Plan C: The Short-Lived Six-Cylinder MGC and MGC GT


For all the MGC’s bad press, the competition cars and the Downton conversions suggest that the factory could easily have made a credible sports car out of it if MG’s corporate parents had had the will to do so. Even without the expense of a Downton-style engine conversion, some owners say that just installing a declutching fan and a lighter flywheel (after properly balancing the engine) can make a big difference in engine response. The handling, meanwhile, can be sharpened considerably with some judicious suspension tuning.

1969 MGC roadster front
The owners of both of our photo subjects felt the MGC’s handling deficiencies had been somewhat overstated, although it’s worth noting that both have made suspension modifications to their cars. The owner of this 1969 MGC roadster has added stiffer front torsion bars to reduce body roll and improve front-end grip. The front spoiler/airdam is an aftermarket piece, added during restoration. (author photo)

It seems that the MGC’s biggest problem was that it was the answer to a question no one was really asking. Racing aside, people liked the MGB because it was cute, fun, and relatively inexpensive. The four-cylinder MGB’s modest power-to-weight ratio (which eroded steadily throughout the seventies) did no harm at all to its sales, even in North America. The MGC was more powerful, but its higher price and running costs made it impractical for European buyers, and American customers looking for more power had many other choices; the price of an MGC GT would buy a big-block pony car with more than 300 gross horsepower (249 kW). As for Australia, it appears that a few RHD MGCs were sold there, but they were quite rare. Unlike the MGB, which was locally assembled, the MGC was subject to import tariffs and presumably quite costly. In short, the MGC was not nearly as cheap and far less cheerful than its four-cylinder sibling and its popularity suffered accordingly.

In recent years, the MG faithful have finally begun to reassess the MGC, which we think is long overdue. If it was not as nimble as the early MGB, even a completely stock MGC stacks up well against the clumsier rubber-bumper Bs of the late seventies and it’s certainly faster. The C may not be as rare or as desirable as the later MGB GT V8, but it’s unusual enough to turn heads and it has an interesting story to tell.



Our sources included Keith Adams, “Austin 3Litre,” AROnline, 19 September 2008, www.aronline., accessed 14 September 2010, “Classic boo-boo,” The Independent 4 July 2006, www.independent., accessed 21 August 2010, “Company timeline,” “Formation of an Empire: BMC is created,” and “Humble Beginnings: The principal players,” AROnline, 19 September 2008, www.aronline., accessed 21 August 2010); the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, “MG Sports Cars,”, 23 May 2007, auto.howstuffworks. com/ mg-sports-cars.htm, accessed 9 September 2010, and “Replacements for the MGB: Triumphs Were the Corporate Will,” Cars That Never Were: The Prototypes (Skokie, IL: Publications International, 1981), pp. 73-76; “Autotest: MGC GT automatic,” Autocar 7 November 1968: 10–14; Jouke Bloem and Jolanda van der Meer, “MGC royal connections,” “MGC, Abingdon’s Grand Tourer,” n.d., www.joukebloem. nl, accessed 10 September 2010; “Car and Driver Road Test: MG-C,” Car and Driver June 1969, pp. 53-56; Anders Ditlev Clausager, Original MGB: The Restorer’s Guide to All Roadster and GT Models 1962-80 (Original Series), third printing (Bideford, Devon: Bay View Books Ltd., 1998); Mike Covello, Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946-2002, second edition (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2001); Downton Engineering Works website, www.downton. com, accessed 12 September 2010; Mark Foster, “Downton Engineering Works 1947-1975,” mk1-performance-conversions., n.d., accessed 12 September 2010; “Giant test: MGC v. TR5,” Car August 1968, pp. 49–53; John Heilig, MG Sports Cars (Enthusiast Color Series) (Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing Company, 1996); Bruce Ibbotson, “How to Develop the MGC, Overcome most of the Problems and Further Develop the Car for Use on Our Roads, in Today’s Traffic Conditions,” MG Car Club of Queensland, 10 February 2010, www.mgccq., accessed 12 September 2010; David Knowles, MG: The Untold Story (Osceola, WI: Motorboks International, 1997); F. Wilson McComb, “MGB GT: Last of the Bargain-Basement Gran Turismos,” Special Interest Autos #103 (February 1988), pp. 36-43, and MG by McComb (Colchester, Essex: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 1978); Mark J. McCourt, “Six into four, M.G. style,” Hemmings Motor News September 2006; “MGC GT,” MG Owners’ Club, n.d., www.mgownersclub., accessed 13 September 2010; “More Safety Fast (‘Motor’ Road Test No. 7/66: MGB GT),” The Motor 19 February 1966, pp. 17-22; “M.G. C – University Motors Special MGC GT with Improvements,” Autocar, 17 December 1970; Skye Nott, “MG Racing Results 1963-1978,” The MG Experience, n.d., www.mgexperience. net, accessed 10 September 2010; Rainer Nyberg and Gary Davies, “Marathon de la Route,” The AUTOSPORT Bulletin Board, 8 September 2006, forums.autosport. com/ lofiversion/ index.php/t46815-50.html, accessed 10 September 2010; “Softly, softly” (Motor Road Test No. 37/67: MGC), The Motor 4 November 1967, pp. 25-30; “So You Want to Buy an MGC?” Safety Fast December 2007, pp. 29-34; “Space with dignity (Motor Road Test No. 1/69: Austin 3-litre automatic),” Motor 4 January 1969, pp. 13-18; and Rainer Wilken, “Special BGTs: The most historically important, exotic, spectacular and stylish MGB GTs packed into one page…almost,” www.garage24. net, accessed 8 September 2010.

