For years the six-cylin­der MGC was the black sheep of the MG fam­ily with a rep­u­ta­tion for stodgy han­dling. But it’s now on the up as buy­ers re­alise what a classy cruiser it can be

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News -

Pre­vi­ously a black sheep of the MG fam­ily, here’s why now's the time to buy one.

The six-cylin­der de­vel­op­ment of the MGB, the MGC, was built for only two years with just 9002 ex­am­ples pro­duced. One of the most fre­quently for­got­ten and un­der-rated clas­sics around, this could be the MG for you if you like six cylin­ders un­der your bon­net – es­pe­cially as you can buy it in GT or road­ster forms.

Sub­sti­tut­ing the MGB’s B-se­ries en­gine for the 2912cc straight-six of the C meant more than merely re­mov­ing one and fit­ting the other. The taller en­gine meant a re­vised bon­net line was needed. The floor­pans for­ward of the car’s cen­tre also had to be re­designed be­cause the B’s beefy cross­mem­ber had to be swapped for a smaller item to pro­vide clear­ance. As a re­sult the front sus­pen­sion had to be changed too.

As the floor­pans were be­ing re­designed the op­por­tu­nity was taken to widen them so an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion could be ac­com­mo­dated. At the same time the ra­di­a­tor was moved for­ward 8in and made big­ger. Be­cause of the ex­tra weight over the front wheels, a less direct steer­ing rack was fit­ted of­fer­ing 3.5 turns be­tween locks in­stead of the B’s 2.9. To fin­ish things off dy­nam­i­cally, the wheels grew an inch in di­am­e­ter (to be­come 15in) and half an inch wider.

The C was launched in both road­ster and GT forms in Oc­to­ber 1967 but it was greeted with lit­tle en­thu­si­asm by the mo­tor­ing press. It was dy­nam­i­cally dis­ap­point­ing, with stodgy han­dling, life­less steer­ing and strong un­der­steer, largely down to an er­ror in tyre choice and tyre pres­sures. De­spite the road­ster’s com­pet­i­tive price of £1102 in 1967, buy­ers stayed away. They pre­ferred to spend an ex­tra £24 on an Austin Healey 3000 so it was no sur­prise that af­ter two years of try­ing to find buy­ers, MG gave up with the C; the fi­nal cars were pro­duced in Au­gust 1969. With large stocks of un­sold cars to shift, it made more sense to ad­mit de­feat – some cars hung around in show­rooms un­til early 1971.

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