Mechanically speaking, the MGC’s biography is not really so very different from the heart-warming MGB story, for the two models appear to be identical. But that superficial likeness conceals considerable differences. Produced for just three years (1967 to 1969), the MGC was more than a performance-enhanced MGB fitted with a 2.9 litre straight six. It was intended as a replacement for parent company BMC’s Austin-Healey 3000, which was discontinued in 1967.
Considerable modification of the MGB platform was required to accommodate the 2.9 litre Morris C-series engine with its polished aluminum head and twin SU carburetors. This took the form of a revised floorpan and bonnet with a characteristic bulge to allow for a raised radiator, plus a neat teardrop for the carburettors. There was a special torsion-bar suspension system with telescopic dampers and the standard gearbox was a four-speed manual. Overdrive or three-speed automatic transmission were options. The wheels were bigger than those on MGBs.
Very much following the MGB formula, both an MGC roadster and MGC GT were offered, but these powerful sports cars never really fired the public imagination. Despite their extra grunt and performance that far exceeded that of the four-cylinder car, the heavy engine adversely affected the nimble handling that had made the MGB so popular. However, the factory did produce a few lightweight MGC GTS racing models, and these competed with some success. The GTS cars were very attractive with flared wings and an aggressive bonnet bulge.
With around 9,000 produced during the shortish production run, the MGC is far rarer than its ‘common’ relation and therefore much sought-after by MG enthusiasts and collectors of classic sports cars. Happily, modern tyres and a little suspension tweaking can iron out those original handling problems to the complete satisfaction of today’s owner-drivers.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1967 (until 1969)
2,912 cc OHV Straight Six
Top speed of 120 mph (193 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 10 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Sadly, the MGC would be the last all new model to be created and produced by this great maker at the company’s famous Abingdon works before it was closed in 1980.