Information on the Austin-Healey series came from Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, “1953-1967 Austin-Healey 100 and 3000,”, 20 August 2007, auto.howstuffworks. com/ 1953-1967-austin- healey-100-and-30005.htm, accessed 21 August 2010; John Chatham, “The Austin Healey 4000,” Classic & Sports Car Vol 10, No. 5 (August 1991); Geoffrey Healey, Austin Healey: The Story of the Big Healeys (Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset: Gentry Books Ltd., 1978), excerpted in Chapter 4 of John Heilig, MG Sports Cars, pp. 75-77; Geoffrey Healey, Healey, The Specials (London: Gentry Books, 1980); and Frederick Pearce, “The Big Healey Stretch,” Auto Magazine, August 1973, reprinted on the web with the permission of the author at englishcars. com/ austinhealey/ 4000/ ah4000.html, accessed 13 September 2010.

For comparison with the Ford Capri 3000, we consulted “Fastest British Ford yet,” The Motor 11 October 1969, and “Autotest: Ford Capri 3000GT XLR (2,994 c.c.),” Autocar 30 October 1969, both of which are reprinted in High Performance Capris: Gold Portfolio 1969-1987, ed. R.M. Clarke (Cobham, England: Brooklands Books Ltd., ca. 1990).

Special thanks to the owners of the black MGC GT and the Metallic Riviera Silver Blue MGC roadster.

Historical exchange rate data for the dollar and British pound came from Lawrence H. Officer, “Exchange Rates Between the United States Dollar and Forty-one Currencies,” MeasuringWorth, 2009,, used by permission. Exchange rate values cited in the text represent the approximate equivalency of British and U.S. currency at the time, not the contemporary U.S. suggested retail prices, which are cited separately. Please note that all exchange rate equivalencies cited in the text are approximate and are provided for general information and illustration only; this is an automotive history, not a treatise on currency trading or the value of money, and nothing in this article should be taken as financial advice of any kind!



Add a Comment
  1. Glad to have you back! Just when I think you might be starting to run out of topics you bust out with an entire marque I had forgotten about.

    1. What where the common pitfalls of the MGC engine that gave the car a poor rating?

      1. The general complaints included (a) that the engine was simply too heavy and throws off the car’s balance (the engine is about 200 pounds heavier than the MGB’s normal B-series four); (b) that the engine was reluctant to rev; and (c) that the six didn’t feel as powerful as its rated output suggested.

        There isn’t much to be done about the first point, but owners have tried various things to mitigate the latter two points, including installing a lighter flywheel and tinkering with carburetion and manifolding.

        1. I have one, and it drives like mad, but than I have the overdrive!
          The engine is so reliable and strong that you can pull up from stand still in fourth gear without any problems.

          There are only two problems the car have:
          1. a really heavy machine with gear, making turning corners into heavy duty weight lifting.
          2. When your driving over 100 mph (and you can easily make this speed) you tends to loose grip on the steering.

