Image is very important in the car industry. And the six-cylinder MG MGC GT, following the B, needed toughness. That is why the battle was sought.
That started with a four-cylinder
It would be the brand's last four-cylinder factory-racing bet, and while the Sebring of '67 was the first score, it would be even more impressive and such an MG would finish second in class on the 1968 Targa Florio. Again, the GT once seen as a bit boring beat a whole herd of 911s, Alfa Romeos and a Ferrari Dino.
Specially manufactured aluminum body panels were ordered for the final MG MGC 'GTS' or 'Sebring' six-cylinder racing cars. Most of these are made on regular Pressed Steel molds. Fenders were a notable exception: they were handcrafted, and they had aggressive broad shoulders to match oversized tires.
The bolt-on panels were made of aluminum instead of steel: the front valance, the front wings, the door leaves and GT boot lids. (Aluminum hoods were already standard equipment.) Aluminum rear fender extensions were riveted to modified steel side panels and the rivets were hidden under the body filler and paint. The aluminum roofs were also riveted and glued.
The current aftermarket Sebring kits are now made of plastic
However, the underlying structure of the MG MGC GTS bodies remained essentially standard. Strength and rigidity were guaranteed by additional spot welding. Weight reductions were not limited to the body. For example, aluminum alloy engine blocks and cylinder heads were specially cast to save weight compared to the iron blocks and heads used in production cars.
How many sets of Sebring aluminum panels have been made? That is clear: In all respects enough for six complete cars plus some spare parts.
From four to six cylinders
So a fascinating wrinkle in the MG GTC GTS story is that the first GTS racing car debuted with a four-cylinder engine and a regular MGB hood. This same car was updated with a six-cylinder engine and a different bonnet and was introduced at Sebring in 1968 and 1969. These were turbulent years for MG and for the Comps department. The company takeover had put a strain on their future. In 1969 'British Leyland Motor Corporation' was the official entrant's name when MGC GTS race cars entered the Sebring Twelve Hour race. This was the last 'factory competition' for the MG brand.
That's a fake. With a four-cylinder. The broadly smiling owner, Sander Buitink from Zelhem, is clear about the history: “It wasn't mine last week”. And: “It's just a nice thing to play around with”. Where Frans Mandigers nowadays provides cars and motorcycles with instant patina, this MG has real testimonials to an adventurous life. For purists, of course, it is 'Voud!' Anyway. But he is definitely time original and heart-conquering. This freehand replica is like an old-fashioned street kid: It's not very well-mannered, has a big mouth, but it gets by. And it is affordable and deployable.
The almost Sebring has a tuned 1800 block with large Amals, a hot camshaft and a big bore exhaust. But the real Sebring? That's a different story: The 2912 cc 'C' series six-seater in it delivers about 220 hp and breathes through three 45DCOE Webers and has an MGM5C camshaft. The car has a four-speed gearbox plus a Quaife ATB differential and has front independent suspension. At the rear, the MG has a rigid axle in semi-elliptical springs. There are disc brakes all around.
- Driving the MG MGC GT
- MG MGB Roadster (1964) and Triumph Spitfire IV (1977)
- Electric MG Midget, the e-Midge
- MG Midget - The MG of the doctor
- Food for purists: improvements to an MGB