1969 MG MGC GT
6-cyl. 2912cc/145hp 2x1bbl SU
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
British Motor Holdings watched the Austin-Healey 3000 meet an early demise in 1967 due to American emissions and crash regulations, and the company quickly searched for a six-cylinder replacement. The solution BMH identified was to fit a 3.0-liter engine from an Austin Westminster into an MGB, resulting in the MGC.
The engine generated 150 hp, which was more than 50 hp greater than the MGB. With overdrive, the car could easily cruise at 80 mph all day and topped out around 120 mph. On the outside, the cars sported a hood bulge and a chrome strip that ran across the bulge; otherwise it remained true to the MGB. Underneath, the MGB’s coil spring suspension was replaced with torsion bars and wishbones with limited travel in order to make space for the bigger engine. Wheels were increased to 15 inches. The MGC was a relative bargain at $3,350 for the roadster and $3,715 for the GT coupe.
Unfortunately, the six-cylinder was initially designed for an application in which weight was not a critical factor. The six-cylinder motor weighed 350 pounds more than the MGB’s four-cylinder motor, with all of that additional weight resting in front of the MGC driver. The result was a 55-45% front weight bias, which was exacerbated when the car was equipped with the optional Borg-Warner automatic transmission. To solve this issue, the steering ratio was lowered 2.9 turns lock-to-lock to 3.5, though the car still suffered from understeer. Missing the Big Healey, the press was unkind to the MGC and sales were slow. Production stopped in 1969 after 9,000 models were built.
Today, an MGC is still a fun way to enjoy 1960s British motoring, though the driving dynamic is significantly different from an MGB. Also, the engine bay is quite cramped, which results in high running temperatures. The car has long legs and is reasonably well suited for American roads, though, which makes it a pleasing cruiser. Mechanical issues are similar to MGBs, which means there is plenty of support available, though some MGC parts are becoming harder to find.