  2. Are the braided hoses in the engine compartment of the blue MGC factory, or aftermarket?

    1. I believe the mounting block is factory, but I think the braided hoses are not — photos I’ve seen of stock engines have rubber hoses.

      1. Excellent article on the MGC. The spin on oil filter and braided hoses are aftermarket item. Originally the MGC was equipped with a cloth filter inside a canister. A small drain plug was provided in the canister base to help prevent oil from running down the side of the block to the floor. No matter what, changing a filter was a messy affair.

        The original equipment oil cooler lines are rubber as are the fuel lines and radiator overflow hose.

        The carburetor cooling fan and emissions system items have been removed from this engine, a common thing to do, cleaning up the appearance of the stock engine.

        1. Thanks for the clarifications. It looked like the air pump had been removed, but I wasn’t clear enough on the stock items to be certain, and I didn’t think to ask the owner.

  3. Another outstanding, well researched article…you guys are the best.

  4. [quote=Administrator]I think it also depends on what you’re comparing them to. If you compare the MGC’s handling to the Mark II MGB, the C comes out badly. If you compare it to a contemporary Mustang or Camaro (not unreasonable, since their prices were roughly comparable), it would probably fare better. [/quote]

    I’d think the MGC and the Mustang/Camaro would appeal to different buyers, even if they were in the same ballpark in price.

    1. For the most part, I would imagine that MG fans and pony car lovers would turn up their noses at one another, but the MGC does make an interesting comparison with the contemporary American sporty cars. Although the magazines (and modern collectors) love the hotter big blocks, Boss 302s, and Z/28s, that’s not what most people bought, and a comparison between the C and a workaday Mustang or Camaro would be instructive. By the numbers, straight-line performance is actually pretty similar (and would be more so if the MGC hadn’t lost the big Healey’s low-end torque), and I suspect the C would handle better, unless the pony car had the heavy-duty suspension (which was generally pretty rare).

  5. The MGC left the building just as the Datsun 240Z was entering it, but you’d need to REALLY have a thing for British cars to choose an MGC-GT over a Z.

    1. At least in the U.S., where the 240Z was around $200 less than an MGC GT. (My understanding is that in Britain, import duties made the Z a lot more expensive than it was here, so that might be a different story.)

      I’m pretty sure BMC was unaware of the Z when the MGC was launched, although the Z was definitely on the radar when MG introduced the B GT V8 in 1973; the ads for it make that clear. Alas, the very limited production of the V8 (and BLMC’s decision not to federalize it) made it something of a moot point.

  6. I’ve scoured the site, glad to have fresh material!

  7. Ive owned fully restored standard bgt & cgt. Handling wise theres very little in it. You have to be an experienced classic driver to get the best from the cgt and if you are, then the c is faster all round and better fun. The bgt has nimbler handling and is more forgiving, but lacks the power in the corners to use its potential. The front end set up on the c is what the b should have had in the first place and then it would have been exceptional, especially when tuned. The b needed a better engine but never really got it until the v8 and then the B s front end suspension was inadequate, again losing everything you gained. There all great in there own right, for me the c edges it on rareity smoothness and everyone wants to talk about it.

  8. Good article and good to see a well written description of the MGC.
    Having had 2 MGC GTs, 2 Big Healeys (and a 240Z) I think I can add quite a bit to this: The problems with the MGC were mostly BMC problems. Mainly money and control. MG was not given control over the engine and had a minimal development budget. Morris Engines Branch delivered an engine that was at least 100 lbs heavier than the MG engineers were told it was going to be. They just turned up the torsion bars to level the car, but as they were from another BMC model the spring rate was terribly inadequate for the job with no budget or time to develop the right parts. Add to this the fact that the front suspension has all rubber bushings instead of half metal like the MGB or Healeys, the car rolls in turns and the suspension distorts far from ideal alignment for cornering grip. This results in the C turning into a corner and then the wheel needing to be turned some more to stay on a chosen line. Benign understeer to the max.
    Off the line the MGB can get to 35 or 40 mph faster, but on the open highway the MGC will pass it and be gone. Cruising at 70, 80 or more is easy in a C. Much taller gearing and more relaxed at modern Interstate speeds. A lighter flywheel (the MGCs is 32 lbs, the Healeys was 28) will help and the 1969 gearing is not as tall as the 1968.
    Suspension improvements that will make the C equal to a B include Up-rated torsion bars, polyurethane front suspension bushings, better shocks, better tires (at least 185/70HR15) with proper inflation, and stiffer front and added rear anti-roll bars.
    With these the MGC can be made to be a very good car. (My local Club doesn’t like me to lead tours in my GT!) It is the most modern MG we have in the States, the front suspension is fully adjustable and it is great for long trips.
    Yes it will not perform like a Z-car, but the MGC was already discontinued by the time the Z came along.
    American MGC Register, Tech Editor

