Rare Six-Cylinder Powered 1968 MGC-GT Project

“My MGB-GT is a runner now,” proclaimed the great songwriter Richard Thompson on his album Mirror Blue. “I welded the sills and the old floor pan/Cut the rust with the torch and the hacksaw/Took the Rostyles off, put the spoke wheels on/Got a brand-new Salisbury axle/When I drive through town the girls all smile”. What we have here in Candia, New Hampshire here on eBay is not exactly an MGB-GT hatchback, but it’s a close relative. It’s a rare 1968 MGC-GT, with an inline six-cylinder engine. So far, $3,350 has been bid on this project car, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The body of this car is fairly tidy. The owner, who also has some other British project cars (including two other MGs and a Triumph Roadster) says this MGC-GT (with the seldom-ordered factory automatic) was last driven in the early 1980s. The motor turns over, but it hasn’t been started in recent years. Metal work was done circa 1984, but the poor car never got put back together. The unrestored seats are in place. The rest of the interior is present as a parts collection, but it’s all fairly rough. Some trim is AWOL but I bet it’s around somewhere.

The car is pictured on a lift, and it looks very shipshape under there (albeit with the expected oil leak—it’s a British car, after all). There’s some surface rust in the trunk, though, and the exhaust looks past its best days. The chrome all looks good, and the instruments are in place. Most of the spend here will be on refurbishing the interior, but the parts are readily available. That’s assuming the mechanicals are intact—a big if. The inline-six appears untouched for decades.

The car has a clean New Hampshire title, which is something. These sixes were, obviously, based on the MGB-GT, and produced only between 1967 and 1969. Some 4,457 were built globally. They’re super-rare in the U.S., and this is a left-hand-drive example—not an import.

The 2.9-liter six produced 150 horsepower and was good for 120 mph (instead of the B’s 100). It got to 60 mph in about 10 seconds. The engine was sourced from stablemate Austin Healey and was updated from its use in the 3000. Fitting it required the distinctive hood bulge that’s the best way to visually distinguish an MGB-GT from an MGC-GT.

Most of these got a four-speed manual with electric overdrive, but this one’s a rare auto.

Rarity will propel the bidders here, though some will be given pause by the auto box. It’s a rare option, but not necessarily a desirable one. Still, there’s a lot of potential here.

Back to Richard Thompson: “Lockheed discs and twin SUs/Original chrome on the grille now/Looks like a dream in racing green.” The hardtop, he says, “is handy, case of the weather.”

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Hmm, interesting, Captain,,,here’s, what I feel, is the scoop on MGC’s. 1st, and foremost, as a stout MG follower, andformer MGB owner,( of over 250K until it broke in half) MGC’s always fascinated me, GT’s, all the more. Fact is, the whole time I had my MGB, ( ’73-’82) I didn’t even know a 6 cylinder MGB existed. While the shortcomings of the MGC are many, they would be quickly over shadowed driving a Big Healey powered MG, especially a GT. ( If you’ve had roadsters, you know why) Before some start trashing the automatic, let me say, I read, the MGC-GT had a lot of women buyers around the world, and preferred the automatic. This used the Borg-Warner 35, and was a decent transmission, if you didn’t do neutral drops( like Powerglides) and was used in dozens and dozens of cars, WORLDWIDE, so it’s no “SlimJim”( I think one of the poorest automatics) including AMC, Studebaker, Volvo, and practically anything that was British. If not abused, it was a good box.
    I think, when people see a MGB with a 6 cylinder, they may think, oh boy, I got a real road racer here, BUT, not so. The 6 actually made handling worse, so for me, the main purpose of the 6 is to turn this into a respectable cruiser, with power to pass. 20 years ago, you couldn’t touch a MGC for under 5 figures, ANY MGC. I see now, with 6 bids, the steam, like with big Healeys, I think has run out. I think it’s a super find.

