During the endless mergers that took place in the British motor industry after 1945 many models like today’s MG C GT owe more to merged corporate parts bins than to fresh from the ground up planning.
The rational behind the MG C roadster and GT models was too build a vehicle to replace the six cylinder Austin Healey 3000 whose ancestry can be traced back to the Austin Healey 100-Six launched in 1956.
The recipe for the new MG-C was to use the MG B body shell first seen in 1962 and fit it with the 3 litre / 183 cui six cylinder Austin C series motor that was more commonly found in the Austin Healey 3000 sports car and Austin Westminster saloon/sedan.
Unfortunately the cast iron block C series motor has 2 cylinders more than the motor around which the MG B was designed around and the C series motor was a good deal taller than the MG B 4 cylinder. This meant the chassis cross member that held the 4 cylinder motor had to be replaced, the front suspension strut suspension replaced with torsion bar suspension, the front bulkhead had to be modified and when all was said and done to accommodate an automatic transmission option the engine was not placed as far back as the engineers would have liked to achieve a 50/50 front rear weight balance.
The new MG C also had to run on 15″ wheels in order to keep the oil sump off the ground, but all in all the engineers were pleased with their 120 mph creation which had a respectable 53/47% front to rear weight balance.
Unfortunately the press panned the car in essence for not being different enough from the MG B but also because they found the handling tended towards understeer / push. It has been noted in some circles this characteristic may well have been exacerbated by the fact that the MG C was so much smoother than the MG B that journalists might not have been aware of the speeds they were traveling when experiencing the understeer push phenomenon.
Completely oblivious to the handling criticisms Prince Charles took delivery of an MG C in 1967 and this car has apparently been passed onto Prince William. The car seen here has been turned into a replica of the triple carburetor MG C’s raced at Sebring in 1968 and 1969, though the tailgate spoiler was not used by the works cars of 1968 and 1969 which were racing in the same class as full blown racing cars like the Porsche 907 and 908 models.
Of the 9002 MG C’s manufactured between 1967 and 1969 4458 were hard top GT’s. With the merger of British Motor Holdings with Leyland owners of the Triumph brand in 1968 the Triumph TR 6 was chosen as the newly merged corporations 6 cylinder sports car of choice and so the MG C died an early death, though in 1973 an even larger, but much lighter, engined MGB GT V8 would appear.
Thanks for joining me on ‘The Misfit’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !