Ken Costello - Kent, UK. 3500cc Mk II GT.

It has been unusual for Ken to drive one of his own creations for very long. They have either been "work in progress" in between other engineering jobs - or, if finished, he has been persuaded to sell them.

But here he is with his latest creation, a chrome-bumper, black GT. He claims he will be keeping this one! He has built it to original 1972 SU-carburetted specification (for old times' sake) with a special low-profile inlet manifold that allows the retention of a standard bonnet, since the moulds for the 'power bulge' alternative are long gone.

He has now fitted the newly reproduced eggbox grille and one of the new badges - both of which met with Ken's approval. When finally fettled, the car will also feature some braking and suspension upgrades, and, knowing Ken, who knows what else?

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 the MGC V8 (only 2 were built by Costello of which Andrew Johnson's one is detailed below) and Roger Cook's unique 5-litre, eight-port injected model. More pictures of each car can be found in the GTs Gallery.

The Costello Cars



The Costello Story

Costello Gatherings

The Cars

Technical Section

TechTalk with Ken


Lost Costellos





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 the MGC V8 (only 2 were built by Costello of which Andrew Johnson's one is detailed below) and Roger Cook's unique 5-litre, eight-port injected model. More pictures of each car can be found in the GTs Gallery.

Roger Cook - Somerset, UK. 5000cc Mk III fuel-injected.

Roger and Ken have been friends for nearly forty years. They 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, shamelessly copied the way Ken had done it and then effectively put him out of business. 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 "New Racing Green", it was fitted with a 200 bhp 1963 Buick Skylark engine that he had imported from Belgium and subsequently reconditioned. The car was also equipped with a Carter 4-barrel carburettor, 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 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. Read more about this car in the Unique GT page. We'll leave the story of the second one to Ken himself:

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 inlet manifold and plenum chamber. 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.

Since then, Costello Engineering has continued to offer a small range of carefully engineered MGB/V8 upgrade components. My policy has always been one of continuous development in the areas of safety, fuel efficiency and overall performance - and this car was the first to be fitted with fuel injection. 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 favourable magazine reviews and was featured in David Knowles' book, MGB V8 - Twenty-One Years On. The car has thereafter carried the cherished registration number RC 193, and was personally maintained and developed by me 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. 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 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 low profile, eight-port injection system. At this point, a heavier-duty gearbox and a long-range alloy fuel tank were installed and the front brakes were further upgraded to larger 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.

Located in Paris, France. 3500cc Mk I GT, LHD.

The current owner purchased his 1972 Costello Mk I GT in May 2004 from Quebec in Canada and had it shipped home to France. For him, the car had the advantage of being an original and very rare LHD example, which had been exported new to Canada with a US specification body. He points out that the car is often wrongly described as a 'Canadian Costello' on Google.

This car was re-worked in 1972, presumably from new, because the serial number period (April 1972) and the technical description by Costello Engineering (May 1972) matches. The first owner was a military officer based in Canada. He therefore had the work done on a North American specification MGB, which has resulted in the only original LHD Costello. This was also the only Costello fitted from new with an automatic transmission (a Borg Warner T35, as optional on the MGC).

The car was originally white and had a full body restoration during the early 90's, when it was re-sprayed in light blue, as it still is today. As a result of having to go through the long-winded administrative process of getting the car registered locally, the owner has a letter signed by Ken Costello affirming that this car is an original, as well as some letters exchanged between Ken and some friends in Canada.

The car has the standard US 1972/1973 dashboard, interior and trim. One major change was to remove the automatic transmission, which was in poor condition, replacing it with a reconditioned Rover SD1 5-speed gearbox. This has apparently has totally transformed the car's performance, adding enormously to the pleasure of driving it, but he has kept the automatic transmission for safe keeping. Front telescopic dampers now improve road holding and a more modern fan assists cooling.

Apart from this, the car is has fully original features, and is driving very well. It was the subject of an admiring article in the French magazine AutoRetro, issue #296 in 2006. The owner is sure that the coverage helped raise awareness of Costellos on the French side of the Channel, as this was when he discovered both Jean Louis Beaurin and Stephane Vanoverschelde. With the sale of Gerry Wadman's car to another enthusiast in France in January 2010, there are now more Costellos in France than in any other country outside the UK.

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. More pictures are to be found in the Gallery page, including two taken by Andrew in the late 1980s (spot the Austin Princess in the background) before its extraordinary makeover.

