NZ Classic Driver
HARVEY HEATH’S 1969 MGCGT
In 1970 Harvey and his wife, Sue, left
New Zealand bound for the UK on their honeymoon. As well as holidaying the plan was also to purchase a car that they could use for touring around Europe and then bringing back with them to New Zealand. With no intention of buying an MG, Harvey and Sue settled upon a brand-new Triumph TR6. However, after selecting a colour and extras for their TR6 and paying a deposit, trade union strikes within the automotive industry slowed manufacturing and with the delivery date for the TR6 being continually pushed back, keen to begin their European tour, the couple decided to look elsewhere. Strike action had also affected other automakers, so it looked like they’d have to settle on a used car, a rather less than appealing idea although they did check out a few secondhand E-Types – Sue was unimpressed!
What they didn’t know at the time was that the UK University Motors group had purchased the final run of 141 MGCGTs following the model’s removal from production in June the previous year. Largely unloved, University Motors sought to improve the saleability of the remaining cars with lots of extras, performance mods and cosmetic tweaks. Although Harvey and Sue were limited with their choice – there wasn’t an overdrive GT available – they were able to option in wire wheels for the car of their choice; the Mineral Blue MGCGT featured here, and which they took possession of in November 1970. During the British winter, Harvey uprated the MGC with triple SU carburettors, Downton extractors, a Kenlowe cooling fan and, as Spring beckoned, a Golde sunroof.
That summer the couple enjoyed a grand tour around Europe but, alas, it came to a premature end when the MGC was involved in an accident with an erratically-driven Simca 1500 in Austria, damaging the MG’s body and front suspension. While Sue nursed a sore head after bashing it into the MG’s windscreen, Harvey effected a roadside repair with assistance from a local VW dealership. Roadworthy, just, Harvey and Sue warily drove the MG back to the UK where University Motors kindly allowed them to use their workshop to facilitate a proper repair – and this included the fitment of MkII taillights (MkI units being no longer available) and a Moto-Lita steering wheel to replace the original that had been bent from Harvey hanging onto it during the accident.
Eventually, the MG’s time in the UK was up – having purchased it as an export-only vehicle (thus not having to pay purchase or road tax), the car’s mandated 363-day stay was almost up. So, after a year of touring Europe and the UK, the MGCGT – dubbed ‘The Blue One’ – was shipped home to New Zealand. Over the following years, the MG would be joined by another MGC while Harvey would also embark on the full restoration of a 1951 MG TD.
In 2017 Harvey and Sue joined several other MG Car Club members on a trip to the UK to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the MGC. Not wanting to attend the event without a car, their MGCGT was shipped to the UK.
Now back in New Zealand, the MG has since been fitted with electronic power steering along with new rubber suspension bushes, which have made driving it a little easier and more comfortable.