  9. The photo of the MGC fitted with 3 by 1/34″ SU’s is an aftermarket kit with cast alloy horizontal inlet manifolds.
    The correct Downton inlet manifolds are specially jigged fabricated mild steel units which curve down slightly from the carby then curve up to the inlet ports. The carbies are inclined inward at about 10* or so. I haven’t measured the angle.

    It is the specific design of the inlet manifolds that give the much improved gas flow into the head resulting in very good low down torque and much improved economy as well as a substantial power and torque increase from idle up to 6,000 RPM.

    There are very few Downton Stage 3 [Kit 45] cars worldwide. I only know of 3 in the UK and my car in Australia. There may be some in Europe and North America. University Motors did sell a few Stage 2 [Kit 43] cars towards the end but as far as I know no Stage 3 cars. Most of the Stage 3 cars were modified by their owners or were taken to Downton Engineering to be converted early in the models life.

    The copies of the Downton dual exhaust system ,headers, mufflers and pipes are readily available and follow the design of Downton fairly accurately. Moss I think sell a copy.
    The dual exhaust system gives about 20 BHP of the Kit 45 performance, as advised by Downton in 1970.

    The MGC was quoted in the UK as exceeding 130 MPH when fitted with stage 2.
    My car with stage 3 has been timed at 128 MPH on a circuit with a very long straight. It never got anywhere near the claimed UK figures. The standard car as delivered with 3.307:1 diff reached 120 MPH in both 4th. and Overdrive.

    Years ago in the UK 2 MGC’s over 10 years old were tested from 30 to 100 MPH in 4th. gear on a level test road. The early car with 3.307:1 diff. took 40 seconds. The later [1969] car with 3.7:1 diff. took 30 seconds. The early cars were overgeared as we all knew.

    On the MGCC Queensland website “Tech Talk” pages is an article on Airconditioning the MGC.
    With our Sub Tropical climate this has been great all year round, fitted in 2006.

    1. Bruce,

      I’ll bow to your familiarity with the Downton conversions — the owner identified it as a Downton conversion, but he admitted he wasn’t that familiar with the details. I’ve amended the text accordingly.

  10. Another excellent article. In the last few years the C’s value have really started to come up. The average age of the average British car enthusiast climbs I suspect they are more drawn to the C’s GT style assets of the more raw B sports car.

    1. I suspect an equally important factor, as far as collector value goes, is simply rarity. Except for the MGB GT V8, there aren’t many Bs that qualify as rare, and those that are don’t necessarily have greater collector value (the early 1974 North American cars with the chrome bumpers and big rubber overriders, for instance). The C also has value just as a conversation piece. Even at a show full of jaded MGB fans, it stands out, and I’m sure some people find that appealing.

  11. I’ve spent a fair amount of time behind the wheel of both MGBs and MGCs, and at the end of the day I think there’s no question that the B is the better all-around car. By going with the B, you essentially sacrifice higher-speed touring ability and sweet six-cylinder sound for the benefit of a significantly better-handling and probably faster all-around package. That said, I think folks need to be honest with themselves about how they’re planning on using these cars. If you’re a Sunday driver that scarcely exceeds the speed limit–not uncommon when it comes to MG owners–the added smoothness and rarity of the C might outweigh the B’s balance and at-the-limit performance potential. Fortunately, though, they’re both cheap enough that if you’re a nut, you can get one of each.

    1. I think it also depends on what you’re comparing them to. If you compare the MGC’s handling to the Mark II MGB, the C comes out badly. If you compare it to a contemporary Mustang or Camaro (not unreasonable, since their prices were roughly comparable), it would probably fare better.