Michael Baggs - UK. 3500cc Mk I GT. FOR SALE!! via Sussex Sports Cars

Michael’s 1971 GT has been rebuilt by the Staffordshire MG specialist Paul Depper, who had originally planned to restore it for himself, having known and serviced the car for some years in its previous ownership. The previous owner, and current Costello officionado David Wiggins, was looking for a factory V8 or an MGC and spotted what he thought, from the bonnet profile, was an example of the latter in Paul's yard. When he found out it was really a Costello, he persuaded Paul to sell it, finally changing hands in July 2009. David remembers reading the first Costello road test in his father's copy of Autocar and had been a fan ever since!

First registered in December 1971, the car was originally black, then orange, and is now 'Flame Red'. It has had no less than 13 previous owners over the last 38 years. As purchased from Paul Depper, the car had reverted to a standard MG grille, so David acquired one of the reproduction eggbox units which has brought the car back closer to its original appearance. It now also sports a new Costello badge on the rear panel, the original having been 'removed' some time ago. The bonnet, however, is unoriginal MGC and the standard-fit Dunlop wheels had long been changed for period Minilites - probably when the car was built. Much more recently, a front spoiler has been fitted and the interior trim and Webasto roof are refurbished.

The car has a Rover 3528cc engine, which is fitted with a Weber 40 DCOE carburettor, together with Costello inlet and exhaust manifolds. It is in fine fettle - which is more than can be said for the original gearbox, on which the overdrive had failed.

Keg filters now sit atop the rocker covers, new oil cooler pipes are place and the sunroof has a whole new ash frame and new fabric. Bumpers are now re-chromed. The new eggbox grille looks great too. David celebrated the car's new-found freedom by attending the Yorkshire, Ardennes/Spa and Brands Hatch Gatherings. We look forward to meeting Michael and the car, hopefully at the Black Forest Gathering in 2013.

Roger Anderson - Kent, UK. 3500cc Mk I GT

The previous owner, Chris Ward, contacted 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.

Peter Brodt - Frankfurt, Germany. 3500cc Mk I GT.

Peter was on the look-out for a factory V8. Having owned a MGC roadster already, his car of choice had to be a Coupe GT with at least as much power as his MGC Roadster. Thumbing through the classic car pages he found this 1971 Costello GT for sale on the Isle of Wight and decided to travel to England to take a look.

 Unfortunately, Peter and his friends missed their ferry, arrived late in the UK and were immediately caught up in snail-slow Saturday traffic. By the time they got to the Isle of Wight, the car's owner (Andy Dear) had been waiting most of the afternoon in the rain! However, Andy was very understanding and Peter purchased the car there and then. He successfully drove the car back home to Wiesbaden in Germany - some 1200km in all. This represents the annual mileage of the car over the last 10 years!

Peter is now the very proud owner of a genuine and beautifully maintained Costello GT. It 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. There is still some work to be done to the car, but with his retirement looming, Peter expects it will be a lot of fun and very rewarding.

 Peter wishes to express his gratitude to Jane and Andy Dear for organizing the viewing and their understanding that selling and buying a car is always a matter of agreeing on a compromise solution - and sometimes a little patience as well.

Andrew Johnson - Rutland, UK. 3500cc MGC GT.

Andrew owns one of only two MGC GT Costellos built by Ken and his team. It was bought from a dealer in Erith, Kent in 1981. It was originally painted in Snowberry White but had been re-sprayed in Aston Martin Dubonnet Rosso when he bought it. It now wears a more subtle shade of Graphite Grey metallic.

At the time of purchase, Andrew was a member of both the MGOC and MGCC and had owned several MG's including two B roadsters, a GT and a Midget. The MGC Costello was in a 'not quite roadworthy' state when he bought it, and Andrew initially had plans to restore it himself. He was told that it was one of a rare pair, but was never able to establish whether this was true. Happily, it is (or was) a genuine original Costello.

It has the classic single side-draft Weber inlet manifold with a 45 DCOE (as opposed to the usual 40 DCOE) on an Oselli-uprated Rover V8 engine mated to a Rover SD1 5-speed gearbox. Suspension is by MGC torsion bars at the front and IN 1987 Andrew had a modified Jaguar independent suspension grafted on at the rear*. This rather radical process also involved relocating the battery under the bonnet, while the bespoke fuel tank and the spare wheel swapped places. The hubs are Jaguar all round with discs on all four wheels and the wheels are 15" E-Type wires. The bonnet is standard MGC and the car has the Mk I V8 Costello badge on the rear.

