Saturday 24th August 2019,
Inopian

MG C & MG C GT 1967 – 1969

Simply summed up as the unsuccessful replacement for the Austin-Healey 3000. At the time of introduction it did not appeal to the sports-car enthusiasts who were less than impressed by the lamented demise of `the big Healey`. The blending of the Healey 3000 power-train and the MGB sounded like a good idea, in theory. Sadly, the result was a dog`s breakfast that would become the MGC.

British Motor Corporation (BMC) were left with a mountain of bits when Austin-Healey production ended. The end of Austin-Healey 3000 production was not BMC`s choice, it was the result of the expiry of it`s contract with Donald Healey. The BMC thinking was …`if Healey can do it, so can we`. The ingredients were all there. There was a huge pile of `C` series engines and transmissions needing a new home, the brilliant MGB as a base and a gaping hole in the market left by the wonderful Austin-Healey 3000. A simple equation?…it wasn`t!

The problem was weight distribution. Healey had that dead right with the 3000 but the MGB was not designed to be so front-heavy. BMC`s unwillingness to change the `B` shape was understandable but a car that was already front-heavy didn`t need a six-cylinder lump like the C series dropped right onto the front axle. What was needed was a complete re-design. The C series motor was 209 lbs heavier than the `B` series engine which created all sorts of problems. The only problem that was satisfactorily solved was the bonnet (hood) of the MGC.

It needed a big bulge to accommodate the radiator and a `tear-drop` bulge to clear the carburettors. This improved the outward appearance somewhat and was the only visible difference between the MGB and MGC apart from 15″ wheels. The engine bay and floor-pan required some serious revision to take the `big six`, and this was duly accomplished. However, the front suspension would not handle the extra weight and had to be re-designed with torsion-bars in place of the `coils and wishbones` of the `B`. This kept the car`s chin off the ground but the steering was now too heavy. A lower-geared rack and pinion was fitted to cure this problem.

Unfortunately none of these changes removed the extra 209 lbs of `dead-weight`. The car was available in roadster and `GT` formats, there were few other changes to the rest of the car. Understandably the brakes were up-rated. The finished product was unpopular and handled like a bag of worms. However, many `after-market` modifications took place and the under-developed engine later produced some reasonable power. Handling and weight-distribution remained the main problems and the MGC was withdrawn after only two years of production.

Roadster production ended at 4544 models, CGT at 4458 models. Some cars were sold into 1970. British Motor Company couldn’t get rid of them.

Chassis & Body;

The roadster was a 2-door 2-seat sports car, the MGC GT was a closed 2+2 coupe. The chassis and rear body were pure MGB, the bonnet was given two bulges to accommodate the bigger engine. The rear suspension was now equipped with telescopic shock-absorbers, replacing the hideous lever arm variety of the MGB. A live-axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs and larger drum brakes were employed. The front suspension of the MGC was all-new with torsion bars, telescopic dampers and bigger disc brakes. A low-ratio rack and pinion steering system was fitted. Wire wheels were an optional extra.

Powertrain;

The engine employed was the BMC `C` series inline six cylinder OHV with two valves per cylinder and twin SU carburettors. It had a seven main-bearing crankshaft and displaced 2912 cc. Compression ratio was 9:1. Front engined, rear-wheel drive. The MGC’s transmission had two options, a manual 4-speed with overdrive or a 3-speed automatic.

Performance;

As with the MGB-GT the acceleration of the MGC-GT was a little slower than the roadster due to the heavier body-weight. The top speed was slightly higher due to the improved aerodynamics but not by much. The difference between the top speed of an MGC and MGC-GT is only about 2 MPH.
Even though the power-to-weight ration was quite high, the setup of the MGC could not benefit from it and did not create a lot of G-force accelerating from rest..

General impressions;

To give a fair evaluation of the MGC one has to forget it`s origins. The MGC is only half the car that the Austin-Healey 3000 was. It was a misguided concept typical of BMC and British Leyland thinking. The car itself was very reliable due to the lack of innovation and the use of tried and tested components. It`s handling was generally very poor. The car could never make it`s mind up in a corner. You never knew what you would get, understeer or oversteer. Because of it`s strange weight-distribution the road-holding of the MGC was also unpredictable. It was quite fast but the brakes were poor if a servo was not fitted. Fuel economy varied from poor to horrible.

As an investment the MGC is very good. Due to the short production run they are quite rare. They are also very expensive. Anyone owning one would probably not drive it too hard which would tend to conceal it`s shortcomings. It is a beautiful car to behold, either in roadster or GT form though. The bulge on the bonnet made a big difference from the visual stand point. A lot of MGB owners replaced the original bonnet with the MGC`s to make it look meaner. Parts are plentiful and cheap so a re-build project would be a worthwhile exercise.

Would I buy one? The short answer is; yes, if it was cheap enough. However, once I`d rebuilt it I would sell it and make a lot of money! That`s as fair as I can be!! An old English proverb applies here;

“You can`t make a silk purse out of a pig`s ear”

MGC 1967-1969
 
 
Body Type2 seater roadster
Engine PlacementFront
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
Brakes
FrontDiscs
RearDrum
Dimensionsmminches
Length3893153.3
Width152460
Height127650.2
Wheelbase231191
Cargo Volume249 L8.8 cu. Ft.
Engine3.0L OHV 12V BMC C-Series
CylindersInline 6
Displacement2912 cc177.7 cui
Power108 Kw145 bhp5250 RPM
Torque230 Nm170 ft. lb3400 RPM
Power/weight130 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed190 km/h118 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph10 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban19.414.6
Extra-urban11.225.2
Combined14.619.3
Gearbox4 speed manual (overdrive opt)3 seep automatic
Weight1116 kg2460 lb
MGC GT 1967-1969
Body Type2+2 fixed-head coupe
Engine PlacementFront
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
Brakes
FrontDiscs
RearDrum
Dimensionsmminches
Length3893153.3
Width152460
Height127050
Wheelbase231191
Cargo Volume272 L9.6 cu. Ft.
Engine3.0L OHV 12V BMC C-Series
CylindersInline 6
Displacement2912 cc177.7 cui
Power108 Kw145 bhp5250 RPM
Torque230 Nm170 ft. lb3400 RPM
Power/weight123 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed193 km/h120 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph11.2 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban19.414.6
Extra-urban11.225.2
Combined14.619.3
Gearbox4 speed manual (overdrive opt)3 seep automatic
Weight1183 kg2608 lb

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About Bev Roberts

Speed, the smell of hot oil, the roar of a straight-through exhaust and the scream of an engine at max revolutions. They have all been a large part of my life for almost 50 years. It is time to share my experiences with you, dear reader. Do you want to know more? Read on through my `Full Bio` and many articles.

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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.

In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.

As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.

At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!

When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.

I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.

Enjoy Inopian… it is constructed and written for you.

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