READ­ERS’ WRITES

New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents -

I had the good for­tune to pur­chase your Septem­ber is­sue at Auck­land air­port in late Au­gust, whilst fly­ing back to Syd­ney from Canada, where we’d been on hol­i­day. I was es­pe­cially in­ter­ested in the MGC ar­ti­cle, as I’d owned one in the UK for a short while in 2004 — more of that later. I re­ally en­joyed Donn’s ar­ti­cle, and fully agree the car was blighted from day one, not helped ap­par­ently by the BMC press fleet cars hav­ing un­der-in­flated front tyres! Donn’s ar­ti­cle made men­tion of the Aus­tralian-de­rived six-cylin­der ver­sion of the B se­ries en­gine as a pos­si­ble source of the MGC’S en­gine. This en­gine, known as the Blue Streak ‘six’, had been an Austin-de­rived de­sign study in the UK in the mid ’50s as an al­ter­na­tive to the ex­ist­ing C-se­ries six, but was dropped from UK plans. It showed prom­ise in the Aus­tralian mar­ket, where it was used in the Austin Free­way sa­loon, then in com­pe­ti­tion with the home-grown sixes in the Holden, Fal­con, and Valiant sa­loons com­ing on stream at the time.

One of these Blue Streaks was im­ported from Aus­tralia and dropped in an MGB at Abing­don. They coaxed 86kw (115bhp) out of it and it proved to be a great car, man­ag­ing 202kph (126mph) on the Western By­pass be­fore the po­lice stopped the driver, Roy Brock­le­hurst, stat­ing this isn’t an MGB. The ‘Light Six’ pro­to­type, as MG called it, showed great prom­ise, but sadly Morris En­gines was un­able or un­will­ing to com­mit ca­pac­ity to it. A few years ago here in Aus­tralia I saw that some­one had dropped one of these Blue Streak en­gines into an MGB and it was up for sale — an in­trigu­ing con­ver­sion, no doubt.

As to the MGC GT I had in UK, it was one of the rare 1960s Down­ton Tun­ing con­verted MGCS to Stage 3 tune. Three two-inch SUS, big valve and ported head, dual ex­haust, light­ened fly­wheel etc., good for around 130kw (174bhp).

It changed the whole per­for­mance level of the car, im­proved fuel con­sump­tion, and it sounded mag­nif­i­cent. If only MG had spent a lit­tle more time on tun­ing the en­gine, but by then the kitty was empty. It is also im­por­tant to note that when the 101kw (135bhp) Rover V8 ap­peared in the MGB GT V8, it used the Range Rover tuned en­gine. Whereas I think it should have been the 116kw (155bhp) unit as fit­ted to the Rover P6B.

Mark Nel­son, Syd­ney

An MGC GT pro­duc­ing 130kw must have been an ex­cit­ing car to drive, Mark, and it’s prob­a­bly one you wished you’ d kept hold of. AFW

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