Six-Cylinder! 1968 MGC GT

Well, I’ve heard of an MG MGC, but this is the first GT example that I have encountered. Pretty short-lived, the MGC sold in both roadster and coupe (GT) versions, like this example, and I’m thrilled to have this one surface here on Barn Finds. Let’s dig in and see what we can learn. This MGC is located in Kansas City, Kansas, and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $6,850, reserve not yet met.

Only offered between 1967 and 1969, MG managed to sell about 9,000 MGC’s and GT’s with the volume just about split in half between the two body styles. So while not often seen, the MGC hardly counts as rare. According to the MG Owner’s Club UK, the weight distribution was a bit off with a 55% to 45% weight split between the front and rear. Utilizing a six-cylinder engine also caused a complete redesign of the front suspension, the inclusion of larger brakes, wider 15″X5″ wheels, and a stronger rear axle.

The seller opens this listing with a claim of, “Very solid rust-free…” and that’s a good start as rust is probably an MGB et al. enemy number one problem. And that includes the underside too though I’m not sure what that bundle of wires is for. The seller states that this MGC is the benefactor of a $3,000 paint job and all it really needs is to have the windshield stainless reattached. I’d have to say that it looks good, nice choice of color – some yellows can be harsh but not this selection. The trim that is in place is nice and bright, as are the bumpers. Note the unique MGC hood in image #2! Unfortunately, the listing images aren’t very complete, they are more partials than comprehensive photos.

Power is provided by a 145 horsepower, 2.9 liter, in-line six-cylinder engine connected to a four-speed manual transmission. The seller makes no mention of this car’s operating prowess but the MG Owner’s Club had quite a bit to say including, “The main drawback was in the way that the power was delivered. With a top speed of around 120mph and fast but not dramatic acceleration, the engine showed a lack of low-speed torque and refused to rev freely. The car as a result received a very indifferent press reception, particularly as some of the press fleet were badly presented. Some of the criticisms that were leveled in a series of unenthusiastic road tests carried out by the motoring press concerned the gearbox, heavy fuel consumption, general lethargy, heavy steering, enormous steering wheel, and probably worst of all the tendency to understeer due to the increased front end weight“. An automatic transmission was available too but it’s hard to imagine that would enhance this MG’s road manners. The seller does mention that he has added a new radiator, electronic ignition, rear shocks, master brake cylinder, and disc brake calipers.

The interior is standard MGB GT all the way. The black vinyl upholstery, dash, instrument panel, and door cards look fine though the seller mentions that some interior panels are missing. There is an aftermarket radio in place but it blends fine with the other components. The only noted boo-boo is a split center console armrest cover.

There’s no telling what the reserve is on this MG but it’s certainly a different take on a well-known platform and it should find a new home, in spite of the less than stellar review of the MGC’s general operating characteristics. Let’s face it, the new owner is highly unlikely to use this MGC as a daily driver. But for cruises and car shows, it should be an enjoyable driver and a real conversation piece, right?

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    I like the MGC and the chrome brow on the hood is the easy identifier. A while back BarnFinds listed a white one located in Alaska. I had never been to the state but thought it would be a really fun road trip from Idaho. Even mapped it out. Unfortunately it was during winter and that wasn’t gonna happen till summer plus another member states this car has been in the classifieds before so owners integrity was in question.

    Like 3
  2. mike b

    Looks promising. The name/ model would have made much more sense as “MGB 6 / MGB GT6”.

    Like 1
    • connbackroads

      I’m pretty sure that GT6 was used by Triumph . . . kinda like a Spitfire 6-cylinder hardtop . . . Triumph’s version of the MGC GT ?

      Like 1
  3. billtebbutt

    The name of the colour is Primrose – had the same on my 68 MGB – it is a lovely 60’s colour in my view. I get weak in the knees when I see it…..

    Like the original Mustang, darn near every part is repopped for the MGB, and fits on this very car in terms of rust repair. The rockers/sills are a 3-layer assembly, and basically provide most of the strength of the unibody. As such, door gaps are a great indicator of rocker health, even if the rockers look ok :)

    cheers,
    BT

    Like 5
  4. CJinSD

    The MGC was the result of the impossibility of making an Austin Healey 3000 meet 1968 US safety regulations combined with BL’s desire to stop paying Donald Healey royalties, which is also how the Sprite became a Midget exclusively. They certainly had their shortcomings in period, but as classic cars they aren’t without their charms. I’ve heard that they’re rather better than MGBs at maintaining modern highway speeds, for example.

    Like 5
  5. Derek

    They’re nice, but a bit heavy-nosed; the GT6 is a better bolide in my opinion.

    I’d contemplate transplanting a rusty 6-cylinder BMW into a B GT to create a more modern variant.

    Like 2
  6. Ric

    I had two….a 68 and a 69 both convertibles. Went a little overboard on the 69 with a .60 over bore, 3/4 race cam, custom fabricated manifold to accept three carbs among other goodies. Really woke that car up, but the steering racks are a problem developing excess play and no replacement parts available. A rust free MG is a unicorn.

