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Baby Aston: 1969 MGC GT

This is not your common run-of-the-mill MGB GT. The MGC appeared in the BMC lineup during late 1967 as the replacement for the much-loved but out-of-production Austin Healey 3000. Unfortunately it lasted only until 1969 before production halted. BMC may have claimed that it was a substitute for the big Healey, but we think it has more in common with an Aston Martin. Find this 1969 MGC GT survivor here on eBay in Anaheim, California.

The MGC seems to have had a number of unfair obstacles to success, the main one being the folding of MG into the British Leyland group, where Triumph was the favored sports car and the MGC was seen as a rival to Triumph’s success. Another obstacle was the problem of making the large C-series 6-cylinder engine fit into the MGB body-shell. Despite these obstacles the MGC has a devoted following and various owners clubs around the world to its credit.

This MGC GT seems reasonably well preserved, having been in storage since 1986 with only 90k miles on the clock. The seller claims that the car has only one minor spot of rust and that the engine runs well and the rest of the drivetrain and systems function properly. This shot shows that the interior is in better shape than might be expected in a car sun faded paint.

The engine bay is more crowded than in the MGB, but BMC engineers succeeded in transplanting the big C-series six into the modified MGB bodyshell. Dual brake boosters for 1969 models added to the crowding. A major change from the MGB configuration was the change to torsion bars in the front to gain space for the longer engine. A big plus for this car is a working overdrive gearbox, which gives five forward speeds and makes highway cruising more comfortable.

The blue license plate is consistent with the car’s model year and long-term presence in California. With its inline-six engine, well-appointed interior, and hatchback styling, we feel that this C is more Aston than Healey. What do you think? Can you see the similarities between this car and post-war Aston Martins?


  1. Scott McGrath

    They’re quite commonly referred to as a “Poor Man’s Aston” on a lot of the British sites; an excellent compromise when you want a classic sports car you can use as a driver on today’s roads, as they will cruise at 80+ without issue (4th gear overdrive clicks in right around 75MPH). Not to say that they’re not track worthy (google ‘MGC GTS’), just more of a Sebring car than the Rally car that the Healey (and B) was.

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  2. Craig Bolton

    I agree with Scott- these cars make excellent tourers. I feel that they weren’t so much a compromise as not correct for the niche they were stuffed into by BMC. The British motoring press beat them up because they weren’t MGBs with 150 bhp, and they weren’t Big Healeys. They did, however, suit the long distances and fast roads of North America.
    I regularly service a customer car that is done to Downton specification and it will give my Series 2 E-Type a run for its money…

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  3. Dan

    It looks like cross flow head would have helped a lot with the crowding under the hood.
    I had a friend who had an MGB GT but I never knew there was a C.

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  4. J. Pickett

    I like it. Since I first saw one in a showroom in late 68.. Never had the right money at the right time. Prefer the roadster.

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  5. Richard Van Hoose

    I owned a British car repair shop for 20 years and had occasion to work on a few of these. A huge problem, even in the mid-70s, was parts unavailability, even such bits as rod and main bearings! In the late 80s I had to adapt a late MGB steering rack to fit a C since they just weren’t available. I also seem to recall that handling was pretty poor due to the increased front-end weight and overall performance not that great. My ’66 E-Type would have run all over the C. But, a good car to own, IF one can find spares!

    P.S. Sure wish I still owned the E-Type!!!

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  6. cardog

    They probably should’ve gone with the Rover/Buick V8

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  7. Isaac Cowles

    Beautiful car! I love C-GT’s. I’ve got a ’71 B-GT and use it as my daily driver. I live in WA state where its rains a lot. But a GT purrs along nicely even in the pouring rain.
    I noticed, however, that this model (being a ’69) has the wrong dash. It appears to have a ’72+ dash with heater vents and a glove box. It also looks like it has a modified center console with some extra gauges. Nothing to fuss over as long as it was all installed properly.
    Again, awesome car!

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  8. Dolphin Member

    April 6th:

    Bid to $11,000 with 36 bids but did not meet the reserve, so did not sell.

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  9. Zaphod

    They did go with the V8 later, search MGB GTV8… bizzarely they decided the US market would not be interetsed in an MGB with a V8 in it and chose not to federalise it choosing to fderalise the triumph stag instead

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