  12. I have letters from Daniel Richmond of Downton giving all the details of the factory engine [on Abingdon’s Dyno] and his data for Kit 43 [stage 2] and Kit 45 [stage 3] engines.
    Factory engine produced 123.7 BHP at the flywheel with open dyno exhaust.
    Kit 45 produced 174.6 BHP at the flwwheel with the Downton twin exhaust system. This is what made the difference.

    Go to the MGCCQueensland website [Website in contact block] and scroll down to "Tech Talk".
    Look for an article on developing the MGC for Modern day use [or whatever I called it] here you will get "Chapter and Verse" development of the car from delivery up to about 2009. I have since added John Hoyle’s IRS to replace the cart springs.
    I have to go out now but will send you a lot more info later.

    Bruce Ibbotson. [1968 MGC-GT]

    1. Bruce,

      I did read your document at length in putting together the article — if you look through the sources (some daunting blocks of text, I admit), you’ll see it there. It was very useful, although inevitably some of its details went a little beyond the scope. (I rounded 174.6 bhp up to 175, as is my customary practice.) Most of all, it illustrated how much better the factory MGC could have been, with just a little more effort.

  13. As a British owner of an MGC roadster, I would concur with most of the comments made on your forum. The handling can be improved by fitting 185 x 15 tyres and replacing the stock shocks with modern adjustable ones (I have fitted Spax ) this certainly will improve the situation and understeer can all but eliminated if the rear side lever shocks are replaced with teles.

  14. I’ve owned and driven an MGCGT for 26 years and as standard, as you say in your comments, the handling is not great. However with some gas shockers and a thicker roll bar, take off the carb air filters,and add some ram tubes you’ll gain up to 10hp and some grunt.
    I’ve done the Monte Carlo Ralle Historique twice in the ‘C.’ The power on the mountains was a joy in mainly third gear useing the overdrive as a gear change it creamed most of the other muscle cars on the rally. Every hairpin on the coles were powered around just drifting the rear, no problem with a standard steering wheel and rack.
    I love the NGCGT.

  15. I am an original owner of an MGC roadster with 4 speed transmission and overdrive. I purchased it new June 21, 1969 and have loved and enjoyed it since new. Presently. I am restoring it for the first time in 46 years. My restoration is a complete nut, bolt, screw, and rivet task. I hope to have it completed by June 2016 for the MG International meet in Louisville, KY. I have spent 4 years working on it, but not seriously until this year.

    Hope to see some of you in Louisville next June.


  16. An intriguing question comes to mind regarding the MGC, was the FB60 engine intended for the Austin-Healey 4000 ever fitted to an MGB / MGC?

    1. Not to my knowledge, although I imagine it would be a tough squeeze. I don’t think I’ve ever seen exterior dimensions for the FB60, but even the redesigned C-series barely fit in the MGB’s engine bay without modifying the firewall, so the F-head engine might just not fit. (The Austin-Healey 4000 used a modified 3000 body, which had more space up front.

  17. Thank you I thought for a minute I was crazy I remember when I was a kid my brother and his friend got out of the Navy and his friend brought home a brand new mgc, my dad was a Machanic, and he had to show it of I remember it had a 6 in it and the hood had a bump on it for that reason I think

  18. While Donald Healey rejected ADO51 on the basis of both its heavy engine and too closely resembling the MGB/MGC, do any counter proposals by Healey exist as to how he wanted ADO51 to progress and differ from the MGC in terms of styling before outright rejecting it?

    Would ADO51 have been better off with something along the lines of the front-end from the Coune MGB Berlinette with the “Healey” grille from the ADO51 prototype as a starting point?

    On the engine front while the 142-178 hp 2.5 version of the 2660cc 4-cylinder is one route (along a 200 + hp 2.5 Coventry Climax CFA V8), would Healey have quickly dismissed the redesigned 2.9 C-Series engine had it reached its original weight reduction target of 175 lbs / 80kg (instead of 45 lbs / 20kg) that the later motorsport MGC GTS achieved together with the 175 hp Downton upgrade?

    Anyway as for the 2.4 B-Series Blue Streak engine it apparently uprated to put out as much as 115 hp in MGB prototypes.

    1. In the Big Healey article, I talked about some of the alternative ideas that were considered, at least one of which was a fixed-head coupe (not related to or particularly resembling the Coune Berlinette, however).

