Something For The Weekend - MGC

| 31 Jan 2013

The MGC encountered a hail of criticism when it was launched to an expectant public in 1967.

Here was a machine that offered little in terms of looks over its cheaper MGB sibling, and lacked much of its ‘point and squirt’ handling.

Cruelly, it was the engine – intended to offer an enhanced experience – that was to blame for most of the C’s dynamic problems.

Far heavier than the B’s ‘four’, the MGC’s straight-six meant that there was no space for a front suspension crossmember, while the former’s coil springs were replaced with torsion bars. The result was modest straight-line performance that could not outweigh the new machine’s chronic understeer.

However, stop comparing it to the MGB – not easy when a bonnet bulge and larger wheels are the only visible differences – and the MGC starts to make a lot more sense.

While not hugely powerful, the six-cylinder makes for an inherently good mile-muncher in a straight line, and the BMC car it replaced – Austin-Healey’s 3000 – will cost significantly more.

It is also worth remembering that some of the MGC’s problems were easily solved and, by virtue of this, many drive better than the day they left the factory.

The Austin 3-litre unit that powered the machine can be transformed with a lighter flywheel, an electric fan (rather than the power-sapping mechanical one), a better manifold and triple SU carbs. These changes can mean improved fuel economy, 175bhp and 130mph potential.

The handling can also be refined with a touch of negative camber, bigger tyres (at a slightly higher pressure) and well-matched anti-roll bars.

It is always best to find some seasoned enthusiasts who have been there, done it, and dealt with any pitfalls. There is of course no shortage of those on the likes of, and

The MGC’s shortcomings may be more easily forgiven in its convertible guise, where the ‘wind in the hair’ experience takes precedence over the last word in dynamics.

In which case, this machine looks like a good place to start. Described as ‘a very usable classic’, it could be the ideal daily driver or the perfect base from which to begin tinkering.

The car above’s full MoT should point towards a year of hassle-free motoring, but the C is by no means immune to problems. Rot can be expected in the normal places including wings, sills, boot floor and footwells. Mechanicals to watch include the suspension, where the classic’s unique kingpins are prone to wear, and the gearbox, which can suffer from tired synchros and layshaft bearings.

If a driver’s car is what you hanker for, though, you could spend a little less on this vehicle. It has a proper racing connection – with Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams as a registered former keeper – and has also been subject to a long list of improvements that (we would bet) deal with most of MGC weaknesses, and cover everything from the drivetrain to the engine, suspension and brakes.

But for a truly mint example you need only take a look at our very own classifieds, where you will find this stunning GT. It would appear to be perfect after a two-year restoration, which meant having £20,000 worth of parts lavished on it. That covers uprated mechnicals, a new paintjob and improved electrics. It also means that this machine will set you back up to £40k.

If anything it proves how much can be done to an MGC. Whether you accept one as it is, as a challenge to put right, or as car that has already had all the problems ironed out, is up to you.

Use our free buyer’s guide to choose it and you’ll have a classic that combines the B’s good looks with a touring capability that it could never hope to match.