*Note: This "Jaguarisation" of the rear suspension was something that Ken considered, but never recommended. Read why in the TechTalk with Ken section - LW.

Plans for restoration stalled during the 1980s due to shortage of funds and the difficulty of finding a reputable workshop which could carry out the work correctly and sympathetically. This led to the car being dry stored for almost 10 years through the 1990's. In 2003, some work began on the car, using the services of a local MG specialist. However, by this time Mrs Johnson was becoming 'somewhat weary' of the project and finding finance for the project became ever more of a challenge. However, at the beginning of 2009, Andrew took the plunge and made the decision to complete the restoration this year, despite any resulting lack of popularity with his family! Hall's Garage of Bourne made great progress and the car passed its MOT test with flying colours and produced some very acceptable results on the rolling road too.

Mark Cope - Hertfordshire, UK. 3500cc Mk I GT

This fabulously restored Costello GT was owned by the previous owner, Brian Davey, for some two decades with much of the early work being done by Brian himself. The engine and gearbox were however fully rebuilt by Peter Collis of Devon Classic Cars.

Mark Cope’s GT now wears a new coat of paint in a striking shade of Tahiti blue and has had its brakes, suspension and all other mechanical parts reconditioned. It had already been fully re-trimmed in beige leather. Its first public outing was to the Bristol Classic Car show in 2012, where it took pride of place on the restorer's stand and attracted a good deal of admiring attention.

The car is a 1972 model, with the distinctive eggbox grille and bonnet, P6 engine, tubular exhaust manifolds and all the expected Costello features – thus making this car a Mk I. It once had the original V-eight Costello badge too, but sadly that was stolen some time ago whilst the car was parked unattended by the roadside. A Mk II replacement badge was purchased from, but has since been replaced by an original Mk I version which has now taken its rightful place on the rear hatch.

Mark will update soon with more news and some recent photographs.

Pierre Damiron - France. 3500cc Mk II GT.

The original owner, Stephane Vanoverschelde, bought his first MGB at the age of 26. The front cover of the French magazine AutoRetro that persuaded Stephane to embark upon a search for an MGB GT V8 Costello in 2006 can be seen in the Articles section. He finally found a green Costello GT on eBay, which he later sold to Jean-Louis Beaurin (another keen Costello owner - see GTs).

That car was in very good condition with many original parts, and despite it being an un-restored Mk I, was driving very well. His decision to sell this car to Jean-Louis was made after seeing for sale another Mk II Costello GT, in blue. This car (seen above in pictures) was more of a challenge; it needed a complete restoration, a process which began in August 2008. The car remains as RHD to maintain originality, despite being based in Northern France, and is now resplendent in Old English White.

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.

Stephane would like to thank Thierry (the owner of the only original LHD GT Costello) who authored the AutoRetro article and loaned his car to Stephane for a time. Eric Dupont and Yves Mascotto so were key to undertaking the restoration.

Lee Thomas - Kent, UK. 3500cc Mk II GT.

Lee Thomas describes this late Mk II Costello GT as 'a family heirloom.' PMY 686R was purchased by his father from Sargeant and Collins of Bromley in Kent as an 1800cc BGT in 1976. Four years later it was transformed at Oak Farm Farnborough 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. It had been planned to use one of Ken's gearboxes, but by then all of the 25 pre-production batch had been sold and, sadly, no more were made.

Since the car passed to him, having been refurbished shortly beforehand, Lee has done work on the brakes and rear axle and has fitted Minilite-style Compomotive ML 15 inch alloys and stage 2 heads by Jim Payne. Puzzlingly, he says he has removed SD1 four pot calliper conversion with which the car was originally fitted. (Since he still has the parts, we recommend he re-fits them, together with a revised master cylinder. It works well for me! LW) The car is still in Flamenco red as it was one of the very first 'stripy seat' cars.

Lee had promised to dig out the original paperwork and some more photos. As you can see from the pictures above, the car looks in fine fettle and its proud owner says he'll 'cherish it for many years to come'.

Alistair Rew - Northamptonshire, UK. 3500cc Mk I GT.

