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MGC Published: 6th Apr 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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● Great touring qualities ● Agreeable as an auto ● Appreciating strongly ● As good as a Big Healey

Shunned for too long, because of its poor handling and lazy performance, the MGC is now rightly regarded as one of the best British GT sports cars of the 1960s because its initial drawbacks are now seen to be part of its many charms, which includes being as easy and relatively inexpensive to own as an MGB.


Let’s get this handling issue out of the way tight now; yes, the original cars were justly slated for a lumbering nature, (in part due to that heavy six-cylinder up front adding an 210lb and altering the weight distribution significantly) but chiefly because of incorrect tyre pressures at the car’s launch. Modern radial tyres at new, much higher, recommended poundage improves matters no end although the MGC (with less sharp steering) isn’t as wieldy and predictable as the lighter MGB.

Performance from that big six is decidedly lazy but can be transformed by tuning, although even in a standard state is fine and excellent for touring thanks to high gearing and if anything the MGC is at it best in automatic form.

Our view is that a good MGC is on par with any Big Healey and demonstrably superior in certain departments.

Best models

Choose between the roadster or highly practical GT, which almost provides the best of both worlds if a sunroof is fitted. Most significant change came in late ’68 when the gearing – both to the gearbox and final drive – was altered to improve zip. Non-overdrive cars featured a 3.07:1 ratio, with overdrive and automatic examples having a 3.3:1 unit but was changed so autos and non-overdrive cars got the later unit. Leading tuners Downton and University Motors were well known for vastly improving MGCs, the two combining to uprate and sell them as specials, some with more active 175bhp engines.


Not that long ago there was a general price parity between the MGB, C and even the MGB GTV8 replacement, but out of trio it’s the C that’s appreciated the most and is now double the price of a same age MGB so expect £30K plus for top examples, particularly the roadster, and £15-£20,000 for average-to-good ones. Due to lack of popularity when new, the MGC was dropped in 1969 after just two years although hung around in main dealer showrooms until as late as 1971.

Buying advice

Parts supply is good if not as proficient as the MGBs although most of what you need (excluding complete shells) is available. If you are a stickler for originality then check well, as it may have MGB parts fitted. The owners clubs and specialists can tell you what to look for; the differences are minimal but are there. Converting an MGB into a C is virtually impossible due to bespoke chassis – those who have done such a conversion vowed never to try it again!

The sills rot and are prime fodder for bodges, because repairing them properly is a convoluted process and, for the best results, the front and rear wing sections (below the trim strip) need to be cut off. The alternative is to unbolt the front wings, rather than cut the lower portion off, but on a roadster you first have to take the windscreen surround off to do this.

Check the back of the front inner wheelarches, by first removing the front wheels allowing you to see if the box section that’s positioned at the top is still there – it collects mud and rots away.

Although based on the Austin 3-Litre engine, they’re not the same, although ok for most sources of general spares. The biggest weak spot is the piston rings and rocker shafts. It’s the gearbox that’s the main weakest spot, as it’s not up to the job; first thing to go is the layshaft bearings.

The front suspension has few MGB parts but is sturdy; check for worn torsion bars and their telescopic dampers.

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