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MG Sebring. An almost real copy

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.

Our Sebring

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.

Also read:
- 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

 

 

 

7 Comments

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  1. Beautiful car! Small note: the carburettors are the standard SU HS4s, not “big Amals” as they are called in the text.

  2. Cool thing. Too bad about the "not six-cylinder". I myself have had a rubber bumper GT with a license plate from 1976. A Belgian born, but how long he drove around there, I don't know. Under my rule, the GT was restored (suffered rust trauma) and sold somewhere in 1994. According to the RDW, his MOT will expire in September next year, so is he still alive?
    In addition to MG six-cylinders, Ken Costello also built a number of V8 GTs, with the Rover (Buick) V8s. He had started this project when it appeared that the GTC supplied by MG turned out to be too unwieldy.
    “Au” did a leg of MG, tried to counteract Costello and produced some 2600 of them themselves. Leyland had now also consumed MG and wanted to include the Triumph Stag do not have competition from their own stable.

  3. Wonderful story about a very nice car, I think. In the 60s I drove a “tartan red” myself: MGB which I have tuned a bit myself. Although I was a frequent offender to my “B”, I was keen on a “Jacques Coune” version of the MGB-GT, with beautiful built-in headlights ala Jaguar E-type.
    Right now my oldest son has a B-GT which he is converting to a widened / lowered version with independent rear suspension (from BMW) and with a 4,6 liter V8 in the front to play with it on circuits. When that is finished and I am still fit enough, I also want to make a few laps, like I used to not do my B on the public days in Zandvoort.

  4. I have never seen this car before and I think it is very special in design. The kind of car that you can look at for hours from a floeren seat alone. I can't think of a better viewing figure. I have the same with the most beautiful Minis from the sixties. Those characters are just perfect, a modern Mini cannot match that.

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