Alistair was alerted to after having read the MGBGT V8 article in the April 2010 edition of Classic and Sportscar. PJM 626L is a black MGB GT, first registered 1 Aug 1972. Alistair is the third owner, having purchased the car from Richard Mole in East Yorkshire in June 1999. Richard had previously acquired the it from a BL dealer in Windermere, Cumbria who had arranged for Costello Engineering to perform the Mk I V8 makeover.

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 a Red Top 40 racing battery was 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, right down to the original seats and radio, having done only 45k since leaving Costello workshops.

Alistair does not use the car as much as he would like - it has been perfect for a couple of classic jaunts - but its Morgan Three-Wheeler stable-mates currently tend to absorb most of his time.

Jean-Louis Beaurin - Paris, France. 3500cc Mk I GT

Jean-Louis' Mallard Green GT is one of six Costellos in France. He purchased this gorgeous looking example from Stephane Vanoverschelde, who is currently restoring another Costello GT in France.

The car was registered on June 21st 1972 and re-worked by Costello Engineering in July 1972 - which makes it a Mk I example. It was originally purchased by Jeremy Nickson of Seymour Street, London SW1, and sold on to Greig Callaghan of Hammersmith, London in October 1974. It was sold again to Michael Newcombe (London) in September 1984 and re-sold in June 1988 to Ian MacDonald in Hertfordshire.

Stephane then purchased the car and returned with it to Etalondes in France where it subsequently passed into Jean-Louis' hands.  As the pictures in the Gallery testify, the 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.

Ex-Peter Hollis - Knysna, South Africa. 3500cc Mk II GT (SOLD 2013)

Peter stumbled upon the site whilst researching Ken Costello, having acquired one of the very few Costello MGs located outside of Europe. He has owned his 1972 V8 GT since early 2007 and thoroughly enjoys driving it. A full history of the car is proving to be a little difficult to come by, but Peter is at least

It was initially purchased by a doctor in the south of England and delivered immediately to Ken Costello for the full treatment. It spent a while in England, and was later shipped to South Africa. Sold to a Cape Town based lawyer, the car was barely used and left in storage for quite some time. The lawyer then passed away, leaving the car to his son. Sadly, the son showed less interest in the car than had his late father and eventually sold it to a classic car restorer in Knysna. The car then underwent a full nut-and-bolt restoration, including a colour change from white to red, but the engine was left unchanged. Peter acquired the car in early 2007.

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. Peter intends to rebuild the original engine, later re-installing it in the car to maintain originality. The unit has the tubular manifolds, rear facing DCOE-40 Weber on a 90-degree manifold, remote oil filter and a special starter motor. It now also has Frontline Costello front steering wedges to lighten the steering and wears 15" Minilites.

Jac Williams - UK. 3500cc Mk II GT (FOR SALE).

This GT first registered in March 1972 in its original colour, black. The first owner was a Raymond Denton based in London, though Llion bought the car from Wrexham MG in North Wales back in 1989. The engine is the original and correct Buick block with DCOE Weber twin choke carburetors.

Since 1989 this Costello has enjoyed a full rebuild and professional re-spray. A black leather gear knob with a silver disk inserted with the name "Chris" alludes to another owner in the 1980s.

It is used regularly in the summer on runs around Snowdonia National Park and safely garaged the rest of the year. It is currently for sale.

Aymeric Larive - Northern France. 3500cc Mk I GT.

This car is featured in an Enjoying MG article from 1993. This Costello was previously owned by Mark Vine from Chelmsford, who uprated the front brakes, suspension and cooling system. It is an early Mk I, fitted with Dunlop wheels and a Rover V8 in P6 specification beneath the characteristic Costello bonnet. More details are expected shortly. Meanwhile, you can view further pictures of this car in the Gallery.

Hans Tabak - Nr Rotterdam, Netherlands. 3500cc Mk II GT.

Based in  Dordrecht, Netherlands, Hans discovered in October 2010 and his car becomes 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. He believes the car was exported to The Netherlands in the spring of 1996.

Hans knows the car was registered in 1972 but not when the Costello Engineering performed their modifications. The original English registration plate was ABW 176K.

Whilst we await further pictures, peruse those above in which the original Costello V8 is clearly visible.

Michael Pearce - UK. 3500cc Mk I GT.

This car is featured in another Enjoying MG article, as above, this time from 2000. Michael's green GT is an early Mk I example, initially registered to Ken himself in 1971. He first saw it advertised for sale on a sign in its own back window. Intrigued, he took the trouble to find out what it was and finally bought it after what he describes as 'protracted and complex' negotiations.

