1969 MGC Roadster – SOLD

  • 1969 MGC Roadster for sale
  • Late production model exported new to the US
  • Fully restored in the UK to concours condition
  • Offered for sale from the Dave Saunders Collection

Originally built in July 1969 as a left-hand-drive US export car, this MGC Roadster has been given a long-term restoration to concours standard.

It was dispatched to New York on 2 July 1969 and had been specified with wire wheels, a heater, a cigar lighter and a tonneau cover. Little is known of its time in the US, but it was acquired from an Illinois dealer by a British-based owner in 2005. Having had the car shipped across the Atlantic, he embarked on a comprehensive rebuild and entrusted the major work to The Village Garage in West Sussex. 

The MGC was stripped to a bare shell and any metalwork replaced as needed, including the sills and castle rails. The shell was then seam-sealed and primed, the underside was sprayed with light stone chip, and it was all repainted in the original shade of Snowberry White. 

The 3-litre, six-cylinder engine was rebuilt, a process that involved the block being rebored and the crankshaft being reground. New internals such as pistons and camshaft were fitted as required, and an unleaded-head conversion was carried out. The carburettors were rebuilt, while the cooling system benefitted from a new radiator, water pump and hoses. 

The automatic transmission was also rebuilt, the differential was stripped and reassembled with a new crownwheel and pinion, and the braking system was overhauled with new discs, pads, shoes, servo, cylinders and pipes. 

The suspension benefitted from new kingpins, torsion bars, rear leaf springs, dampers and wheel bearings, while subtle upgrades include Polybushes, an EZ electric power-steering system and electric windows. All suspension components were powder-coated, as was the rear axle casing and fuel tank, and a new propshaft was fitted.

The wiring loom was replaced and the MGC’s interior was completely retrimmed. Headrests were specified for the seats, the heater matrix was uprated and the carpets were replaced throughout. A mohair hood was fitted and Minilite wheels replaced the original wires. 

The work was eventually completed in December 2017 at an estimated cost of £46,000. The MGC was then acquired by marque enthusiast Dave Saunders in May 2019, and is now being offered for sale from his collection. Beautifully rebuilt to concours condition, it is an exceptional example of this British grand tourer and comes with a wealth of invoices and receipts from its restoration.

Model history

The basic concept behind the MGC was simple: take the monocoque from the successful MGB and drop in a 3-litre, six-cylinder engine in order to create a successor to the ageing Austin-Healey 3000. 

The 2912cc engine was to be shared with the new Austin 3-Litre saloon, and featured a 12-port cylinder head, twin SU carburettors and a compression ratio of 9:1. In MGC specification, it produced 145bhp and 174 lb/ft of torque at 3500rpm.

The front end of the MGB shell had to be modified in order to install the new ‘six’, and a distinctive bonnet bulge was added so that it cleared the longer engine. The extra weight meant that the MGB’s front suspension of coil springs and lever-arm dampers was replaced with a set-up comprising torsion bars and telescopic dampers.  

When the MGC was launched in 1967, there was the choice of a new four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox or a three-speed Borg Warner automatic. With a top speed of 120mph and a 0-60mph time of 10 seconds, it was considerably faster than the four-cylinder MGB and was acknowledged to be more of a Grand Tourer than its smaller sports-car sibling.

Works driver John Sprinzel was a fan of the MGC, saying that it ‘had a much stronger shell than the Big Healey and [it was] more civilised to boot’.

MGC production lasted only two years and the model was discontinued in September 1969 under the ownership of the newly created British Leyland. Production totalled just over 9000, split between the Roadster and the GT, and with almost half being exported to the US market. 

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