    Like 2
  7. Howard A Member

    This, right here, folks, doesn’t make a lick of sense, and very few bidders, tells me, interest in these is waning at an alarming rate. A MGC, is, and I hate this term but can’t think of a better one, the Holy Grail of modern(ish) MG’s. The whole time I had my MGB ( 1973-1982) I never knew a MGC existed. When I did see one, I thought it was a typo. MGC’s had a rift of shortcomings, but the class of just having one ( and that unmistakable exhaust note) makes all the bad go away. The seller is probably holding out for more, but I got news for them, stuff like this will go unwanted, and the relatively low bidding shows that. What a find. Now here’s a car, that by all means, should be 5 figures, not some dime a dozen Jeep CJ,,,

    Like 5
    • Martin Horrocks

      You don´t know the MGB GTV8 then. It was what the MGC could never be, well-balnaced with a n engine (aluminum ex Buick/Olds) which loved to rev and weighed less than the stock B series.

      Typically BL, having found the formula, they sold only 2500 RHD examples.

      Like 3
  8. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice car. It doesn’t take much to modify the suspension to compensate for the added weight up front and the overall weak suspension. Out of the box the MG Midgets and MGBs were not great handling cars when pushed toward the limits. Our ’62 Midget felt like a wheelbarrow at it’s first autocross. Proper sway bars solved most of those problems. Slight upgrade in spring rates and adjustable shocks solved everything on our ’66 MGB. This car needs those kind of tweeks to be a really good driver and take advantage of that extra horsepower.

    Like 1
    • Pat Gill

      The MGC has torsion bar front suspension so quite different to an MGB,

  9. DOUGLAS SMITH

    I drove an almost new one. I had been drafted in 1968. In 1969, I was on leave and visited a body shop where I had once worked. He had just finished a red MGC convertible. I got to deliver it to the owner.
    I liked it a lot. However, I had driven many MGB’s and TR4’s, and I preferred them. Later I owned a 1967 AH 3000 for 25 years.
    .

    Like 2
  10. Allen Member

    I have one. The original press complaints of so-so handling were largely due to rather strange tire-inflation standards of the time. On modern tires, inflated to modern guidelines, the car handles MUCH better. I had the distributor rebuilt/recurved by Advance Distributors, and that made a truly remarkable difference: suddenly the engine LOVED to rev.

    Strangely enough, despite the advanced weight of the massive six-cylinder lump, the steering is LIGHTER than a comparable MGB, due to a change in steering ratios from 2.9 turns lock-to-lock on the B, to 3.5 turns on the C. In fact, they used the 3.5 steering ratio on later rubber-bumpered MGBs.

    Yes, at least in retrospect, it would have been much more clear if theses cars had been dubbed MGB-6s – especially in view of their later brief offerings of MGBGTV8s. The problem is that the aluminum BOP/Rover 215 cubic-inch V8 was a much easier swap. The 215 would fit in an MGB, but the straight-six truck engine would not. So, while the MGC looks almost identical to the MGB, from the bulkhead forward, it’s not really the same car. Front suspension is by torsion bars. Steering crossmember too, is entirely different. The bulges in the bonnet were hardly intended to make the car distinctive; simply the most minimal accommodation for the larger engine.

    The engine itself, while not the same as the Austin Healey, is an outgrowth of the same “C-series” six-cylinder inline engines of Austin origin. The MGC version, built for truck use, has no fewer than seven main bearings. Indestructible.

    MGCs were available with three transmission options: the venerable Borg Warner automatic, a four-speed manual, and a four-speed manual with overdrive. And MGCs were offered with 3.7, 3.37, and 3.07 rear ends. I converted my 4-speed+overdrive model from 3.7 to 3.07 rear gears, making the car a super-relaxed Grand Tourer in the truest sense. 60 mph comes up at 2000 rpm in 4th-overdrive.

    As to MGC values. A pale primrose ’69 MGCGT “NONRUNNING PROJECT CAR” just sold a few days ago in the “other” online auction (you know, the one named after the device used to hit a baseball) for $11050.

    In my view, once Austin-Healey prices rose out of range for most of us, the MGC became the “poor man’s choice”.

    Like 7
  11. Peter Pentz

    This was by far the fist and possibly biggest screw up made by MG under Leyland’s instigation.
    The Austin Healey 3000 Mk 3 is a far better car and should have never been killed off, it should have been modernized to meet US regulations.
    The true nature of the MGC comes to light on a race track.
    It has atrocious handling, totally inadequate brakes, legendary poor quality standards, and poor performance.
    The next car they produced – the MGB V8 was a considerably better car, but Leyland failed to get it onto the US market – really bad mistake !

    Like 3
  12. chrlsful

    yeah, we knew ’em as MGB/GT (’65 – 80). I think the same but a 2nd gen or ‘face-lift was a lill smoother of line. At one point they put that buick 215 bent8 alu motor in (rover or Leland bought it as GM gave up). At that point it was a terror for a production/main line (still a MGB/GT) 2 seater. Nother face lift = MG/RV8 w/that same motor, may B discs up frnt and smoother body still…
    Lost track as the Lancia Betas were old enuff to B back in my price range (restore, drive free, sell).

    Like 1
  13. Laurence

    At least one major celebrity owned an MGC: Prince Charles!

    Like 2
  14. Lowell Peterson

    Had an early B. Love it, and drove it like a sports car. Always loved those C’s too. Saw a V8 in Orange County Californiaxa couple years ago freshly redone from England. Really drew a crowd too!

  15. Mountainwoodie

    In 1973 as a new college boy I drew a roommate who had a blue MGC-GT. It also had glass T tops believe it or not. He was from Brazil and I believe, though my memory has gone rusty, he brought it with him to the States. In any event with the glass tops it was a little hot in New Orleans :)

    Like 1
  16. Cliff Crabtree

    Living in the UK, I see more MGC GTs , we do get a lot of rain….!

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