The car proved to be original, fitted with a Rover P6 engine under its bulging glass fibre bonnet, but was in need of considerable restoration. He entrusted the structural work to Motorspeed of Chichester, but decided to do the rest himself.

With this in mind, he enrolled in a classic car restoration course which taught him everything he needed to know - from welding to paint preparation and spraying. He was obviously taught well, because the car now drives well and looks very smart indeed. He has tried to keep the car as original as possible, retaining all the expected Costello features, but the tatty Rostyles it wore at purchase have been changed for MGOC Oasis 15" wheels on rather more modern rubber. Further details are due shortly, but in the meantime, more pictures of this car can be found in the Gallery.

Mike Holman - Hampshire, UK. 3900cc Mk I GT.

This car is featured in the 'Mister V8' and 'V8 Showdown' articles, during the preparation for which Mike had the pleasure of meeting Ken himself. (There's Ken, beaming from the driver's seat - top right). Mike has owned his 1972 Harvest Gold GT since November 1979. He had always fancied an MGB GT V8 because it was 'a very good looking car' and when he saw a Costello V8 advertised in Bracknell, not far from his home in Reading, he went to look at it. It looked even better in the metal with its black Everflex roof and Webasto sun roof, so he bought it on the spot - unaware of the significance of the Costello name. He thought the big 'V' badge on the rear panel might indicate it was a factory special edition. He knows better now and is very glad he bought a Costello because it's 'much more interesting' than the Leyland version. His car still sports the eggbox grille, standard MGB bonnet and the rear-facing Weber 40 DCOE carburettor, which makes it a late Mk I.

During his tenure it has had its gearbox rebuilt with the overdrive in third made operational again - so he's 'very careful' with it (ditto!, LW), as befits what he now calls a 'high days and holidays' car. More recently, the original Buick-based engine gave up the ghost and has been replaced with a much later 3.9 litre version in standard tune. The car had been deprived of its original wheels before Mike bought it and now wears 5-spoke 6 x 14 Revolutions with 185/60 HR 14 tyres.

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!

David Wiggins, UK. 3500cc

The original owner, Steve Minns, bought the car in 2009 when it was in a fairly tired state. It had been re-shelled about 12 years previously due to the poor condition of the original GT shell. He has carried out much remedial work and the car is now in very good order and a great drive, showing just over 200bhp on the rolling road.

Documentation indicates the car was registered new on 18th April 1972 as 3528cc. At that time 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. The car underwent a full respray to Red in 1986, though now it wears British Racing Green.

The previous owner confirms that COV 676K was destroyed by fire on 4th April 2003. Fortunately the engine, transmission and other key parts had already been transplanted into another car. When Steve bought it, he reshelled it again as per Ken's original specification to do the job properly. Most of the correct original Costello parts have been retained, though some - exhaust manifolds and airbox, for example - were badly corroded and have had to be replaced. However, Steve has kept the old ones with the car.

Richard and Pam Darby - Coventry, UK. MkI GT

“Abbott” was first registered in September 1971, making this one of the first MkI cars Ken produced. The Darbys are only the fifth owners having acquired AOF823K in October 1988. The car is now based in Coventry, having spent all its life around the West Midlands and Mid Wales. Over the years much work and expense has been expended bringing it up to the superb standards you can now see. The works sheet includes new electronic ignition, a complete engine rebuild and new wire wheels (1990), bare metal respray (1998), new Webasto roof and associated trim, new rear springs, anti roll-bar, Bilstein shocks, and new exhaust manifolds and piping.

Pam and Richard 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.

The car is soon to be fitted with a reproduction eggbox grill which will make this great car look pretty much identical to how it was when it left the Costello Engineering workshops in Kent, late in 1971.

John Burgess - UK. 3500cc Mk II GT.

John purchased his Harvest Gold Costello GT (DLP706J) with only 9,000 miles on the clock from its original owner back in 1977. The car has still only done about 60,000 miles and John's proud boast is that has never been welded or pranged.

It is equipped with a Rover P5B engine with Mike The Pipe style manifolds and a Rochester carburettor - presumably a later replacement for the SU originals. Overdrive has been disabled in third gear and the car has Ken's choice of a 3.07:1 final drive ratio. An MGC bonnet has replaced the original fibreglass item which was apparently damaged at some stage - and unfortunately the Costello badges have been removed, as the previous owner, having paid a premium for Costello Engineering's good work, claimed he did not want to advertise what was under the bonnet.

