MG built sports cars in the Abingdon factory where production was divided over five models which parent company British Motor Corporation marketed under two different marque names – MG and Austin Healey. MG employees had been assembling Austin Healey brand cars alongside MG models for about nine years with the Austin Healey 3000 at the top of line, but it was becoming long in the tooth and the cars days were clearly coming to an end. A replacement was needed.
The MGC was conceived as a premium-priced, six-cylinder variant of the extremely popular MGB. There were already two distinct versions of the MGB: the MGB convertible had been introduced in 1962 and the MGB GT (coupe) had been in production since 1965. The MGC represented an extension of the MG range into higher horsepower and price classes with a 2.9L straight six.
BMC sought to promote their new MGC model through endurance road racing. Specifically, the BMC Competitions Department set its sights on the annual twelve hour endurance race at Sebring Florida. Perhaps recognizing that the MGC’s engine would have a power disadvantage in any racing class the car was eligible to enter, the “Comps” team sought to make up for it by reducing weight. Specially fabricated aluminum body panels were ordered for the MGC “GTS” or “Sebring” racecars. Most of these panels were made on regular production press dies by supplier Pressed Steel. Bumpers were a conspicuous exception: they were hand-made and they featured aggressive fender flares to suit oversized tyres.
MG and BMC achieved their best result at Sebring in 1968, where drivers Hedges and Hopkirk finished first in class and a remarkable 10th overall.
n 1969, the entry list for Class 11 was entirely different. Twelve cars were entered in the class, and many of them were piloted by world famous drivers. The Ferrari 312P of Chris Amon and Mario Andretti won first in class and second overall. A Porsche 908/02 piloted by Rolf Stommelen, Joe Buzzetta and Kurt Ahrens finished second in class and third overall. Four other Porsche 908/02s were entered. Two finished strongly and two DNF’d. Three fierce Alfa Romeo T33′s were entered, but all three broke. The two MGC GTS racecars did remarkably well to finish fifth and sixth place in Group 11 amongst such serious company.
Roll cage, Fixed bucket seats, Uprated torsion bars, Adjustable suspension with Parabolic rears, HR steering rack, Competition overdrive, AP Clutch, Triple 45mm Weber Carburettors, Luke harnesses, Fire Extinguisher, Battery cut off, Moto Lita steering wheel.
Squat and purposeful, this MGC looks every part the racer for the road with its blistered arches and having been in the care of 355 Restorations the car looks terrific in traditional British Racing Green. As an all steel replica the paintwork remains in excellent order, with no cosmetic reactions or imperfections that can affect aluminium panels, whilst the bright work around the windscreen and windows remains in good condition free of pitting and corrosion. Details such as the towing eyes, battery cut off, bonnet strap, brake ducts and perspex light covers point to a determined accuracy in replicating the endurance racing special.
Safety and style are the order of the day once you have clicked into the four point harness and nestle warmly into the superbly supportive bucket seats. The padded dash, door cards and carpet set are pleasingly clean with good fit and finish, whilst you are left in no doubt of this MG’s competitive intentions with the roll cage, fire extinguishers and offset rev counter. Again, attention to detail is key with every switch and toggle marked for a purpose. Both the Moto Lita and gearbox fall easily to hand with a built in competition overdrive affixed to the gear knob.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The straight 6 engine is fitted with triple 45mm weber carburettors on a stage 2 uprated engine producing 195bhp on the rolling road. This is mated to a rebuilt gearbox with a competition overdrive and AP racing clutch all fitted by MG Motorsport.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The Sebring provenance continues with weight saving Minilite alloy wheels in 15 x 8j wrapped in track focused Dunlop Formula R tyres displaying good life. The front discs show well, with no lipping, scoring or pitting and with a recent fluid replacement, rear drums and front calipers the car performs well, braking true and pulling the car up quickly in a straight line.
UVP 737H started life in South Africa, where it was first subject to a restoration prior to arriving in the UK in 1999. The car has since been treated to a full cosmetic overhaul with 355 Restorations of Dunsfold to the tune of £10k with custom arches and a full windows out respray, whilst also having been under the stewardship of MG Motorsports who performed a full mechanical overhaul; rebuilding the gearbox, inserting a competition overdrive and an AP Racing clutch.
Having taken part in LE JOG it has been used sparingly on track days and annual visits to the Goodwood and Revival events. It is fully equipped for further amateur motorsport and trackdays and ready to go.
The car has a stack of paperwork and bills to support its new lease of life as a fitting nod to the Motorsports variant, with every MOT certificate since importation and certification from the Heritage Trust. Pleasingly the history file also features plenty of correspondence between the current keeper and the former South African owner.
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