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From the start of production of the MGB in May 1962 until April 1965, the MGB as originally designed had “pull-out” exterior door handles. These first 57,885 MGBs actually share many parts with the MGAs, including the design of the door latch, although the MGA had no exterior door handle.
In the 36 months that “pull-handle” MGB’s were produced, there were no less than 64 changes. There were three different engine number series used in the pull-handle cars – the 18G from May 1962 to February 1964, the 18GA to October 1964, and the 18GB engines which were used for 31 months past the change in door handle styles. In these three engine series, there were a total of 11 changes made during the pull-handle era.
During this same period, MGB body numbers 101 to 57985 were produced. Again in this short period of time, there were considerable changes made to the car. Twenty-seven times, there were major redesigns of components. There were also numerous changes made in trim selections, seals, and other minor modifications.
Finally, in April 1965, improved anti-burst door locks similar to the Midget and Sprite models were introduced. These new door locks had new push-button exterior door handles, which continued through the 1980 models. There were also modifications to the body shell, doors, door castings, and rear wings.
Here are the handles up close:
The pull door handle, with a little rubber buffer on the door at the front of the handle, was replaced in 1965.
The push-button handle, which remained identical in appearance to the end of production.
How Many Pull Handle MGBs were Produced?
Just of note, relating to production numbers, there were more MGB roadsters produced in 1964 than in any other year. The next closest roadster production was in 1972 when 26,222 were produced. The 1963 roadster production ranks 7th. However, if roadster and GT production are combined, there were 10 years in which more total MGBs were produced – 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, and 1978.