The MGB GT was a perfectly good sports car in itself when it arrived in 1965 with conventional GT styling of the time at a fraction of the going price, However the MG was a little sluggish when it came to its competition such as the Triumph TR4 and soon after the TR5 which was exactly what MG had in mind when it produced the MGC. The six cylinder 2912cc engine was MG’s answer to fill the gap in the BMC’s range with the demise of the big Healey’s and with such powerful competition from its rival namely Triumph the MG C was born.
Up market ambitions saw the C Series engine with impressive power and torque figures however anyone looking for sports handling would find themselves disappointed with the understeery balance of the MGC. The car was replaced by the 9000 and then the MGB GT V8 taking over just four years later. Today the MG C is rare and much appreciated and with the right tuning and a decent set of tyres and suspension set up, this MG really can perform.
The scourge of the MGC is rust so check the car thoroughly as chassis can weaken by corrosion or bodged repairs and as Heritage shells are only available for the MGB not the MGC repairs can prove to be costly.
Sills can rot badly and are usually repaired badly, also check front inner wheel arches paying particular attention to the boxed section at the rear of the arch which collects mud and quickly rots away if not cleaned regularly, repairing these can be very tricky. While you’re there checking the rear wheel arches take a look at the spring hangers as they tend to rot and the battery tray can disintegrate. Water can collect between the top of the fuel tank and the underside of the boot floor so check for any signs of rot as a new tank will set you back over £200. Roadster and GT tanks are interchangeable.
The MGC’s gearbox is a weak point as it struggles with the engines 145 bhp. Layshaft bearings will give up the ghost resulting in the shaft dropping and putting pressure on the cogs. This will be noticeable on a test drive.
Suspension is usually problem free but unless the kingpins haven’t been greased regularly they will wear. Greasing them every 3,000 miles so check the cars documented history. If there feels like no brake assistance, then the seals have gone allowing brake fluid to suck up into the engine and burn. If the car still has its original master cylinder it will need replacing before long, check your brake pedal any fluid leaking here is a good sign it’s on its way out.
Check carpets, seats and trim as replacements can prove expensive, wheels came in two choices when new, pressed steel or wire wheels. Inspect the wire wheel carefully for broken, loose and rusty spokes as well as worn splines.
The MGC received bad press after being test driven and claims that it handled badly. This however was untrue, the fact is that it was so smooth that drivers were hitting corners much too fast and were then struggling under the impression they were driving slower than they actually were!
Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director Says:
“The MGC was given bad press from day one as people saw it as an unworthy successor to the beloved Healey 3000. It was too much like an MGB for most and it drove badly according to the press. It lasted 2 short years and BL continued making Triumph Roadsters instead.”