While SAIC-owned MG is long established as a player in the Chinese market, the brand had, until recently, struggled to re-enter the UK in any significant way. However, since the launch of the ZS EV, sales have been on the way up and MG was even named the nation’s fastest growing brand in 2018. Of course, when it comes to market share MG is a minnow - but that hasn't prevented the firm from hinting at a return to previous glories. As previewed by the Cyberster concept, MG has not forgotten its two-seat roadster past, and the idea that it might one day spiritually succeed a lineage that includes the MG B, C and F.
Future electric cars aside, you would be forgiven for preferring your MG petrol-powered and British-made. For this there is obviously ample choice, although, as demonstrated by today’s Spotted, opting for one of the classics needn’t require a full return to the old days. The MG C you see here is a restored and modified 1968 car. It wears some Sebring-inspired bits, wire-wheel knock-ons and a vinyl interior, but underneath the bonnet is a considerably more modern motor with close to 200hp mated to a Ford five-speed gearbox.
That means the 53-year-old C, a model famed for being the nose-heavy, lazier sibling of the B, should pull like something far younger than its age. In fact, from the ground-up, this is a car that defies its years, with the bodyshell fully stripped back to bare metal and repainted in Snowberry white by MG Motorsport in 2005. The engine is a Damico straight-six rebuilt in 2014, with a ported and gas flowed cylinder head, lightened conrods, flywheel and crankshaft. The camshaft is of fast-road spec, the cylinders were bored out to 3.0 litres and the motor breathes through throttle bodies. Nice, nice, nice.
Happily all the surrounding bits and ancillaries have been upgraded to match, with Mondeo V6 coil packs for smoother running, twin electric fans to ensure cool low-speed running, and uprated engines to keep throttle response sharp. There’s no mention of chassis changes, suggesting this was a restomod project that centred on the engine bay, but it surely wouldn’t be hard for the next custodian to put their mark on the car with some minor upgrades elsewhere. Maybe starting with the brakes, before looking at the suspension. MG Cs were never considered to be great in the handling department, although plenty owners will argue that fresh, healthy cars are surprisingly keen.
Judging by the pictures, the finished car has lived a cherished life since it underwent the work, with everything, engine bay included, looking remarkably clean. The odometer displays 114k miles but that’s essentially irrelevant with the restoration, and an engine that is said to have run for only 6,300 miles since the rebuild.
MG Cs might not be as simple as the plucky old Bs, but they’re renowned for being pretty headache free. Anyway, with just 8,999 having ever been made over a two-year-production run (’67-’69), and only 1,100-odd left on UK roads today (compare that to over 20,000 MG Bs), we wouldn’t expect any to live a particularly hard life. Apart from this one, maybe. After all, it’d be a shame to not hear those throttle bodies growling from time to time.
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