Parts & Upgrades
All the key parts you will need to create the equivalent of a latter day Costello V8 are available from Frontline Developments of Abingdon, UK. Frontline have the rights to produce Ken's designs and approved updates. Examples of the latter, which will further improve an original Costello (without impairing its provenance) include:
Front Suspension (top left):
This was Ken Costello's first major upgrade. A new cast LM 25 alloy upright and upper wishbone replaces the original lever arm damper. Damping is then provided by a bespoke AVO telescopic unit, mounted outboard of the original coil spring. This bolt-on kit greatly improves grip, feel and ride comfort.
Rear Suspension (second from top):
Developed in conjunction with suspension guru Rhoddy Harvey-Bailey, this is a bolt-on five link, coil sprung rear suspension system with bespoke AVO telescopic dampers. The set-up transforms not only the handling and road holding of the MGB, but also its ride and comfort levels.
Suspension (third from top):
The 5-link suspension kit, laid out in component form.
For maximum stopping power a modern, four-piston system is what you need. The Frontline Costello kit includes bespoke four-piston calipers and the choice of plain or cross-drilled vented discs, together with all the necessary fixings.
Alternatively, the SD1 front caliper for solid discs, as used in an upgrade devised by Ken in the 70s (and covered in some detail in the TechTalk With Ken section) is now available new from Rimmer Bros, who have re-imported a consignment of SD1 parts originally shipped to India. You will be looking for part numbers BAU 5125/5126. You will also require suitable brake pads and four late Triumph GT6 shouldered mounting bolts (part number 158713).
You will also need V8 specification discs (14mm rather than 11mm thick) and installation will also require replacement brake hoses with a suitable metric fitting at the caliper end and an imperial fitting on the other end, together with a simple modification to the back plate to clear the larger than standard caliper. Please note that wheel clearance problems may preclude the use of this conversion with some 14" wheels.
Steering: Not pictured, but probably the best value handling upgrade you can buy are Frontline's castor correction wedges, which lighten the steering, reduce mid-corner weighting and optimise the front suspension for radial tyres.
A full range of Costello and other MGB goodies can be found on the Frontline Costello website.
As Costello owners, we owe a lot to the independent MG parts suppliers without whose support our prized vehicles would have been much harder to restore and maintain. Indeed, without the likes of British Motor Heritage, Moss Europe, MGB Hive, MGPartsUK, Clive Wheatley, The MGOC and scores of others, the MG marque might have largely withered away. Past BL and Rover managements have at times tried (and failed) to discourage any parts sources other than their own.
Fortunately, classic MGs now have arguably the best parts support in the world. So, if you would like to recommend a supplier of parts and services that you have found to be particularly good in terms of quality and service, please do so via the mgcostello.com Forum.
Click on the image left to read more about the fabulous new MG LE50 from Frontline Developments.
"…...the LE50 lets you regain a freedom and purity of automotive interaction while enjoying today's dependability" Dom Joly.