1969 MG MGC-GT

Illustration for article titled 1969 MG MGC-GT

I was out for a walk in the East End and came across this car on Versailles street (note: Alamedans pronounce this street's name "Ver-SAILS" and will jump down your throat if you call it "Ver-SIGH"). From a couple blocks away, I thought it might be a Jaguar E-Type, given the shiny black paint and wire wheels. Then I thought it was an MGB-GT, and it was only when I saw the strange hood bulges that I realized I was dealing with the much rarer MGC-GT.

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Illustration for article titled 1969 MG MGC-GT


Hey, that photograph sure looks familiar!

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Illustration for article titled 1969 MG MGC-GT


The MGC was basically an MGB with a 7-main-bearing version of the 3-liter inline-six engine used in the Austin-Healey 3000 (and a bunch of other British cars we've never heard of over here). To go with the new engine, the MGC got bigger brakes and some other goodies.

Illustration for article titled 1969 MG MGC-GT


That sounds great, only the car got a rep for funky handling with the heavy new engine and the MGC never sold very well. Only about 9,000 were made, of which roughly half were the GT type.

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Illustration for article titled 1969 MG MGC-GT


This car is pretty much in showroom condition, only no MG ever came off the line with black paint this perfect. This car doesn't normally live on the street; I assume it spends its time garaged nearby. There's a 60s Mini on the same block (stay tuned for photos), so it's possible the same masochist connoisseur of fine British automobiles owns them both.

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Illustration for article titled 1969 MG MGC-GT


I drove a '73 MGB-GT as a daily driver for a couple years, and I loved and hated it in roughly equal measure. All I'm going to say is: everything they say about the Prince of Darkness is true.

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Illustration for article titled 1969 MG MGC-GT


So what? Just look at this thing! All is forgiven, MG!

Illustration for article titled 1969 MG MGC-GT
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Sadly, my B didn't have the wire wheels; I think most cars look lame with them, but 60s British designs really do well with the spokes.

Illustration for article titled 1969 MG MGC-GT
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Hmmm... does this car have true dual exhaust? I suppose I should have stuck the camera underneath to find out, but that might have triggered an unpleasant owner/photographer confrontation.

Illustration for article titled 1969 MG MGC-GT
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The six-banger fit in the engine compartment all right, but the radiator and carburetor failed to clear the hood. Rather than redesign the radiator and/or intake manifold, BMC's engineers took a very 60s-British (i.e., totally cheap) approach and put a couple of bulges in the hood. Sure, it looks funny, but it works!

Illustration for article titled 1969 MG MGC-GT
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That Pininfarina-designed hatchback body looks great, especially in black. This town really is Car Geek Heaven.

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DISCUSSION

I used to drive my MGB GT as a daily driver, in all weather. You would occasionally see me on the side of the road. However, one of my proudest moments (aside from spinning it in the middle of an intersection — whoops) was tromping up the hill I lived on in the snow, while my friend in his Bronco II got stuck somewhere behind me. And he was supposed to be there in case I got stuck...

I stopped driving it only because I had the plan to tear it down to bare metal and rebuild it. It's still the plan, only now I actually have a garage to do it in.

With British cars, it's kind of in your blood. I never would have thought much of them, except Dad had an old, never ever running Bugeye Sprite in the garage. He sold that off, then a few years later wanted one in better shape, so he bought another, a '59 this time, with the original 948cc engine. From there, it's all been downhill...

This is a gorgeous C-GT, and it's good to see it. Everytime I see a C-GT, I have to dig out the pictures for the works race cars —-

[www.mgcars.org.uk]

[www.mgcars.org.uk]