John is very fond of his car, but it's been off the road for some years as he has no real need for a second vehicle. It is garaged in the dry, so has been saved from rust. We hope to see some pictures of the car here soon and we will encourage John to get his very special classic back on the road where it belongs.

Oliver and Charles Marchant - Hampshire, UK. 3500cc Mk I GT.

Oliver's generous father bought him a disassembled Costello GT for his 12th birthday so that he could 'learn about cars'. Oliver has been slowly rebuilding it over the last 5 years and hopes to have it ready in 2010 after he has turned 17. Rees Brothers carried out the body shell restoration very nicely - and their website now carries some photos of the work in progress.

Oliver has rebuilt the engine himself, though he is unsure if it is the original Buick Special 215 V8, fitted with Powermax flat-top Pistons, as one of the original Costello Engineering invoices says. The engine was also fitted with a Mallory Distributor, Crane Cam and a Holley Carburettor, though Oliver has now changed this to a Weber 500 Carburettor, having kept the old unit. He has also had the original radiator header tank copied in stainless steel.

As the car had been stripped down when he got it, he had a bit of a struggle fitting the new wiring loom because there was nothing for him to follow. Another problem was that the original exhaust manifolds were missing and so he bought a pair of Leyland MGB V8 manifolds, but the right hand one fouls the steering column. If anyone has any advice to offer on this, Oliver would be pleased to hear it. The rear Costello badge is also missing and he'd like to know if anyone has managed to have replicas made? **

The car was registered in April 1972 as LLP 265K and was later raced under the number 96 in the MG BCV8 Championships in 1983, fitted with a roll bar, front and rear spoilers and rear crash bar. In May 1977 it had already covered 53,000 miles when it was sold to a Mr. C. Wooldridge of Southampton.

Back in April 1978, according to the paperwork that came with the car, Ken Costello charged £56 to rebuild the gearbox and to disable the overdrive in 3rd gear. By 1983 it was owned by a Mr. S. D. Meech, and then in 1989 by Mr D. Mitchell.

Oliver attended the Costello Gathering in September 2009, but the car wasn't quite ready and so arrived on a trailer. Now, in Spring 2014 is delighted to announce its return to the British roads.

** Answers to Oliver's queries can be found on the Technical page.

Luc van Fiet - Antwerp, Belgium. 3500cc Mk I GT.

Previous owner Bodo Aden completed the restoration of this car in the Spring of 2014. New owner Luc has since driven some 5000km across northern Europe including trips to the Le Mans Classic and as far north as Oslo.

In Bodo's words: "In 1998 I heard from a friend of mine that there was someone living in my neighbourhood who had an MGB GT for sale. At first I was not really interested, but then I was told that the car had a V8 engine, and was likely to go around corners rather quicker than my Frogeye Sprite. When I bought the car it came with an original Costello sales brochure, but at this stage I didn't know anything about Ken Costello or his conversion work, or about the history of Buick/Rover engines and their importance and linkage to MG.

According to the papers that came with the car it was built on May 17th 1972 and it was delivered to Kennings Car Mart in Ealing, London. I have not found out yet when the engine transplant was done, but maybe one of my fellow Costello owners can help here. From 1972 to 1983 the car had 8 owners one of them being Clive Donald Chapman in Brighton and another, Klaus Herr in nearby Hove. In 1986 the car was exported to Germany, possibly by Klaus.

The asking price was very low and after having bought the car I saw why; the car must have been left outside for the last few decades and at one stage had endured a spectacular hail storm which had left dents in the body as big as a two pound coin (see picture above). So what I had bought was a rotten body with a drive train and chassis components worth saving.

So it had to be a complete re-shelling job which I performed using an inexpensive lhd rubber bumper donor car on which someone had attempted to graft 'Sebring' wing conversions which apparently came off a Ford Transit! So the job wasn't as easy as I had hoped. A lot of details had to be taken from the old body; radiator location bracket, engine mounts, front part of the frame, the complete spring hanger area, bumper fixings, etc.

I also had to deal with converting the car from a rhd to a lhd, sourcing an lhd steering column that needed to be shortened and adjusted, changing some things around in the engine bay, using two wiring looms to create one new one, and so on. Of course there were also some of the expected tasks like welding the sills, lower wings and repairing the Costello water pot (the lower pipe going into the pot was a socket at one time).