      I think the Healeys’ basic concern was not the the styling or the weight of the engine (although their conclusion that the ADO51/52 was a dynamic mess certainly didn’t help), but rather that the ADO51 would have been a difficult sell in any form BMC was willing to consider. The 3000 and Hundred had always been a clear step up from the MGA and MGB in terms of price and performance; in the U.S., the difference between an MGB tourer and a mid-sixties BJ7 was close to $900, which was a lot of money. The ADO51 would probably have been priced similarly, but because it would have looked so much like the MGB, there was a real danger that a potential buyer would assume the ADO51 was a rebadged MGB rather than a 3000 successor. It’s not difficult to imagine a customer walking into a showroom, balking at the $3,500+ price tag, and walking out again without ever raising the bonnet or asking about the specs.

      I suspect the Healeys would have had less of a problem with the similarity between the ADO51 and ADO52 had BMC been willing to further differentiate both cars from the MGB. Similarly, had it been possible to continue the BJ7 for a few more years, I doubt the Healeys would have objected overmuch to substituting the redesigned C-series engine (although once BMC asked them to look at the Rolls-Royce FB60, they might have argued for using that instead, since it provided much better performance). The Healeys were realists and they’d worked with BMC for a decade or so at that point, so it’s not like they didn’t understand the economic considerations involved. I think they simply concluded that there was no way to make ADO51 a viable commercial proposition within the parameters BMC had set for it, and they were likely correct.

    2. It seems in Jon Pressenell’s book on Austin-Healey a 2-litre (2011-2012cc?) version was also considered alongside the 142-178 hp 2.5-litre / 2520cc 4-cylinder Twin-Cam version of the 2199-2660cc Austin 4-cylinder engines, with the stroke reduced from 111.10mm to 101.6mm yet how feasible would it have been for the 2-litre’s 79.37-79.4mm bore to have been further reduced to around 79.1-79.13mm to create a 1997-1999cc engine?

      1. Reducing bore size, especially by such a small amount, is usually a trivial matter, and automakers routinely do stuff like that to stay below certain tax-sensitive or racing-pertinent displacement thresholds. (Increasing bore size can be a bigger issue if an engine is already close to its limits.)

  19. Past owner of an MG TC or 25 years, which I sold as I could not decide which of my three sons should have the car.
    I have purchased a 1974 MGB GT which I am happy with but I have decided to sell and purchase a MGCGT with a Doug Smith conversion stage 2 with three weber carbs light flywheel and downton exhaust.
    I am concern about the handling as my wife will drive the Gee now and then. Any suggestion about improving the handling would be appreciated
    Thank you

    1. David,

      I can’t advise you on how to modify your car, although there are various resources available if you were so inclined. I don’t think there’s anything dangerous or treacherous about the MGC’s handling. The complaints about it tended to be that it was comparatively stodgy and understeer-prone, but that’s a question of degree and some would tell you understeer is safer. Of course, any old car requires a certain adjustment for a modern driver accustomed to the higher limits of modern suspensions and tires, but in that regard, the MGC is no worse than any American sedan of its era. If you’re planning to autocross or something, that might be a different story, but for Sunday drives, I don’t know that you need to tinker with it.

  20. Heavy steering has always been a stock criticism of the “C” . As a 2 time owner, my present C has been fitted with kingpin needle roller bearings. These replace the bronze bushes fitted originally to the top of the trunnions and take the weight of the front of the car. The result has been a huge success and other than at very low speeds, a marked improvement is evident and well worth the time and effort.

    1. Hi Michael, I’m glad to hear your assessment of the roller bearings. I’m in the process of restoring my C GT (a long ways to go) but purchased a set. When I get to that stage I’ll get it on the road as stock and convert to the roller bearings to have the comparison to know that was a good choice!

  21. When I was in Vietnam in 1969 I ordered a MGC convertible . When I got home and the car they had for me was an auto! So I did not buy it. Fast forward 20 years and I found a restored one and bought it. A lovely car, the torque and smoothness of the motor was beautiful! A teriffic car.
    I since sold it, but looking around again. For a casual driver, long trips on country roads there is none better!

  22. Interesting article and discussion. I own an MGB with the Blue Streak B series six engine, an Australian prototype replica, complete with the triple carbs and headers made for it. A very quick car and the engine being lighter than the C does not seem to affect the handling too much, tho front end has modified shocks. That Blue streak fitted in the car without all the front end redesign, pity it was not used as the engine was regarded as not standard enough for worldwide release. Only other change for mine was the fitting of a Nissan Skyline 5 speed gearbox. This is a very satisfying car to drive and no one can pick the engine from its great noise.

