that the exhaust system was completely rusted out. The braking system is going to require work too. In fact work is the key word in this project, before the car gets a full re-spray.

Bill Hill - Worcestershire UK
3900cc Mk I GT

This GT has changed hands a few times in recent years but is now residing with its enthusiastic new owner Bill, in Worcester, UK.

Purchased in October 2016 by recent owner Johnathan Bowles from Derek Deacon in Cardiff the car was previously owned by John Hurst of Alton, Hants, who in turn had owned it since June 1989. It then languished in storage from 1991 to 2005 when it was recommissioned.

Sitting on wire wheels, the interior is a little worn but the car is very solid although requiring some minor bodywork. Further to this, Bill is undertaking a body-off restoration throughout 2018 and so far is chuffed with the car's motorway performance, finding the V8's effortless torque a joy during the 230 mile drive from Kent to Worcester.

3900cc MkII GT - UK

 

A John Trueman of Surbiton, Surrey originally bought this GT as a new, standard 1800cc MGB from HWM in Walton on Thames, in October 1971. He then drove it direct to Ken Costello's workshop in Kent. Now undergoing restoration mgcostello.com hopes to see it resurface soon.

3900cc Mk I GT - UK

This 1972 GT has had its share of 'improvements' over its life but it is otherwise fairly intact, with its bulging bonnet, eggbox grille, and modified 4-speed gearbox.

The owner competed alongside Lawrence Wood in the MG Car Club BCV8 and Thoroughbred Sportscars Championships held between April and October each year in the UK.

3500cc Mk I GT - UK

From the pictures supplied to mgcostello.com all the hallmarks of Costello cars are there; the ‘manipulated’ inner wings and sump, oil reservoir/filter housing on inner wing, Costello badge, eggbox grille and teardrop fibreglass bonnet. Restoration is now underway.

3500cc Mk I GT - UK

The owner has rebuilt the engine and gearbox and has commenced work on the body, having purchased a replica eggbox grille. The car has the original P5/P6 Rover V8 engine, with fabricated exhaust manifolds and slightly modified block to clear a standard MGB starter motor.

3500cc Mk I GT - UK

JBB 5K checks out as an original Costello and is a very complete example, with all the usual Costello signifiers, right down to the Costello badge and the standard Dunlop alloy wheels. However, it is now in need of a good deal of TLC.

3500cc Mk II GT - UK

Purchased in 1976, now awaiting restoration whilst residing in a barn in the Midlands. Few other photos forthcoming but car is original and still wears its V8 Costello badge at the rear, as seen in this pic. 

3500cc 1972 Mk I GT - UK

This car is currently undergoing some light restoration so standby to hearing more once it returns to its rightful place on the road.

 

The picture here is copyright Andrew Roberts and was part of a suite of professional photographs taken in the grounds of Goodwood House. 

3500cc Mk I GT - UK

It will soon wear a new coat of paint and will have had new sills and doors. The bonnet is now a standard MGB-type item, but the rest of the car appears more or less original.

3500cc Mk I GT - Germany

Upon closer inspection, it was discovered that the tuned engine had damaged the original MGB 4-speed gearbox. As it was then undriveable, the previous owner had modified the transmission tunnel to create space for a 5-speed Triumph TR 7 (LT77) gearbox and put the engine with the 'new' gearbox back in place. The Costello badge is still present, but now attached to the dashboard, and the bonnet bulge and the egg box grille identify the car as a Mk I..