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Meet the MG B-EAST: the 2023 UK Hot Wheels Legends Tour Winner

by Nik Berg
5 September 2023 2 min read
Meet the MG B-EAST: the 2023 UK Hot Wheels Legends Tour Winner
All images Nick Chivers

Michael Wallhead is an inveterate re-inventor. He put himself through university by breaking cars, so when it came to building his project MGB, it was always going to be an exercise in eccentric repurposing of existing parts.

“I like recycling things, reusing things,” he says. “For me, it’s not about throwing money at something, it’s about throwing time and using what you’ve got available. I had a lot of random parts and it was just a case of going to the workbench and finding what fits like or looks like it might work.”

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Wallhead’s 1979 MGB is a mighty mash up, with a three-litre Jaguar V6 engine at its heart. Getting it to work in the B’s body involved a Range Rover prop shaft, the rear axle from a Reliant Scimitar, Triumph motorcycle throttle bodies and Nissan Silvia brakes. The exhaust system exits behind the nearside front wheel into a hand-made side pipe.

It’s not just a mechanical masterpiece, however. It’s the most aesthetically unusual and individual MGB you’ll ever see. Wallhead’s father had several Bs when he was growing up which inspired his choice.

“It’s one of those cars that you don’t really see modified. But you see a lot of Datsuns which are similar sort of shape,” he says. “So I just started cutting and hopefully didn’t make a mess of it!” Wide arches were added and the car’s stance lowered, but it’s the details that make Wallhead’s wonderful car stand out.

Open the bonnet and you’ll see ornate flowers painted on the rocker covers and on assorted plates, created using lace curtains and temporary tattoos as templates. He even used a Dremel tool to engrave more floral finery onto the rear lights.

MG B-EAST 7

The interior was gutted and the most minimalist, personal touches installed. A set of racing seats were taken apart, with their frames left exposed and then trimmed in denim from old jeans. “When you work on old cars you tend to tear through a lot of jeans,” he jokes. The glove box, meanwhile, was fashioned from an old number plate.

“For all my builds, I always look to find ways to reuse parts, everything has second or third life and I try not to throw things away that can be reused.”

The build has taken Wallhead eight years so far and, despite winning the 2023 Hot Wheels Legends Tour UK at RADwood, he’s not done yet.

“I don’t think it will ever actually be finished,” he confesses. 

Wallhead’s brilliant build, known as the MG B-EAST, will head to the Hot Wheels Legends Tour Semi-Final in November. If it makes it through to Global Finale then it could soon be immortalised as a 1:64 scale stunner.

“I’m so humbled to have been chosen as the UK winner – from a stellar line-up with no two cars the same,” he adds. “Growing up, I played with Hot Wheels, and you always had your favourites – the one that went fastest or the one that looked the coolest, and those memories inspired me when it came to designing the B-EAST.”

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Comments

  • Gary Knights says:

    Awesome car, love the ethos of reuse everything, it’s a stunning car that probably fly’s along with the Jag engine.
    I’m going to try to get tickets and take my son in November as he’s an engineer, and thinking of a classic for his first car.

  • Ally Upton says:

    Mike is a very approachable and helpful chap. His ideas have inspired my own car build and he has been kind enough to give me quite a lot of advice and encouragement. Very pleased he won this especially as my Mum had a BGT from when I was born until I was about 8 years old. It was not a B-EAST but it got me into classics.

  • A. R. Camplin says:

    A really great engineering achievement. Just a pity that he hasn’t finished painting it yet, when that’s done it’ll look fantastic.

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