1969 MGC GT “Sebring”

  • MGC GT Sebring replica
  • Built in 2020 by MG Motorsport
  • Evocation of the works GTS racers of the 1960s
  • Triple Weber carburettors and over 190bhp

Based on a standard 1969 MGC, this muscular Sebring replica evokes the famous lightweight GTS racers that were campaigned by the BMC Competitions Department during the late 1960s.

It was painstakingly built by marque specialist MG Motorsport and features a long list of fast-road modifications. The engine has a gas-flowed Peter Burgess cylinder head with lead-free conversion, while the block was rebored and new pistons fitted. The camshaft was reprofiled, Vernier cam gear installed, and the crankshaft was reground and balanced with a front damper. The flywheel was lightened and a high-performance clutch cover fitted.

Running on triple Weber 45 DCOE carburettors, a Downton-style manifold and twin-pipe exhaust system, the six-cylinder unit is giving over 190bhp. It drives through the standard manual-overdrive gearbox, which has been completely rebuilt – as have the rear axle and differential.

New Aeroquip brakes lines and hoses have been fitted and there is Girling Mk2b servo assistance for the standard discs and calipers.

The extensively modified suspension features Superpro polyurethane bushes throughout. Spax adjustable dampers and uprated torsion bars are fitted at the front, along with an anti-roll bar, and Gaz telescopic dampers are used on the rear. Steering is via a high-ratio rack-and-pinion system.

The MGC’s bodywork features wings that echo those used on the works Sebring cars but made in fibreglass. The deep front valance was hand-rolled in aluminium, while Sebring-style headlamp cowls cover 100/80w H4 bulbs. A Monza-style fuel filler cap is fitted on the offside rear corner and a new laminated windscreen was specified; the rear window is heated.

While it looks every inch the racer on the outside, the MGC’s cabin is well specified for road use. It’s fully carpeted and features a wood-rimmed Moto-Lita steering wheel. The dashboard has been refurbished and the speedometer and rev counter recalibrated, and the seats are trimmed in leather. A half roll-cage has been fitted and a new wiring harness installed.

Now being offered for sale, this MGC Sebring replica will be fully serviced before being delivered to its next owner. With a crisp bark emanating from the Weber-fed six-cylinder engine, it’s a quick, well-sorted and hugely entertaining road car.

Model history

With the Austin-Healey 3000 reaching the end of its production life by the mid-1960s, BMC starting planning for a new six-cylinder sporting model. The MGB seemed to offer the ideal platform and it was decided to install a new variant of the BMC 3-litre ‘six’ that would also find a home in the Austin 3-litre saloon.

Although it was shorter than the original C-Series engine, its installation in the MGB monocoque still required the front suspension to be considerably modified, with torsion bars replacing coil springs and telescopic dampers replacing lever-arm units. Larger front brakes were also fitted.

The new seven-bearing engine produced 145bhp and drove through either an all-synchromesh manual gearbox with optional overdrive, or a Borg-Warner automatic.

The most obvious visual difference from the MGB was the bonnet bulge that was required to clear the taller engine and the radiator, and the MGC was made available in Roadster (£1102) and GT (£1249) form when it was launched in October 1967. It had a top speed of 120mph and went from 0-60mph in 10 seconds, and its character was far more that of a Grand Tourer than a sports car.

The BMC Competitions Department also developed a lightweight GTS version for use in international motorsport. Two cars – known as Mabel (MBL 546E) and Romeo (RMO 699F) – were assembled by the Abingdon-based works outfit and ran in events such as the Targa Florio and the Marathon de la Route.

Team drivers Andrew Hedges and Paddy Hopkirk also finished a superb tenth overall at the 1968 Sebring 12 Hours, and the GTS had its final outing in the same race 12 months later.

Production of the standard MGC came to an end in 1969, after a total of 8999 cars had been built.


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