    Like 17
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Think I’ve said this before about the Cs handling over the 4 cylinder cars but there are some pretty straight forward modifications that can upgrade the suspension and compensate for the extra weight up front. The suspension design dates pretty far back and looks like it came off of a hay wagon compared to today’s versions. I think someone who knows what they are doing could bring this car back to a great runner and looker.

    Like 8
  3. mercedes600

    Having had a MGC GT and a big 1967 BJ8 Healey that I have had since new I can say that the engine in the C is not a Austin Healey unit period.

    Like 6
  4. SMS

    Owned a number of MGs from TDs to Bs. Think they made a mistake with the MGC. It is the size of a B with the feeling of a much larger car. As a driver and passenger these are very comfortable and I think deserve much more attention. They are not fun like the B and there is no way a C can cruise like a C.
    If it were mine I would change the vinyl dash material for wood and cover the seats in leather and add deep carpet. They are quite a classy ride

    Like 3
    • Howard A Member

      I read, MGC’s were supposed to be the replacement for the 3000, as the 3000 couldn’t meet new US laws.Just shows, every car maker worldwide, had their own “swing and a miss”.

      Like 4
  5. Ric

    I owned two Cs, both convertibles…countless days spent working on them. The six isn’t a direct swap from the Healy and multiple other oddities prevent you from sourcing parts from a B. Most fun I had was boring one out .60 over adding a third carb and a 3/4 race cam. Surprised more than a few muscle cars back in the day.

    Like 8
  6. ClassicCarFan

    as others have pointed out, no, the redesigned “7-main” version of the C-series engine that was used in the MGC was not sourced from Austin Healey. The Austin Healy used an earlier version of the C-series. No Healey ever shared the engine used in the MGC. The only other British Leyland car that did was the ill-fated “Austin 3-litre” sedan.

    The engine in the MGC was rated at 145 bhp not 150. Though if you read feedback from the days when they were new, many people have suggested that a stock MGC produced a lot less than the claimed BHP. The engine could be re-worked to produce a healthy 200 bhp and there was a whole batch of them upgraded by Downton tuning for a company called University Motors at the end of the production run. I believe they got some sort of bulk deal on them as BL was keen to offload the slow-selling leftovers when they pulled the plug on the model ?

    These can be made into quite nice Grand Tourers with the right mods. I can definitely see the appeal as being a bit different to the ubiquitous MGB. I’d much rather find one with the 4-speed manual + overdrive.

    Like 2
  7. Derrick

    Props to Jim for knowing the Richard Thompson song. One of my favorites from him, right next to 52 Vincent Black Lightning. “Red hair and black leather, my favorite color scheme…”

    Anyway, I sing it to myself anytime I see a MGB-GT.

    …And, I’d take a B-GT over this one any day. Can’t stand that silly hood bulge.

  8. its1969ok

    The overspray on the tires is a nice touch!

    Like 1
  9. Martin Horrocks

    In fact, steering is very heavy so not many women would have chosen MGC. As stated, MGC is a cruiser, not a sports car.

    You can tune the engine and improve the suspension, but never compensate for the huge weight of the engine which make it an understeerer.

    All parts available and this seems a reasonable project. Transport and import to US will be considerable on top of purchase price.

    Best MGB is the one you never got for export. 2500 MGB GTV8 were built in early 70s with Buick/Rover 215 cu in. RHD only, but the missing link, MGB handling but a mini- GT for distance.

  10. Martin Horrocks

    Sorry. Misread Candia for Canada….

  11. Dennis

    Just for amusement I read that the V8 weighed 40 lbs less than the 4 in the MGB. I had one for a few years. Fun to drive but as with so many other aspects of the car the suspension was poor. I added a rear stabilizer bar that helped but it was never what one would call nimble. Mine was a 75 rubber bumper which did not help as they was raised to meet US standards. I saw a few MGCs as my town was one of the strongholds of English influence.

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