    1. hi mike
      i have a mgb with a weber and extractors and a wolseley 24/80 with hi compression big valve head and twin mgb s u carbs.

      both have lumenition and big bore exhausts, uprated handling etc.

      i would love to see your engine installation!

  23. I owned a car that was titled as a MGCU. It was a ’69 and a convertible. I know some of the GT’s came with autos, but not the sort top. Never seen one again. I was only 15 at the time and had to get rid of it when I lost storage. Am I crazy, or was this a MGCU? Thanks

  24. I found in the USA an MGC roadster with an engine from Rover V8 3.5cc can be original from factory

    1. British Leyland built a bit less than 3000 MGB-GT models with the Buick/Rover V8 engine between 1973-76. A British entrepenuer named Ken Costello first started fitting this engine in MGB bodies, he may well have done the same with a few MGC’s.
      But no MGC left the Abingdon factory with this engine

      1. Also, the MGB GT V8 (covered in the MGB article) was never officially exported to the U.S., although British Leyland took the initial steps to certify it for such. (Indeed, we even lost the MGB GT during the production run of the V8 car due to concerns that it would undermine interest in the Triumph TR7.)

  25. Looking for some insite on a engine that was found,the tag say mgC but can I use it as a AH 3000 engine? What would be involved and benifits As I already own it, and would like to rebuild. I also own a AH 3000 I was hoping to build a Spare engine?
    Thanks in advance cheers

    1. I am not qualified to advise you on what would be involved in putting the engine in a Big Healey, but you should be aware that the MGC engine has some significant external differences from the stock Healey engine. It’s related to the Austin-Healey 3000’s earlier C-series six, but it’s sort of a cousin: BMC made many changes to it to try to make it smaller, which might lead to some frustrating issues trying to fit it in the earlier car. The engine you found would probably be of more immediate value to an MGC owner.

  26. Agreed I found that mgC used a Healey not a Healey use in a mgC in the end Healey removed his name…thanks I have listed it as is where is. A great history lesson.

  27. The 2.4 litre 6 cyl Blue Streak engine was a developement of the 1600cc 4 cyl BMC ‘B’ series engine but with 2 additional cylinders and was only manufactured in Australia and fitted to the Austin Freeway and Wolseley 24/80.
    This engine definitely only had 4 main bearings and not 7 as stated. When this engine was designed the 5 bearing BMC ‘B’ engine was not in existence and hence was based directly on and extended 3 main bearing 1600cc engine.
    Interestingly, and I have done this, the larger capacity oil pump (Holburn Eaton type) from the 6 cyl Blue Streak engine fits directly into the 4 cyl MGB engine. They are almost impossible to find these days though

    1. Thanks for the correction, Greg. I looked back through my notes and found that point attributed to Anders Ditlev Clausager’s Original MGB (With MBC and MGB GT V8): The Restorer’s Guide to all Roadster and GT models 1962-80, which I don’t have at hand (I had checked it out from the library), but I most likely either misread something or garbled it in my notes. I’ve amended the text accordingly.

  28. As a kid in New Zealand, I used to occasionally buy a UK motorsports newspaper, a weekly (as I recall) tabloid, although I can’t remember its title. It had a great classified section and I recall drooling over the specs of an ex-works MGC GT that was offered (around 1970) for something in the region of 3K pounds. It listed alloy block and head, triple Webers, aluminium and composite bodywork, magnesium Minilites, lots of spares. Memorable, even 50-some years later.

  29. I purchased a British Green 1969 MGC new after getting out of the Navy from a dealer in Sodus NY .
    It was a fun car but very unreliable. It would cook your feet on a summer day . I traded the C for a 1970 Cuda 340 in NJ in 1971.
    I always thought that a MGC would be a great sports car if a GM LS engine was installed along with upgrades in the brakes .
    The V8 would decrease the front weight and easily increase power x 4. It would be interesting to see a MGC that has been upgraded to a V8

    1. Essentially a modernized MGB GT V8 at that point. The V8 GT, which substituted the Buick/Rover 3.5-liter V8, didn’t really provide an increase in power, but it was much quicker than the MGC and eliminated the nose-heaviness.

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